The 4 Types Of DJ (And Why You Should Only Take Advice From One Of Them)

People haven't always got your best interests at heart when they offer you advice. As an up-and-coming DJ, how are you meant to know how to sort good advice from bad?

People haven't always got your best interests at heart when they offer you advice. As an up-and-coming DJ, how are you meant to know how to sort good advice from bad?

How can we tell the difference between someone offering us helpful advice, and someone who does not have our best interests in mind? Both as a DJ and teacher (I run a creative marketing workshop called Brand Me Silly), I’ve experienced and witnessed the latter time and time again. Some of the awful ideas our workshop classmates share with us sound like someone hammered them into their heads early on in their careers, and it's often stuff which could potentially hold them back.

I was well aware of the horrible advice DJs were giving other DJs long before I was teaching. When I’d decided at 19 I wanted to take up DJing I had big goals in mind and fully believed in myself, but not everyone felt the same and I was often discouraged, with people I looked up to telling me I wouldn't amount to anything. It's the strangest feeling to have always respected someone, only to feel complete disappointment in them moments into sharing your dreams! As my career progressed I repeatedly witnessed similar negative attitudes, not only directed at me but other newcomers still trying to find their way too.

The stuff DJs say...

I heard such lines as: "We’ve been in it for over 10 years, if we didn’t make it big what makes you think you can?" There always seemed to be some "hot topic" of derision: I listened to vinyl enthusiasts putting down CDJ users, DJs moaning about "this damn technology" and how it was now so accessible, about how their “competition” had tripled. Before you knew it, “everyone is a DJ” turned into “everyone loves rave music and it’s all the wrong genres...” And on and on.

I started to wonder if the advice given by the very people who had such negative things to say had more to do with them and less to do with everyone else. Were they projecting their self-hatred onto others? (I recently wrote an article called Haters Are Your Motivators exploring this further.) It appeared the DJs who were the first to “give advice” and the angriest about it, were also the ones shaming other DJs for everything from the way they dressed to the music they played to what they played it on. No one was safe.

On the other hand, it became apparent to me that those DJs who were calm, collected, polite and worked hard didn’t appear to struggle with the supposed "reasons" for anger that other DJs moaned about. They were better able to cope with negative situations, respond in healthy and more professional ways, and appreciate the blessings both big and small that came their way. It didn’t mean they weren't dealing with hate and judgement, but they fought through that because their approach was something different.

Fast forward to today and I see four types of DJ from back when I realised all of this:

  1. The "happy hobbyists" - They enjoyed playing, but it was only for fun. Maybe they started a family or occasionally played out, but the goal was never to be a huge success. Yet they still wished everyone else the best
  2. The "happy successes" - The people who worked their butts off and stayed true to themselves. They found their way regardless of obstacles, and even to this day those I still know are lovely people who are happy to help others where they can
  3. The “I give ups" - Most of the people who were the angry, loud complainers did not reach success and most do not DJ today. They probably still have an earful to share with you
  4. The "paranoid successes" - A select few who fought through and made it, but kept those negative opinions, and are still watching their backs. Talk to one and you usually get the feeling they are worried someone might take their spot

So who can you trust for advice? Well, when someone has not received success in an area they are giving advice for, unless they are a professional expert (based on let's say college degrees), chances are they will send you in the wrong direction. whether knowingly or unknowingly. You don’t take cooking advice from some that burns food all of the time, do you?

When someone is paranoid, often their “advice” is sprinkled with toxic messages. Things meant to make you feel bad about yourself. This often comes off like back-handed compliments. “I can see you’re trying and that’s admirable but here are all the places you are making mistakes and why I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot.” It may seem harmless, but sometime those things they state are “shooting you in the foot” are actually helping your career!

And sometimes people give advice that just doesn’t work for you, and that can leave you feeling pretty frustrated as well. This could be along the lines of recommending you promote your brand in a way that doesn’t not reflect the brand, which could include the type of music you play. When people that say things like “I’m a good guy” or “I am just telling you how it is” and you feel like their behaviour is the complete opposite of the statement, your gut may be telling you something. Listen!

Whose advice you should be heeding...

The best people for advice tend to be the "happy success" types. They are not only actually in the position to offer good advice (through "getting there" themselves), but they also relate to, acknowledge, and accept you for you. They are diplomatic, understanding and won’t pressure you to do something you are not comfortable with. People that are genuine don't lack empathy or justify their abusive behaviour by stating they are “just being honest”.

When people look up to us, we suddenly have this big responsibility we didn’t ask for. To be helpful, honourable, and honest. The way we approach that is so important, because everyone is different. We can’t expect people to fall into our cookie cutter ideas on how to do things. We have to allow people to be themselves, and find their way while we encourage, support and help where we can. Advice given this way is truly worth seeking, heeding and remembering.

