OK, for those of you who don’t know – here is the deal: I LOVE MUSIC. Some might say I am obsessed with music. I have over 2000 CDs (although they are spread all over the world – Lancaster Pa, Reading Pa, Dublin, Sallins), a laptop with over 15,000 songs (75+ GBs), 5 iPods, and an external 300 GB hard drive that contains a lot of my CD albums in mp3 format and a 500 GB hard drive that is used to back the whole lot up.
With all of this music at my disposal and the fact that I think about music, listen to music, read about music and talk about music so much I decided just over 6 years ago after a trip to Ibiza to try and become a DJ.
It hasn’t been easy.
I chose to do things digitally with DJ software on a laptop. I can’t explain the nightmare it has been and the disasters that I have encountered trying to copy all my CDs onto a laptop but as you can see above I stuck with it.
But once I had some music on my computer, that’s when things really got tough.
I quickly found out that in order to get a gig anywhere you need to have a CD. How the hell was I going to make a CD? I spent from Jun 2002 to Feb 2003 buying software, learning how to use it, choosing the tracks I wanted and then mixing & recording the CD (all on my laptop). I enlisted the help of a friend of mine with a Mac and started burning copy after copy of CDs.
Things got off to a great start when I took a copy of the CD to a DJ dude who worked in a record shop that I always went to in Dublin. He had quit the job 3 days before but his replacement had a look at the CD and loved the track listing. He gave it to a mate of his (also a DJ) on a Thurs, I got a phone call on Fri and had my first ever gig on Sun night! Could it really be this easy? Well the answer is no.
The gig was fun even though I was scared shitless. My mates came, my work colleagues came, my girlfriend came. Everyone had a great time and loved the music. Two weeks later I was given the chance to play again. I shared the night with about 4 other guys and after my 60 min set the 2 dudes who organised the gig had a chat with me. They were pretty nice about things but basically said that I sucked because a) I didn’t look like a DJ, b) I was using a computer, c) I didn’t know how to mix, d) I looked like I was faking it & e) I didn’t look like a DJ. This coming from 2 dudes who were trying really hard to present a different kind of night with a different vibe, which apparently only worked if you looked and played like everyone else in Dublin.
The next 3 months brought more gigs, more conversations like the one above, more frustration and more disappointment. But finally in July of 2003 I got my first gig in a bar called the Metropolitan. It went really well and over the next 2 months I played there every 2-3 Sundays until I was given the chance to play every week in October – my first residency!
It was great! I was having so much fun – I could play anything, I didn’t have to mix or play “funky house” like everyone else and no one cared how I looked using a laptop. I played there every Sunday night for 8 months before switching to Thursday nights for an additional 3 months. But after a year things started to change: the promoter was fired, the owners didn’t want to keep so many DJs and the managers started complaining about some of the stuff I was playing. Eventually, I left to move to Madrid and ALL the DJs in the bar have since been replaced by a computer and mp3 software. Pretty ironic huh? I mean, who is faking it now?
I enjoyed my second residency and the 2nd phase of my DJ career in Madrid, playing 2-3 Sat nights a month in a slightly famous cocktail bar named Bar Cock.
When I eventually came back to Dublin in the spring of 2006, I took a time out and then in the summer pressed on to bigger and better things. A third residency in Bia Bar gave me my monthly funk and soul fix. There were also barbecues, weddings and charity gigs to play through the summer months into autumn.
In October of that year I finally was given the ultimate chance – my very on night on Sundays called The Sitting Room. The venue was Bia Bar as well and, although I had some great ideas and generated interest, I suffered from one thing – Sunday night. Not enough peeps came on a regular basis and by January of 2007 the night was over.
Over one year has passed and I spent most of it traveling around America and to Southeast Asia. I learned a lot, saw a lot and listened to a lot of music. So now I am thinking, reflecting, considering and getting ready for my next gig…