Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17: Hot fingers...

One day I will learn that when I make my world famous Habanero hot sauce, I should wash my hands before going to the toilet :'(

Anyway so spicy face, nose, and whatever else apart... today has been one of those days where about a million things have popped in to my head that I should be doing to progress the DJ project, but all of them bubbling up so quick that I keep forgetting what they were =(

I have managed to get one or two small things done. I have a friend who lives in New York, and I also have another friend who lives in the UK, but DJs there sometimes. This got me thinking... I mean whats wrong with a little bit of cheek... So I got my friend in NY to hook me up with the names of some of the more suitable clubs there in the city. I've checked them all out, added myself to the mailing lists, and book marked the site for more targeted contact once I compile a decent online profile.

I also sent Hang the DJ and email. Naturally they will be thrilled to have heard from me.

I should be hitting up more clubs quick smart really, as this is the bread and butter of trying to get noticed. However I'd like to get my DJ site up sorted first, and also I need a CD friendly mix. The last one I did is too long, and I don't really want to trim it down.

Something else that came to my attention was this goal planner. This looks like an excellent idea, and something that would really help me when I am having days like today, when the ideas are overwhelming the action.

Tomorrow am definitely, definitely gonna make some progress with Ableton, as weekends are the only time I have enough er, time to dedicate myself to it properly.

for now peace&&love


Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 16: The end of the week is nigh

Weekends, bloody great aren't they. Whoever invented them needs a stern pat on the back. This one I am looking forward to, as my good friends Luke and Jo are coming over tomorrow. Luke will be forming half of the production outfit. Musically I think we fit together quite well. The Axiom will be getting it's first proper outing, and finally some musical progress can be made.

Whilst doing my usual rounds in DJ Internet world, I came across these guys Hang the DJ. This is obviously fate working its wonderful magic. Not only are we linked by our amazing taste in names... we also seem to be linked by out taste in music. These guys will be getting sent my Phase1 mix asap and no mistake. Obviously they'll not believe their luck when it lands on their lap, and probably get me guest appearing at their next event *crosses fingers*

Time for a beer...

till tomorrow.



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15: FFS

Man work was intense today. You know when those super urgent things crop up just before you wanna go home... yeh one of them. Knacked.

Sadly that means all I can be bothered to blog is this wicked awesome video from Samantha Fu (Theme From Discotheque). It really is wicked awesome mind...

Until tomorrow



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14: I know you can hear me.

Two weeks in, and finally I have an audience. I know that cos I actually mentioned the blog to someone. Hi Matt, just thought I'd give you the personal Big-Up, as I know you'll be reading this. The others have probably forgotten about it already.

Some anonymous feedback suggested I needed to 'man' the blog up a bit, as my choice of ethereal imagery was apparently giving it a feminine leaning.

Macho man Randy Savage, way ahead of his time with the Elctro Fluro vibe

On the DJ front (which after all is what this is about, remember), still barely off the starting blocks. I gave Sound of Stereo some myspace love, they were kind enough to comment back. Also spoke with one of the guys who runs one of my favorite music blogs FVCB, they are partly responsible for my current taste in music, so props to them.

I have decided, what I really need to help me make some progress is a Tonium Pacemaker. Working the hours I do, I barely get chance to do anything productive when I get home as I am baked. So being able to put together mixes on the daily journey too and from work would be awesome.

I guess I am going to have to get this blog all viral... maybe that way they will send me one. Guys will want to be me, girls will want to be with me...

Grrr manly stuff.

Man now the blog just looks gay.

Anyways, that's all yer getting for now.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13: Unlucky

Today, as with all Tuesdays ever, has been a pretty dull day. I am desperately trying to think of ways of making progress, while working my ass off at, er, work... also not spending all my evening at the computer as well.

Pic: Pretty as a picture

Today I have tweaked the blog slightly, made it a bit friendlier to look at, and added some links for other blogs I respect. Just heard an interesting new mix by Crookers which was refreshing. An interesting diversion from their normal fayre. Also been checking a mix from Sound of Stereo... these guys kinda switched me on to the Fidgety side of things, so I gotta give them props really. They've got a new tune coming out too, Jack my Trombone... it's awesome so check that if you can.

Need to start spreading the word, still sat on 0 points, the graphs wont look good for January...



Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12: The why & how... Part 2.

Right, today no waffle I promise. I'll try and keep it to the point. This post is more about the how. Like I said yesterday it wont be exhaustive, for obvious reasons.

First of all, let me make it clear, the purpose of this blog is NOT to undermine the hard working DJs efforts, it's NOT to make a mockery of anyone or thing. It occurred to me recently that some people might think that my intention is to reveal how superficial, malleable or shallow the whole things is. On the contrary.

What I am trying to prove however is that hard work, dedication, and a little bit of ingenuity might go a long way. In short I hope to prove that if you really want it, it's yours for the taking, albeit possibly at a price (like blogging your heart out for a year!).

