Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For 'Tour Tales,' we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it's still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on 'Tour Tales.'
Tashene "DJ T-Jizzle" Eubanks Jr. is 26 years old and has been deejaying for 14 years. Over the last three years, his popularity has skyrocketed with him deejaying on Future and Drake's record-setting "Summer Sixteen Tour," "The Weeknd's Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour" and every live performance Nav has ever done. With more than a decade of deejaying experience under his belt, T-Jizzle still remembers the moments not captured by cameras for social media, where Future imparted uplifting wisdom that still sticks with them to this day.
"He came to me afterward as we were leaving the venue and made sure I kept my head up, and helped me a lot that night. He was like, 'Listen. You did a great job. We always have to get better. We're striving to get better. That's what we do. We get better every night. If you're a real champion, you keep your head up," the DJ told REVOLT TV.
In this installment of Tour Tales, Nav's official DJ discusses the NBA 2K matchup that almost delayed the show, sacrificing time with his daughters in order to tour and what it's like developing a new artist's live show.
You've been deejaying for most of your life, but touring with Future really upped your popularity. How did you link with him?
I linked with him through DJ Esco. Future used to do a lot of shows in upstate New York and I'm from Buffalo, New York. Esco and I became really close and built a bond. I would link up with them at some of their shows. Eventually, Esco needed a DJ for himself, so I started deejaying for him. The more that Esco's career exploded and got bigger, I started deejaying for Future when Esco would do his events. That was about four years ago.
One of the biggest tours you were part of was Drake and Future's 'Summer Sixteen Tour' in 2016. What was that like?
The tour was amazing. It was a lot of chemistry between Drake and Future from doing What A Time To Be Alive together and they did 'Would You Like A Tour', and the 'Jungle Tours' together. Future was one of the biggest artists in the world and Drake was the biggest artist in the world. So, there was a lot of energy going into each show. It was amazing.
On that tour, what was on Future’s rider?
Candy. It was a lot of candy. There was water. Also, he had tea. He was definitely into expanding his voice because he was becoming more of a full-time performer.
Did you rehearse with Future? If so, how did Future rehearse for shows?
We rehearsed a lot before shows for that 'Summer Sixteen Tour.' We took going into that tour very serious. That’s when he introduced having dancers on tour. He had four dancers. So, we had to rehearse with someone like Future who is used to having a full stage now... Some of the dance moves they did required a lot of spacing between the four of them. We rehearsed spacing and everything.
What was the most memorable show on that tour?
It might be Madison Square Garden because of how surreal it was for me. I remember when Future was performing ‘Low Life’ that night and hearing the crowd sing the chorus, he turned around and looked at Esco and I with the face of 'wow.' It felt like he arrived. Everyone knows on the 'Would You Like A Tour,' he was earlier on in the show. So, for him to be on the stage at 10:15, 10:30 as a co-headliner for 'Summer Sixteen' was big.
Were there any chill things y’all did in between shows?
Future can play basketball. He can shoot very well. We would go to eat. You might pull up to Future’s hotel and go out to eat, and we would not talk about music. A lot of times with Future, you can talk about life. Sometimes we’ll talk about news or sports. You feel a lot better getting on stage that night with someone you connect with that way. I was young, in my 20s, and very new to touring. He made it a lot easier when I could’ve been a lot more nervous.
What are some conversations with Future that really stuck out with you and helped you develop as a touring DJ?
One day, we had a show and I think he saw it in my face that I didn't feel too good about the show. I think the show went very well from a fan perspective. He came to me afterward as we were leaving the venue and made sure I kept my head up, and helped me a lot that night. He was like, 'Listen. You did a great job. We always have to get better. We're striving to get better. That's what we do. We get better every night. If you're a real champion, you keep your head up.' That gave me a lot of confidence and trust.
How’d you link with Nav?
Through my Future connection with Metro [Boomin’]. Metro was deejaying at The Light in Vegas on January 1, 2017. Metro and I have a great relationship. I went to the party and there were people in the booth like Cash XO, who is The Weeknd's manager. He was like, ‘Yo, there’s this dope artist, the next great producer. This is Nav.’ I had no idea who Nav was, even though the only song Nav had out was ‘Beibs In The Trap.’ The reason I didn’t know who Nav was, was because Travis Scott doesn’t put all his features on the album. So, I couldn’t put two and two together. At that time, Nav wasn’t that open.
