DJs on What They Wish They Knew Before They Blew Up
DJing is a hobby for many. Something to do on the weekend, to pick up extra cash, or at a birthday party to impress friends. But for the lucky few, it’s a profession and the culmination of a lifelong dream. DJs are the world’s most fervent music connoisseurs, digging through decades of genres, artists, and sounds to perform the perfect set.
The best are vibe curators with the stamina to engage and enthrall hoards of people for hours on end. The lucky ones who catch their ‘big break’ get the opportunity of a lifetime—to be paid thousands of dollars to curate performances that enhance a party’s ambiance and energy at festivals and live event venues all across the world.
We asked some of the most talented North American DJs we know to give you their advice on what they wish they knew before they blew up as the renowned DJs they are today.
“Find out what makes you ‘you,’ and stick to it.”
His latest single is a departure from the GRAMMY-nominated artist’s sound and hopefully an indication of where he’s headed this year. Stay tuned for more house records to come. Baauer is currently on tour. Catch the New York based-DJ at HARD’s new PNW iteration later this spring, and at EDM festival Thunder Beats in April.
“Enjoy all the wins. Savor those moments. If it’s your first opening slot, a DJ playing out one of your songs, your first 1000 followers… If you hold onto those moments they are the first aid kit to carry you through the more frequent obstacles on your way to what you have in your heart of where you want to be. Welcome those obstacles and losses as ways to steer your ship toward its course.”
The trap producer has collaborated with A-Trak, Baauer, G.T.A, Waka Flocka Flame, and Post Malone and is considered a certified legend in the electronic dance music scene. Like many artists intrigued by the possibilities of blockchain technology, Flosstradamus has recently ventured into the NFT space with the first smokable NFT. The innovative producer/DJ is currently touring the US—visit flosstradamus.com for tour dates and ticket information.
“I wish I had actually listened to people who told me to make music for me and not for anyone else because the moment I stopped giving a fuck about what’s ‘cool’ or ‘trendy,’ and made things that made me feel good, was when things started clicking creatively. The biggest secret out there is WE ARE NOT COOL. So embrace that, and you’ll find the other weirdos who don’t think they’re cool in the same way. PS Life is too short not to be yourself—come out into the light. We love to see it.”
Chub Rub label founder, Baby Weight, is one of the most exciting DJs of the decade. She has several forthcoming records on My Techno Weighs a Ton and Kevin Knapp’s newly established Plump Records. Knowing the Washington, DC tech house producer has a penchant for showcasing underground upstarts from across the house music spectrum. So stay glued to her label’s Bandcamp page to catch the latest.
“As performers and touring artists, we are often doing our job while the rest of the world is on vacation or celebrating events like Halloween or New Years. I can’t tell you how many times I have missed a birthday, wedding, funeral, or family get together because I had a show or was traveling or because of travel related delays. Don’t get me wrong-I absolutely love my job and being able to write and perform my music is such a blessing and dream come true but I wish someone would have prepared me for the times where I have missed out on seeing loved ones because it can get quite lonely. Mental health is so important for longevity in this business and I think ways to protect it should be something more openly spoken about within the teaching of the arts at an early age.”
Bay Area-raised Taylor Chung is the electronic music powerhouse, Wenzday. The founder and label manager of 40oz Cult, a dance music collective based in Los Angeles, has released records on venerated labels like Confession, Dim Mak, IN/ROTATION, and Insomniac Records. Catch her every Wednesday at 2 pm PST onher new Insomniac Radio show, Every Day is Wenzday.
“Patience—an overnight success is actually a 10 year process. People don’t actually see all the years, challenges, tears, and failures that build into that one win that enters you in the public eye, where people start to notice you. Be patient. Never give up. Live for the process. That’s where all the fun is. I still work on taking my own advice everyday. It’s a never ending process of intention and growth. You have to trust the process, trust yourself and believe in yourself even if and when no one else does. Also, don’t let anyone else’s journey determine or affect your own journey and self worth. Every journey is unique, and just because someone got there in one way, doesn’t mean yours will be the same. You got this!”
Lauren Mia is a progressive-house DJ to watch this year. The classical composer-turned-DJ has curated mixes for Anjunadeep, Insomniac, and BBC Radio 1. She’ll play Beyond Wonderland later this Spring in Southern California, don’t sleep on this rising star.
“Something I wish I knew years ago is the importance of creating boundaries between your personal life and your professional life. It took a while to accept that QRTR is a part of me, but I need to have a fulfilling personal life outside of QRTR in order to properly nourish all my creative endeavors. The off-time is just as if not more important than all the time spent being ‘on.’ If you allow yourself time to ‘incubate’ and enjoy art outside of your own, it will only make you a better (and happier) artist.”
The New York-based producer is notorious for her distinctive left-field house. A few re-imaginations of tracks from her latest album Infina Ad Nausea were released earlier this month, featuring Sasha Rome, Proper Villians, and Digitalism (stream the remixes on Spotify). Don’t miss QRTR at Electric Forest this year—check out qrtr.party for ticket information and future event announcements.