Quietly spoken and veering on self-deprecating, Haden Gilgen a.k.a DJ Spell, says he’s probably the worst kind of DJ.
Never fond of playing in clubs and not a great fan of networking, the musician who is now ranked 8th in the world after competing in last year’s DMC World Championships in London, likes to let his hands do the talking—and he’s good.
“Music is my life and I make beats everyday,” says the musician.
A massive fan of jazz, the New Zealand DMC champ— currently based in Hamilton—grew up listening to movie sound tracks as a kid. Later, he was introduced to B-Boy culture and tried breaking, only to discover it wasn’t exactly his forté. He laughs in fact, when he recounts the story, but failure on the dance floor led him to the decks, and he has no regrets.
Having gained early success in his DJ’ing career, Spell is a perfectionist and an artist who isn’t afraid to do things his own way. Being at the top of his game doesn’t necessarily equate to financial security, but competing internationally is essential to building a name and Spell is set on his, being up there amongst the best in the industry.
Not to say that his rise to success has been completely smooth sailing; Spell encountered problems with nervousness along the way, and during the DMC’s 2013, he admits that nerves got the better of him. But managing to turn that around and approaching competitions with a relaxed state of mind, has clearly been beneficial.
Passionate, quietly focused and resolute when it comes to practicing, he is currently gearing up for the DMC’s 2014 to defend his New Zealand title.
Check out my full interview with DJ Spell produced for Radio New Zealand National below.