Ever notice that Djs who tell everyone about how they blew things last night are never that talented or innovative? It’s because truly talented artists are typically more in their heads than that – without self-critique, amazing things do not happen
If you think you are amazing right from the beginning, how do you improve? I knew I sucked for a while on the 1200s and needed daily practice to get it down. From early on I started recording everything and to this day I have the tendency to tear myself apart for every imperfect mix – when I listen back to my set I listen more closely to error than the good parts. I have to stop myself sometimes and remember to just enjoy the music.
It’s not my favorite characteristic of myself – self-criticism and the quest for perfection – but it does make me better. For at least 15 years I have recorded every mix I’ve done, bedroom or live, and listened back with keen attention to learn about how my tracks flow together.
Self-criticism has to be kept in check though. I remember early on in the 90s I played a set I wasn’t happy and someone came up after and say how much they loved it. I said something like, “really? I didn’t like it that much.” I could see how it deflated my excited new fan’s mood and I learned that in such situations answering with a humble thank-you was much better!
Looking back at 2018, my self-critical side says I wish I had kept up Modern Dj Musings better. Keeping that it check, I realize that posting the column 20 times this year isn’t bad at all. Some of the posts got a lot of attention, I gained some new respect and following, but most importantly I heard from many newer djs how they thought the column was really helpful.
2018 was a crazy year for me, the year I quit my job to pursue Dj-ing and event organization full-time. I got in a great flow with focus on djing and blogging February to May then got consumed in a wave of events and touring and found it hard to keep up with. Well at least I’m not still trying to teach full-time on top of it all. And I got to finish the year on Maui!
Looking ahead to 2019 i don’t want to beat myself up for what I didn’t accomplish this year… but to renew intention and hope to move forward with a fresh start.
Some things I am looking to accomplish? To keep this column more steady, and archive it on my website (launching rt after the new year). To find more time for music production – a lifelong challenge for me but I have not given up! And of course to host the most amazing Tropical Oasis Retreat on Maui I can while continuing to enjoy life island life with my family!
Wishing everyone an amazing new year and all the best in 2019!