He had never performed before. I saw him again while I was on tour in Europe. That's when Cash put out the idea that Nav and I work together. The next thing I know, I see Nav and Cash at rehearsals two weeks after I got off tour in Europe. I've done every Nav show since then. His first show was April 4, 2017.
You and Nav are close in age. But, by the time you became his DJ, you had years of experience being a touring DJ. How did you help develop Nav's stage show?
Just confidence. I always tell him we have to have a great pace. Before every single show, we talk. Before every show, I tell him how the crowd is. I write things down. We work things out. He does a great job in rehearsals. So, it's all confidence. We have a lot of trust with each other onstage. I think any artist can branch off and do more when they can rely on the stability of the entire show from how they sound with the autotune and the mic, and how their DJ is doing. I think that's why he's grown over the years.
What is your onstage chemistry like with Nav?
We pretty much give each other a look when he pretty much wants me to introduce the next song. He’ll give me a signal. He may walk and grab some water or a towel. We have great chemistry.
What's the craziest thing you've seen at a Nav show?
On this 'Bad Habits Tour,' there's been a couple of nights where he hasn't been able to thank the crowd because they've been screaming, shouting and applauding him. We had a show in Chicago and in Montreal where the song goes off and they scream super loud, and it's hard for him to really get his thoughts together to say anything.
You and Nav toured with The Weeknd for his 'Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour.' How did he help Nav's live show?
Everything with XO is confidence and trust. I really can't speak too much on their interactions. But, I do know when we're on tour with him, he's stopped in on rehearsals to make sure he gives little pointers. He gives you your space and allows you to really grow. On that tour with The Weeknd, he always complimented us on a good show and how good we're doing onstage.
What's on Nav's rider?
Nav's rider has water, tea with some honey, carrots and stuff. It's pretty basic. We pretty much order food everyday. He gets to the venue pretty early to do meet and greets. So, we order food.
What do you and Nav do on tour to bond?
We play video games almost everyday. We go bowling on off days on tour. We've watched movies on the tour bus together. We've done a lot. We went to Salt Lake City and we all got on scooters riding around the city. Nav does a lot before and after shows that makes you feel like it's a brotherhood more than just an artist/DJ relationship. We might play some video games after this interview.
What games do you two play?
(Laughs) Growing up in Toronto, he has been open to playing so many different sports like hockey. But, he's good at NHL, FIFA, MLB. We've been playing [NBA] 2K all the time. We play Tekken and Mortal Kombat. Nav is the ultimate pro at Fortnite. You've seen that he's played with everyone under the sun on Fortnite. Nav would play any game. He's a gamer. No matter times you win, he's going to keep playing until he beats you.
What's one of the most memorable NBA 2K matches y'all have had on tour?
I think we were on tour in Australia and we both went into triple overtime in 2K. We were almost late getting onstage. We were crunching it. He didn't want the game to stop and I didn't want the game to stop. I don't remember who won. But, I do remember that at the end of every regulation, Nav was like, 'We're not leaving until we finish.' We had a great show that night. It just shows how much of a gamer he really is. We're both Scorpios, so we're competitive by nature.
Video games saved my life— Nav (@beatsbynav) March 10, 2018
Many DJs have said they have had to sacrifice life moments to be a touring DJ. What have you had to sacrifice?
I have two beautiful daughters aged three and six, my little brother is 16, and both of my parents are in my life. I've had to miss my daughters' first dance class and first day of school. I've missed my mother and father's anniversary and birthdays. Also missed my brother's birthday. There's a lot of things I had to sacrifice when it comes to my family because of touring. The biggest thing is missing out on things with my daughters. That's the one that makes you scratch your head the most.
My daughters love what I do. They come to a lot of shows. They've come to shows where I've deejayed for Future and when I've deejayed for Nav. I'll FaceTime them right before I get on the stage, sometimes. My family puts a lot of faith in me that I 'm doing the right thing. I've always stayed focus on that. Otherwise, I knew for sure I wouldn't have a good show that day.