Robomlette anyone?

The basic idea is to break down what makes a successful DJ in to component parts, then via modelling those components, mixed with other intangibles such as press and such like possibly come up with a good foundation formula that will push a bit further than maybe just spamming promoters with zshare links and adding anyone with a flashy gif as a friend on myspace.

How to make it as a DJ:

We can all safely assume that what I don't need to mention is practise. This should form the very basis of everything. I wont touch on music choice either as this will be covered on it's own another time, these are more ideas in the forum of publicity and marketing yourself.

The first plan is, having just slated it, to get the mixes out there. I mean this is common sense, as after all that's what it's all about. Though there are many possible targets, here is a list of some of the first places I will target:
  • Clubs (Dur) but local, as well as selected national, and international venues.
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Friends (Never underestimate word of mouth)
  • My own web-site ( what, you've not been there yet?!).
  • Players in the local scene
Yes this is all very obvious so far, but I do think there are other factors that can maximise this effort too, presentation, timing, personally addressed, and hand picking prospects, all add to the effectiveness of you efforts, and this is what I shall be doing. The blog address will be included both on the CD and in the ID3 tags too... it's the little things,

Secondly is production. I really think this is an important step, and one that many DJs skip either through lack of interest, availability to equipment, and other such obstacles. My set up is pretty skinny, but I have enough to make some home brew re-mixes, and pre-mastered party tracks. This is all good, worry about the mix down later, you'll be able to find someone to help you with that, the point here is to get decent well thought out tunes, or clever cheeky remixes on to the scene... via the blogs of course :P

The object of this exercise is to get your name on the tips of peoples tongues. 3 months down the line when your CD falls in the lap of some promoter, it's sure to get more credence when he's remembering that killa mix of that Tiga track you cheekily bootlegged.

Pretty girls make blogs better...

Thirdly, and this one is key, is promoting a club night. This point alone I would say is probably worth 5 times the first two combined. The reasons why are many, and include, but not limited to:
  • Exposure, yes, of course you put yourself on the bill
  • Getting to know other DJs. That big name you booked will might like what you're doing.
  • Practise playing live in front of an audience, invaluable really.
  • Connections. Once you host a night, see who comes out the woodwork.
  • Publicity, similar to exposure, but can come in other forms, press etc.
I know this one can seem daunting and costly, but it really is worth the effort. Some DJ careers have been built on this point alone, do it well and you're well on your way, not to mention possibly making money AND having a great time. Do it badly, and you might be a few hundred out of pocket, worst case scenario.

Fourthly is networking. I'm not sure where I stand on this one, in many ways its very important indeed, but also, if done badly, and just for the sake of it, can be a wasted effort, verging on an annoyance.

Example, adding every DJ and Club promoter under the sun on your myspace/facebook and spamming their page with your latest flyer might seem really cool, and probably does get it in front of some more eyes, but there are shrewder ways to spend your time. I'm not saying never, and you may well find me doing this to a degree, the point being quality, not quantity.

Facebook in particular, if your friends are your real friends, they'll listen to your mix, and come to your night anyway, if they're not your real mates and are DJ scene added friends, they are probably doing the same thing back... so... what have we gained, not a lot really.

Be clever with it, just posting your link in to any mildly relevant group with the same gubbins is more likely to annoy people than to endear them. This point I'm not going to elaborate on further, as I intend to try my ideas first then report back, meaning they don't get spoilt before hand.

Lastly (for now) is Any Other Means... this is the out of the box thinking stuff... Got a mate who knows someone from Krafwerks's uncle... get on that contact. Spotted a web-site asking for mixes for their web-radio... fire one in. Be creative and inventive, these simple things can often be the most rewarding.

So where do I start? Well having just made my latest cracking mix, I guess I had better start getting that about, and following my own advice. I'm looking at getting a short run made up proper perhaps, give it the professional touch. We'll see depending on cost.

For now tho,



Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 11: The why & how... Part 1.

Right, seeing as I am finally feeling clear headed enough, and that I have kinda got into the blogging groove a bit, now seems a good time to go into the whole BTDJ idea.

I began Raving basically the minute I could... I remember standing on the roof of my mum and dads house to see if I could hear the music, or see the lasers coming from a Universe rave barely miles from my house age 13. Sorry mum and dad for the tiles I broke.

I can pin point the minute I discovered it, when I passed a friends house on the way home one night, I was speaking to him from his bedroom window (which seemed to be quite a common thing in them days) and he had some tunes playing that tingled in my ears, I asked him what it was and could I borrow the tape. It was Easygroove and Lisa live Fantasia NYE 91/92. From that minute I was hooked.

