If you have been to Serallio, one of the hottest night spots in Accra, it is likely that you have heard the magical works of Eff the DJ. He is a resident DJ at Serallio and has been a DJ at numerous events including Afrochella, Manifestivites and Urban Sundays. This interview affords us the opportunity to meet the man behind the turntables.
Photo of Eff the DJ
Ayeyi: Hello Eff. How have you been doing?
Eff: I’ve been alright. Also a COVID-casualty here but all the same, I’ve gotten a lot of time on my hands to put things in place to take advantage of the post-rona environment. So yeah…not too bad.
Ayeyi: Oh, I’m sorry to hear about the casualty but it’s good to hear there is some good as well. So, to start off, can you tell us the story behind the name Eff the DJ?
Eff: When I started out, I had DJ Eff, but I didn’t feel it was unique enough. Googled and checked social media, and many results popped up. I hadn’t streamlined all my stuff at the time as well, so I still had my old Twitter handle and was using my personal email. Then, for the second occasion, this artist friend of mine was sending me music and he asked for my email. I sent it and he asked me to change my email to my DJ name to look more official…for the 2nd time. In a brief moment of thought, I decided to try flipping the name around; let’s do ‘Eff The DJ’ instead. My first name is Franklin anyway. That works. And it’s suggestive? We lit!
Ayeyi: (laughs) It certainly is.
Eff: So I did the search on Google and social media and didn’t find these names anywhere. ‘Eff The DJ’ was born everywhere on that day.
Ayeyi: (laughs) What an interesting backstory!
Video of Eff the DJ at Afrochella 2019 (Videography: Director Banini)
Ayeyi: Eff, at what moment did you know that you wanted to be a DJ and how did that play out?
Eff: All of this happened in my uni days. I didn’t ever want to be a DJ actually. I happened to get good at it and once I started getting paid for it, I wanted to see how far it would go. I started meeting people I admired in the space who encouraged me to keep going, so I kept at it till I couldn’t run from it anymore. Between that, and the one time DJ K3V and I turned Republic Bar into a mosh pit (laughs).
Ayeyi: (laughs) We would get more into the work of you and DJ K3V in just a bit. For now, let’s imagine you have a gig tonight. How would you approach it from selecting the songs to play, preparation before, opening and then building the set?
Eff: Alright…First of all, depends on what time I’m playing. I usually like to open but I don’t mind following. For opening sets, I like to take it slow. Put you on some old stuff you know and love but don’t hear often or something new that I think people need to hear. The music would also be something you can talk over because you’re having your first couple of drinks. This would take you from nodding and tapping your feet, to dancing. We’ll ride that wave till I have to handover to the next DJ.
Ayeyi: I see…And in the case you are not opening?
Eff: In the case where I’m not opening, I’ll have to arrive a minimum 30 minutes earlier to hear how the set before mine is going so I can feed off that and determine where I want to take it. It’s always good to have an idea where you want to take it depending on the gig, but your freestyle bag should also be solid so you don’t get caught off-guard by anything.
Video of Eff the DJ at Manifestivities 2019 (Videography: Director Banini)
Ayeyi: Serallio is one of the hottest night spots in Accra and you have been with them since its inception when you started playing at ‘Serallio Sundays’ and you are a constant DJ there too. How has that experience been for you and how has it impacted your career as a DJ?
Eff: It’s been great. It was my first official residency agreement and so far so good; the impact has been immense. I’ve gotten more used to the nightlife dynamics but most of all I’ve been able to build stronger networks and a fan base that has been super supportive in pitching me for gigs as well as showing up and out at said events.
Ayeyi: That’s great to hear. Let’s now talk about you and DJ K3V. Both of you formed a DJ Duo known as #IFKR. How did that collaboration come about?
Eff: We used to practice together in our hostels, and I used to support him at the gigs we would do together. We were also big fans of Diplo and Skrillex (Jack U) at the time who were also operating as a duo. That inspired us to consider the idea of a DJ duo but it wasn’t cemented till we did this one Friday night at Republic Bar that I referenced earlier. The chemistry was impeccable and off that, we decided to make it official.
Ayeyi: And about two years ago, #IFKR dropped the album, “U Have No Idea.” Listening to the album, I can identify the EDM and pop elements in each song. Considering this is not the most popular genre in Ghana at the moment, how was the reception to the album like?
Eff: It was mixed, to no surprise of ours. We tried to be ambitious with the sound and try new sounds outside of what we are used to. Those who took to it really liked it and some of the songs weren’t as appreciated as I expected them to be… but it be like that sometimes. Still stand by it being one of the most ambitious. Shouts to “Off The Top” for using ‘Lie B3n’ (ft Kirani AYAT) as the theme song for the show and Official Kwame for running ‘Do What You Want’ (ft Adomaa) endlessly on YFM. We also just dropped the remix for Bie Mu, featuring CJ Biggerman, Magnom and Supa Gaeta. Check it out!
Ayeyi: So far, what has been your craziest DJing experience?
Eff: Dezemba 2019. The schedule, the coffee breaks in between sets, the early morning food runs, the number of people I met… Was going full zombie mode back to back. Couldn’t follow the days anymore and was just operating by dates. Even that, if I wasn’t getting notifications from my Calendar app, I would have missed some of them. It over me ankasa.
Ayeyi: Yo, that certainly sounds like one hella hectic December. Since becoming a DJ, what would you say has been the most important lesson you have learned?
Eff: Professionalism: being professional makes your clients know they can trust you as long as their music is concerned and it is so fulfilling to be that vendor to anyone. It becomes easier to build a stronger relationship with them. You also become more bookable from the good news that spreads about your work.
Ayeyi: That is a lesson worth noting. What is the next level for Eff the DJ?
Eff: I plan to do more international gigs to spread my name across the continent. This year, I had planned to do Lagos, Abidjan, Nairobi and Cape Town and Amsterdam but here we are. Hopefully I’ll tick these boxes next year.
Ayeyi: Owh chale, this corona eh (shakes head). Yup, let’s hope for next year. Finally, for those interested in following you, what social media handles should they use?
Eff: @effthedj everywhere: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube
Ayeyi: Eff the DJ, thank you so much for this interview. It was interesting getting to know the man who has been giving us good tunes to jam to. Wish you success for the future.
Eff: Very welcome, dear. Thanks for the interview, and I wish you all the best as well.
Photo of Eff the DJ