His story continued
Going back as far as the 90’s Dj Dodge’s name can be found on legendary UK club flyers (see section) and records (CD’s) of some of your favorite old skool artists. It really started with a few rap demos and an Island Records contract in 91,this turned into recording an album for Island (see credits page) and a European tour with full live band. After that period Dj Dodge became a full time Producer and mixer where over a 7 year period he added his signature soulful sound to over 130 label released Productions. Artists like Jill Scott,Erykah Badu,D’Angelo,Beverly Knight plus more all got a sonic boost from Dj Dodge. In 2007 he moved to Los Angeles where he now lives comfortably with his wife,he has two children.
Fuelled by passion and love Dj Dodge aka Roger Drakes has managed to keep creative throughout the many changes of a 28 years career,he now incorporates the many creative experiences he’s mastered to deliver exceptional quality to a slew of satisfied clients. Dj’in remains an integral part of his creative output, adding music to most projects in one way or another,his vinyl collection is still intact and contains some very sought after soul/funk classics.
Through his Real Estate career in Los Angeles he also does property photography and hi def drone video shoots for many Agents in LA. Roger attributes his Christian faith to living a level headed life and being able to handle any storm that always surely arises. He’s spoken on UK TV, Colleges and Universities on music and spoke in the UK House Of Parliament on youth crime. (see TV Appearances)
“Anyway I can help a situation for good,I just do it” he explains.
This site as much as it’s a Promotional place for Dj Dodge’s current work, it’s also a place for him to show some of the long forgotten moments and songs that made his name so popular on the UK Urban Music scene way back then. He’s hoping that visitors will spend more than a few minutes here due to the amount of content that you’d expect from a 28 year career. Dj Dodge is a youthful 51 years of age and still believes in the power of enthusiasm and excitement over new ventures. Why wouldn’t he having seen the power of ‘one’ eight track demo (old studio term) that grew into so much more. It’s that kind of hope that keeps him jumping out of bed every morning to see what the day will bring.
For his first real project Dj Dodge linked with IG Culture to form Dodge City Productions in 1990, that endeavour resulted in a bidding situation between Island Records and Warner Music UK for their signature. This may seem unbelievable from a one song demo, but back then it was really a quality over quantity time and without any social media to serve as a gauge, it was more down to certain Radio and A&R individuals to determine who gets a shot from who doesn’t. Dodge and IG’s Individual was a popular club and radio Dj named Tim Westwood who was on a large corporate London radio station called Capital Radio. He liked their demo and featured it on his show and interviewed them.
After that the labels came and they chose to sign with Island Record in 1990 on a 6 Album contract.Like many artists before them they were pretty clueless to the money side of the business, so their manager handled all of their numbers and needless to say that situation was not that financially fruitful but as young twenty something guys, life was one big party and they were happy.
Dodge City Productions were bit part players in the West London Acid Jazz/Funk movement which included artists like The Brand New Heavies,The Young Disciples,Jamiroquai,and others so their record deal was also because they were part of a hot movement at the time.
They released an album called ‘Steppin up and out’ and three singles, but although well received nothing hit at radio or on the charts, so the second album was shelved and they were dropped from the label. Dodge described that day as “devastating” as their hopes seemed to be crushed in a time where a major label’s support and backing usually meant a high level of success.
The only happy light at the time was the birth of his first child Nina in July 1991, she even appeared for a second in the video ‘As long as we’re around’ a single featuring a singer that was a forced direction the label had Dodge and IG take to appeal to a wider audience.
A short time after the group got dropped Dj Dodge decided to part ways with IG Culture and focus on doing his own thing, both IG and Dj Dodge went on to carve out a name individually doing different styles of soulfully based music. IG was always super creative and became a pioneer and founding name on the Broken Beat scene and Dj Dodge became a Remixer and Producer for hire to a slew of UK and US artists as seen on the Productions page here.
Method Man ft Mary J ‘I’ll be there for you’ was a Remix that hit at urban Radio, and Dj Dodge with the help of Island Records A&R Darcus Beese was off and running. Over the next 6/7 years Dj Dodge completed over 150 remixes and Productions for many labels and he says “I still love my musical choices today, I wouldn’t change a thing on most of the music i created and completed. In 1998 he recorded some music with Beverley Knight who was at the time making her major label debut on EMI and needed a banger, these sessions birthed a song called ‘Made it Back’ that Dj Dodge flew to New York to complete recording on with Redman.
The single charted in the top 20 and definitely was a career highlight for Dj Dodge.
With his rise in popularity as a Dj who’s musics was on the radio, in came the Dj bookings and tour dates. He played in over 35 countries as far as Indonesia and Oman, Vegas and Iceland. He was also fortunate enough to be good friends with a club promoter who came up simultaneously during the same period and was now about to launch a brand with MTV and Trevor Nelson (the nations biggest RnB Dj) called The Lick.
The MTV Lick brand was a TV show and Party Tour that Dj Dodge played on for a few years and these were by far the biggest events he Dj’d at … The Lick in Sweden was in the thousands attendance wise and it was televised so the hype was electric when a date came around. Whole cities of music loving youth would be out at The Lick party, and Dj Dodge would often shine with his brand of mixing and choices of music. This period along with very credible clubs like ‘Rotation’ and ‘Fresh & Funky’ only enhanced his reputation as a key Dj on the scene.
By 2004 Dj Dodge would spin up to 60 dates annually and the remixes and Productions were still being requested. He was nominated for the UK’s Mobo (Music of Black Origin) Awards 5 times but never took one home,and received a Outstanding Contribution to Black Music Award from the urban music seminar. It was this year that he created his own feature artist group called Venus Tribe with a lead song called ‘Slow Down’. The record was immediately added to the nations Urban playlists and again the major labels came calling.
This time Dj Dodge chose to sign with Sony Music UK and with bated breath he looked forward to a long and successful relationship. This was not to happen though with Sony UK putting minimal effort into promoting the record after failing to get onto the National BBC Radio 1 playlist. Dodge said “It was like they had no strategy to move in another direction to promote the music, to them it was Radio 1 or nothing” This was hugely disappointing as the style of the project was super soulful and funky and a breakthrough at that time would have been refreshing to hear.
This was one of a few moments that prompted Dj Dodge to move and change up his location, so 2007 he moved to Los Angeles California after just one visit. He said “California felt like city life where all the action was,but can also a country Hillside retreat or a Beach in 20 mins”. It even looked like his parents homeland Barbados in places,he was sold,
He stayed in North Hollywood and he’s still there now 11 years later with his wife Natalia and his 1yr old daughter Ella.
He described his US journey as enlightening and strengthening as he had some minor music successes but nothing compared to his UK days. Around 2009 he was shopping for a Dj deal to Produce an album of features and got close with some independent label interest but nothing transpired. That’s when he made the Autotuned filled Album called Sounds Like Me, it was a cool idea at the time but well below the standard he’d previously set for his Productions, there’s even a video to the song ‘In The Club’.
What he now appreciates most from his move is his spiritual growth and the many blessings he’s had over the years, growth that he says may not have happened without a drastic change like immigration.
He still Dj’s for many corporate companies when called upon, and spends most days helping Sellers of property get the best price for their home,this includes video marketing and photography.
Being in Real Estate offers Dj Dodge an opportunity to have a business that can take him into the future in a dignified way and at the same time be financially rewarding, “Drakes Estates just felt good and right on time he said” he’s managed to incorporate most of his creative attributes to marketing and selling homes which blend perfectly. He says “Creators create so expect more from me as it’s what i do”