Since sound systems and selectors have been taking to the Internet for virtual parties, some of the events have enjoyed corporate sponsorship, but for others, the deejays have been posting up PayPal and CashApp links and handles.
It would therefore appear that the industry has figured its way around keeping occupied, staying relevant and even earning some money. But as fervent as these corporate-sponsored virtual parties may seem, many sound systems are missing out on the action.
“Most of the sound systems of selectors weh dem use, ah mostly the uptown set ah sounds dem use, like di Coppershot, Chromatic and dem people deh. We more hard-core,” Ricky Trooper, owner of Sound Trooper told THE STAR.
Sound Trooper earns mostly from tours, and bookings from the ‘hard-core’ promoters across the island. Virtual partying isn’t really an option. “Dat nah benefit me, or most of the selectors and sound systems — 90 per cent of the sound system industry in Jamaica, we nuh benefit,” he said.
Of the approximately 10 per cent, DJs Cyclone and Narity were among those who may be benefiting while locked in. Last Friday, they participated in Sagicor’s Online Retro Team Par, live streamed on Instagram and other platforms. DJ Cyclone believes it’s a practice that can sustain even after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
“I think that it could be something great for the future. We would still have social distancing, because we don’t need 10 people to do an online stream. And people seem to have been enjoying it, for the past couple weeks that we’ve been doing it,” he said.
He doesn’t even mind the absence of a physical audience too much, because videos and comments keep the interactions going in real time. “It’s almost the same. Not 100 per cent, probably about 90 per cent. Because it’s the same interaction you’d have with people. Being that it’s audio and video, you can basically interact with everybody that’s on the live stream.”
Not for everyone.
He continued, “If a girl is enjoying herself and she say ‘Woi, mi waan whine up miself! Mi waan ben ova!’, you can talk to that person same as if you were in an actual party and you see a girl gettin’ on bad.”
But it’s not for everyone. “My type ah ting ah nuh really dem style ah ting deh. Dat nah duh nuttin fi me at all,” Trooper said. Additionally, he hopes the reason that virtual parties have become necessary is not lost. Trooper recently appeared on OnStage, where he tried as best he could to keep concerns of the crisis at the fore.
“If it wasn’t Onstage, you wouldn’t see me on a live. Mi look pon a lot of the live stream dem weh me see pon social media. But di way di youth dem ah play and the type ah music dem ah play, dem ah play like dem in a regular party and them have a big audience in front ah dem, the regular flossing ting,” he said.
During the OnStage stint, Sound Trooper was only supposed to play for three minutes, but the set carried on for much longer. He used the time to shout out healthcare professionals. “Is dat part dem splice and ah dem ah shub dat part mostly on social media. The feedback that I’ve got from that programme, and when Winford put up the clip of us playing, a lot of people overseas start link me and seh we love dah vibes deh,” Trooper said.
He added, “In a time like this, when people have to reflect on dem life, and we ah guh through dis pandemic yah weh well serious, to me it’s better you play more uplifting music. Music weh have messages, weh take yuh mind from all the stress weh ah gwaan wid dis coronavirus ting yah. Music weh gi yuh hope, music weh yuh play fi mek yuh know seh yuh have a better tomorrow.”