Thursday, November 4, 2010

Joell Ortiz/The Career of a DJ

Music: New Joell Ortiz

^^He's really killin it these days... Yaowa! [no idea what that means]

Nightlife: The Life and Times of DJ Z

My first paid DJ gig was a mere 3 years ago. I played at the Sig Chi Jersey party for $150 and an eighth of beasters, and it was unforgettable... My equipment was a 20 year old Numark mixer and a pair of budget Stanton turntables. I didn't have any flashy technique so I spent the time in between mixes trying to look cool wiping my records off. I'll be forever thankful for Doug G. and Sean D. bringing me in for that gig! who knew what was to become...

Over the subsequent years DJing at Bucknell I played parties for Sig Chi, Fiji, SAE, KDR, Phi Psi, Pi Phi, KKG, Alpha Chi, and Kappa Alpha Theta. I played at Puirseill's Irish Pub, Ard's Farm Market, La Primavera, Parkview, the Lewisburg Club, the Smith Quad, The Taj Mahal Brotel, Red Box, 109, and possibly some more places I can't even think of... Last but not least - The Bull Run Inn. After two years of doing frat parties I became the first DJ to obtain a Wednesday night residency at the Bull Run Inn. The parties thrown there will live in infamy in my mind at least, and I can only hope those who shared those moments with me will find them just as memorable years down the road. Two things I'll always remember about gigs at the Bull Run are rapping my "single" Stunt Double, and the other is the triple g&t's Alan and Dave would black me out with - a memory/non-memory if you will.

After a long and g.p.a.-murdering DJ career at Bucknell I've decided to go pro and try out for the league... A career DJing in New York City or an alternatively large and bustling urban environment is what most DJs consider the big time, and I am lucky enough to be able to pursue this dream. Since starting my career in NYC just a few months ago I've played at Butterfield8, Saloon, Le Souk, and The Village Pourhouse.

The things I've learned since making the move to NYC:

1) DJs are hustlers... It's less about the music you play and more about you're business skills. In order to get gigs you need a following of at least 20-30 people, a website, and an all around hustler's mentality. It doesn't matter what kind of music you play... If you can convince the manager to hire you and pay you in cash you've done your job!

2) No requests! Prior to moving to NYC I always thought it was courteous to take requests. I always new they fucked with my set but I would just play them to keep people happy. What I've learned... fuck people. DJs are independent contractors which means we work for ourselves and not the bar. If you ask me for a song and I say no, feel free to go tell the manager that the DJ won't take your requests. HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW MY NAME! and he doesn't care either, trust me.

3) DJing is HARD! Sometimes I would DJ two nights in a row at Bucknell and be exhausted for a week after. This past week I played 4 nights in a row and I have 3 nights this week. It may not be a 9-5, but it's hard as hell... Not to mention, 3 or 4 gigs a week doesn't cut it. To make the kind of dough I have my eyes set on, I'm gonna need 5 or 6. Hustler's. Mentality.

So, tonight I'm lucky enough to have the gig at Village Pourhouse thanks to fellow Bucknell grad, DJ Autograph. Come by and check it out... Set starts at 9 and the beer selection is money. Tomorrow night I'll be at Butterfield8, set starts at 10 and open bar wristbands can be purchased from the hostess. Call or text 607.237.7525 for details on any DJ Z event.

Hope all is well on the other side of this computer monitor... Thanks for following!



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