Hey, I’m Danny James, one of the tutors here at Crossfader!
I wanted to share a career highlight about how I played on deadmau5’s tour at 2 of the biggest UK venues; Printworks, London and Warehouse Project, Manchester! The story provides a great example of how you can harness opportunities in your career as a DJ!
How the opportunity came about…
In 2018, I had a residency at an event named Sticky Feet in Leeds. The music was focused around bass-driven beats. Everything from Drum & Bass to Garage, Trap, Dubstep etc. If it was bass heavy, it was Sticky Feet.
The Sticky Feet brand regularly booked acts to come and play; naturally, artist managers and promoters regularly came to the night with those acts. After networking during my gigs, I made great connections with people who worked with big artists and promotors within the music industry. One of these contacts had been working with deadmau5, and it just so happened he was on a tour of the UK and had some slots to fill on the artist lineup and reached out to see if I could fill a slot! This was a huge deal to me, and I grasped this opportunity immediately.
I’d be performing at Warehouse Project, Manchester and Printworks, London. I was excited, to say the least. Knowing how iconic both these venues are in the UK, I still can’t believe I got to be a part of it.
On the night…
I remember being backstage, looked after by the staff, and treated like a real artist! It all felt very surreal. I had seen many videos and images online, but they didn’t do either venue justice. The size and scale of production was incredible. Up to this point, I had just been a resident in clubs, and now I was getting a taste of what it must be like to be an artist who plays gigs like this day in and day out. It felt strange but amazing.
Despite the initial clash of set times with deadmau5’s performance, my gigs at both venues gradually gained momentum. However, it was after deadmau5’s set finished, around halfway through my own performance, that the room filled up wall to wall.
As the last act of the night, I had the honour of closing the show, an indescribable experience that remains firm in my memory. I regret not recording that set, it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my DJ career. Every single track we played just felt so right, and it was like every single person in that room was on the exact same energy.
So, why am I sharing this story?
Ultimately, you don’t know where being ‘just a resident DJ’ can get you! You never know who is in the crowd or even in the venue that night so always remember to play as if the person who could give you your next big break is watching. Because they likely will be!
If you were to tell my 13-year-old self that one day I would be playing on the deadmau5 tour I would’ve laughed in your face. All in all, it was an amazing experience that I am never going to forget.
So, are you ready to take the next step and make your DJing dreams a reality? Join us at Crossfader, where we’ll provide the tools and resources to sharpen your skills, unleash your creativity, and pave your own path to success.
What I’m Reading
Steven Pressfield – The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
I have read this book twice and will 100% read it again. It is all about creativity, how it works and what to do when you get stuck in a creative rut. Which we all do from time to time!
For me this booked helped me get a totally different perspective on creativity, it’s a must have for any sort of creative person. It can definitely apply to those DJs that are maybe procrastinating a little or just lacking inspiration!
Tune Of The Week:
Lords Of The Underground – Chief Rocka
At Crossfader I know I’m usually the more House & Techno guy, but this week I’ve found myself listening to a bunch of old Hip Hop that I haven’t heard in a long time. Outside of DJing I really enjoy listening to stuff like Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul, MF DOOM, Slum Village the list goes on! It was very hard to just pick one track this week. Enjoy!
What I’m Using
This week I was looking through Reddit and came across a great website called Selecta, which is basically a recommendation tool for music. You start by typing in an artist, adjust some of the parameters on the left side. You have options such as Tempo, Energy, Danceability etc.
Then hit ‘Recommend’ and watch it go to work! The screen then fills full of suggested tracks similar to the artist you have just searched for. I have found this really useful for discovering new music, be sure to check it out!