Five Questions With DJ Bloodline Franco
If you attended fêtes this carnival season, then it is very likely that you have experienced the dynamic juggling of one of Jamaica’s best soca DJs – DJ Bloodline Franco. Bringing all the vibes and dropping all the baddest tunes that make it entirely too difficult to not wine, duck, or get something and wave, Bloodline Franco has been playing a number of events leading up to the Carnival in Jamaica road march on April 16. Born Francis Asiedu, he has worked some of the world’s largest carnival experiences from Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and Barbados Crop Over to North American carnival celebrations like Miami Carnival. This week, the Soca ambassador sits with Five Questions to illuminate the soca and carnival landscape this season and share bits of his own journey to being one of the most sought-after soca disc jockeys islandwide.
1. How do you keep abreast of new soca music every year and how has the audience’s reception of soca music changed over the years? Would you say the genre has increased in popularity here?
I lived in Trinidad and I grew up in a household where my parents were playing calypso and soca. I don’t keep up simply because I never lose track. You know how people would say ‘Yow, Popcaan drop that new track or such man drop a new dancehall track’, I just know that [at] some point in the year it’s time for the new Trini soca and then the new Bajan soca and so on so I am always plugged in. For me catching up is not hard. It would probably be hard if I viewed it as a job but it is something I love doing, so it is not even that big of a deal for me.
People are definitely more receptive to soca now. We moved from one carnival band to having far more. The music is the engine of the whole experience and people want to know what is happening, what are the songs. Even people who said they don’t like soca are finding themselves at the soca parties. They love one song then it blossoms into like three songs then next year we can probably get them to like 10 songs. Then be like ‘I remember when we used to hate soca’.
2. What was the journey like to becoming one of the island’s best soca deejays? Share some of the challenges and highlights.
[That’s] something I am very proud of this year – there was a point in time where I Love Soca and Carnival Wednesdays were one of four or five carnival parties for the week and I was outside giving out my CD and hoping people would listen to it and love it. Versus now, in 2023, I am hosting a party with I Love Soca, Brush1 and DJ Bloodline Franco. It’s called Illuminate and it will be a different experience mixing what makes Jamaica Carnival unique along with an international theme and an overall carnival experience in a controlled environment. To me that is something I am most proud of, giving something to the carnival experience, beyond just music.
3. What has the 2023 Carnival season been like for you so far?
It feels like meeting your family that you have not seen for three years. You even go to like your grandma’s house and you get to see all your family and your aunties and cousins and uncles, that is what this carnival season feels like. It’s like a return – a return to something familiar and to something that I love.
4. What are you looking forward to the most about being on the road for Carnival in Jamaica?
I am looking forward to seeing masqueraders, to see the fanfare and the excitement and to see the impact or even make an impact on the average Jamaican who is on the road just watching and seeing this part of our culture and the children who are saying ‘one day when I reach 18 or 19, that’s going to be me on the road.’ I am really looking forward to just seeing the cultural impact even with the foreigners coming to Jamaica to see what we offer and soak up our experience.
5. What are some must-listen-to tracks for the 2023 Carnival season?
Olatunji – Engine Room; Viking Ding Dong and Ding Dong Ravers – Drink and Party; Bunji Garlin – Hard Fete; Naila Blackman and Skinny Fabulous – Come Home; Voice – Long Live Soca ; DJ Private Ryan and Sekon Sta – No Feteing Behaviour; Machel Montano and Patrice – Like Yourself and Kes – Mental Day. You can also listen to my 2023 Mixtape – Soca Preview – along with Mical Teja.