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DJ PH – Anatomy of a Maestro

Words by Mercia Tucker

DJ PH has had a stellar year. Never one to settle into complacency, his thinking is “How do you better yesterday? While moving forward you look at what you’ve done like ‘This is how I did it, now I need to do better.’”

One of South Africa’s finest, his competition is the man in the mirror and mediocrity is his nemesis. “I think the day I learnt that it’s not a competition with anyone but it’s always about bettering self, I think I found peace in everything that I do. I believe in that saying ‘when at a buffet, worry about your own plate’ so I literally worry about myself and try and better what I do.”

The DJ has seen a professional move to MetroFM this year, one half of the Saturday afternoon show with Kyeezi, and also does mixes on DJ Fresh’s breakfast slot every week. On constantly elevating his game, and becoming one of the premier DJs in the country, he says “It’s just thinking out the box and not trying to be like anyone else.”



Whether it’s thinking out of the box with his sets traversing the musical spectrum, or doing festival performances, his ethos has always been elevation. It’s this very characteristic that he used to approach his partnership with Absolut’s One Source Live festival. Where he feels that club-goers attend for the lifestyle element and not necessarily the artistic experience, working on a festival such as this allows him to broaden the way he approaches his performances. “With One Source Live I’m going to bring certain songs to life. I might have a band, you never know” he hints. “One or two surprise performances outside of the people that are on my songs.”

“It’s just one of those platforms that allow you to do what you want to do and have a crowd that appreciates what you’re doing ‘as opposed to we’re just wanna hear the music in the club.’”



The multimedia, multidisciplinary platform allows him to flex his artistic muscle with the kind of crowd that it appeals to. “I think you have open minded people, and that’s the key is that those people are open minded and welcome new sounds, different sounds and not just… In fact, so much so I think it’s pressure to not play a club-type set and open the vault a bit. It challenges you as a DJ and I think I’m the only hip hop DJ on the night so I wouldn’t want to pay a typical set that you heard the previous night at a club.”

PH has recently released his new track Go Down featuring Rouge and Manu Worldstar. “I wasn’t local in my thinking when it was put together.” Wanting more of a global reach the music he puts out going forward, for the remix he says “I’m looking at maybe an East African or West African artist, and a European artist – hopefully a big English artist – because that’s where I want the song to end up.”


Being South African in his base but taking Africa to the world is the direction that he wants to go in. His recent travels in Europe with performances at Hï Ibiza, Mykonos, and London have allowed him a glimpse of the global footprint that he wants to leave. Working with Black Coffee who’s shown him that realm of possibility, he started from the ground up and says of his experience in trying to market himself in Europe “I know I’m talented, let me see what I can offer. Let me enter a league that challenges me. Let me try a new talent.”

He’s taken those experiences into the way that his artistry is managed here at home and invest in himself. DJ PH can be found performing at the second One Source Live festival, at The Sheds at 1 Fox Street on 17 November. Tickets cost R200 and are available now at Webtickets.

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