Janet Jackson and her team are busy prepping for the last stops on her 2017 State of the World tour.
Already 53 shows completed, each show invites fans to come and party with Ms. Jackson while celebrating her most memorable music. Janet has an ageless career that spans over 35 years and still can draw in crowds around the world.
But Janet after being off the scene for a minute, hitting that 50 year milestone and entering into the MILF club, she needed a little edge and reached out to a popping, Philly tour dj for a little trap make-over.
DJ Aktive supplies the stimulating sounds for the Janet, ensuring that each show is a unique experience. As the opening act, he is a delightful appetizer to the main course of Janet Jackson. Grateful for the creative freedom, he is happy to set the tone for his favorite client.
For 45 minutes, he must grab the attention of all in attendance, both young and old. It seems to work. Ms. Jackson seems to really trust him to keep the music current while still walking the audience through her storied musical catalogue. Fans have appreciated his latest mix of Janet’s “Nasty” and Cardi B‘s “Bodak Yellow.”
Still adding to his own storied 18 year career, DJ Aktive has blazed his own path by methodically mixing classic tunes of the 1980s-90s with the modern sounds of today’s music. His tour clients include the industries biggest names: Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Common, Nas, Musiq Soulchild, Marsha Ambrosius, and more.
Diddy selected him to DJ for the 2017 Bad Boy Reunion tour after he heard a curated mix of Bad Boy’s classics. Aktive personally delivered the mix to his home.
We were able to speak exclusively with DJ Aktive and he provided us insight into what has made him a standout.
The Source: How has the skill of djaying changed in comparison to the late 1970s, 80s-90s?
DJ Aktive: Back then, you had to be a “crate digger.” You had to really find the music. You might have to go to a specific record store, just to get particular records. Now, there is more file sharing (which is still cool). However, there is less musical study.
The Source: How does touring in the U.S. compare to touring internationally?
DJ Aktive: The states are incredible but international fans are more intense, more in tune with Hip-Hop. They appreciate the music more.
Aktive alluded to international fans clinging to the smaller intricacies of the music. They place preference in sound over popularity. He says artist such as Nelly or Ja Rule can do shows overseas and make serious profits because fans still appreciate their particular sound.
“I know artist from Brooklyn who aren’t known at home but they achieve fame internationally,” he said. “When they return home, they’re comfortable.”
As an entertainer, DJ Aktive thrives around the world. Interestingly, his favorite career tour stops include Europe and Japan. He recalled fans reaction in Singapore while on Kanye West‘s 808 Heartbreak tour in 2009-2010.
“Their energy is almost indescribable.” Furthermore, he says each visit to Japan carries a similar atmosphere.
With Janet Jackson’s upcoming final shows in Columbia, SC (12/15/17) and Atlanta, GA (12/16/17), We were curious to know exactly how he opens a show.
The Source : How do you get fans ready for Janet?
DJ Aktive: I like to start with more updated Hip Hop or sounds from the city of the tour stop. Like [Thursday], We were in VA, so I opened with some Missy [Elliot] and Timbaland. I incorporated Janet’s “Nasty” over The Clipse‘s “Grindin, which the crowd liked. I like to end with a mix of Janet classics which were not included the show.
The Source: Do you have a top five of Janet’s shows thus far?
DJ Aktive: I actually do: [in no particular order] Brooklyn, NY @ The Barclays Center (11/15/17), Philadelphia,PA @ the Wells Fargo Center (11/13/17), Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena (11/18/17), Phoenix, AZ @ the Talking Stick Arena and Los Angeles, CA @ the Hollywood Bowl.
Aktive also incorporates the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson into his sets. He says fans and Janet like for these classics to remain in their natural state. In contrast, Janet is particularly fond of a DJ Aktive remix which combines Michael’s “Scream” with Too Short‘s “Blow the whistle.”
The Source: Where do you see music going in the future?
DJ Aktive: Overall, I see music returning to the essence of the 80s-90s.
The Source : How does today’s music differ from the classic sounds?
DJ Aktive: [Particularly in Hip Hop] the beats of most trap music features a count of 130 beats per minute. Music of the previous era featured a faster paced beat count range of 90-95 beats per minute. The music is returning to the faster paced count, forcing the MC to actually rap again.
When we asked him what’s next following the completion of Janet’s tour. Aktive let us know that he will be attending the 2018 Global Spin Awards in Los Angeles. He is currently nominated for tour DJ of the year. Other nominees include DJ Esco (Future), Sinatra (Ty Dolla $ign) and DJ Booth (Fabolous & Nicki Minaj).
DJ Aktive also shared some wisdom for aspiring DJ’s:
“Know how to play on vinyls. Know your music, he said.” Study CDs and learn how to count beats so you can do these mixes.”
Hoping to step into 2018 with his first Global Spin Award, he wants fans to keep there eyes pealed for his The Tour EP, dropping in February.
Then, he’ll be hitting the road with a popular pop-star. He couldn’t say who, but he did tell us this artist has worked with Jay-Z.
We encourage our readers to keep your eyes on DJ Aktive. He is representing the culture well and continues to find ways to bridge the generation gap in today’s music.