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Ottawa Creatives: Alex DJ Magnificent Edwards

By Amanda Armstrong on April 14, 2015

Alex Edwards has been fixated with records and old stereo equipment since he was a kid. He would scope out yard sales and places like the Salvation Army buying up records by the box full. Growing up in a Caribbean household, Alex’s love of music from the 1950s through 1970s was born. His uncles had extensive record collections and would make mixtapes, which Alex would listen to over and over again. Eventually, Alex would make his own mixtapes of his favourite songs from his record collection. Alex’s love of records and old stereo equipment took precedence over everything, especially his homework, so much so that his parents would make him lock them up during the school week and take them out only for the weekend. Needless to say, Alex became very skilled at getting home early to sneak in some time with his records before his parents got home.

1992 was a big year; Alex had just turned 15 and spent hours listening to DJs like Trevor Walker and Jim Reilly play hip hop, acid jazz, and r & b on college radio. It was the year Alex decided he too would like to be a DJ. Having zero money to buy turntables, or a mixer, Alex knew he would have to make due with whatever he could string together and got creative. Alex got himself a volunteer job at a second hand store during the summer and was paid for his work in donated records and stereo equipment. It wasn’t long before someone dropped off a turntable with pitch control and Alex snatched it up. Later that summer, another turntable arrived and Alex was one step closer to creating his first DJ setup – if only he had a mixer.

As fate would have it, a mixer would turn up in the most unlikely of places. On their way to London to drop his sister off at college, Alex and his family stopped at a garage sale and there it was, Radio Shack’s ‘Disco Mixer’. When the guy told Alex he could have it for 10$, Alex threw the money at him and began counting down the hours until they were back in Ottawa and he could attach it to his turntables and get started. Alex ruined a lot of records on those turntables, which weren’t meant for DJing at all, but he had to get started somewhere.

Three years later, after the destruction of many records, Alex DJed at a club for the first time and, from there, his career as a DJ has grown, DJing consistently for over a decade. For the past five years, Alex has thrown one of Ottawa’s greatest monthly dance parties, Double Barrel. Held on the top floor of the Mercury Lounge on the last Friday of every month, Double Barrel brings the best vintage funk, soul, and reggae – all played on 45s. Alex also DJs on Tuesday nights at Overkill Bar, every other Thursday at the Brig (as well as a handful of Fridays and Saturdays), and throws another monthly dance party, Bangarang, at Raw Sugar, playing Jamaican oldies alongside DJ Longshot.

For Alex, the priority has always been, and will continue to be, to pick the best music of a particular genre he enjoys and play it out. At 15, he never thought that he would still be DJing into his late 30s, but he is still having so much fun and doesn’t see a need to stop. Which is a good thing for us, because DJ Magnificent sure knows how to throw one helluva dance party.

You can find Alex DJ Magnificent Edwards on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.