What’s It Like Being A DJ in Another Country?

space-astronaut-beach.jpgI’ve been around the world and back as an unofficial ambassador for the craft and trade of deejaying, the United States and many, MANY other subgroups.

You know the one thing I picked up on in all these travels?

People need to get out of their home country more often. All of us.

The truth about traveling away from home is that it’s as wonderful and as uncomfortable as you think it is. Some countries have food that can and will kill you. I’ve died at least 3 times in the name of science messing around and eating something I’d never heard of. Saw some incredible sights. I never felt isolated or any of that because it was an adventure and I’ve learned how to make friends everywhere.

Alcohol is funny that way.

Didn’t miss home because it was always going to be there and they seemed to get along fine with or without me, which is cool. Ran into many people who dreamed of going places yet never got it together to actually go. Met many people whose English is as bad as me speaking in their language. I still don’t know the Swedish word for “bathroom”, I just point to an IKEA.

If you didn’t know, I’m from Miami. Yeah, that Miami. The Miami with the beaches, imported Spanish women and the best nightlife on planet Earth. I went to an international university which have me experience with people who I don’t share a background with which later helped me with a job involving more people I didn’t share a background with. It never occurred to me that these circumstances weren’t normal. I thought everyone knew someone from somewhere else and wanted to learn more about that “somewhere else”. My roommates were Colombian, St. Lucian, South African, Slovenian and during university, American. How was I to know that most people in the world only really experience their section?

The further away I traveled and played, the more I learned. About people. About culture. About myself and how I fit into the whole thing. Or didn’t. And I didn’t “visit” places so much as I acted like I lived there myself. That’s the key. I had to really learn how to navigate towns without road maps, get lost on every train and throw the dice when it came to finding my way back.

As far as the musical side, traveling like a local taught me two valuable things that I either learned from being a DJ or applied TO being a DJ.

1) Know Your Audience. Their tastes, their distastes, what makes them who they are. Some people just don’t dance. I’ve learned to be okay with that. Listening to local radio taught me more than a Rosetta Stone could.

2) We’re all essentially alike. You’ve got local customs, traditions and little things that make your community what it is. That’s cool. But there are some things that transcend those things and bring people who have nothing in common together. Like a hello. Or an LMFAO song (I’m as surprised as you are on this).

Or an airhorn.

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