• Kilma is a Canadian DJ, writer, and radio host on Find out more about her and connect with her via social media at her website.

Have you experienced bad advice or discouragement from other DJs? How do you know who to listen to and who to ignore? Do DJs come to you for advice, and if so, how do you choose to deal with the situation? Please share your thoughts below.

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  1. dj leemont says:

    I say and believe you ask god n.jesus to help you they will. Also be humble and expect other dj's try to take your job. If they do..just get backnin the . Because good work pays off.

  2. This is actually quite profound.

    • Wow, thank you so much. I'm am glad that you were able to take something from this. Thank you for sharing it with your friends on FB.

      • I at one point had become a “I give up” when I found myself putting in loads of time promoting and pushing to just play a 60-min set...only to find trixies begging me for Top-40 two songs into my set. Meanwhile, I was watching rank amateurs who got high with promoters getting to open for big names.

        I got cynical and grew to hate DJing...up until I decided to really look at what I loved about DJing and focused on that. Thus I proudly call myself a “happy hobbyist”. It's why I try not to mince words or sugar-coat the truth of this business when I speak to younger DJs here. Doesn't mean they can't be successful, but it doesn't come easy or stay on easily when attained.

        • Absolutely and I am so glad that you were able to take a step back from the situation and see what was going on. It frustrating and can be quite upsetting. I can most definitely relate to that feeling. I think that anytime we really want something we start to see how there are people cheating their way to the top and it's not how most of us were taught. Some will become fizzled out but there are the select few that make it with those toxic actions and will step all over us to get there. If we recognize what that looks like we are better able to watch out for it. Heck we might just decide it's not for us and more on in a more positive light. I am so glad you can still enjoy what you do and that you feel better about it now.

  3. All djs are jealous. .they can't spare to see that you are successful at something they couldn't. .you have to work hard at it.

    Also you forgot about the djs that wan to ride along your coat tails after you have gained a little bit of success, but will leave when things get bad..

    It's all a part of life.

    Work and work and then work some more.

    • In my experience the people that try to "ride coat tails" are fizzled out quickly. With the amount of work it takes to "keep up" and stay current, someone that just wants to come along for the ride will realize the work that comes with it.

    • "All djs are jealous. .they can’t spare to see that you are successful at something they couldn’t. .you have to work hard at it."

      DonPaco do you really feel this way? If you do I have to say you have not met many DJ's then. I am not jealous of anyone as everyone walks their own path. If you genuinely take the time to try and help people you will be rewarded back in some way. That's just the long and short of it. That's what I do and my reward is always the only thing that I expect. That is a "Thank you." Nothing more, nothing less.

      • I fully agree with you D'M. You get more out than what you put in. I started this as a hobby. I'm self taught, as a result I approached everything differently. I use a LEGO analogy to music. I've helped a few DJs in person and via email using it. I get great joy out of hearing my ideas put to use. I've seen Schmoozers, Chameleons, Braggarts, and everything else. I choose to be Genuine, Open, and Professional. I have no questions about the path I stroll down. Promoters know what they will get with no surprises. The DJs I choose to hang with, know they have support and I have it in return.

  4. godztearz says:

    I experienced almost the exact scenario, a dj I had known personally for a while and looked up to figuratively pissed on my picnic when I shared the news of my purchase of laptop based system. I guess we just take it with salt and push forward, always forward

    • It's a story all too familiar for many. People's true colors come out when the cards fall. I'm glad you are moving forward regardless :) would love to check out your stuff.

      • Wow, you and welcome and thank you so much for your wonderful message. I love the vibes you are putting out. I would be totally down for #HugADJDay haha!

        More humility!

        • Haha where do we start Kilma??! #hugadjday!

          On a serious note though, nothing we don't already know, but reaching out and creating that bond with another human being with the simple mind set of "hey what's up, can I ask you for your help?" Or "check this out, do you mind if I share this with you?" ....not only creates bonds but it Changes Lives. (And I'm not exaggerating)...

  5. Perfect, spot on about the people that criticize benign things like appearance or gear. All stems from insecurity.

    • For sure and it doesn't mean that they are at a loss either. People can still grow and change in a positive ways. I sure have different ways of thinking and approaching things as I once did. If you can name it, you can claim it!

  6. Great post, a good reminder for all of us

  7. Personally, the term humility comes to mind. I realized how important this value was in anything and anyone I came across: at home, at work, at the few DJing events I've had. As a happy hobbyist DJ, am a strong believer that without this value, I will find myself climbing never ending mountains. Much less pushing forward with goals.
    But never mind what I believe in, I hope that you guys/girls can agree that we as people, in this case we as DJs, should be thankful for all the opportunities that come our way. Most importantly, we as DJs should be thankful for the experienced DJs that helped guide and mold us to the DJs we are now.

