OLD DJ STUFF
I started DJ’ing in like 8th grade, so I was 13 at the time. I’m 25 as of adding this page. Here’s all the DJ stuff I documented over the years.
When I was a freshman in high school, I had slowly became a general fanatic over the indie rap and electronic scenes developing underground on the internet. This interest was shared with a newly met classmate named Billy, which eventually lead to our high school DJ duo.
FIRST EVENT (2012)
Here is a picture from our first DJ party ever in the summer of 2012, where we shuffled iTunes music in the virtual DJ application and a home stereo system that Billy brought from his house.
BUYING SOME GEAR (2012)
By sophomore year of high school we decided to buy some more gear so that we could host events more regularly in the Dayton area. I remember we asked for a Numark mixer with virtual DJ and a single loudspeaker before adding various lights and controllers we found lying around.
FIRST DJ VIDEO EVER (2012)
This video is pretty funny, it was Billy and I with a bunch of random lights set up in the exercise room in my house. We literally had no idea what we were doing with a little Numark mixer that we only used to shuffle (never mix) songs. We thought we were SO cool. All of these lights were hooked up to a little RGB controller with all of the wrong settings. We were even connecting the lights with XLR cables when we were supposed to be using DMX because we were really dumb. Great memories. Of course we are playing Skrillex. LOL you can’t even see us because there is so much smoke and I’m wearing Adidas. Insane.
A PROMO VIDEO (2013)
After our first year of technically DJ’ing, Billy and I decided it was time to make a ‘Promo’ video to try and spread our name in the Dayton area and on YouTube. At the time we were all listening to A$AP rocky’s album, specifically tracks like Wild For The Night which I once saw mixed with this insane Kill Paris song used in this video. Kill Paris was an artist on one of the early OWSLA artist list. I was literally scrambling for b-roll to edit into this video because we really didn’t have anything. This video looks so terrible, like what. The part where Billy free falls backwards on the bed is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. No we didn’t get any clients because of this, might have lost some.
During our Sophomore and Junior years of high school, we had started to play events every other weekend to some degree, between house parties, school dances, and local graduation events. These were the first events we were actually starting to get paid for as opposed to prior events where it was for pure enjoyment. It was the perfect job. We were mostly playing top 40, throwbacks, rap, and dance music for these events.
We invested in more gear and found a way to quickly turn spaces into raves and dance events.
YOUTUBE VLOGS (2014)
We used to try making VLOGs like this after events to document shows to put on YouTube. IDK why but I literally picked the absolute worst songs for all of these videos like the music is so incredibly aggressive for no reason. Dubstep was still cool to me and all of the attempts to make these videos were just emulating some of the biggest names in EDM at the time who were always making cool recap videos for shows and tours, etc. We never really had many opportunities to film and document high school parties mostly because we couldn’t upload those without getting us or someone in trouble somehow, so a lot of what we filmed was just school dances and graduation parties. Pretty funny but in a lot of ways we were paid decent and never really worked summer jobs. We would just make 3-4k in the first couple weeks of summer and use that for the entirety of the year. I thought that was pretty special, and it was also never intentional. Every weekend was just DJ on Fridays and Saturdays and then I would make recaps on Sunday for YouTube.
BIRTHDAY PARTY VLOGS (2014)
WOW I am such a nerd. Here is some more VLOGS. Do you know how hard it is to film and play music at these? Thank God there was two of us. That’s probably been my biggest pain point in music so far…somebody to film, document, and capture moments and re-purpose them for the internet. That’s why all of these sports teams and companies hire content creators full time now.
Anyway, these parties were fun and felt more like ideal shows even though we were only in high school. We were pretty comfortable with our process of loading tons of gear into the back of my VOLVO XC90 and doing setup/tear down in like 1-2 hours.
BEST MOBILE DJ SETUP EVER (2014)
Our final year of high school was around the corner and Billy and I started making plans for how we would split the gear upon graduation. In anticipation of selling off a lot of our stuff, I decided to make one video recapping what we had built since our start in 2012.
This video ended up going mirco-viral on YouTube and clocked in at like 300,000 and gained me 1.5k subs views before I eventually took it down. I have a theory that this video was the one that somehow allowed me admittance to the music school at IU, which is pretty hilarious. Once I realized I was going to need a portfolio to show the admissions committee I had to start making more technical videos to try and build rapport. I didn’t really know much from a traditional music background which made me behind the curve and my plan was to show them I was adept in the engineering side of things. So I made this huge one talking about all the gear we had and how we were able to move it to our DJ events in Dayton. Again, what is this music selection?
