My Life As A DJ (How me taking a DJ gig was the best thing to ever happen to my career.)

So I wanna talk about this thing called being a DJ. Before I dive deep into this topic, I just wanna say this is More than just being a DJ. But mostly learning how to understand life as a creative and life as a music lover. But also seeing yourself as a artist that loves to create a vibe that people have never experienced before.

As of This month, marks a year that I’ve taken a DJ gig at Millennium skate world. One of the best skating rinks in the Tri-State area. This rink is located in Camden, NJ. Literally across the bridge from Philadelphia, PA.

I began working there in the winter of 2019. two friends of mines that would bring their kids would beg me to come skating with them. I kept saying no until finally I asked, “Do you guys need any DJs?” I was not a good skater at all. But I said if you guys need DJs I’ll go. From there I started DJing at the rink a week later. Ms.Tracy and Ms.Penny were two out of the few managers that were running the rink. And shoutout to DJ Vez for being the first DJ to show me how the skate culture worked. He was a dope DJ that walked me through everything after the first three days.

He Basically told me and taught me a lot about making sure you treat the skating rink like you treat any other venue but this situation is more challenging. Because the object is to keep everyone on the skate floor at all times. Most sessions will run at least 3 hours and sometimes most speciality skate nights like “adult night” and first Fridays will run to 4 to 5 hours Including Sundays.

Me loving Music and having a ear for bounce and groove. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into but didn’t know enough as far as this rink also specializing in birthday parties just like most rinks are doing now when it comes to families.

The music selection now has changed because a lot of kids want to hear what’s radio friendly vs. what’s danceable.

For me I was never a fan of radio. I was always talking against it for years. When I started producing, I told myself I didn’t want sound like or even listen to stuff on the radio Because my love for Music made my ears really sensitive.

But taking this job as a DJ at Millennium. I had to honestly let my ego go and learn how to not just be a skate DJ but also understand the importance of being a club DJ too which for adult skaters that can be hard for them to adjust to. I’ve always been a DJ that loves to create a feeling and not necessarily play to the crowd. Sometimes playing to a crowd can turn you into a crowd pleaser and you tend to play the same thing that everyone else is playing. From that I learned how to DJ different styles and genres. The rink was more inclusive with Hip Hop/ R&B/ POP and top 40. The top 40 was a challenge but it taught me how to listen to the radio. Now I’ve been more up to date on top 40 than I was 3 to 4 years ago.

My first night Doing a session by myself was on a Monday night back in February (I don’t know the actual date). Because I wasn’t mentally prepared. I only looked at Skating music through one lens. And I tend to not do so well. People of course asked “who is that?” “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Me having a Mamba Mentality when it comes to my profession. I used it as motivation. But the crazy thing was. I didn’t do another Monday night till late April. I was stuck doing Friday’s when it was nobody there. Felt like a nightmare. And also some days during the week. The checks were good but I kept telling myself. I wanna do a Monday night so bad. That’s when the crowd is there. Everyone kept saying, “Wednesday night is the hottest night cause it’s adult night.” And that was a challenge for me because I told myself if I get my hand on Monday nights. I can get people to stop telling me about adult night. I had old friends that will tell me “you need to come on a night when it’s too DJs” and that would get under my skin. So I was determined to not take that advice.

More kobe Bryant Mentality right ? But I was determined to be the best DJ that I could. And from that I started loving Saturdays. Which that was one day I would come to skate lessons and make friends at the lessons and DJ the 12 noon session. And that prepared me for the Monday sessions eventually. A lot of the real skaters will come to lessons on Saturday morning and will stay for the 12 noon session. And because of my different approach I was able to win some people over. And then my first Monday again came Monday after spring break in April. Didn’t know it was gonna packed. Happened to meet a lot of experience skaters and since then to present I’ve been DJing for three crews on Monday nights around 200 to almost 300. And was able to do a first Friday adult night with another incredible DJ. From that I’ve seen Millennium being a family to me. Every Monday night was a night I would look forward to. I would call that my therapy night musically. I knew whatever I played it told a story that I was telling and skaters were able to listen. I struggled with social anxiety was a kid but Music was my way of speaking to people. With being a DJ. It’s hard speaking to people but through music I was able to relate to people even with songs that skaters never heard before. Shoutout to everyone at Millennium for taking me in as a brother, nephew and son. I’ve been taking skate lessons and found a skate partner too. I will get better as time goes by. Much love to you all during this covid-19 situation. Rinks are gonna be on fire soon when they re-open!

Deryck R.

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