    Sounds cliche and cheesy, but let's encourage eachother to help eachother be better. I hope you guys/girls can agree that there is meaning behind this practice.

    Now I'm not trying to say let's start a "hug a DJ day" (which actually does sound pretty cheesy but funny) but what I am saying is let's take the time to reach out to those that want to learn. And most importantly, let's reach out to those that taught us the craft and have been doing it longer than we have.

    Let's not be discouraged when we're rejected, let's remember that as long as humility plays a roll, doors will open for us eventually. Let's teach eachother and guide eachother with a humble mind/heart and watch the results play out. It just takes a little bit of letting go of our egos.

    I started djing late in my 20s and I sure don't know everything about the DJin but, I do know one thing, being authentic as a human and never forgetting who we are can go a long looong way.

    -1st time poster
    -Follower of DDJT
    -Sorry for the grammar.

    Your DJ brother,

    Heyden Ayure Aka Heyden Sensation
    Tampa Fl

    Thank you Kilma. And most importantly thank you Phil.

    • Wow, you and welcome and thank you so much for your wonderful message. I love the vibes you are putting out. I would be totally down for #HugADJDay haha!

      More humility!

      I thought I replied to your message but I guess I didn't. Thank you for your kind words!

  8. I consider myself to be the happy success type because I'm not afraid of people stealing my residency and I don't feel the success of others even if larger than mine belittles my own accomplishments... That said I am not one to sugar coat or beat around the bush. I spend a lot of time helping people on reddit's /r/DJs and /r/Beatmatch and I personally wrote 99% of the wiki on the later... but people who want their jobs done for them or who show no initiative and just want to fast track their way to the spotlight are going to get a dose of reality from me.

    Just because someone shows you tough love doesn't mean they don't have your best interests in mind. When you ask "I have a gig at a high school what should I play," and I answer that you're not ready for the gig if you need to ask that question and tell you how and where to dig for your own music I am trying to set you up to be better in the future, I am not jealous of your gig. Teach a man to fish and all that...

    • As my Mama taught me, "attack the behavior not the person and you'll see a HUGE difference in their response." We can give great advice but sometimes that advice gets lost when we fail to use the approaches that work best. And of course, these approaches can be so different for each person.

  9. Night Foundation says:

    This might be slightly off-topic but I think it hits the ballpark. Self help books often encourage you to "share your dream" aka tell everyone what you want to do, so that you could receive their help when they enthusiastically support your new activities. I say HA. Most people including your nearest and dearest will instantly give a ton of advice about things they really have no clue backed up with relentless why-you-should-think-about-it-twice. When you know there is something you want to do and go after, keep it to yourself for a while. When you're up and running start seeking advice from outsiders or maybe from a friend if they have knowledge of the subject. When you haven't heard a lot of "helpful" suggestions consisting of why you shouldn't do this or that, its easier to find and recognize those happy successes further down the road.

    • I think it's totally on topic and valid. I remember a quote by Steven Harvey, "Stop telling your big dreams to small minded people."

      Know your gift.
      Be clear about your vision.
      Surround yourself with other dreamers.

    • I have a friend here at work that used to head up a school that taught auto mechanics. They could take a person who was willing to work hard and they would get them to pass the state mechanics test. His school worked with literally what most people would call "the dregs of society" -- he had a school of ex-addicts, people with jail time on their record, did not finish high school, some struggled to read, you get the picture.

      He told me that they worked hardest at helping their students deal with pressure from those in their life who were envious of them trying to make something of themselves and picked at them to tear them down. It is really weird but others in a similar situation don't really want you to be able to step up from that situation for some reason. He is not an overly emotional guy and he gets kind of emotional when he talks about it. The mere descriptions of people he counseled and what they went through are gut wrenching.

      His school had an envious record. Virtually all of his students (the ones who would stick with it and work) made it, got their license, got employed, gained a measure of control over their lives.

      What does this story have to do with DJs? Well, you see that same behavior (perhaps watered down a bit) from those relatives and friends who caution you to think twice or from those DJs who will tell you all about why you won't make it. They feel somewhat threatened by the mere chance that you will succeed. What is worse is that they are not self-aware enough to be able to articulate that they feel threatened somehow. All of the things they say to dissuade you are coming from a place of fear.

      So what do you do about this in the light of knowing it is all about THEIR FEAR? Now that I recognize it is more about their fears I simply choose to live the way I want since I know that they won't be the ones to pick up the pieces if I fail.

      Choose to take everything people say with a scoop of rock salt! (...usually a grain of salt won't do....) Take the bits that resonate with you as true and use them. Dump the rest of it and don't think twice.

      Kilma - nice article!

