I have always fallen in love with the beautiful harmony of music. It began with the piano, the soft cadence and graceful dance of the fingers as they graze upon the white and black keys, each soft touch producing a soft note, and each note in sequence produces a wonderful melody. The piano was my refuge as I was growing up and it became one of the central reasons of why I became a DJ.
Soon enough, my teenage years would come and the classical melodies of Bach or Beethoven or Mozart became stale into my ears. Surely, I thought, there must be more to music. There must be more to it than the formulaic albeit melodious concoctions of these great masters. There must be more to it—there must be more emotion, more relateability, and more youth. I found it in contemporary music. In rock and roll, where raw emotion spilled out from the shredding of guitars. In country where stories of life and love are told. In jazz where the soul took flight.
I fell in love with all sorts of music. I wanted to cherish each one and embrace each one and understand each one. Soon enough, I began fiddling with mixing them together—a little bit of derivative pop here mixed in with some rock and roll, with a dash of techno. I never knew that there was a name to what I was doing until much later. All I knew was that this was all an invigorating experience to me. For the first time, I truly felt that I was being led towards the right direction—towards where I should be heading in the first place.
When I finally took it seriously, I realized how difficult it truly is to hone your craft at something. Music was a fluid entity, it cannot simply be held or chained or jailed. One has to tame music, to understand its machinations and its movement to be able to handle it. Being a DJ is being a tamer of music. If you allow it to flail about wildly, you create noise and not music. If you control it too much, it loses its heart and its true joy and all you are left with is a shell of its original self. Being a DJ is understanding when to let go and when to hold tight. It’s a true balancing act.
There are also numerous instruments and tools that a DJ has to be familiar with. One must be able to master the use of all these so that you can truly allow your creativity to flow. Do not make the struggle about the gadgets that you use. Be diligent and learn how to use them so that they will not become the hindrance that will hamper your creativity. The key is to be able to turn the tables around and actually use these gadgets to your advantage; instead of them preventing you to be creative and sapping away your creativity, let them accentuate it.
Another important part of being a DJ is also understanding people. You cannot be self-centered. At the end of the day, even if you are doing what you are doing because you enjoy doing it, you also have to think about the audience that you want to entertain, you also have to understand what makes them happy and what makes them entertained. Understand who you are playing to. Understand what makes them jump up and down. Understand what keeps them on their seats. A good DJ has a good sense of what the audience wants and success in understanding people fuels a DJ’s further venture.
Knowing to respect music is also one of the most essential things that one should have if one wants to become a DJ. One cannot simply mish and mash songs together and expect something good to come out of it. Only DJ’s who have a good sense of understanding of music are able to make amazing concoctions because they respect the roots of music, they understand where it’s coming from, they understand who it was written for. DJ’s who have this sense are those who are able to come up with sick beats that you never once thought would be possible.
It is also quite vital to note that being a DJ is not always a luxurious affair so if you want to become a DJ because you think you’ll be filthy rich in the process, then your fundamental mindset is mistaken. Being a DJ is often fueled by creative gusto and not the obsession over money. If you just think about the money all the time and fixate yourself over it, you will not find professional satisfaction and fulfillment and become a DJ and your career will definitely be shortlived. Only those who are able to see beyond the possible monetary gain are those who will be truly successful in this career.
Sometimes it becomes too difficult, too routine, too exhausting but then I remember that the reason that I became a DJ in the first place was because I had fallen in love so deeply with music—in all its shapes and forms—and I had wanted to share this love with other people. At the same time, I thrust myself into the art and experimentation of music and I have also found energy and zeal in the manipulation of music. This is where I draw my strength from and how I am able to continue no matter how difficult it can be.
I chose to become a DJ because music was my life and I wanted to live and breathe music every second I got and I reckoned that I would only find that sort of life in being a DJ. Now I am living in the moment. Every song I remix and every beat that I make, I infuse with my unfettered dedication and love for the craft. I am trying to live the life of a musical artist, pushing the boundaries while respecting and paying homage to the source of it all.