DJ Willy – Untold stories
Nucita: I’m sure it is not just a special moment for you, but for all of us. Because I know you personally and I think the story of your life as DJ is so special. I believe that is also why we are here. The whole world should know the real story behind DJ Willy, because if things would have gone differently you would have now been a professional dancer or musician with a DJ hobby.
Dj Willy: Yeah, or a basketball player.
Nucita: Basketball player if things had gone differently, right?
Dj Willy: Exactly. I started as a young boy at age of 10 with soccer, which was my passion and my life. At school or on the streets with two bottles as the goalposts.
Nucita: In Surinam, right?
Dj Willy: In Surinam indeed. And at the age of 12 I came into contact with basketball and I thought this would be my career. Basketball really was my passion.
Nucita: If things had gone differently…
Dj Willy: Then I would have certainly become a professional basketball player, if it had been possible. But I was not as tall as the most basketball players in America, and I played at a specific position, I was the playmaker. And the American playmaker Isiah Thomas, he was really my idol.
Nucita: But you also loved to dance, correct?
Dj Willy: Yes, I really loved to dance. My parents would often go out dancing, and at home they would teach us dance steps which I learned really quick and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to go out to a party. And when I was 15 I was finally allowed to go out by myself to a party, because before I would always go under supervision. But this time I could finally go alone.
Nucita: What kind of party was this, what type of dancing?
Dj Willy: Well it was disco dancing, the time of Saturday Night Fever.
Nucita: You would wear those outfits?
Dj Willy: Yes, and I would compete in the dance competitions which was a lot of fun and very exciting.
Nucita: Do we have video material of this? Would be great to see.
Dj Willy: Yeah, I am actually a really shy guy, but when I heard music and I was on the dance floor then I would be in a completely different world.
Nucita: Then you were the man! (Laughing) So when you were 15 you finally got to go to these parties,
Dj Willy: yes finally I got to go to those parties.
Nucita: Wow, but eventually you also started DJ-ing, how did that happen?
Dj Willy: Yeah, that is actually a funny story. Because through the dancing and a friend of mine, who was in the same class, he was DJ and I would often go with him to the parties so I could dance of course.
Nucita: And who was he?
Dj Willy: His name was Roy, and he was a really good friend and classmate, I thought he was a really good DJ because he played exactly the songs that I would love to dance to.
Nucita: The disco songs you mean?
Dj Willy: Yes, the Disco music. And in Surinam they also play the “Kaseko” music of course, which is more Merengue –ish music which I also could dance very well and loved to do. At a certain time I would go to all these parties with Roy, at this time we were in the last class of high school.
Nucita: How old were you then, around nineteen?
Dj Willy: Yes, I was about 19 years old. When we graduated from high school, Roy went to the Netherlands and I stayed in Surinam. This had a specific reason, because in this year, in 1980, there was a military coup in Surinam.
Nucita: Oh yes, the time of Bouterse of course.
Dj Willy: Yes, Dési Bouterse was in a group of 16 soldiers that committed a coup. The most Surinamese that came from highschool would then go to the Netherlands to study because the parents felt that there was no future for them in Surinam. So Roy left. And I still wanted to learn how to DJ, so I kind of took over from him because I could not leave.
Nucita: Why were you not allowed to leave?
Dj Willy: Yes, special story as well. My father at that time was a politician; he was Deputy Minister for Defense. In the period that the coup was committed he was arrested and was placed under house arrest.
Nucita: That must have been difficult times .
Dj Willy: There were soldiers at our house that would keep guard, my father was not allowed to go anywhere, all our passports were taken so we also could not go anywhere. And that was the time I really started DJ-ing a lot in Surinam. My first party was at a really good friend of mine, she asked me to play at her party when she turned 15. This was a real honor for me, it was very exciting and luckily it went really well. Since that party the bookings started pouring in and I started playing at all the school parties of the high schools.
Nucita: So that was around the dates were we are now?
Dj Willy: Yes, that was around September. Somewhere around the 10th of September in 1980.
Nucita: That was a memorable day.
Dj Willy: Yes.
Nucita: And what kind of music would you play then?
Dj Willy: I played more disco music, it was really the 1980’s. Earth, Wind and Fire; Kool and the gang; that kind of music, the Bee Gees; Saturday Night Fever. Really the end of the 70’s the starting of the 80’s. That was really the music at that time, the wide leg and flared trousers (laughing) yeah, really exciting, really precious times.
Nucita: Wow, but so you were unable to come to the Netherlands because of the house arrest. So your DJ career started in Surinam, you became really famous in Surinam as a DJ. But why did you eventually come to the Netherlands if you were this successful there?
Dj Willy: Yeah, that is what everyone wonders. To be honest I never thought I would move to the Netherlands. I focused more on South America and on the United States of America. It was actually my dream to go to Miami. But then something happened. I had a good “friend” that lived with me. And I would go to Miami approximately 6 times a year to get music, and in 1992 I came back from such a trip and my house was completely empty. All my music gone, all my clothes, everything. My house was completely robbed.
Nucita: So he lived with you in your house, and actually he robbed you of all your belongings?
Dj Willy: Yes.
Nucita: Why do you think he did that?
Dj Willy: That is something I will never find out, because I have never seen him since. So I never got to hear the reason why this all happened.
Nucita: What was your first reaction when this happened?
Dj Willy: Well, I already thought it was very strange that my brother came to pick me up at the airport. Because he never came to pick me up. And he said that our father sent him to pick me because something happened at home and they wanted to protect me for some things, so that is why he came to get me. So I was already thinking: what happened? And I first had to go to my father’s house and he told me everything that happened.
Nucita: So they all knew already.
Dj Willy: Yes, they all knew. It was also on the News in Surinam.
Nucita: Yes, you were of course a famous person in Surinam. He really had guts this person.
Dj Willy: Yes..
Nucita: But then, what did you do?
Dj Willy: At first I was of course very disappointed and I wondered why. Because you start to wonder.
Nucita: I can imagine.
Dj Willy: A good friend does not do this, what did I do, I am the kind of person to then start thinking what did I do to him that he might want to get back at me. But I could not imagine what it was. I did think, well if this happens then I have to leave. This happened around January 1992 and in March I moved to the Netherlands.
Nucita: That fast already.
Dj Willy: Yes, I spoke about it with my mother and she also agreed that it might be best for me to go.
Nucita: Did you do anything to discover where he went, or did you just accept it as it was at that moment. Or what did you do?
Dj Willy: Yes, my brother and I at first we went with the police to the land to see if we found any items or if we could find him anywhere. But he already left, and all the items I also couldn’t find anymore. You had nothing left, your records, your clothes, everything was gone? Yes, luckily I had some records left at my mother’s house because I had so many. So I managed to keep a part. And then I left for the Netherlands, which was the start of a new adventure.