When does one become a master? If you have no teachers, who gives you the passing grade?
When I started mixing in 1991, I had neither teachers or rules.I mixed compact discs,tapes, and records together; all genres. I did not have exposure to the vast world of electronic music enjoyed by many on our coasts, yet I explored and recorded whatever I thought was interesting and dance worthy. I lived on a Pueblo in New Mexico. Our streets had no names, but I still knew what was hard enough for the street. The metropolitan meccas were distant. The internet was not available like it is now. There were no other DJs who lived within 50 miles when I began. I taught myself, found teachers along the way, and have never stopped learning.
It has now been over two decades since I began creating music sets for myself and others. I have adopted a particular style that is extremely adaptable and I have adopted the digital into my professional world. There are always questions now about where to take this if there is a reason to take it anywhere.
I try not to overlook what is in front of me. I enjoy playing at the events in the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico because despite the size, we have a wealth of knowledge and demand for better. Naturally, we go through fluctuations and cycles depending on who’s here and what we care about. Keeping it fresh in the desert is a challenge.
In 2015 a friend asked if I would be interested in teaching her son to DJ. At the same time, a co-worker suggested that I meet up with her girlfriend who was interested in DJing.
I began the lessons the way I first started. Full immersion and experimentation. I let them go through the record stacks and choose based on sight and sound. I taught them how to connect the gear and how to troubleshoot when the gear is not working. We began with mixing vinyl on a 3-channel Rane, and ended mixing with Serato and cdjs on a 6-channel Allen & Heath mixer.
I wanted to show them that the façade of DJ is meaningless without the passion that goes behind it. Teaching people to DJ is a tricky thing because depending on what they want to learn, DJing can be as simple as pressing buttons and moving a crossfader; or as complex as building a lifestyle and persona supporting the DJ. I continued to enforce the idea that using your tools efficiently and creatively will bring the results that you desire.
After a year of teaching and mentoring, the students went off to do their own thing. Z bought sound and DJ equipment and moved out of state. I recorded a live broadcast with her before she left!
The title refers to me as a master. This is both a joke and not a joke. A title is meaningless. I see a title’s benefit and usefulness though. I strive to identify with the Master, 13pieces; the master of self, displaying dedication and control, seen and recognized by a wide audience as being worthy of teaching.
I am available for private lessons in 2016! firstname.lastname@example.org