Based: Johannesburg 

Xoliswa Denise Moyo aka Deniece Marz started DJing actively 3 years ago and has been making a name for herself ever since. Her sets feature her favourite tracks from hip hop to house, and other genres, thanks to a childhood filled with a variety of musical influences. Having played the likes of Kitcheners; AND Club; and Great Dane; as well as Afropunk; Red Bull Music Festival and now Oppikoppi, the passionate DJ and her sound are gaining an increasing following. We caught up with her ahead of her set at Oppikoppi to find out where her sound has its roots and why she is so passionate about sharing music.

You grew up surrounded by music, who were your main musical influences growing up?
My dad was a jazz bassist so we always had a bunch of music around us. Not just jazz, lots of different genres. My brother has an eclectic music taste, he listens to the weirder stuff. And my uncle, he influenced me the most, he gave me my hip hop side, my love for hip hop. He had a big influence without even knowing, because I used to go and steal his music when I wasn’t supposed to.
So what did you gravitate towards when you discovered music for yourself?
I used to go into my uncle’s room and listen to music I wasn’t supposed to. This was in Grade 2. I’d listen to all his hip hop stuff like Nas, I specifically remember “The World Is Yours”, Masta Ace “Hold You” and “Beautiful”. So hip hop first, then house and everything else.
What drew you to DJing?
My love for the music. I’ve always been a nerd for music and been in love with music. So it just happened organically.
What is it about sharing music that you enjoy?
I have no idea why I enjoy it so much, but I do. I think the music isn’t just for me, I think the purpose of DJ is to share music and let everyone know what’s going on so I guess that’s where it comes from.
You’ve played festivals like Afropunk and now Oppikoppi. How do you compare festival sets to the club?
I like to tell myself they’re the same so I don’t psyche myself out and mess things up for no reason. Of course a festival has more pressure because it’s specifically focused on what’s going on whereas the club is just a casual situation and it’s more chilled, you’re not as under pressure. It’s easy to make mistakes and what not. But they’re both great to play. Like I said, I like to keep them the same. I don’t want to hype myself up or scare myself for no reason.
How do you approach your sets, do you want to educate, take them on a journey or a combination of these things?
I think it’s a combination of taking them on a journey, but the reason why I DJ is because of how I feel when I’m there. It sounds selfish, but as long as I’m having fun, the people feed off of me having fun and they have fun. If I give my energy out then people bounce back. And let’s not be stupid and act like the crowd doesn’t matter! It’s a fifty-fifty situation I guess. Balance.