The CBD’s entertainment scene has been good to Sea Point resident Angela Wei-ckl, who started her DJ career 10 years ago, and is now managing Fiction nightclub on Long Street.
“The music industry is all about personal networking, and the opportunities have always been in Cape Town. It has always been interesting enough for me to pursue,” said Angela, who is better known by her DJ name, ANG.
Originally from Johannesburg, she has lived in Cape Town for most of her life.
After school, she initially wanted to be a marine biologist, but missed the course.
“I took a gap year, and my father saw how interested in music I am. He took me to a sound college open day. When I walked into the building, I fell in love.”
Angela studied sound engineering and then at the young age of 21, started managing the old Armchair Theatre in Observatory.
“I was in the arts industry, so I was able to mess around with music and I enjoyed it. I called in some favours to get my first set at The Assembly with Van Coke Kartel, this led to me playing at the venue on average two nights a week for a few years.” She then started playing at Monday Student nights at Mercury in De Villiers Street for two years, and started taking her career more seriously.
“My DJ technique was unorthodox. I didn’t have a genre. I played whatever I liked and it rubbed some people up the wrong way. But it also attracted a lot of interest because my performances were more memorable.”
She said that even though people relate her to the underground electronic music scene, she thinks of her style as a mix of RnB, hip hop with an electronic feel, but with a focus on dance. “Booty Bass” – that’s what she calls it. “It makes you want to shake your booty.”
Angela does not DJ all the time at Fiction, but her position as the events and night manager allows her to provide a platform for other artists.
“Managing the club is a good way to add to the scene I am already in. Also, I can give people the opportunities that I looked for back when I started.
“The only way this industry will grow is if this generation helps the next generation.”
She said the secret to staying relevant in the entertainment industry is to “have your fingers in all the pies”. “You need to infiltrate every element in this industry so that you stay current and relevant. You need to stay in the scene so people know who you are.”
This year has been a busy one for Angela as she has been been booked for a number of events such as the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, OppiKoppi Festival, Grietfest in Johannesburg, and the upcoming Rocking the Daisies.
“This is the first time I’ve been booked for so many festivals. It’s a good reward, because this means I’m making the right career moves. It’s good to know that 10 years of hard work has paid off.”
And although a lifestyle of music, entertainment and festivals may sound appealing to many, Angela said that nightlife is quite a harsh environment. “It is late nights and little sleep. You are around cigarette smoke and alcohol every night. Many successful DJs spend their down time trying to stay healthy and sleep.”
DJing also has its seasons, and a lifespan, especially when it comes to females, said Angela. “Very few females in their late 30s and early 40s are making it unless they have established themselves.”
Being a female in a male-dominant industry, Angela said that women often have to experience a “bruise to their integrity” due to unfair assumptions made by people in the industry.
“I’ve reached a point where I brush it off, and I encourage other women to do it too.
“There is unity among female DJs in South Africa because there are so few of us. We get along well and we realise that we need to support and make an impression when it comes to DJing.” Angela said women in the industry need to be recognised for what they do, and not for their gender.
“Some still introduce me as one of the best female DJs in Cape Town. I often wonder how I rank when it comes to a list of male and female DJs.
“I don’t want to be the best female DJ, I want to be the best DJ.”