The hockey nights for the South Asians are becoming grand every season. It was the introduction of commentary in Punjabi that won millions of hearts across North America. Now, it is Punjabi and Bollywood music before hockey games, that’s entertaining and cheering the spirits of hockey fans. For three years in a row the hockey night around Diwali has been an occasion to celebrate with dance, music and live performances and flash mob. And it’s getting bigger and brighter every year. This year the first intermission gave audience live musical performance by award-winning Bhangra superstar, Jazzy B. And in 2nd intermission DJ BIG musical set (DJ Heer & DJ BIG headlined The SportsBar LIVE! After Party at Rogers Arena). Meet DJ Jovan Heer, a big Canucks fan, who initiated the idea of Diwali Night and made his dream come true to cheer for his favourite team through his music. DJ Heer was born in Kamloops BC and moved to Edmonton when he was about 12 years old. He moved to Surrey last year to pursue a full-time career as well as making time to DJ more with such a large South Asian community in Surrey.
What inspired you to become a Dj?
I’ve always loved music, especially Bhangra music ever since I was a child. I grew up idolizing the likes of Jazzy B, Malkit Singh, Gurdas Maan and so many more. I’d always make up beats in my head to different lyrics and DJing gave me the opportunity to make that happen and put together different beats and explore different genres of music and mash them all up together.
While growing up, who were your ideals or influencers?
My main influencers would have to be Jazzy B and Malkit Singh on the music side of things. They are legends in the industry and they are still going strong to this day with hit track after hit track, there aren’t many artists out there like them today. Secondly I would have to say my parents, I never would have been this music into music without them playing music for me growing up and introducing me to Punjabi music as my love and passion for music grows by the day.
How did you come up with the idea of Canucks Diwali night game?
This is something that came up about 3 years ago. I reached out to the Canucks event coordinator about 3 years ago on Twitter mentioning to him that we should do something with the South Asian community at a Canucks game as our community is so large, he mentioned that he agreed and that maybe it was something that could work.
A few months later I received an email from him saying that they had plans to do a South Asian event for a game and it would be a Diwali event and he asked if I was free and wanted to DJ the event. I was super excited, I couldn’t believe it and I quickly told him I would love to do it and it would be a dream come true to be able to DJ for my favourite sports team. Now onto the 3rd year of the event, it has grown year after year and has drawn huge sold out crowds as well as the Crown Prince of Bhangra Jazzy B performing last year and this year.
Tell us something about the night. How did it go and what was different this time?
This year was a huge success again as the event was sold out, the event was organized by the Canucks as well as E3 Entertainment, music was provided by us at Q-Town Productions and all the many sponsors that were apart of the event.
How do you define the importance of a DJ? Since people still think that Djing is just playing and remixing music? What separates a great DJ from the crowd?
The most important part of being a DJ is being able to read a crowd and understanding what music they’d want to hear, what you think would hype them up. From the outside being a DJ seems like a fairly easy job, but it’s definitely not easy learning how to read a crowd and what music will work with which crowd but that takes much experience to do.
With technology, how has it changed?
Technology has changed vastly, DJs have gone from using tapes, to cds to now just having all the music in front of us on our laptops making it much more convenient for us and making our job easier. We also have a huge advantage of social media and a huge variety of ways we can share our music with the world with the likes of Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube and so many more platforms.
Your advice to those who want to become a DJ?
My advice to anyone who would like to become a DJ would be to definitely work on your music and perfect your craft. Practice makes perfect and the things you can do with music are endless. Music is all about online marketing and your brand so you want to make sure you are out there getting yourself noticed on all social media platforms as well as Soundcloud, Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube and many other streaming services.
— As told to Surbhi Gogia