Seated in this week’s hot seat is Kess Lusia, aka DJ Stov3. The Out N About sat down with the friendly face, up-and-coming DJ, devoted new dad, and hardworking assistant account to talk about his DJ origin story, his “day-job, night-job, daddy-duties” balance, and his exciting plans.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
First, I would like to thank you for inviting me into this hot seat. I’m a fan of the Out N About, but you already knew that. A bit about myself… My birth-name is Kess Lusia. I’m an assistant accountant by day and a DJ by night. And I’m a new father to a beautiful baby girl.
I was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, but my family moved to St. Maarten when I was two years old, so I grew up here and went to playschool, primary school and high school here. By the time I turned 19, I moved back to the Netherlands to study. I got my Bachelor’s in international business administration in Enschede. After that, I moved to Rotterdam for a Master’s degree in organizational change.
How did you get into deejaying?
I did not really find deejaying; deejaying found me. While studying, I was visiting a good friend of mine in Apeldoorn and her boyfriend was DJ Reggie V from St. Maarten. We were hanging out in their living room when he started to practice. I immediately wanted to understand how he was creating a vibe out of a collection of music. I had never deejayed before, but I went home and ordered the most basic DJ equipment on the market. I started practicing on my own and went to go see Reggie at his weekend gigs in Apeldoorn, where he was nice enough to have me shadow him in the DJ booth to show me the ropes.
As I got better, I started playing at house parties in Enschede; my very first gig was a German house party. And for people who don’t know, Germans really love hip hop. It was the first time I played openly, outside my bedroom. And as the interest grew, I linked up with another friend from here, DJ Atom, who was also studying in Enschede at the time. We decided to organise our own house parties on the university campus. We called it “Reverb” and it was a way to introduce Caribbean music to the people of Enschede, who were far more acquainted with electronic music. Then I decided to move back home. I remember the exact date I moved back to St. Maarten – July 1, 2019 – it’s an easy date to remember.
Naturally, I wanted to continue my DJ career here, but I also started working for an accountancy bureau as accountants were very much in demand at the time. As a DJ, I started to get some gigs here and there. For example, I filled in for DJ Meekz, who was a resident DJ at We Lounge and who let me take over whenever he could not make it. I’ll always be grateful to him for letting me fill in for him when possible, and most importantly, to have someone who helped me build that confidence. Around the same time, ILTT organised a DJ competition for Stoli vodka. I placed third and was able to play for the Cut Creator DJ Outkast at Laser 101, live on the radio – it was a really good experience.
Then I met my best friend Fiel Efenio. He was fond of my deejaying style and so we started planning our own parties for our combined network of friends under the promoter alias “Lekkerding” at Cocky Turtle, Dutch Blonde Beach Bar, Movida, Oba Oba Bar and Astra.
I’ve also played for Heineken Regatta twice now: I played for Heineken 0.0’s silent disco in 2020, where multiple styles needed to be represented on each headphone channel. My most recent DJ achievement is becoming a resident DJ at Soggy Dollar Bar. After playing at a birthday party there and catching the attention of DJ Bossman and Kylie, the manager of Soggy Dollar Bar, they decided they wanted to have ladies’ night every Wednesday and asked me to play.
How do you juggle your day job, new father duties and DJ career?
That is a very good question; I’m still very much in the process of figuring that out. It requires excellent time management. For example, when it’s deejaying time, I attempt to turn off all other distraction and focus solely on practice. The key is to dedicate your full energy to what you are doing at the moment. It also takes a lot of sleep sacrifices and a lot of communication with my wonderful girlfriend Tessa. Like I said, it is still a work in progress, but I feel like I am getting the hang of it.
How would you describe your music?
Also a good question – and one I thought about before coming to this interview. What’s crazy is that I was listening to a podcast about Diplo’s success yesterday. He is part of the Major Lazer DJ group and he described his music as “weird”. His whole competitive advantage is being different – he grabs elements from all types of cultures and ethnicities. That is what I try to do too.
In my opinion, it is a requirement to be able to play many music styles, especially on St. Maarten. We are on a multicultural island, so you need to be able to play something for everybody. I’m still figuring out what my style is, but all I know is that I have a specific approach: (1) I need to know and have all types of music in my collection and (2) I try to mix it in a way that is creative, seamless and grabs people’s attention.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
As you know, I also have a show called “Sitting down with Stov3”, which is filmed and edited by my man Star-Living. We already have two seasons, and the third season is underway. The point of the show is to get local musicians, artists, DJs, bands – anyone involved in music – to get their personal story on their journey and the challenges along the way. We really try to get to know these people under the surface.
For example, did you know DJ EM used to be a security guard? Did you know Gee Money met the Notorious Big in the 90s? Did you ever think that DJ Maestro's first gig was at Casablanca? Or who knew King Vers used to sell coconuts before becoming King Vers, the soca god? All of these facts and more are discussed on the show. I’m also looking forward to planning another Lekker Ding party soon, although Fiel does not know it yet. And, of course, I’m excited for carnival and to further grow Wednesday nights at Soggy.
What would you advise your younger self or anyone thinking of getting into the DJ scene?
Build that confidence, practice very hard before performing and don’t ever sell yourself short (because even if you are just beginning, you need to recognize your value and know that you can ask serious money for your talent); build a network of people who come to your gigs – in other words, find yourself a Fiel.
Wanna know more about DJ Stov3? Check out his Instagram @djstov3, Facebook DJ STOV3 and look up “Sitting down with Stov3” on YouTube; or come out to Soggy Dollar Bar on Wednesdays to see him in action! We’ll see ya there!