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Big ideas for Small

LISA KING, [email protected]

Big ideas for Small

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GREGORY “ARMAGEDDON” SMALL has been playing music from the time he was 11 years. When he first saw turntables at a friend’s house, then got the opportunity to play, the deal was sealed.

“From the time I see them turntables I just wanted to play music,” he said.

He has now been playing professionally for the past ten years.

What he has achieved, he has achieved on merit, as he recalled the days he struggled to get work: “It was long before I could get on a poster. I used to see all the other top DJs playing here and there and when I saw myself on a poster with them I felt I had accomplished something.

“When I looked at the poster, I felt so good,” he said.

But why does he go by the moniker “Armageddon”? Well, he says the name was one that was given to him.

It came from the movie Armageddon starring Bruce Willis. He and a friend were watching the movie and the friend said it would be a good DJ name. It kept creeping into his thoughts, resonating with him, and he decided to use it.

The word armageddon is also found in the New Testament, which speaks of the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgement or the place where the last battle between good and evil will be fought.

“In the end it will mean everything. I will buss up all of the sound boys or DJs . . . . It will be destruction,” said the 43-year-old, laughing.

The Brittons Hill, St Michael resident said he had learnt a lot about people from being in a wheelchair. “I butt up on different people and some act to your face and when you gone they say whatever they want, but that’s life,” he said.

Armageddon, who went to St Paul’s Primary School, was the first disabled person in Barbados to attend such. From there he went to Garrison Secondary School, now called Graydon Sealy Secondary School. He admits that he is the first DJ who uses a wheelchair.

“People study this first [pointing to legs] before they study me. When people say the name Armageddon the first picture they get is of the wheelchair but there is a lot more to me than that,” he said.

Born with muscular dystrophy, Armageddon said, “It don’t bother me. I know it from small.

“To me I was just like any other normal student. At first they did not want me to go, the people at the Ministry of Education were like children will beat me up but I lived in Brittons Hill from small and all the children at the school knew me. I had friends from first to fifth form,” he said.

He said a friend Troy Dear was the first person that put him on a poster to play for a session and from there he had been getting calls. Though the level of work varies – some months he gets seven or ten jobs, then some months he only gets two or three – Armageddon said he is hired because of his skills.

“I am known for playing everything. I can play all genres of music,” he said.

Speaking of the innate skill required to be a DJ, Armageddon said a major part of it was understanding the crowd.

“The Internet has made it easy for anybody to just wake up any morning and say, ‘I want to be a DJ’. Anybody can download the virtual player, download the music just as easy and you can go and play. Back in the day when you were playing you had to get three needles on the side because a needle used to break just like that. Now you don’t have to worry about nothing so, about music being scratched up and buying over a record,” he said.

He said there is a difference between being a DJ and someone who plays music. “When I play, I am telling a story. I build it up with the music . . . . I play a tune and back it up with another tune and back it up all the way down the line, as even if you switch genres it can still relate. A lot of DJs cannot get that done,” he said.

Taking a look at the Barbadian context, he said the Barbados music industry was mostly calypso.

“The music industry got to get more serious. The reason why Jamaica has the best music is because they produce music year round and it is all types of music, but Barbados people produce music just for Crop Over. The carnivals take away from the music production and the music industry as two weeks after Crop Over it’s back to reggae. It [calypso] cannot stand the test of time,” Armageddon said.

The DJ said he usually plays at private parties and is currently working to get more equipment.

“I cannot see myself being anything other than a DJ. Nope. I put too much years into it to get where I am to just quit. The only thing I want to expand into is producing,” he said while adding that he was learning.

But who is Gregory “Armageddon” Small?

“There are a lot of different me . . . . I have to adjust to all different types of situations.

“I am just cool. I like to do things just like everybody else,” he said.

His real love, other than music, is horse racing and he spends every Saturday at the Garrison Savannah.

He also loves to cook and considers himself “a top chef”.

As for his love life, Armageddon said he is talking to someone at the moment but in the past it was very rough for him to have an intimate relationship. 

“Well, you know females – the majority of them deal with face value. You may talk to somebody, they may like you still but they may not want to take it any further because it is not exactly what they are looking for. They may be looking for someone that is a normal person; walking. So I start at a disadvantage,” he said.

His mantra? “Live every day one day at a time.” (LK)

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