I’ve been trying to create a career as a DJ for six years now (I can’t believe it’s been that long!).
It took me almost three years to get to my first gig. I had no internet connection, no specific knowledge and no one to mentor me in the beginning.
The first gig I had was at a DJ-ing contest in my town. I had no equipment, no previous knowledge, but I still managed to get the crowd going and got some kind words from some of the big people around here (maybe you’ve heard of Sinisa Lukic?).
For the next three years, it was a complete failure. To be honest, I had some nice gigs, earned a couple of thousands of dollars, but I played like 30 gigs for free, I was constantly under-payed, worked overtime (as in played 6 hour long set even though I should have played 4 hour long set) a couple of times without earning a single dime as a bonus, and played like 20 gigs with music I absolutely don’t like at all just to earn some spare cash.
I’ve tried producing music in my free time without much of a success. Seriously, I have nothing to show to you guys that I’m satisfied with, but you can hear some of my attempts here.
I really think that my DJ-ing skills are better than most (if not all) of the DJs around my area have, but I had constantly experimented with different kinds of music, not jumping on the next big bandwagon that was popular at the time. I was experimenting with Trap way back in 2012. Now, it seems like everybody is playing Trap without understanding Trap music at all.
I remember showing some Trap songs (that are now considered as Trap classics) to a couple of my friends. They didn’t like it at all. But now, they can’t wait wait to hear them performed live! Seems like I need new friends, huh!?
At the end, I gave up from playing a specific genre. Now, I started to play every genre I could think of -> in a single set. Seriously, if I’m DJ-ing for something like 6 hours, you can expect me to start with some Deep House, progress my way through Tech House and Future House all the way through Electro and maybe even some Bigroom House. Then, I make a transition down to 100 BPM and start playing some Mid-tempo Trap and Moombahton, mashing some classic Hip-Hop tracks in between. Then, I’m doubling up the BPM and playing a couple of “light” Drum ‘n’ Bass tracks and then I’m lowering the BPM once again and playing some classic Trap songs (at 140 BPM) and I might even put some Hardsyle tracks in that part of the set. Usually, I finish my sets somewhere around 128 BPM with a couple Dub tracks. Hell, I’ve finished my last set with a Tropical House track (if you don’t know what Tropical House is, mark my words, it will get big during the summer).
Now, I should point out that I am still very young. I’m 20 years old now, I’m a student now, and I am pursuing a career in a Computer Science. Keeping up with the music is taking too much of my time and I need to stop doing that to make my career successful.
I have never considered DJ-ing as my career of choice. I had never wanted to become a full-time DJ that is going to pay his rent and his bills with DJ-ing. There were times when I thought about it, but I stayed in school and worked my way through my formal education, not neglecting any part of my life for DJ-ing (well, except sleep).
I’ve never really spent a considerable amount of money on the equipment neither. I’m still using the first controller I got (AKAI APC20) and I love it. A hacker inside of me can think of the ways to work with very limited equipment, as I have proven three years ago when my keyboard mapping was featured on DJTechTools. All I really need is a good software and a strong motivation. Traktor Pro 2 has never let me down, although I had always secretly desired a good open source alternative to it (and although Mixxx has the potential of being a great product, it never really satisfied my needs). And that’s it. You don’t actually have to spend a couple of thousand dollars on your equipment if you know what you’re doing.
I used to enjoy learning and working with some music playing in the background. Now, I consider it to be a distraction to get the job done, which is one of the primary reasons I’ve decided to quit DJ-ing.
Now there is a small catch. I strongly believe that everyone has an artist hidden inside of them. Everyone needs a way to express their emotions through some sort of art. And the funny thing is that even though I had started to write this blog 7 months ago just for fun, I found a great joy in writing it and I really feel like writing is my new passion.
I’m quitting DJ-ing for good. Music business is a harsh and non-forgiving world that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.
However, this doesn’t mean that I’m quitting with every side project related to music. Here’s a small rumor: Digitally Imported might get a new channel called Future House pretty soon. I still might produce a couple of tracks in my free time. And, on top of that, I still have my AKAI APC20, which has a 8x5 LED grid built in. I might create some wacky ass animations on it.
In the end, I want to share with you a post called 14 Things DJing Changes About You Forever. It’s a very interesting (and very accurate) post that describes “consequences” of becoming a DJ. Oh, and expect a new post with a summary of all the things I’ve learned during my 6 years of DJ-ing.
Fuck, I might as well finish this post with my currently favorite track.