DJ by the night, engineer by the day: a story of an Oil and Gas expert who draws crowds at bars

Have you thought about the irony that is in people’s perception of DJs? Observe the cringe on some faces when one introduces themselves as one. 

Yet the same people that we may think so lowly about will make or break your event. Imagine a party with no DJ or with a bad one at that. 

Today’s DJs have carried it a notch higher, many have become entertainers in their own right. The mention of the presence of some popular DJs in Kampala, just as in the world over, will sure draw as big a crowd as any popular artiste coming to perform. 

Such has become the trade for DJ Simples, one of Kampala’s most sought after Disc Jockeys. 

Born Brian Lugwire in 1990, DJ Simples’ passion for spinning discs was shaped during his formative years as a student at Vienna College. 

“I was an entertainment prefect and during school dances I picked interest in what the DJs then were doing and how they were doing it,” Lugwire narrates,” 

He adds that it was around this time that DJ Rota, then one of Kampala’s top DJs once played music off a computer. “I immediately got curious, and during the holiday, a friend of mine acquired the software on his PC at home. My curiosity then drove me to spend time with him figuring out how it works,” says the down to earth celebrated entertainer. 

It was during his A-level at Vienna College that a one DJ Klein introduced Lugwire to spinning discs on a laptop, allowing the curious student to play music during school dances.

Brian exhibited an understanding of choice of music for his fellow students and this endeared him to DJ Klein who from then on preferred him to play whenever Klein’s JK Sounds was contracted at Vienna. 

In 2007, Lugwire moved to the United Kingdom to pursue his undergraduate BSc in Business Information Technology at the University of Greenwich. 

In the UK, Lugwire got to learn new software used in the trade, the now popular Virtual DJ software. In South London, he played at a Ugandan bar called Wandegeya alongside a one DJ Isaac. It was through this and managing a bar that Brian was able to earn some pocket money that got him through university. 

It was while he played in London that a friend called Edmund noticed how effortlessly Lugwire entertained crowds. He them started referring to him as Simples because he made it look so simple. 

Upon completion of his degree course in July 2010, Lugwire returned to Uganda where he spent six months and later returned to the UK where he this time round got himself a job as an IT technician, working for two years until his visa expired. 

Lugwire’s father was not comfortable with him returning to Uganda until after he had done his master’s degree. Upon his father’s insistence, Lugwire applied to study for a Master’s in Business Administration, specializing in Oil and Gas management at the University of Dundee in Scotland. 

In September 2012, he moved to Scotland to begin his new course. “I packed all my belongings in my small car and drove for 8 hours to Dundee,” he says. 

At Dundee his passion for entertaining students was quickly discovered by a group of young fellow international students. He was approached by the students’ union and asked to play music for his fellow African audience at the entertainment dance themed Flavour Night which happened one Friday of every month. 

Simples says at that time there was hardly any hip hop and RnB music played in the UK and instead the Electronic Dance Music, popularly referred to as EDM, was the more popular form. This kind, according to Simples was not popular among his fellow students at Dundee, who were mainly South American, Africa and Asian students. 

In November 2012, Simples started the Carnival Night at Club Redd in Dundee. Here he played African and Latino music referred to as Soccer. The Carnival Night became so popular, drawing crowds from across the area. 

The club owners were impressed and allowed Simples to play every Wednesday when he played for his hip hop music lovers. 

Simples would take to social media to popularize his nights at the clubs where he played. However, because of the demanding course, he could not push many nights as he had to be in class the following morning. 

In December 2013, Simples returned to Uganda upon completing his master’s degree. He met Raymond Kananura who interested him in playing at Panamera Bar. “I was however very reluctant to jump into playing music in Kampala,” Simples says, adding that he failed to show up for the first night he was invited. Upon persistence of Kananura, Simples warmed to the idea and got Friday nights at Panamera. 

There has clearly been no turning back for Simples who has since played at popular nights including the popular Snap Off at Club Guvnor, and at Club Play. At Guvnor he was asked to own a theme night once a month, which he was encouraged to promote on his own. 

It was then that the Snap Off night became popular, turning Simples into a coveted entertainer in 2016. Today, the business man has invested in music systems that play at functions as well as started up the Simples Entertainment chain, while also doing a day time job as the IT manager at Uganda Railways. 

Speaking to the younger, up and coming entertainers Simples advises that they establish themselves with big brands, prove themselves and the sky will be the limit. 

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