“Your work should always speak for you in rooms you are not in and that was it for me.”: A Conversation With TMSKDJ
THE MASKED DJ (TMSKD DJ) born Michelle Nana Adwoa Agyakomah Yeboah is an electronic/African dance music DJ based in Accra, Ghana. TMSKDJ pronounced as THE MASKED DJ is one of the few disc jockeys in Ghana breaking the status quo of disc jockeying with her versatile skill set of introducing and fusing alternative sounds in her live performances.
Following her recent celebration of an entire decade of DJing, Brian Benjamin caught up with her to talk about 10 years in the game and other topics her fans will be interested in.
iMullar – For people who may not know who you are, how do you describe yourself?
TMSKD DJ: A very shy and introverted person even though people think otherwise but I guess it’s because of the nature of my job.
iMullar ⁃ The Ghana creative space is a very interesting one. How would you describe your experience in 5 words?
iMullar ⁃ Let’s take it back a bit, how did you get into DJing and what has it been like for you?
TMSKD DJ: I only got into DJing when a friend decided to link me to a DJ who taught me after seeing me play around virtual DJ. Even then I didn’t think of it as a career but the love of music has always been there.
iMullar ⁃ To the elephant in the room, why the mask? Has that always been the plan?
TMSKD DJ: It wasn’t the plan, it was DJ Mitchy for the first 3 years, but I wanted to create my world in Accra because my love for electronic and African dance music was huge. I wanted an alter ego and I also took inspiration from some amazing incognito DJs and artists around the world.
iMullar ⁃ You’ve been in the game for a decade if not more. How different has the space been between now and then? Especially for female DJs?
TMSKD DJ: This is a question I have answered a lot lately and I will say again, the growth has been massive. The number of female DJs you see in Accra now compared to 10 years ago is amazing.
iMullar ⁃ You’ve been described as a pillar for the Ghanaian alternative community. Can you give us a brief history of the community as you’ve seen it over the years?
TMSKD DJ: The community has grown and evolved so much not even just in the area of DJs but creatives in general. I see a lot of phenomenal work across all disciplines and I am always elated that I helped build this ecosystem with so many other people. We looked like we didn’t belong in the beginning but we stayed until it was too hard to ignore.
iMullar ⁃What would you describe as the turning point for the alternative community especially for DJs?
TMSKD DJ: 2019 was the year that served as the turning point for the community and the lockdown period allowed people to see how much we also brought to the table.
iMullar ⁃ Fast forward to 2023, through the efforts of people like yourself, the alternative community has seen growth. What would you say is your happiest moment as part of the community?
TMSKD DJ: One of my happiest moments was the creation of Surf Ghana and Freedom Skate Park. It served as a community center for all sorts of creatives. I know it’s going to come back stronger from everything.
iMullar ⁃ You met the Vice President of the USA and she said “I know you”. At that moment, how did you feel? And what did that recognition mean not just for you but the community you represent?
TMSKD DJ: Your work should always speak for you in rooms you are not in and that was it for me. It was surreal because she is one of the most powerful people in the world. So taking time out of their schedule to read about you and even acknowledging it in your presence was overwhelming but also super grateful for the opportunity.
iMullar ⁃ For someone who wants to experience the alternative community in Ghana, which places would you recommend for them as places to meet?
TMSKD DJ: These places/events are a must visit then;
Freedom skate park and surf Ghana
Ria Boss Open Mic Events at Jamestown
iMullar ⁃ How does the future look like for TMSKDJ and the community?
TMSKD DJ: The future looks promising, and innovative and generally points to creative excellence.
iMullar ⁃ Any final words for your fans and admirers?
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