DJ Nruff has been the talk of Showbiz lately, making statements with firsts. He is the first DJ in East and Central Africa to release a Music album earlier this year and now he is the first DJ to launch a music related comic book. He lets, us in on his “Jack-of-all-trade” business.
- You recently launched a comic book which is one of its kind in the comic series and a relatable one to the African audience. What piqued your interest?
I grew up reading comics from the Marvel/DC comics to your Archies and Tin Tins so I always wanted to be part of this culture which brought out ones imagination to life sometimes and made my childhood quite interesting. So had an interest in comics from a tender age but started growing back after they started making really great movies and cartoons from these comics and their characters.
- What is the “Adventures Of Nruff” all about?
The comic is based on a futuristic Dj Nrvff who is Captain in the “Dj Corp” an agency given the mandate to protect Music in the Universe. It revolves around Nruff and members of the Corp battling enemies who want to steal, corrupt and destroy Music.
Dj Nruff has two partners Biddo & Fire and under Commander Stylez they are sent on various missions across the galaxy to find these villains who are in search of music secrets and archives to take them for their selfish motives.
It is a series with 6 issues coming in a year calendar. But its art we might have spin offs and special editions coming out too so we will be making these announcements as time goes by but our timeline as it stands is “Forever.”
- What makes “adventures of DJ Nruff” different from the one’s that have been there before?
First, some of the characters are actual living people as much as its fiction. We have Dj Nruff, Commander Stylez (Dj Stylez) & Justin Rich who will be introduced in upcoming issues. Second, it is created locally but also has foreign characters who are DJs and Music stake holders around the globe.
Third, it focuses on Music related issues like piracy, distortion e.t.c and includes musical terminologies to make it alive.
- It sounds like quite some work. How long has the project taken to fruition?
Point Blank, who is the visual director of the project and I have been working on it for the past four years. It has been draining as we both have other projects going on but this has never made us not meet and discuss our way forward. We have a small team including my twin brother Sidney which makes it easy to communicate and get most of the stuff done.
Writing the script always takes time as sometimes the story doesn’t come out as you envision it so it is a back to back thing then the illustrations then production so we do all that between the three of us. Four years is a long time to be working on a single project but no day is the same as another, each day you learn something new.
- That’s long enough to have worked on a single project, what are some of the challenges you and your team experienced?
One challenge is time. We all have massive projects working on radio, TV and in the office so just getting time to work on it is sacrifice but we have passion for what we do so we make the time.
It is also expensive coming up with such a project which is new to the market because you have production costs and also promotional costs that need to be handled just to also put your work out there.
Being a new venture, we did not get the support we needed in the initial stages but we kept going. We sometimes meet like-minded people during different forums and they actually help in giving venues and also just give us more direction and inspiration to keep on working.
- Earlier on in the year you dropped a music album…
I got the interest from listening to Funk Master Flex record “60 Minutes of Funk” in the late 90s early 2000 then Dj Khaled & Dj Drama took it to a whole new level and I said why not.
I decided to work on The Future Is Back and give it a massive global platform becoming the first and only DJ in East and Central Africa to release an album. It is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Tidal, Beats Audio, basically all online music stores.
I double up as co-producer and also give direction on what the theme of the song should be and work on the lyrics of the songs sometimes.
It has the likes of Calvo Mistari, Jay A, Nessa, Petra, Opps, J.Royale, Ace Tha Don, Gabu, Point Blank, Carl Tha Truth and most of them are coming back on the 2nd album so just wait for it.
- Your album has an old school feel to it, did you feel like it was a path less travelled by Kenyan artistes/ ignored genre or you chose it because of your love for old school music?
With The Future Is Back, we try to fuse the old with the new. That’s why we had samples from old songs but have a current feel to it. The thing with music I feel like there has to be an element of the past which creates a great record. I believe Kenyan Music and Hip Hop is great but we also need to put it out there to compete with the global market. We have people in Japan buying the album and can relate to it and the direction we took with it, which is the beauty of music: that it can be shared and embraced by people who are miles away.
- You are an unpredictable ball of energy on the roll, what else are you working on this year?
Yes definitely. I’m already working on my 2nd album. I’m just going to surprise the Industry. Some collaborations are with award winning artists in Africa so its a continental and global affair.
I got tours slotted for end of year. The U.K. in September and The U.S. from November. If all goes well they will be quite heavy. Other projects include Radio and TV though I cannot disclose where now as they are still in the works but it’s going to be great.
The comic book is now available at Between The Lines Book Store at The Village Market.
The album “The Future is back” is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Tidal & Beats Audio.