Grime Kids, BBC Radio 1Xtra and Constant Progress: Exclusive Interview with DJ Target

Over an apple juice, DJ Target sits down with us at a cafe in London and talks all things BBC Radio 1xtra and the rise of his book ‘Grime Kids’.

Target started out on pirate radio stations when he was younger and grew up with grime culture. Released on the 14th June 2018, his new book ‘Grime Kids’ has been a great success for all those who want to learn about the genre and where it originated from.

Grime Kids is such a great read! How does it feel having your own book?

It feels great. Like literally as I was on my way here, someone stopped me about the book. It’s only been out a couple of weeks but the feedback has been crazy so far! It was an achievement writing it, all of this feedback is just a bonus!

DJ Target

Image credited to dm_o_p

What did you want people to get out of the book?

I wanted to try filling the gaps. There is nothing that has tied the whole Grime story together. I’ve been on the inside for so long and seen the whole thing from before it even started, I feel there’s not too many people that can really tell the story from an inside perspective. It was more that I wanted the full story to get out. New grime fans or people who don’t know anything about it can just pick up the book and learn about it.

The book is number 1 best selling in the music reference category on Amazon, that’s AMAZING! How do you feel?

It’s crazy! I haven’t expected any of this stuff, I just hoped people would enjoy it and it seems like quite a lot of people enjoy it.

I can see you and Wiley on the cover. Are you still quite close? What did he think of Grime Kids?

Yeah yeah we are! He messaged me about the book and he loves it. A lot of our stories about when we were growing up are in there.

Would you ever think about making it into a movie/short film?

Do you know what, I see it being like a TV series. It is really super early days but we are trying to move towards that, without saying too much. From the moment I finished writing it, I thought this could be turned into a TV series! Hopefully, we might one day!

So let’s talk about drill music potentially being banned, what are your thoughts?

How would you ban music? It’s a tough subject to be honest because we had a similar thing with grime as we were growing up 10-15 years ago. People were blaming grime for a lot of the stuff that was going on there – grime events were getting shut down. There is a lot of content within the music that is questionable, but at the same time, these kids are doing what the younger generation of grime artists were doing – they are reflecting what is their real life. The government and everybody else should really be looking at tackling the other issues that are leading to this. We should be looking at their social situation, the lack of opportunities and just guiding them, rather than using the music as an escape. I doubt without the music there would be no violence.

A lot of these artists are trying to change their lives. I don’t believe in banning a genre of music, that’s not the solution.

What was the last song you listened to in the car?

I was listening to Beyonce and Jayz’s new album haha! The tune that was playing when I parked was 713.

Yourself and Sarah Beaumount are now jointly leading the music at BBC Radio1xtra, congrats! What does this role intake?

It’s all just like, one thing after another! I haven’t had a chance to take it all in. They announced it last week so my phone has not stopped haha! My actual role will be overseeing the playlist as part of the music team, guiding that team and guiding where we take Radio 1xtra musically. I will be involved with live events and helping to curate live events, so I’m excited! This is something I do in my day-to-day life outside of radio. Being able to go into 1xtra and really getting my hands on is great!

I feel blessed and lucky to be working at 1xtra, it was a lot of hard work to get to where I am but at the same time, being able to broadcast to the nation on one of the biggest platforms we have is a blessing for me. Being able to break artists, play new music, push the boundaries and just being part of the culture moving forward is something I love man.

What advice can you give to any upcoming DJs?

Being a DJ now is a whole different ball game. There are so many different platforms and ways to create yourself now. I just say, be in front of peoples faces, eyes and ears. You have the visual aspect now. It’s not just people recording your set-up on pirate radio to get promotions. Just make sure you have some originality, have good ears – being able to listen to music and know that something is a banger or something is a tune. Rather than only going of what everybody else is listening to. You have to take into consideration because you’re a DJ, but having your own set of ears that you believe in and trust makes a big difference.

I get sent tunes that nobody will know, I have to decide is everyone going to like that when I play it on the radio. Do I think it’s a tune.

What is the future for DJ Target?

It’s hard to say because if you were to ask me this 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have said writing a book or being the music leader at 1xtra, so I just learnt that with every challenge that comes – just complete that and move onto the next one. I always try to progress each year.

Your end goal always moves – my end goal when I was 16 was to play at a big jungle rave. I got past that a long time ago and when you complete that your next goal comes up.

As long as I can keep progressing, I’m happy.

Buy Grime Kids here or in-store at WHSmith and Waterstones.

Words by Harpreet Dawett