In the Spring of 2015 Billy and I had both decided on different universities and planned for the next stage musically once school was over. I decided to buy a majority of the remaining equipment in our lot as I was planning to use it for continued events once I had gotten comfortable in the next year.
LAST DUO EVENT
One of the last big duo events we did was the spring turnabout at our school. I remember we had gone all out for this set, planning a coherent set from start to finish without any improvisation.
This is the first time we had ever tried this and I still think it’s one of the most evolutionary sets in terms of learning how to DJ today. We were finally mixing and matching BPM instead of fading and doing hard cuts. Our library had gotten pretty large at this time, and both of us had a much better feel for the type of music that crowds wanted to hear.
START OF COLLEGE (2015)
I ended up on Indiana’s campus in Fall of 2015 and did not DJ a single event until the start of the second semester. I had all of the same stuff we had from high school and was finally able to bring it to our fraternity house over the first xmas break. At the time I had convinced my parents how serious I was about doing it professionally and bought my first pair of CDJs!
FIRST COLLEGE EVENT (2016)
The first event I played in college was a couple months into school once I had found a friend group and had a general understanding of campus. I won’t lie, I had high expectations for what I wanted to do with DJ’ing while I was there and jumped at any opportunity I had to play.
I started off playing at our fraternity parties after we had been initiated and they were some of the best memories I have from college to date.
OTHER CAMPUS EVENTS (2016)
Our fraternity had strong ties with the university’s dance marathon event, which was the first thing I played with a large number of students I didn’t directly know. It was def my biggest crowd ever up until the point, which was nerve-racking but served as great introductory experience. At this point I was playing solo and operating the lights at the same time, which was something I was not used to. Somehow I had found a way to make it work!
FIJI IBIZA (2016)
This event was one of the most backwards things I’ve ever witnessed, and I don’t mean this from a standpoint of like “That party was crazy” but instead from a standpoint of how it was arranged and the nature of it all. It took place when I was a freshman at Indiana University in Spring of 2016. This was before Greek life had really slowed down at IU in terms of concert restrictions and university intervention, I highly doubt an event like this could be pulled off anymore today. The event was coined FIJI Ibiza because EDM was IN and that Mike Posner Remix was charting super hard. We were still living in this 100 year old fraternity house that was on its death bed and would later be demolished the next year.
We basically took our moldy basement cafeteria and turned it into a club and packed with 500 people on some random Thursday night in January. We were literally turning people away at the door by midnight and the cops eventually shut it down at like 3AM. Pretty sure our entire basement flooded and half the ceiling tiles were punched in. I ended up breaking about $2000.00 dollars in equipment. I uploaded this video to YouTube that summer and was immediately forced to take it down by our cabinet. I think it’s probably okay to upload now. Good memories!
After my first year in college it felt like there was a pretty massive opportunity to keep meeting new people and playing different events on campus for pay and for fun. The summer going into my sophomore year I decided to just double down on the product as a whole and upgraded everything for a new level of shows for 2016-2017.
The idea was for me to basically be able to throw a mini-concert sized events at any venue in Bloomington whenever I got the call to come play. I set a goal to play at all the different Greek houses on campus just to meet as many people as possible and get a feel for what each house was like.
I spent that entire summer upgrading the mobile setup to a grandiose scale with money I had saved from my summer A/V job. At this point I had included a full Chuavet light-show that I designed to be operable by myself or any volunteer for the evening. My bank was empty, but my heart was full investing in what I loved.
It was the start of my second year of college. The first event I played was at a neighboring fraternity in which I had previously reached out to a social chair and asked if I could simply play for free. In fact, I don’t think I ever really charged anyone for playing on campus up until this point, it was always just something I loved doing.
This first party ended up being the last time I ever really needed to network for a gig on campus, which was sick. From that point forward I was just spinning one event into another, and probably turning down events more often than not. That first semester I’m pretty sure I played upwards of 30 shows in a 16 week period between clubs, bars, and house parties. One of the happiest times in my life as far as I could remember.
This was all leading up to the dance marathon set I had been scheduled to play towards the end of that fall, which would be the largest crowd I would have played to date at around 1,500 students.
FIRST CLUB GIG
My first club gig was at Kilroy’s Dunnkirk (RIP) in September 2016, where I was an opener for Sam Feldt. I was playing on a 4 set of CDJ’s for the first time and a bunch of the upperclassmen cam to watch my set. They let me stay in after the show even though I wasn’t 21 and I stayed up until 4am. Life was good, I think it was Tuesday night.
I was on a roll playing shows at this point and decided to try out a ‘mini-tour’ under my music alias. I was scheduled to play 4 different houses and open for Louis the Child, which was a duo gaining massive notoriety at the time.
