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
as Judge, Stur Gav and the immortal Stone Love. "It's
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,
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
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
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
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.