I think every DJ, the first time they ever get behind the decks, dreams of becoming the next big thing. They picture themselves standing in front of thousands of people, turning them into minions who dance when told to dance. They lose themselves in the fantasy of being the big font name on the flyer with their name on the sign out front. They are the ones with the complex rider that requires a pack of white tee shirts, a large sheet cake and some fresh Fruit Of The Loom whitey-tighteys. These are the dreamers; those who would seek not to simply leave their mark on the DJ scene, but rather grab its butt and stick their tongue down life’s throat.
Unfortunately for 99% of people who decide to DJ, this is not a realistic scenario. Most of us will play some local shows, and that’ll be it. Some of us could turn out to be regional type DJs, playing the occasional out of town show. Even fewer of us end up as regional headliners. I promise I’m not trying to be a downer; I’m simply relaying the cold hard facts of the matter. Very few of us are able to make the separation and become something bigger. It’s truly rarefied air.
What we have to do is learn that we don’t all make our marks by being some huge touring DJ. Sometimes, its the local DJs that make the biggest impacts on people’s DJing careers. I bet if you sit down and honestly think about your biggest influences as a DJ, it’s mostly names of people you spent lots of time with that were the true influences, not Paul Van Dyk or Deadmau5 or Larry Levan. I know for myself, it was people like Ralph Lindstrom and Gene Carbonelle that really helped mold the path I would take as a DJ. Sure, I drew from DJs like Fatboy Slim, Tony De Vit and Jerry Bonham, but it’s the people you interact with on a regular basis that makes you who you are.
That’s why this post is dedicated to you, Local DJs. To be honest, I’m at a point right now where I’d rather enjoy a night of good local DJs with my friends than have to deal with the nutters at a big name show. The art of being a good local is often lost on the locals. They don’t get the respect, nor recognition they deserve. These are the people that usually start and end a party. Being an opening DJ is tough, but it’s something I’ll save to discuss in later articles.
So, local DJs, big up your chest! Remember that without you, the party is pretty much boring or nonexistent Don’t take being labeled a local as something bad. View it as what you are, and be the best you can be. The next time you show up at a party, tasked with bringing an empty room to life, view it as the vital part of the night you are tasked with fulfilling. There’s no shame in it at all. Be the best local you can be!