      • Thank you Dennis and wow what a powerful story. I think human understanding human behavior including the toxic messages is just as important as learning the skill themselves. Actually I am reading an excellent book on the "Evil 8" and their tendencies to watch out for even how to make sure you do not devolved the wrong information. It's crazy how even though we are told "cheaters never win and winners never cheat" is just such a naive way of thinking. Cheaters absolutely win and take advantage of unsuspecting, unaware good people. All we can do it try to pass that knowledge along and teach people how to treat us based on how we treat them.

        As I start to ramble on for days.... love your story thank you for sharing :)

        • Kilma - you are most welcome.

          When you figure out the root causes of things you see a clearer picture emerge. Because I was trained as a systems analyst I look for those root causes more than folks who are not trained to be looking for them.

          I hope that by sharing the observations others will start to look at these ugly behaviors differently and see them for what they really are -- symptoms of a lack of real love and/or the ability to accept/return that sort of love. Being able to do that is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest thing you will do while on this planet.

          Returning those behaviors in kind merely reinforces the thoughts and feelings that cause the person to act out as they do. We all have to rise above that, understand the behaviors and do our best to show them a better way.

          In my heart I know that if PLUR means anything it has to mean that those of us who are not of the "mean" variety need to lead the way in teaching everyone how to treat one another with respect and to drop the whole jealousy thing.

  10. I'm definitely in the 'happy hobbyist' category. This site has been quite instrumental in helping me learn a ton of stuff. And your article has given me food for thought for what to look (and look out) for as far as advice and encouragement.

    I feel that communities with people who encourage, assist, positively criticize and support each other are the best ones. And people who do these things tend to be successful, too because they prime the pump for many good things to happen.

    For me, it's encouraging to hear from a female DJ, because we're so vanishingly uncommon in this field. I especially appreciate seeing female DJs who are willing to advise and encourage others and share their dreams. I've followed your blog, so I can keep up.

  11. Learn from everyone: What to do from successes, what not to do from failures, but do what's in your heart. Music (after all) is a gift best shared with other people, why not be somewhere you're loved?

  12. Every week on one of these DJ site I read an article about DJ's dissing each other, negative advise and so on. I don't know who you hang around with, but I've always found the DJ community to be friendly and inviting.

    I DJ in clubs, bars, festivals, corporate, weddings, art galleries, fashion shows and have my own radio show. I have been doing this for over 15 years and I've never come across the negative vibes written in these articles. Only a sense of community through a shared passion of music.

    The only arseholes I've come across and there only has been a tiny amount, you could count them on one hand. Is some really talented musicians, freaky talented. Classically trained or heavy jazz cats. But they are so talented they almost get away with it, almost.

    • Wow, that's amazing! Where do you live? Can I move out there? I am glad you havent experienced this and honestly I am in disbelief I've never met someone that has claimed to have not experienced said things.

    • Adrien Lestat says:

      I started out as a hobby DJ and had quite a bit of success as a Chicago house music DJ in the mid 90s both nationally and internationally surrounded by people who moved forward together, some of them are now considered house music superstars from Chicago. In the late 90s I decided to stay here in Chicago and work at some local clubs and focus on raising my sons. I was able to satisfy my love of music and and share that with people who loved what I was doing. I had my critics and haters along the way but I stayed true to what I enjoyed and was surrounded by those who enjoyed it as well and no it did not come easy. Some of my fellow DJs and friends suggested I use serato others shunned it but ultimately we all excepted what each other was doing as technology and the tools of the trade advanced. After all all art as with life moves forward. Because we were all creatively mixing, blending, and being artistic about what we were doing and that was the goal, being passionate about music criticism seemed to be a waste of time unless it was in someway helpful. I continued to work successfully here in Chicago til my sons were grown and moved on with their lives andand now am driving back into the international scene. That being said I recently had someone explain to me that they felt DJs weren't really doing anything but pushing buttons, just starting and stopping songs. I pointed out to her that some are and some are not. After a long discussion it seemed that her passion was strong enough that she could learn to be a DJ to fulfill her love of music. Rather than complain about the problem I saw that she had the drive to be a part of the solution. So she pursued me as a teacher for a few weeks after seeing that she was driven enough we had her first lesson. The first lesson was a big lesson for me, the responsibility you speak of is tremendous. I had to go all the way back to the basics of the equipment what it does and why. What each little thing can be used for to its maximum potential. (I was so used to discussing the advanced little tricks and methods with my peers I completely forgot how long of a journey it was to get to that point) Once I started explaining these things she sat down with the notepad and I realized the gravity of my responsibility. My explanations had to be twofold because ultimately she wanted to produce her own tracks so my education on DJing was to show the purpose of the musical tool she intended to create in making music/tracks that DJs would use. I realized that I needed to teach the student you're not just making a track for someone to start after the last track but a tool with multiple layers that someone will use to create an original entity while playing with another song/track. The further we got into the lessons the more I realized all the points you made earlier in your statement being considerate to her tastes her goals her intentions all while guiding her along the path that has a structure DJs require. I had to teach her the mathematics of the way tracks are built without distracting from the feelings and journey she wanted to create. On top of all this she was two decades younger than me and intended to play in an arena that I did not necessarily participate in. This just shows the multiple layers of consideration that need to be given to a student but it's absolutely necessary to encourage the art if it's going to endure with real creativity and originality. I have been able to bring her around other DJ friends that play different styles completely and they've been able to contribute to her positive energy towards learning and guide her even further into her passion of mixing and creating music for others.....
      I think ultimately the keyword in the situation is guidance....

