After last week, I’m a tad tired. My cybe-buddy Aaron is guest posting for me today.
A little about Aaron – Aaron Elya is a 33 year old husband, father, and mobile DJ based in Cumming, GA. We met through work. He and his wife came into “the place where I work” and made a purchase. We got to talkin’ and realized we were kindred spirits, i.e Bloggeeks! You can visit him online at http://www.discjockeyetc.com follow him on twitter @DiscJockeyEtc
THE MUSIC, THE MIC, and THE MIX TAPE!
Someone asked me recently “Where does your love of being a DJ come from?”
Hmmm. No one had ever asked me that before, so I broke it down for them.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a DJ. It started as a youth with my infatuation with radio. Not just the music that came out of it, but the voices that I heard in between the songs. I don’t remember the names, but growing up in the 80’s in suburban metro Detroit, the DJ’s I heard were probably Dick Purton, J.J. Walker, Lisa Lisa, and national voice Casey Kasem (to name a few). I had to know…I had to BE that voice. But how?
Since childhood, I made it a point to make sure I took every opportunity to have a microphone in my hand. This included recording my voice on to cassette tapes with tape recorders (mixing songs on to the tapes, of course). I even made pretend radio stations with my friends using the tiny microphone on my sister’s boom box. I still have the tapes…under lock and key.
I would eventually reach my childhood goal of becoming an actual radio DJ.
My most notable on-air gig was as a weekend DJ on 929 dave fm in Atlanta. I was lucky enough to do that from August of 2005 to July of 2008. Long story short, radio, as a business wasn’t for me. I simply got in to it too late. But, like most DJ’s, I still had an itch to play music for people…and to keep that microphone in my hand. I had already been DJing professionally (weddings, parties, etc) for a few years prior to my exit from radio. However, I consider my 9th grade band camp mixer to be my “first DJ gig”.
It’s true! With my departure from radio came a much stronger focus on my mobile DJ career. Since then, the number of events I’ve DJ’d has grown almost exponentially. As addictive as radio was for me, playing music for people IN PERSON yielded gained an instant satisfaction that has yet to be matched.
Sharing music with my friends has always been one of my most favorite things to do. As an adolescent, it was probably my one and only true “hobby”. It wasn’t long before I discovered that I possessed an innate ability to create the perfect mix-tape….and I was the BEST. I would sit in front of my stereo, literally, for hours on end crafting each mix-tape masterpiece. Each tape required hours and hours of painstaking selection and each tape was “hand crafted” for the individual recipient. None of my mix-tapes would include a track listing. I believed it was much more fun for the
person to discover what was on that tape without knowing what was coming next. Worked like a charm, too!
Using other people’s words and music is a delicate process which just came naturally to me. I was able to put songs in an order that took the listener on a quick and innocent musical journey (much like a wedding DJ does, perhaps?). In many cases, my mix-tape was created to send a message…like to tell a girl I liked her or to express my appreciation of friendship. Other times, it was “just because”. Either way, my mix-tapes were the stuff of legend.
With technological evolution being what it is (mixed with the responsibilities of becoming an adult), my mix tapes became less frequentover the years. I would go on to make a small handful of mix CD’s for people, but it wasn’t quite the same. It’s strange for me to think that my daughters will never have to press “PLAY” on one tape deck and “RECORD” on the other in order to create a great mix. Heck, they might not even have to do it with compact discs!
My mix-tapes were 120 minutes of surprises, memories, and messages….and mostly important, awesome music. I didn’t realize it back then, but those who received one from me knew they were getting something special.
Now the answer is easy: “Where does your love of being a DJ come from?”….three things: The music, the microphone, and the mix-tape. It’s all so much clearer now. And while I do miss making mix-tapes, every time I DJ a wedding, it’s like I’m making a special mix-tape for the newlyweds…right there on the spot.