Arguably one of Jinja’s best DJs, Kasirye Aaron a.k.a. Dj CrossHD has a story most of his fans do not know. From his first night at Queen’s Palace in Malaba, Dj CrossHD doesn’t think he will ever quit playing.
So, who is DJ CrossHD?
When asked this question, this is what he had to say; “They call me DJ CrossHD but my real name is Kasirye Aaron. I was born and grew up in Kalungu, Masaka. There is not much to talk about my childhood because it wasn’t memorable at all. I basically did the usual things that kids do; there was nothing special about it. About school, I didn’t go far with my education. There were a lot of factors that put me in that situation but now t I am making some money, I still think about completing my education some day.”
So, how does he get into dee-jaying?
DJ CrossHD had never taken a trip from Masaka. It was his home and he didn’t know of any other place other than that. All his friends were there and his family was also there. It is all he ever needed. A chance to take the first trip came a short while after his mother died in 2000. It was a sad moment for him but life had to go on. There was also a need to help out with family needs.
When his father decided to try out business in the border town of Malaba, DJ CrossHD followed him. It was journey into the unknown. They didn’t know anyone in Malaba and they were going to the town for the first time. Such can be life when all you have is the will.
An opportunity quickly presented itself for the naïve DJ CrossHD. He managed to secure a job with a clearing and forwarding firm in Malaba doing odd jobs here and there. He made some small money and was able to survive. He worked during the day and would move around in the evenings. He was able to get some friends who happened to be DJs. They worked in different bars in Malaba. Among these friends were brothers Denis Masembe and Bogere Andrew a.k.a. DJ Andrae and Kaggwa a.k.a. DJ Kagz.
These three were so tight and when a bar was opening up, they linked up and hooked up each other. DJ CrossHD asked in and since he didn’t have any particular skills, he was made a pool attendant. His new duty station for the night was Queens Palace in Malaba. He worked at the clearing and forwarding firm during day, and at Queens Palace at night. One year into the job at Queen’s Palace and Dj CrossHD, Denis, and Kagz were like family.
When business slowed down in the wee hours, DJ CrossHD would get into the DJ booth and watch his buddies do their thing. In the process, he’d pick a few things that would prove useful in the future. It didn’t take long for the confidence to build and when it did, he begged his buddies to let him play in the last minutes. They agreed and it didn’t take long before DJ CrossHD started getting programmed to play at the bar. It is now six years since then and DJ Cross-HD has grown into his role as a DJ and entertainer
That was easy, any challenges?
“Queens Palace has become my second home and just like in any setting, there are challenges” was DJ CrossHD’s answer when asked. “I remember when I had just started playing at QP (Queens Palace); I had a rough time fitting in. There is a particular DJ that made my life a living hell. I at times felt like just leaving the place but then I needed to earn a living. I was no longer working at the clearing firm and QPs was my only source of income. I had to soldier on… I had to be a man.”
DJ CrossHD managed to stay on the job despite the infighting. He went on to get noticed by the proprietors and that became his only security on the job. “Queen (Damalie Wepukhulu) and Mayinja (Denis Bwanika) were very good to me and their belief in me was just what I needed to be at top of my game.” It is no wonder that when the business was expanded to Jinja, DJ Cross-HD was tipped to handle Jinja together with DJ Andrae.
Okay, so how is it at Queens Palace in Jinja
DJ CrossHD had the opportunity to determine the music policy that Queens Palace-Jinja would follow. Queens Palace, from inception, was supposed to be a bar that everyone could fit in, more so the down town guys. This happens to be the crowd that DJ CrossHD had gotten comfortable with in Malaba. His main challenge was to get them to accept the idea of video-mixing. Video mixing had made QP in Malaba what it is today and the same was planned for QP in Jinja.
This wasn’t supposed to be rocket science since his partner DJ Andrae had done some groundwork prior to QP setting up shop in Jinja. He had moved and played in different bars and created a demand for video mixing among bar patrons. He occasionally played at Bax Bar and Spot6. And here was a bar setting up to strictly do video-mixing.
Three years down the road and DJ CrossHD has gained respect as a DJ and has in turn made numerous friends in the entertainment circles. “I now have people that call me just to make sure I am playing before they come. The good thing at QP is that we all play. So every time they call, I just tell them to come. It is satisfying getting that respect from customers.”
DJ CrossHD’s music policy suits well with the Queens Palace patronage. They love him and I remember speaking to a person close to the proprietors back then and he told me that it was difficult talking about music and QP without mentioning DJ CrossHD. The patrons loved him, and so did his bosses.
DJ CrossHD let me in on how he deals with negativity; “When someone says something bad, it is automatic that you feel bad. I always keep quiet and deal with my emotions.”
Really? Okay, let’s look at the future… 10 years from now
I posed the big question to Dj CrossHD and his answer wasn’t one to think of, “I am still a DJ.. I am a DJ for life. It is the only job I know. Along the way, I have learned lots of things but all are related to music. I hope to do business at some point.”
DJ CrossHD let me in on his target in 5 years; he wants to go back to school and study production and create a DJ school. “I get lots of kids that want to learn this thing (dee-jaying). I can’t help all of them but if I set up a school, I might be able to be a part of their dream.”
And to this group of people that look up to him, DJ CrossHD emphasizes loving oneself, respect, and making an effort to get ideas whenever and wherever possible.