6th Jan 2014 9:01am | By Editor
Want to rule the rave and get paid for it? Or put that encyclopedic pop knowledge to good use? Master the decks and you’re on track
Standing on a podium presiding over a crowd of thousands – they’re dripping with sweat, throwing shapes and hanging off your every beat, transition and word.
Then, just as you think the rush can’t get any better, a queue of girls (or guys) is waiting to meet you.
This is being a DJ, a hard industry to crack but one in which if you make it, you make it big.
You may not become the next Fat Boy Slim or David Guetta, but working DJs and industry experts tell TNT you too could get a taste of the action ...
For LoCo, who makes a living as a DJ, it’s all about the music. He gets paid to listen to it and mixes both vinyl and digital tracks – it’s the perfect job for the dance-obsessed 34-year-old.
It all started when he was 15 and went backstage at a festival. “A DJ was performing to a large crowd of thousands of people,” LoCo says.
“I was mesmerised by what he was doing, I knew then it was what I wanted to do.”
A love of music isn’t enough to be a great DJ, though, as LoCo says the show is key. “I’m a real performer,” he says.
“To become successful, you need to be creative and think of ways that you can be different.”
LoCo’s played major London clubs and the massive Burning Man Festival in Nevada, and one philosophy follows him always – he says a DJ should always remember they’re “playing for the crowd and not for yourself!”
“Some DJs get paid thousands of pounds to play for just one hour,” LoCo says. “But you will only ever reach that level if you commit to it 100 per cent, and if there is something very special about you.”
A good way to start is to DJ for free – you’ll get exposure and hone your show. “After a while, you may find that you start getting paid gigs,” he explains.
“Embrace the new technology being created for DJs and learn your craft.”
For former DJ Behan, 37, the profession has more obvious advantages.
“I‘m not going to prattle on like some DJs about loving the music,” he says. “Fuck the music. I will sum it up in two words: alcohol and girls.
“I went from being Shrek to Brad Pitt overnight,” he says, recalling being 5ft away from a free bar after his set and “all eyes were on me”.
“Girls were queuing up and I was getting paid for it. I would have done it for free.”
At Behan’s peak, he was playing in commercial clubs across the UK and earning £600 for about 20 hours a week of work. It’s not all free booze and babes though, he warns.
Only become a DJ if you “don’t mind having drunken chavs spit in your ear every time they ask for a song to be played”.
“I can mix, I’m cocky and confident, and so I find the job incredibly easy and incredibly enjoyable,” he says.
But it takes work to reach that point and success won’t come to you: “Find the door yourself ... and kick it down.”