“Nothing to handle obviously. After shows I just go back to my hotel room. They’ll always come around for pictures so the thing is to appreciate them…”
He enjoys the best of two worlds: first as a successful DJ and now as a successful hip hop artiste. And though the name Patrick Imohiosen may not ring a bell, Deejay Neptune surely does. For close to two decades he has held Nigerians glued to their radio sets spinning the wheels of steel and has done collabos with the likes of Kiss Daniel and Olamide among others. In this chat with TS Weekend, the native of Sabongida Ora, Owan West LGA of Edo State who kick-started his professional career at Ray Power FM opens up on how he found fame and stardom.
Tell us about growing up?
My dad was a comfortable guy. I mean, it’s not as if we got everything we wanted but we were cool. He was one of the top men that came back from the UK as an expatriate. He left while he was just 17 to go study and he was there for close to 20 years. I wouldn’t say I was born with a silver spoon but mine was able to feed me and take me around and make me and my family happy.
DJ Neptune is a big brand. Did you ever see yourself getting this big?
To be honest with you, I actually did. While growing up I’d always wanted to be an entertainer but I didn’t know I would end up being a DJ. I started off with music. Back then I had an uncle who always came to the house every weekend. His name is Uncle Kemi and he was a good singer and was more like my music teacher. My dad was against the idea. He was like hell, no way! I lost my dad when I was 16. Before then I was opportune to attend a friend’s end-of-the-year party. That was my first time ever seeing a DJ mix live. I used to listen to radio stations a lot and I’d hear DJs mix jams but I had not come in contact with one. After seeing that DJ perform, I fell in love with the art and I just told myself ‘okay, this is it, I want to be a DJ’ but like I said, I’d always wanted to be an entertainer and I knew right from the outset that I would be one that people would reckon with worldwide. Then again, man proposes and God disposes so, definitely I would say God has a hand in this. So far so good, it was a dream then but now it is reality.
As a hip-hop act, what are your challenges?
I’ve lots of challenges because you’re trying to work with people’s time and your own time. It could be frustrating sometimes but what’s life without challenges? That’s what makes us who we are and makes us better people. So, I don’t allow those things weigh me down. I just focus on my goals and then what I ever challenges come in between I just shrug off.
What inspires your music?
What inspires me? Funny enough, I just flow with the mood. I might be in a happy mood and boom! I make happy music. I might be a bit down but not necessarily make sad music but something that people can relate with. It depends on the mood. Sometimes, it also depends on the environment and what I see around me. I infuse all of these into music that people can relate with. Basically, I tap inspiration from different angles.
How many albums have you dropped to date?
So far so good I’ve only dropped one album. I think I’ve done over 24 singles but in my debut album I have 15 tracks and I have released four videos. I worked with the likes of Kiss Daniel, Maryokun, Maleek Berry and Scales & Harmony from Tanzania. I just dropped Tear Rubber remix with Mr. Eazi and AfroB. The track I did with Duncan Mighty also get a video before the end of the year.
How did you end up a Deejay?
After I lost my dad in 2000, I moved to Egbeda, Lagos. Then, I was still in secondary school. After school, there was this fastfood joint I noticed was always playing music every evening. I would go there and hang out and I found out that they had a DJ. I’ve always been a fan of music so I approached him, his name is Deejay Douglas; he’s based in the UK now. I told him I loved the job and I’d like to go into it. Initially, he was a bit reluctant because back then, equipment was expensive and no DJ would just leave those things in the hands of anybody. So I started following him around to parties, carrying speakers and equipments just to understudy him. Finally, I got the opportunity to play one day when we went to a party. While he was playing he had to go use the rest room suddenly. He thought he would come back on time but he did not so with the little experience I’d had being around him, I already had an idea of what to play next. I just picked a record, put it on the turn table and voila! that was how I started to play. The year was 2001. Fast forward to 2004 when I was opportune to join Ray Power FM which was one of the biggest radio station back then. I was there for six years and my programme was on the network belt so while my show was on, the whole of Nigeria was plugged in. That took my brand far and wide and in 2009, I got signed to Naeto-C’s band as his official DJ. We travelled around Africa, Europe and did tours in America. It’s been an amazing journey.
Are you married?
Yes, I am married with a kid.
What’s the craziest thing a female fan has ever done to you?
I’ve experienced lots of crazy things, I can’t lie about that but there’s a line that they must not cross. So you see, you can appreciate me for my talent, for what I do, for making you guys happy and making you dance but don’t cross that line! I’m here and you’re over there, we’ll smile, we’ll wave and all that and thanks for loving the brand, thanks for being a fan but it ends there. But I must confess, it’s crazy but with God’s grace we’ve been able to hang in there.
How do you handle female fans?
There’s nothing to handle obviously. After shows I just go back to my hotel room. They’ll always come around for pictures so the thing is to appreciate them because they are also part of your market. These are the people that would go back and have conversations with their friends and be like ‘that DJ is a good DJ, he did well.’ I appreciate them for that and I try to strike the balance.
Apart from music, what else do you do?
I’ve other businesses on the side but still within entertainment. I already have my own record label, Neptune Records. I am self-signed to the label. I just picked a kid, he’s name’s JoeBoy. He has his first single out featuring Mr. Eazi and it’s called Faji. The audio and video is out.
In 2019 that’s going to be my main focus. I’ve always had the plan to sign an artist but I just wanted to make sure I put out my project first because if its successful, the platform is stable and then we can take the game to the next level.
What is the secrets to your success, and what are the five tips to success as a DJ?
The secret to my success is God. The five tips on being a successful DJ include learning the basics, knowing your worth, being professional, making sure you have a broad knowledge of your sound and putting God into whatever you’re trying to do.
If you had the chance to go back in time, what would you do differently?
I would focus on production. I should have done that when I started but I wasn’t patient enough.
What’s been your happiest moment so far?
It was when I first travelled to the United States. I was actually nominated for an award. That was my first time travelling out of the country and it put a huge smile on my face because like I said, when I started, my folks didn’t really understand what I was doing and they kicked against it so hard I told myself I cannot afford to fail. So, that was like a turning point for me.
A word for up-and-coming DJs and artists?
Try as much as possible to carve your own identity and work hard. Nobody knows tomorrow and always be prepared.