Out with the old, In with new. A retrospective perspective.

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The world of DJing has forever changed. And that’s not a bad thing. The #massivelyepic party we threw last night at #thedelancey was as much of a thrill as ever before. The set-up and preparation were a bit different…

I started DJing in 1995, about a year or two after I thought I became a 7th grade mix tape pro, and then learned about mixers at Radio Shack.

The Beginning Years: 1995-2004

By age 17, DJ Wacko Jacko, DJ Swerve and I all worked for Wacko Jacko’s DJ Service had all the local proms, a couple weddings and a couple of 18+ clubs rotating, with a mitzvah or two on lock-down. Connecticut DJ, later called DJ World, was our main access to equipment and music. Every Saturday we’d make the trek in search of new music and whatever else. Each of us built our own arsenal of equipment -cd players, amplifiers, speakers, lights, and most importantly CDs.

Back then, it was difficult to find and curate music. Computers and burning were new, and custom compilations were key. Mail order subscriptions just started with Radioactive, PromoOnly, and Top Hits. Our search once took us up to Niagra Falls, Canada side for the International DJ convention. There we competed for Best Male Interactive Entertainers, pulled off a solid Strokin by Clarence Carter and won Third Place internationally. We also picked up some new Gecco Flashers and a sick book of CDs only available in Canada – Boom! Platinum Series move over!!

As we endeavored down the path of mobile Djing and Party Rocking, I always had a nagging interest in learning how to spin vinyl as well. Many weekends were spent traveling to Satellite records, and Cutlers in New Haven, desperately in search of yhe next grooviest dance cut, even though it may never see the light of day, or dance floor for that matter. Every night I would spin dance cuts in my bedroom and basement studio, barely audible as not to wake anyone.

Back in the late 90’s, dance music was an underground thing, that eventually turned into the rave and drug thing. Why was it underground? Because every time a “techno” club opened it would shut down 3-6 months later. New York City was a different story, and so was Boston. But in Connecticut, peeps only knew two types of music – Hip Hop and mainstream pop!

Equipment back then was big, heavy and slow to work. Pioneer has always been great. We all own/owned CDJ 100s, 200s, 500s, 700s, 800s, and 1000s. I still use my old DJM 500 mixer, just used it last night. To any young DJs out there, be nice to your equipment, it will pay you dividends in return!

With college, we each went off and built on the initial experience we gained during high school. This mostly consist of massive parties, sorority formals, campus events, weddings and of course a wide range of random DJ set-ups just because.. (Golf carts, floats, boats, tailgates, treehouses, etc…)

During these times we all learned how to prepare, execute and adapt to needs and situations. We learned how to handle all sorts of crowds, authorities and partying people. We made mistakes, and saves. We learned how to read, manage, make and disperse a crowd. Most importantly we learned how to be ourselves and cast doubt aside, we learned how to harness the che and bring it!

One summer I was dating a lovely young lady who spent her summers driving cab on Martha’s Vineyard. So I moved out, drove cab, and DJ Friday nights at the Atlantic Connection in OB. Back at school we would spend hours upon hours spinning records in the dorm room or at local house parties. DJs from all over would stop in, and of course everyone carried a bag of 12inch beats. We would spin until we couldn’t stand or see straight anymore.. Im talking 8, 10, 12, sometimes 15 hours or more… Jajaja the good ole days!

By 2004 we all had started our own companies. I had just graduated from UConn, and hung out for a semester to DJ and think about life before responsibility. Later that summer i moved to Milford. I had my mind set on throwing the largest New Year’s Eve party in CT that year. So I teamed up with a local crew in Stamford and we picked up weekly residencies at Club Mor and Rain Ultra Lounge. Feeling the pressures to get a real job, I found work in as a designer at the Stamford Advocate during the day.

That year, I spent many late nights on couches as we developed what would become The Emperor’s Ball -A Unique, One of a Kind New Year’s Eve. By this point I had run and produced many parties and events in college. Events, parties and banquets that cost thousands of dollars and resulted in pallets of empty kegs. As the VP of Programming, Social Chair and Chief Responsibility Officer of my Fraternity, I had plenty of experience running things, and this was the next big challenge!

Next Post – The Wonder Years 2004-2009

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