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DJ Trichrome


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by Andrew Frey
May 2013

I had to agree with Willy Wonka, AKA DJ Trichrome when, in a recent email interview, he noted, “There’s a lot of negativity in the world and Reggae Music is so positive. People need that in their lives now more than ever.”

With this in mind, he made a special dedication for 2013, “For this year, my motto is One Love. I called my new mix that because I knew this was a special one and that it was going to bring a lot of beautiful music to everyone. It just so happens that some pretty crazy things are happening in the world right now and I just knew that I had picked a motto that was a reflection of how I felt.”

He continues, talking this time about his performances, “The compliment I hear the most is about the powerful energy that I bring when I perform. What’s special is going through 75 or 80 reggae 45’s in two hours. What’s common for you to see now is a DJ that stares at a laptop because it’s easier to bring a backpack with a laptop full of music than it is to carry crates of records that weigh a ton to shows. I like to go and get the party started with a microphone and records. That’s the way they got things started back in the day.”

But was reggae where he started? “I grew up on my dad’s funk, soul, and early rock records,” elaborates Trichrome. “As I expanded my love for different music, I found myself getting into Heavy Metal and from there into Punk. I already had Ska in my background and was listening to The Specials &  Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Around 1997, a Rasta friend handed me a cassette tape and on one side was Culture and on the other side was King Tubby and something clicked. When I heard reggae music mimic the heartbeat with its one drop style, it took over and something magical happened.”

The story of how he came up with his DJ handle is a great tale. “In the mid-90’s, I discovered something quite amazing, called Trichomes,” he recalls. “The Trichomes that marijuana plants produce and the proteins that our brain produces are the same. In 1998, when I found my love for reggae music and it was time to come up with a name, I played around with the word a little and added the “R” to make it original and came up with DJ Trichrome.”

In March of this year, DJ Trichrome was fortunate enough for a second time to be a part of the 311 Carribean Cruise party, but how did it start? “I’ve known 311 for about 18 years now,” Trichrome elaborates. “And when they said they were going to do a cruise in 2010, I asked Chad Sexton (Drummer), “What do I gotta do to get on board this cruise?” He said, “Aren’t you a DJ?” and I said, “Oh, hell yeah! I’m a DJ.” And Chad said, “Here’s your chance.”  In 2011, I set sail for the first 311 cruise. My experience was like going to outer space with 3,000 311 fans…All like-minded, kind, generous, respectful people that were there for one reason: to get down and love life! The third gig I had on the main Lido Deck on the way back from the island, I played from 12 noon to 2pm and decided to only spin 45’s and a lot of people were watching, including the band. 2 weeks after the Cruise, the band called me to do the 311 Summer Unity Tour with Sublime with Rome in 48 cities coast to coast.”

So where can you hear DJ Trichrome? He explains, “You can hear me on 97.1 Madison UDUB once a month with Kayla Kush and you can stream in at www.wsum.org. You can also find me on Soundcloud and you can also get mixes at live shows.”

What would you find if you saw him live? He elaborates, “If someone were to come see me play in Madison, at the Great Dane, or Natspill, you would get a chance to see me play anything from James Brown to Coco Taylor to Missy Elliott. When people come to see me DJ at the Alchemy and I do what I do best, which is reggae music, I would describe it as traditional Jamaican 70’s style DJ’ing. I blend songs (riddims) with no vocals, called versions, with the songs that have different artists singing over that riddim. That is how it was done by U Roy & Prince Jazzbo and is still being done by David Rodigan, for example.”

Find DJ Trichrome out and about doing his thing 5/10 and 5/24 at Great Dane Hilldale in Madison, 5/17 at Alchemy in Madison, 5/18 at Reggae Fest at the Trempealeau Hotel in LaCrosse, WI, and 5/31 at the Majestic Theater in Madison. More at djtrichrome.com


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