Roots, Rocksteady, and the Beat
I had the pleasure of chatting with UK based DJ and BBC producer Chris Satta, one of the most respected figures on the music scene globally. From selling out 1K capacity venues with his club night brand, to DJ’ing at parties in Kingston Jamaica, to dropping freestyles from the biggest names in the game, Chris’s unique energy and understanding of his crowd makes him stand out from his peers. In his mixes, Chris combines the biggest in Dancehall anthems & Reggae tracks with elements of Hip Hop, R&B & UK rap. We had a great conversation about the immortality of classic Dancehall riddims, the ability of Reggae melodies to transcend borders, and the bridges built around the world due to its artistes’ collaborations with other musical genres.
SW: Tell me Chris, why do you think people in the UK embrace dancehall?
CS: Jamaica has played a huge role in the evolution of UK music ever since the arrival of the Windrush generation in the late 1940s. Some of the most popular genres to come out of this country including Two-tone, Jungle, Garage, Grime and Drill can all be traced back to Jamaica. Dancehall as a genre often gets overlooked in the UK, but the wider population definitely embrace its influence, whether they are aware of it or not.
SW: Who is Chris Satta?
CS: I am a club DJ, events promoter, and a radio presenter. I present the Dancehall Show on Westside Radio, and also do freelance production work for BBC Radio, amongst other things.
SW: How did you get started in the music business? Take me back to the beginning.
CS: My first step into the music business was putting on my own club night, ‘Top Ranking’, at the age of 17 in Cheltenham. I had a big collection of reggae CDs which I’d built over the years from visiting record shops week in, week out, and wanted to put on an event where I could play them to a crowd and showcase my skills as a DJ.
SW: What’s one fun fact about Chris Satta?
CS: (Chuckles) I’m not sure if you’d call this fun, but since the age of 14 I’ve had about a hundred different job titles, from security steward, to cleaner, to radio producer, to stage manager… if you were to look at my full CV you would be very confused!
SW: Who are your biggest influencers, if any?
CS: I am not particularly influenced by any one DJ, but I definitely admire DJ Khaled and just how far he has come, from playing the clubs in Miami and being on the radio, to now being on one of the biggest producers in the world. It is inspiring. In terms of UK DJs, I would say Seani B and DJ Young Lion have been influential in my journey as a radio DJ.
SW: What do you think about current virtual spaces considering Covid-19? Do you see us staying here?
CS: I think Covid brought out the hustler in a lot of us, and as creatives we definitely had to adjust and find new ways to keep people engaged. Straight away, I decided I had to make the best of it, and was actually very inspired by the challenge. Most of our followings grew because people were home and tuned in to their devices. So, we benefitted in some sense from the increased exposure on online
platforms. There are some virtual spaces I can see sticking around and some that I definitely hope we will see the back of!
Chris Satta has bright future ahead of him. He can be found on Instagram @chris_satta, on Facebook @ Chris Satta and on Twitter @chrissatta_.