Was DJing the final goal or a necessary step on the road towards music production or another skill? Tell us more about how it all started.
I never expected to still be DJing 25 years later. Most of the DJs I started with have come and gone and moved on to other industries or fields and I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. In my mind, I’m still a 24-year old DJ trying to cut my teeth in this industry. I find as much satisfaction from performing in front of a crowd as I do coaching DJs.
Can you tell us about some of the things you’ve done or accomplished that you’re most proud of?
I’ve been blessed to have so many different opportunities from being the first DJ to have a residency on the morning news with KTLA (Los Angeles, California, TV station). I was a part of an Emmy award winning team and it was ground-breaking to have a DJ live on TV every morning. I’ve shared stages with some of the greats and I’m still waiting for someone to be like, “how did this guy get in here?!” – Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Marshmello, Earth Wind and Fire, Miles Electric Band.
Probably one of the greatest highlights is every time I see someone I coached reach a milestone in their own careers. That makes me as happy if not happier than if it were my own accomplishment.
Now that you have your own career, what are some of the best tips for new DJs looking to break in and get their first gig?
First of all, identify your “why” and be honest with yourself about it. There are a lot of DJs today that get into it to try and make a quick buck, and I’m here to tell you, DJing isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It can be an amazing journey and can lead to a lot of different opportunities – even beyond the decks, but it’s important to identify why you are starting to DJ. Next, I would say set goals. Don’t just say, I want to play at Coachella next year. That’s a good lofty dream, but what steps can you take now to move towards that? Finally, find your tribe. Find people who will support you and help you grow. Find a coach who will help you get the most out of your potential.
What are the first couple of techniques that you think people should study/practice/master the most to get started?
At some point, I think it’s very helpful to learn how to manually beat match. I used to believe that this would be the first thing that people should learn, but I don’t think that’s correct. When we were on vinyl records, this was NECESSARY. But now with technology and the use of the sync button, I feel like manual beat matching is secondary. I still think it’s important. But I think DJs should focus on understanding music and breaking songs down to figure out which songs can be mixed together. Using sync is sort of like having training wheels on a bike.
Do you use Vinyl or have you ever? Why / Why not?
I LOVE vinyl. I don’t love carrying records to a gig and risking ruining them though. I’ve had records stolen at airports. Drinks spilled on records at gigs and seen lots of friends develop back problems from it. I also think there are certain limitations when using just vinyl – no ability to live remix, jump to hot cues, mix with loops.
Have you had a chance to travel to some cool places for work? What’s a place that you didn’t anticipate liking but ended up loving?
Traveling to the Middle East. Powerful experience.
What’s the best part about being a DJ? When do you feel at your highest?
What helps motivate you?
Feeding off the new energy from people I mentor. Seeing the light bulb go off for them. It’s infectious to be able to get a chance to go back in time a bit and see how excited someone gets when they scratch a song for the first time, or nail their first transition.
How do you think Hercules helps beginner Djs?
The beat align feature is so powerful! Also, Hercules commitment to education is beyond compare. Relates to their commitment in his own quest to teach the world to DJ.
"I think DJs should focus on understanding music and breaking songs down to figure out which songs can be mixed together"