They borrowed my CDJ’s for the night and played a show at a fraternity with like 600 people on the guest list. We did a pre-game with them and I asked Freddy (left) if he wrote the drop for Closer by the Chainsmokers. He confirmed that he actually wrote the drop for the song. Badass.
I was setting up, running, and tearing down all of these events solo for a majority of this time. I spent hours cleaning, downloading music, practicing, etc.
It was a lot of late nights but I met tons of people and had a blast doing it.
The biggest event I did that year, and the biggest event to date was the annual Dance Marathon fundraiser show each November. I remember I spent upwards of 6 weeks prepping this set to completion. It was perfect because I was testing out all of my material at the smaller shows to use at this event.
The setlist was 66 songs long and I only had 60 minutes, so it was for sure a mix obstacle course to nail it correctly.
This semester of college was also loaded with events! It was comparable to the first semester, but I was a lot busier school wise, so I toned down the shows I played on week nights.
We ran the second annual Ibiza party, which was solid but nothing compared to the first one. I actually had a flash drive crap out on me an hour before after putting all this work into the party which prevented me from playing any new music. I remember being so upset haha. Oh well!
I spent the summer after my sophomore year abroad and started to go through the first stage of changes with DJ’ing around this time. Within the last year I had played about 60 events at school and was burnt out from all of the setup and teardown required to maintain the shows. That summer I ended up selling off all of my equipment other than just loudspeakers and the CDJ’s so that I would be able to shuffle music to others when needed. I also was starting to try and prioritize recording and production before strictly DJ’ing.
This was one of my favorite sets of all time. I had just gone through a breakup and it was literally the only thing keeping my mind busy the first few weeks. I remember feeling so low after it was over because I had nothing to distract myself with anymore haha. I loved having stuff like this to do when I was feeling down. Anyway, put a ton of hours into this set. It took me about 3 weeks to master If I had to guess. I had skipped a full week of classes just to prep because I knew I’d be playing to like 1,500 people. I opened the set with this track called Rampart by Audien which has a long intro and super aggressive breakdown, and then mixed in a classic Zomboy track right after. I was slowly outgrowing EDM around this time but it still felt nice to put on some of my favorite dubstep and watch people lose their minds. All around a super fun night with a lot of my close friends that I’m grateful for. After it was over I went back to my house, ordered a large pizza X, and fell asleep. Good times.
This is probably the last real set I played while in college as I was focusing on friends and other things outside of music. It felt really good to step behind the decks for one last hoorah, because I had become totally aware that the time and place for DJ’ing was fading away as everyone started to brace themselves for real life.
This was a great set, another home run that I invited my parents and some extended family to.
Previously that year we had an ongoing joke about this thing called “The OHH” where everyone just yells Oh from T.I.’s dead and gone as loud as they can. We threw it into the set with a thousand people and it was hilarious. 10/10
CASUAL PLAYING SPRING 2019
At this point in college I was only really playing music occasionally with friends and casually at bars and parties with people I knew. My music taste had shifted completely at this time to actual records and singles, you know, the stuff you could find on Spotify. I barely listened to or mixed dance music and never spent a minute on soundcloud during this time.
Every Friday I would play house sets with my friend Nick, another DJ from my hometown a few years younger than me. Nobody really showed up, but I loved those sets. Some of my favorites of all time!
GRADUATION & BEYOND
When I graduated from college, and even the few months before it ended, I started to really question electronic music and it’s place in my life. Sonically I had always been amazed by it’s features but I could never make ends meet in terms of environment and people associated with it. In short, I had no interest in staying out late, being in clubs, and being around folks who claimed they liked EDM. All of my friends had outgrown it, in a lot of ways I had to.
But this wasn’t the part bugging me the most. The thing that bugged me the most was that I had never really taken the time to write my own material for others to listen to. I looked back and felt like a huge phony because I was just good at taking other’s people work and mixing it altogether to crowd-please. I had lost all fulfillment in it because I would just step back and say to myself, “That’s cool, but none of it’s yours.”
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe it takes skill to read a crowd and curate the right collection of music. It’s just that after a while it all started to seem so dang easy to me. Not to mention I started to wonder why I enjoyed it so much. There was a big part of me that considered I was seeking validation through it, so I wanted to try and reflect on this way more before continuing. I had to be in it for the music, for the right reasons.
So since 2019, I haven’t really DJ’d at all. That’s not to say I never will again, but I just became way more interested in writing records of all kinds. Today I’m just writing music and hope to perform it live to people some day in some way shape or form.