words / KEEGAN HUGHES pictures / CHRISTIAN KONDO
Once upon a time, a young man named Christian Kondo-Pania moved from Congo to Canada. Gone were the familiar surroundings of Kinshasa, his birth country’s capital, replaced by Parliament Hill and other Ottawa landmarks.
As he grew in Canada, Kondo-Pania would find his passion in basketball. He played all throughout high school, thinking he could make pro. To him, only family, school, and basketball mattered. That is, until an injury in 2013 forced him to reassess his priorities.
“When I stopped playing ball, I started looking for something I loved that I could do that would also pay the bills,” says Kondo-Pania.
He decided to start using the software Virtual DJ to play at parties, and people were digging it. Growing up with musical family members, Kondo-Pania knew he had the music in him. It just took a little push to kick-start his passion.
Music was his new love, Christian Kondo-Pania knew what he wanted to do.
He wanted to be DJ Kondo.
For DJ Kondo, focus, motivation, and positivity reign supreme. No time for negative thoughts. He says he speaks things into existence, meaning one can create whatever they want if they act upon the impulse. Kondo has found that living like that will attract like-minded people as well.
His role as a DJ has evolved since he started playing professionally. Starting out in Montreal was tough. Although he had always had a love for deep house music, which infuses some jazz-funk into more traditional house, he couldn’t play what he wanted at some of his first gigs. Over time, he found ways to bring this sound to the forefront, especially as he moved on to higher-end clubs.
“That’s the clientele I’ve always wanted to play,” says Kondo, “…classy, mature, more grown people who are more open musically.”
This environment has brought out another talent of Kondo’s: styling.
“I’ll show up to gigs in suits, and people aren’t used to that. DJ’s aren’t usually the best dressed in the room,” Kondo laughs.
He sees style as a representation of who he wants to be in the future. Classy and clean, Kondo is always looking to look the part. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and he dreams of colours to use in his next outfit.
Style started as a hobby of sorts, but grew into a passion that resembled how he felt about music. It seemed like such a natural progression, especially because style and music have historically gone hand in hand.
Looking ahead, Kondo just wants to stay on his upward trajectory. He says he can look back to when he didn’t have money for food, but kept working hard on his craft. This motivates him to keep moving forward. With each new opportunity he seeks out, the future looks brighter. Hoping to play international shows in 2017, he maintains a positive attitude that everything will fall into place.