I wont relay every step from there on in, but what followed was a love affair the intensity of which is since to be repeated in my life... collecting tapes and flyers became my new occupation. Fruitless efforts to convince my mum to let me go to a "gig" as I put it ended in frustration. Until I was 15, I starting meeting 'older kids' and they smuggled me off one night in the back of an Escort Van to the Depot in Bristol. There I saw Top Buzz, which at the time were easily the biggest thing in the Rave Scene. Wow. From then on it carried on, rave after rave.

About 95 I started writing for well respected Rave magazine 'Eternity'. This was semi by accident, I called them up to ask a simple question and got chatting with them basically! This opened up a new era in my raving career, where I got a much more inside view. Getting into places for free, seeing the same faces all the time, hanging out back-stage. Basically pretending to be someone, but still I loved it, I loved being part of my scene. Inevitably tho, overtime (as is always the case) the good times came to an end. The drugs were basically taking their toll, the whole thing was sadly becoming routine. About 98, I went and got a 'proper' job. I don't recall exactly how or what happened here, but in short I more or less completely fell out of raving. The next few years were quite plain and beery, spent working, and going out in the small town where I grew up.

Just cos you can't see it yet, doesn't mean it ain't out there...

Fast forward to about 2004. I had made a whole new bunch of friends again and the good times were back on! We were fervent ravers , every weekend was party time. Our group was a great mix, and all we did was cain it. It was fantastic. This got me back into tunes again, and this was the time when we threw a few parties, and I tried dabbling with production etc. Again though, as before, the good times came to an end. People got older, started doing 'older people' things and the group loosened it's grip, becoming more chilled and dissipating into couples and moving away etc. Still with me?

After coasting for a year or two, it was about this time that I decided that big change was needed. Tho importantly not change for changes sake. And change I made. I moved away from Bristol, leaving these shores altogether.

Now being Summer 2007, and about a fresh start as one could ask for. I'm not saying this is what everyone needs to do, but what I will say is, for me this was probably the best thing I could have done.

Just the very act of whelking myself out of my comfort zone seemed to unleash a furious torrent of 'flow'. New ideas came all the time, and the world seemed full of possibility. Moving abroad didn't seem like the end, it actually seemed like the beginning. This is not to say it was without it's fair share of challenges. Times haven't always been easy, but what they have been is of my design, rather than a chain of reactive, easy option decisions, which is where I was in 2006.

Ok, so what has all of this got to do with making it as a DJ? - Everything.

It is this chain of events that has basically culminated in a realisation that anything is possible, that if you really want something that you have to go out and get it. I will avoid falling too deeply down the cliche tree... Basically no more time for excuses, if I want something to happen no one is going to do it for me... leaving it to chance isn't acceptable.

Insert motivational mumbo-jumbo here.

There is one caveat. Left to my own devices I can be horribly lazy! I have many great ideas that pop into my head, cause me to get excited, then result in nothing more than a few google searches, and a purchase of a domain name.

However, I am a believer that if you naturally let yourself gravitate to the things that interest you, then suddenly things become effortless. People in a job they love will understand what I mean, people in a job they hate experience the reverse of this phenomena.

One such idea that was to pop into my head was about making it as a DJ. Well ok this sounds like a silly fanciful idea, but I had been getting increasingly frustrated with how it all worked. Basically tons of talentless schmucks seemed to be getting on gigs. Now I am not naive, I know this scene has always been not what you know... I knew that 15 years ago back when I was day 1 raving. But what had previously happened in the main was that being connected might get you in there, but without a modicum of talent, you wouldn't last long.

This seemed to be changing tho, almost as if DJ was a lifestyle choice along side a type of haircut, and brand of trainers. For someone who has always loved all and everything about electronic (nay all types) of music, and been excited about DJ and Rave culture from the very first moment, these Johnny come latelies who were using it as a nothing more than a social status accessory really touched a nerve.

This coinciding with my new found gusto for life, started the motivational rumblings deep inside. These were soon effortlessly yet intensely fuelled by the reignited passion for music I was going through. The last year I had finally got properly into DJing, and with that I had started rediscovering music, finding amazing new styles I may well have missed if I were coasting back in the UK.

This brings us up to the last 2 months of 08. I had just got a new job which was stimulating my sense of possibility, it was around then that I decided on the blog, I was going to do it for myself, to prove that passion, effort, (and hopefully some talent!) was more effective than just being a pestering scenester.

Everything just seems right. The music is really exciting to me right now, I have a passion for it, that I truly believe will steam roller over any hipster elitism, I have a clean slate to work from.

And here we are, the final ingredient, the blog. This is to serve many purposes, tho the most important one by far is to provide constant momentum, that and to provide a tangible means of measuring progress.

I also hope this might serve to motivate other people to do themselves the same favour of taking action to get something they want and love.

If you are still with me, I salute you.

Tomorrow in part two, you will be pleased to know I do away with the waffle, and get down to brass tacks. In that post I will be going more into the how. Explaining my plan, and how I am hoping to carve a name for myself in this fickle world of DJing.

Until then...