MusicDish e-Journal - December 11, 2019
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By Lady Zimma & Miss Mention, Dainty Crew
(more articles from this author)
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Renaissance Disco is the name of a sound system most people readily associate with innovative track remixes, lively sets at dancehall events and their infamous selector, Delano Thomas.

Delano was raised in Vinyard Town in Jamaica and it was whilst he was still in school that the sound bug bit him. On commencing prep school, Delano realized he was "born into music" making him pursue this interest as time progressed. At high school he fondly remembers "I had the biggest class party" and he established himself as a talented DJ to his school mates. It was while still in school, he joined a sound called X Plus X and he recalls "I usually play wid other sounds called Skullbraces when I was in high school and Disco Melody". His first ownership of a sound was straight after high school when he took over X Plus X, but he left that to go onto Le Jeaux. His emerging skills did not go to waste when he hooked up with Le Jeaux as he played out at many events during his time with them until he decided to start up his own sound, Renaissance Disco.

The young DJ had his own vision for a sound system which would, unbeknown to him, become renown for it's talented selectors, mic men, production and remixing skills. His inspiration to start this sound came from listening to people like Buddy Goodison and sound systems such as Judge, Stur Gav and the immortal Stone Love. "It's foundation" he claims that set him on his path.

When Delano decided to start the sound, he was unsure what it should be called and so decided to utilize his links with high schools to hold a competition to find a name. He told us that it "started when a group of us wanted a name for a sound. We asked everybody who knew to come up with a name and they vote 'pon it".

Although a lot of people leave the 'disco' tag off the sound's name, Delano begs to clarify that he sees Renaissance as "a juggling sound. Definitely a remix sound. Definitely a party sound", hence the term 'disco'. The sound do not go in for clash preferring to entertain the crowd using their juggling skills and vocal interaction.

Another differentiating factor of Renaissance is that they play a solid variety of soul, hip-hop, R&B and rap in addition to dancehall and cultural tunes. They do not limit themselves to one musical genre which probably explains their extensive fan base which spans a variety of countries, cultures and people. There are currently eight members of Renaissance Disco, not including maintenance men and technicians. Their ages range with the youngest, DJ Karim and Rice 'n' Peas, being only seventeen and eighteen years of age.

The sound have played in many different countries including England, Japan, France, the entire USA and the Caribbean, but there are still some places where Delano would like them to go including "Germany, Africa and the rest of Europe".

Delano is humble about his own and the sound's accomplishments. He said "I never expect to reach that far. I really appreciate, but I need to just further into the music and the sound". On being asked about his fans, he is disbelieving that he actually has any and giving a shy laugh asks "Fans? Really?".

However, Delano has acquired a solid female following either with or without his knowledge as they find this man who sports an eye patch over his left eye to have a personality that is friendly, fun loving and flirtatious. It's obvious through his charismatic charm why he's such a big hit with the ladies.

The remixing prowess of Delano has been widely recognized and he has worked with quite a few major names in the music industry showing his diversity by working with top dancehall names, like Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, to mainstream artists like Simply Red and the Brand New Heavies. This talent for mixing an original song into a best seller was noticed by Delicious Vinyl Records, who requisitioned him to do production work for them including remixes for their label. Some of Delano's remixes have found their way onto the billboard charts like the hugely successful 'Dancehall Queen' track by Beenie Man and Chevelle Franklin from the hit movies of the same name.

Delano encourages other DJs with the words "you have to love it to stay in it. Best ting not to start off on a hype. Best ting to grow from like a baby. Creep and then walk". He has understood the hardships of getting established in the sound business and he is not without his own views on the industry. He believes "a lot of love songs aren't really playing in the dancehalls. It's like dancehall is more a posing ting". and the changes he'd like to see include bringing back love songs and he says "we are tryin' to change it and a lot of producers working wid us like is trying to change it also".

As for what the future holds for Renaissance and Delano, he hopes "we'll stick together and go more coz this is our tenth year. More production. Still staying strong. I wanna see at least fifteen more years" and we sincerely hope he will.

Check out the Renaissance website for details of contacting the sound's members and bookings information.

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