      • Adrien, because of what you did, nothing you don't already know, but man you had an impact on her life. You took the time to made an impact and I guarantee you for the rest of her DJ career, she will remember you brother. Thank you for sharing your great story. Kind man I want to learn from

      • Wow, Adrien. Just read your story! Thank you for being a contributing and helpful person in our scene. It is so lovely to hear about situations like this. I love you approach to the situation and it sounds like you made a HUGE impact for this women. I am sure she appreciates it. I love how you offered a different view when we stated the "pushing buttons" thing. You articulated that art form so well.

        I am writing a piece of that. Maybe we can connect? I would love to chat with you more about that.

  13. happy to be a hobbyist but happy to be a star if the opportunity came knocking ha ha!!!….. think the best advice i could give is stay true to yourself and be a nice guy/gal. Keep the original raver mantra… peace, love and unity!!!

  14. I think we left out type #5. The DJ who sucks at not only the DJ side of things but the business side as well. You will often find this type saying how "Great" your set was and trying everything he can to befriend you when he finally does you will then see him trying to corner your club owner, promoter, sponsor trying to stab you in the back... Be careful out there. If you are going to make a legit run at making it. These guys are everywhere...

  15. Here is my general thoughts on this.

    You know there are many people who give their advice freely out there based on their own experience. It is important to remember each of us is different. Not everything that works for one person will work from another.

    Also things that have worked in the past are no guarantee of future success. So even the most happily successful people won't have the right answers for you.

    When asking for advice it is also about doing your homework first with search engines there is so much already out there to help you. This helps you come across of having made some effort in answering your own questions. Chances are that others in are in your situation and have already asked the question and had it answered.

    That said do not to be afraid of asking questions. Evaluate the responses you get and make your own informed decisions.

    Yes, you will always have those haters and idiots out there that will try to insult or belittle you. Those are not worth the time of day. I always think of them as people who are wasting their lives. If it is not constructive to say then don't bother.

    You will find those people out there willing to help and those out for their own gain, you just have to keep filtering through those people until you find the ones that work for you.

    The is no magic ticket it is all about motivation and hard work.

    • Love what you had to say and agreed with you on doing your own research too. Like you said, "Evaluate the responses you get and make your own informed decisions." Sometimes people I look up to give great advice and other times they give me advice that works better for them then for me. And that's totally cool. Gotta take what works for you and let the rest go.

  16. Remember to learn as many genres of music as possible. Use the technology that's why it's there and apply my favorite technique. "The 3 song switch". All this and more can be found in my self titled book. Lol I don't actually have a book.

  17. DJ Mo King says:


    As someone who teaches this weekly, I'm always glad to see someone else gets it. As I teach my students the skills of DJing, I also impart things like playing to your audience. One of my students got to spin with me at a party for one of his family friends. While he played some of his own music, I reminded him the importance of connecting with your audience. The guest of honor was celebrating her 75th birthday. I told him that while we'd be playing all kinds of music, our focus should be on making her happy. I was told she wasn't active, but you should've seen her doing the Cupid Shuffle!

    Skills are a handy thing to have, but you have to know when to use them.

    Mo King

    • Yo Mo,
      Some how I missed this one in all my responses. I love hearing about other fellow DJs sharing the knowledge and supporting other artists. That means so much to these growing new artists and I must say I wish I had more people like you when I was first coming into the scene some 10 years ago.

