On meeting Dr Aggrey Lubikire, it’s hard to imagine him as a disc jockey (dj). An anaesthesiogist at International Hospital Kampala (IHK) and Mulago hospital and a DJ during the evenings and weekends, the soft spoken doctor has one of the tightest schedules.
Getting him for an interview was difficult not because he didn’t want but because he could hardly get time for a casual conversation. It took a week to fix an appointment. On the day of the interview, Doctor-DJ showed up towards 8pm instead of the agreed 6pm.
Dr Lubikire settled for a place with soft music and immediately ordered for a cold drink saying, “I’m so sorry, I was called back to review a patient just when I was getting out to meet you,” he apologises before exchanging pleasantries.
Wearing a T-shirt and casual trousers, I wondered whether he was from work, but he said he dresses according to the occasion. He comes off as a reserved man.
Wondering how he deejays amidst a crazy crowd, he says, “I can be rowdy by the way it depends on where you meet me.”
Born 40 years ago to the late John Mulugo and Rhoda Aworo in Jinja District, Dr Lubikire is married with two children. He started mixing music for fun in 1998 while pursuing a Bachelor of Medicine degree at Makerere University.
Residing in Nkrumah Hall, Dj Happie as he is known among peers and fans, says he used to mix music at small parties at different university events such as drink ups. There he would use a pen to spin the middle of a casette tape to play a different song.
Also, then he was the minister for National and pan-African affairs in the guild cabinet. Much as it came with some financial benefits, he says it was more fun doing what he did.
Going professional in deejaying
His turning point was 2001 when he went to United Kingdom (UK) to do his Master’s degree in Anaesthesia and Critical Care. While there, they were not allowed to work yet they had bills to take care of.
But DJ Happie had an ear for good music which his Nigerian medical colleagues identified and persuaded him to practise. “My Nigerian doctor friends told me I had a musical gift and connected me to a Tanzania deejay then in UK DJ Chambi who had been playing in Club Bilicanas,” he recalls.
On meeting DJ Chambi, DJ Happie encountered new technology. Chambi asked if he had spinned discs or vinyls and his answer was a no. The fact that Happie had started with empty bottles was a thing Chambi appreciated saying he knew the music.
He started training in the evenings and when off-duty. Through DJ Chambi, he learnt to time the cymbals, bass and how to choose songs by listening for the beat per minute. One thing he mastered though is that you can learn to play but not become an entertainer.
To be an entertainer, his one simple rule is understanding his crowd and meeting their expectations. To him, music doesn’t have to be current but what the audience wants.
In the UK, he started playing music at different events and clubs whenever he was off schedule. Earning £100 per night (Shs400,000), he used to play between 9pm to 1am.
“Most night clubs in the UK close by 1am, those that go up to late close at 3am,” he narrates.
Back home, he purchased his equipment Impulse sound Mobile Disco. With a team of four people, he mostly plays on weddings, traditional functions and house parties because of his schedule. “I went back to do my masters so I had to concentrate on books that’s why I gave playing in clubs a break.”
However, he says it’s easier to play in clubs than functions because the audience in clubs is more or less the same.
“There are theme nights so, it’s a matter of putting the music together. It was even easier in the UK because he says that people there come up with theme nights so you just have to get the right music.
Mixing music, he has encountered some naughty people, who especially after drinking, pull him to the dance floor but he says the attitude he gives them keeps them off .
On drinking he says, “I hardly drink beer because I have to drive back home.”
“ I also always feels the urge to remain sober in case I have an emergency call to duty at hospital.”
Like most events’ managers, he is occupied during certain seasons especially in the last quarter of the year. Most of his work has been out of secondary referrals as he hardly has time to move around aertising.
He mostly does DJ work as a hobby. He says he does a lot of stressful work, so deejaying creates a balance in his life.
“I work with a lot of life and death situations but party harder.”
Even when at the hospital, he leaves music downloading on his laptop.
Most of his audience appreciates his marital status and always applauds him. “One time a lady came up to me and said DJ Happie thanks for the music but most especially for keeping the ring on your finger.”
Your customer is your first priority.
Stick to the play list because whoever is paying takes the day.
Time management is key
Presentation matters. Always dress according to the occasion bearing in mind the three P’s personality, purchasing power.
His worst moment: When electricity is unstable because people think his equipment is fake. Therefore, he has to carry the generator whenever he has a function.
Charges: Between Shs300,000 to Shs700,000 depending on the event and Shs300,000 to Shs500,000 per night for club.
He admires: DJ Ape man who he studied with at campus and Nkrumah Hall and Dj Alberto of Club Silk.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor