When I arranged to meet DJ Coal for the interview, the soft-spoken voice at the other end of the line simply described the meeting point as a ‘white building’. The white building turned out to be a bank and DJ Coal turned out to be a bank officer.
I tried without success to hide my surprise and he simply laughed.
DJ Coal is a banker by day and a big shot DJ by night; a very queer combination.
His major influences, when he reeled them out, were as queer as his job hybrid.
They include names like: OAP & hype-god, Do2dtun, Chairman of Zenith bank – Jim Ovia and CEO of Goldman Sachs, David Michael Solomon aka DJ D-Sol.
His awakening into the world of DJing was born years ago when he attended a gig organized in school, alongside an artiste he was managing. 2Baba was billed to perform but before he manned the stage, a strange character sauntered over with a bag and lodged himself at the DJ Booth. Someone whispered that it was Tuface’s DJ.
Young Aderenle Gbadehan was captivated by the character and from that day decided to be a DJ.
He kick started his career by practicing from 10pm to 2am every day after work. That level of commitment has since paid off, with the astronomical growth of his brand and his unique ability to harness hook lines.
DJ Coal’s unique offering is his ability to effectively harvest the emotions of the audience at the height of his performances, by employing pop culture, viral sound snippets.
His music choices at gigs are sometimes a stretch. I have watched videos of him at the height of performances, switch the mood by playing comedy skit audios that riled the audience so much that they screamed uncontrollably or take them to church with a sudden insert of a gospel soundtrack mid-way through a raunchy track.
DJ Coal has gone the whole 9 yard’s, performing gigs great and small. He was the resident DJ for renowned entertainment event ‘Style by Zenith’ 2018 & 2019, Bobby Valentino’s performance in Nigeria to name a few. He has also created on-stage experiences for acts like Do2dtun, Fireboy DML, Joeboy and hordes of other artistes.
I couldn’t resist the urge to ask whether this journey would ever lead him away from the corporate world to do the DJ thing full time.
“Where I was 5 years ago in both the corporate and DJ world is not where I am today. So as long as I can effectively straddle both roles with the support of my family and friends, I am willing to see where the journey takes me.”
On the disparity between brand ambassadorships being churned out majorly to music artistes as opposed to DJs, he conceded that the landscape has changed in recent times, with Pepsi scrambling to recruit class acts like DJ Cuppy, DJ Spinall and DJ Obi.
Budweiser also acquired DJ ECool and DJ Consequence amongst others.
On how his banking background has influenced his music passion, he told a story about how professionalism, gleaned from a corporate mindset has played a huge part in how he engages his clients and gigs.
“I have been at an event with host IK Osakioduwa hours before it kicked off , his professionalism separates him from the rest of the lot.”
He also cleared the air about how he coined the name, DJ Coal.
He used to be called G-Coal, the ‘G’ from the first letter of one of his names, Gbaderan and the ‘Coal’, a testament to his dark-skin. After a while, it evolved to incorporate the mandatory job title and abbreviation, DJ.
His DJ influences in the space are eclectic and varied with names like DJ Exclusive, DJ Spinall, Crowd Controlla and veteran God-Father, DJ Jimmy Jatt.
On whether there are plans to create his own music, DJ Coal smiled.
“At the moment, it’s not in the pipeline but I am presently working on a project that will create a synergy between the corporate world and the world of DJing. It’s still in the planning stage but that’s something music lovers should look out for.”
There is a sense that he knows exactly what he’s doing and that the future he is creating will be like nothing anyone has been able to do.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here