  18. I know of several dj friends of mine that are "making it" huge by literally purchasing ghostwritten songs and who have an image and are being taken in by a manager. I wish them success, as I do everyone, but it is extremely difficult to watch many of my other friends struggle so hard, and who are vastly more superior in skill and tact. I see countless others that have stayed humble and whose music just was the wrong place at the wrong time and who have had a very hard time standing by watching some inexperienced djs with giant egos after a year of playing get more cred for being in the right place at the right time - djs who find it very easy to preach positivity. I myself have been doing this for over a decade and have always believed that if you keep at it, and you know your own talent and when to push it, the time will come. But first and foremost is respecting, learning, and paying your dues to do it right and with integrity. For me, it has worked and I'm now taking travel bookings and putting out vinyl and successful digital releases with what I want to do. But it took a long time. As sometimes it should. And it has kept me very humble. But For those who gave it their all in a decade when electronic music was balked at instead of put on a pedestal like it is today, and especially when they were making better music than 99% of the churned out stuff like today, I get the anger and negativity. You just have to reach past it. That should be a major point in this article too. How to overcome what is a very real and very justified feeling of envy and unfairness so that we can keep the positivity going while considering the reality of the situation. There are really two types of DJs in my opinion: Those that love the craft more than the success, and those that love the success more than the craft. Looking at it from that point of view, it changes the dynamics of positivity because it changes the system of values. Same reason why EDM and underground music exist on two seperate planes of thought. Just my two cents. Was still a very good article.

    • Pontchartrain, thank you for your feed back. You bring up a lot of great points. Honestly I could write a book on this stuff alone, but for article sake I kept it short and simple. There are most defiantly people that are out there to screw over and have no regard for others. They will do anything they can to get to the top and they cheat to get there. I think that understanding what that looks like and how to watch out for it is a part of become successful. We can't go into this game un-aware and naive and than wonder why we got screwed over. It's not fair and most don't know. The idea is that the scene is all about "P.L.U.R" but that just the "advertisement' to get you involved and feeling safe. It's a drug influenced scene full or sociopaths and narcissus.

      We can keep positive and work hard but the line "Winners never cheat and cheaters never win." is bullshit. They absolutely do and it's not fair BUT if we know what to watch out for and understand that this is a game and we gotta learn how to play we can better protect ourselves from these situations.

      I don't want to come off jaded, because I am most definitely not but I know the reality, I've experienced and I want other people to learn from my mistakes as I have. I also think that anyone looking to reach success not just in the "dj world" but in this world, that we all live in NEED to understand this stuff because there are scammers everywhere. And they will come off as nice but when our alarm bells start going off because of the toxic behavior we need to step back and re-asset the situation with a clear head.

  19. Panagiotis Hatzisavvas(DJ Doctor PH) says:

    After almost 25 years behind the decks I finally believe that you have to work hard and believe in yourself to survive in the cruel world of DJ micro world. I remember in the past well known DJ in my area come to the club I played only to take my job! Most of them were be polite & friendly and when I turned my back they were ready to bite me like a shark! Another category that still exist are the VIPs. Never ask you what you playing and send someone else to ask "This great! What's this remix?". Never had a problem to share my music and my knowledge with someone else because I know that no one can be me behind the decks...

  20. I also run into those that have these grandiose and ill-fated plans but can't possibly make them happen because it's a financial loss before it gets off the ground and they don't have the funding to implement it, and think they are going to be the biggest name around....keep it real guys and gals!

  21. As someone who is beyond "happy hobbyist" but not a full-on "happy success" (since I don't play out enough to say that I really make money at this...) I would caution that there may be areas where those hobbyist-types can offer you advice that would be quite worthwhile.

    To wit... The hobbyist types may have explored some of the technology way deeper than others. If that hobbyist is deep into controllerism they might well have a lot of knowledge about things like MIDI mapping, how to interface things, how you can use various technology bits in a set, etc. They probably can't tell you how to get a booking at some hot club (unless you are hobbyist like D-Jam who used to be a happy success and pulled back) but they sure might be able to help you figure out something technical.

    EVERY DJ has something to offer you so long as your mind is properly prepared to deal with it. Even the worst sourpuss, backbiting, whiner shows how NOT to be.

    Just sayin'...

    • I agree and for "editing purposes" the owners felt the buzz of "only take advice from one of them" was more appealing and it seems everyone stayed calm about it, but I absolutely agree that people not in your field can give great advice, but sometimes it's just doesn't work for you. And that's okay too.
      I like how you said about the sourpuss, backbiting, whiners showing you how NOT to me.

      I recall meeting a "big name dj" super police and sweet and professional and kept in touch over the years. No ego about it. While a local cat, dissed and dismissed people he felt were "below him." What an awful way to live and treat people. I definitely know how I would NEVER like to be, also I never booked DJs like that jerk "knowingly" when I use to promote parties.

  22. Thanks for the great read! Currently stuck in Charlotte enroute to a gig in Oakland and it was a great thing to see you looking at. For the most part I think it's true to a degree depending on how much stock you put in people's view of you and your craft and it always dissapiinting when homies you offer gigs to and try to support dont return that, but that's just people in general, not just djs. It is what it is and all you can do is keeping being authentic to you, keeping your skills sharp, finding/making new music and putting in the work to be great. Hating on anything based on preconceived notions of what something should be is just bunk in any arena of life. As a dj you provide a sonic journey and atmosphere, it dont matter how you make it happen just that it happens and it's from your heart. Some great comments up here too! Let's keep that convo going y'all, we'll all be better from it.

