Part 1 – From drumming to DJ-ing

My introduction to music started at 14 years of age with a burning passion to be a drummer. Fortunately, I was lucky to get involved with all types of bands, initially just playing for fun, but then trying to get some gigs.

My first DJ set

It was during one gig when the venue’s resident DJ hadn’t arrived to do his set, that I got my first taste of DJing. For some reason, I offered to step into the missing DJ’s shoes, just to help out. I remember naively thinking, ‘how hard can it be just playing a few tracks for people who want to dance?’. That, dear reader, was my first BIG mistake. As I found out, very quickly, that it wasn’t just about knowing which buttons to press. The skill was knowing how to put tracks together to make it flow. However, at the same time, and most importantly, make it sound like I knew what I was doing!

Anyway, somehow I got through the 45-minute set, however, I can confidently say it was not my finest 45 minutes! in fact, from what I can remember, it was bad, nope, really bad. There were these big, awkward gaps between each track, there was no flow whatsoever, and as for the choice of tracks, well it could have been a lot, lot better. In fact, I could not wait to get back on to the safety of my drum kit. 

However, on the way home, it got me thinking. Even though it was one of the most embarrassing times of my life, I knew I had to learn how to be a DJ. But I also wanted to be the best DJ, not just someone that plays one track after the other, after the other, and so on. However, who could I learn from? I did not know any DJ’s, so my first step was to get out to see as many different DJ’s as possible in action.

Learning the trade

I soon realised there were lots of different types of DJ’s out there. From the club DJ to the DJ that just played their own personal choice of music. Then one night, when I was out with friends, we came across one DJ, and this guy knew his craft. The way he worked the room and his microphone technique was amazing. I could have just stayed there all night and watched. All I wanted to do was to soak up all the skills from this man who had mastered his craft. I wanted to be just like him.

At the beginning of my DJ career, believe me, I made plenty of mistakes. But making mistakes is how you learn, right? If it wasn’t for those mistakes and learning from then, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now. Doing the job I love and helping make people happy. I must confess though, my first love will always be drumming, as that’s where it all started.

Mark