I’ve veered towards the organization side in my first two musings of 2019, and I want to bring it back to Djing.
No dj is going to make it alone. There’s a heavy social component of keeping in touch with organizers, fans, and fellow djs. There’s plenty of back-scratching and trading favors which can be really annoying but it’s also part of it.
I’ve worked with djs both as a dj and as an organizer for 23 years. People ask me for gigs and help with gigs all the time. I think of myself as a naturally helpful person, studied psychology and taught ESL for 15 years. In the music realm I also help a lot of people. But not everyone. It depends on the approach, the music being a fit, how much i want to help the person, and how much I think I can help the person.
I usually try to do something, and at minimum always answer. I do it because I like to help, but of course there is also a self-serving component in that helping people can lead to people helping me more. And I know I need help, we all do!
So it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes people take advantage, hit you up out of the blue, take your help but never return messages after when you ask for help. Sometimes they even come back with their hands out later, asking for more favors.
Let’s not focus on this. We can always focus on the negative in life, and use it to make excuses. But that takes time away from more productive things.
So let me tell you a positive story about how this can work out. In 1999 I was a young eager dj, influenced mostly by European house and tech-house. I got booked in Arizona at a party that had Scotland’s Murray Richardson on the bill, and we hit it off there. I really enjoyed his set, something that has always been the exception with people I like as producers.
Anyway, we stayed in touch and he later asked me for help in LA. I got him a gig at Hollywood’s iconic Viper Room, which is a pretty cool gig coming from Europe – everyone wants to play Hollywood and it’s a famous venue. I loved Murray’s music and vibe and took pleasure in helping.
The next summer I started putting together my first European tour and Murray generously shared some contacts that landed me gigs in Portugal, England, and Russia. On a stroke of luck my friend’s brother was living and connected in Spain and got me my third big festival gig, Festimad in Madrid. This tour led to a decade of amazing gigs and adventures in Europe and all over Russia, and the seeds were in one kind action of helping a respected colleague in my city. And Murray and I are friends to this day 🙂
OK it’s not always going to work out that way but be nice and help each other… and sometimes magic will happen!