  23. Great advice Killma thanks for sharing. I am also from Winnipeg and am new to the DJ and club scene and it became very apparent very quickly that u were the most hated on and disrespected DJ in the local scene. It seems every one is always talking shit and its a good idea to ignore those ppl as they will just bring u down. stick to the more positive crowds and stay true to the whole PLUR movement from the rave era. love is the answer! GO KILLMA!!

    • dennis parrott says:

      @PegCiti (and really every DJ)

      It seems that every movement I have seen in my life got misdirected, lost relevance, got corrupted because of one reason or multiple (often involving money). PLUR like other love and brotherhood movements has suffered a similar fate.

      That is damn shame. We all know better. Maybe _WE_ need to revitalize PLUR. Perhaps our job is to simply start living that mantra among ourselves -- there is room for all under the DJ tent. Maybe if we just show each other some PLUR we can then lead the dancers in that direction as well. Like Arlo Guthrie famously sang (??) "pretty soon it was a movement".

      Just as negative examples show us how NOT to be, we need to fill the void with a better one.

      • Post like PegCiti are redflags! Compliments sprinkled with toxic messages.

        "You're really great even though everyone hates you." Those comments are meant as a distraction to make one doubt themselves, not a compliment.

        If someone said that directly to another person, I would wonder what sort of company they keep if there "group of friends" sounds like a bunch of haters.

        Small minded people speak of others, strong minded people speak ideas.

        And like you said @Dennis, maybe we need to revitalize the scene. I would most def. again :)

  24. I am definitely the "happy successes". I got thrown into DJing two years ago helping a friend, turned out to be a resounding success. Since then I've gotten the support of my friends to continue to grow and continue to perform. I maintain a strong mindset of what my "play style" is and really feel that is a part of my success. I support the other DJs in my community and if they get a gig over me I am happy for them as I'd rather not play an event that doesn't feel that I am the right fit. I just go and dance my butt off instead! I know I have a lot ot learn, yet, but I continue to educate and reach out to others to show me some new tricks or assistance when I feel I'm lacking in one area or another.

  25. Great Article Kilma.
    I am laughing because at some point I was ALL Types. I started as a "Happy Hobbyist" who became a "Happy Success", eventually becoming the "Paranoid Success" which every little thing was an issue, this led me to "I Give Up". BTW, that was the 80's. The 90's, I focused on my family and became a "Happy Hobbyist" again but by the end of the 90's, I was back at, "Paranoid Success", which led to "I Give Up", this time for 10 years. Since 2010, with a little maturity, I've been "Happy Success" and I love it. I enjoy my hobby, which earns good money consistently (to support my hobby/habit) and on my terms. After 30 years, I am still learning more from young people, as well as, professional and bedroom DJ's, than I can ever learn on my own. At the same time, happy to share without being "Paranoid" - Thanks Dr. Phil!

    • Haha, your welcome and thank you for your feedback and story. I think a lot of DJs can relate to that back and forth mindset. In this particular example it was about looking at DJs inmy past 10 years to see where they were at. I think we are always growing and changing and glad to hear you are at the point where you are happy again.

  26. Jonas Van den Bempt says:

    Since I was a kid I am passionate about & loving music. About 2 years ago I've starting mixing with a DJ software program Mixmeister Fusion. As a beginning DJ, about 4 months ago I've taken it to the next level by buying a Traktor Kontrol S4 & F1, which are great DJ controllers, I already had a lot of fun with it. I love listening to and making music mix'es. In the future I want to build out my dj career so I can do what I love to do and entertain & enjoy people by my music mix'es and by producing music myself too. I wish everyone all the best and good luck in their music & DJ careers.

    See you around at the parties & DJ tables!

    Jonas "DJ JaYOwNAsS" Van den Bempt

  27. Deejays Niño " jvstudio corp" says:

    My opinion, a DJ remains a DJ for Life. Some quit, some will crafts and practice more till the point that they're body are tired. However after you decide to take a brief Cue in your lifetime! Keep up listening and respect other people opinions since we learn front watching and observing others people work! Maintain yourself positive! Eat,play,rest!...repeat!! djnino " jvstudios corp 4ever" long live breakbeats!!

  28. I'm not goint to lie. It's mad annoying when you see wack djs booked instead of you because they either know more people (and can bring them out) or the party with the managers. This is my life in wack Akron Ohio. If you are ever headed to Northeast Ohio abandon all hope like Dante. But what about the Black Keys, Devo, and the Pretenders? They all got on and go the f out of here.

  29. Great post. This is true in more aspects of life than djing. Love what you're doing and you can't go wrong. Work on it and you shall be rewarded.

  30. The Engineer says:

    There are days when I want to give up, but I don't. I do my best to not get stuck, jaded, or think ill of others. While I may not be a fan of a particular style of music, I applaud the work that has gone into the journey that anyone decides to accept when DJing, Producing, Branding, Business, etc. Because anything worth doing is going to take blood, sweat, tears, and time to do it. Sure, we'd like to be that new artist or DJ that has their star rise to the top. But, I've seen those that rise that fast also fall that fast or faster, and also try to tear down those who are on their way up.

    For myself, I take the lemons I get, and make lemonade. Not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. Like Kilma states in her awesome videos, as well as many commenters on this post, redirecting the negative energy is the best way to move forward. I was getting tired of sending out emails and demo links, and hearing nothing back from the labels I loved, and wanted to be on, so I started my own label: Daibutsu Music (pronounced: die-boot-sue // check my site for the origin of the name).

    Having no experience in this type of business, I did my research. Like most things in life, there's always more to learn. I sell my music myself, I put them up on the digital stores, and I promote, both physically and online. It's tough out here, and it does NOT happen overnight, no matter who you are. There will always be a large time spent — even if only in one area — before things start to click. Here's an example:

    Trying to get a gig is difficult when all you get from the promoters/managers of a venue asking: "Who do you sound like?" In my head, I'm screaming "I sound like ME!". So, taking this "lemon", I decided to make "lemonade" by doing my own podcast. Got on YouTube, found a great series of videos to follow, and soon after, BUDDHA BEATS was born. I got a account, and a new Soundcloud account (just for the podcast), and started posting my mixes, and promoting them on FB/Twitter/Instagram and so on. After the 4th episode, I was beginning to think: "Is ANYONE even listening?!?" I wasn't getting any comments in Soundcloud to the tracks I was playing, but I was getting a few listens. Doubt started to set in, and it was right then that I decided to keep going. I love getting behind the decks in my room, and shut my eyes, and envision myself as the headliner. Like Max Graham playing an Open To Close set... Totally in control of the whole floor.

    My mixes improved, (because recording yourself is the same as playing live in front of an audience. Always remember that.) and I just kept plugging away at it. I kept making more and more episodes, and more people started listening. I have only heard from a handful of people personally, but even that helps. One night, my brother and I are downtown, on our way to see Max Graham play an open to close set. I have a t-shirt I made for my podcast (link at the bottom), that I was wearing, and I had my business card, and advanced download card for my next major release in my pocket. I'm dancing myself silly, Max is really killing it, when I get a tap on my shoulder.

    I turn around to meet this guy and his girlfriend smiling at me, and they say: "Excuse me, but where did you get that shirt?!? My girlfriend and I LOVE THAT SHOW!" It took all the power I had to not fall to my knees crying and say "THANK GOD SOMEONE IS LISTENING!". This is one of those moments where the universe let's you see that the seeds you're planting are going to bloom. Just keep tending to your garden. I was so damn happy! I smiled and when I told them that *I* was The Engineer, and that BUDDHA BEATS is *my* show, they responded with "Oh my god! You're The Brotha Like No Otha?!?! Dude, YOU'RE AWESOME!!!", and they both hugged me. I saw my brother a couple feet away with a smile on his face and a thumbs up. We exchanged info, and I gave them both an advanced download of my new stuff to show how much I appreciated them coming over and letting me know they liked my show. "These, are fans!" I thought to myself. Just like when the main promoter from the movie "Groove" when he gets asked "why do you do it?" and he replies "For 'The Nod'".

    I think of myself as the "Happy Successes" kind of personality. I have met Max Graham, Carl Cox, Stefano Noferini, The Crystal Method, and all had positive things to say and they're things that resonate with me deeply. Being a newcomer to Kilma's blog, as well as the blog, while I knew I was not alone in the issues we have as DJs and producers, we certainly feel alone when things happen that we don't feel are in our favor. The blog on my site isn't a blog by technical standards, but I'm working on integrating WordPress into my current site. As it stands now, my "posts" are on static pages that I code myself in HTML.

    If anyone wants to check out anything I've done, you do so at:

    This is my brand, this is my love, this is my passion. I'm in it for the long haul, and I'm not someone who goes down without a fight. I play on a Kontrol S4, and can spin on turntables. Haven't gotten much time on CDJs at all, so that is an area I'm looking to get up to speed on. Anyone in the NJ, Philly area looking to meet up and practice on CDJs? If you need turntable practice we can help one another out! Thank you for reading this entire post, and I hope to hear from someone on this. Kilma? =)

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