My dream was to represent Thai people. A lot of people didn't know Thailand. They always thought it was just like Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Like I said, I'm born and raised in New York, so I want to represent on that side for Thai people and just put Thailand on the map for hip hop and DJ.
HOW TO BECOME A DJ
What’s going on! It’s your new best friend, DJAY BUDDAH, Bangkok Invaders, Heavy Hitters, Thaitanium, all day every day.
Professional DJ / The Heavy Hitter Djs
So on CI Talks, I want to take you step by step on how to become a regular DJ, into a great DJ. Twenty five years in this game, there's so many obstacles that you're going to have to face, but, you know, I want to share my experience so you guys know what to do and what not to.
I HAD A DREAM
THE LADDER TO SUCCESS
Born and raised, Jackson Heights Queens, New York. I worked at a supermarket, I worked on Broadway as an usher, and deejaying was always a hobby that grew into a career. We always had, I always had a dream and I wanted to become something in the musical industry.
So deejaying came as that because my father had a bunch of musical equipment; speakers, amps, and he pretty much influenced me on why learning all the aspects of how to put music out, like just listening, what should sound good?
How, you know, just scratch back and forth, like scratching was new to me, so I was like back and forth. It was like, wow, you could just do just the feeling of just touching a vinyl record that took me, the passion just came out. So high school, pretty much, I was just, like I said, I would just find anything to do as a hobby. So I would do parties at my school like, you know, raise money for this event or we need to do, raise money for uniforms for their basketball team.
I had my own equipment and just do these parties, it started as something simple. I never thought it would be a career in my life, but something grew, like I said, as a hobby. And then people started liking your stuff and then just kept hiring me.
At first, of course, I did free parties. You know, people don't know you like, “Oh, I'll do a party for you”; Sweet 16 baby shower or anything. Anything that I could do, I would do for free, you know, in the beginning, just to get the experience, just to get your name out, and then after a while, people started liking you.
So I was like, maybe I could do something with this, and it just kept growing, the love and passion, like I said, it just kept growing.
CONQUERING THE STEREOTYPE
I started deejaying since 1995. It took me about four years just to get into a major club. Like I said, it's not it's not easy, because New York is very cutthroat.
The stereotype of me being an Asian DJ, was very out there. I got into many fights, many arguments, people just looking at you like, “Oh, you're a DJ, like, you're Asian, you’re fat” like no one, you know, like the stereotype was there, but I would have to prove myself.
Like I said, you just brush it off and just do what you have to do and make a great impression on them, and then you just earn your respect from them. The list of music artists that we work with so, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Nas, French Montana, Kid Inc. The list goes on and on, from old, to new, to the middle; we push out music.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE SPARK CHANGE
So I met Way about 20 years ago at a bar lounge in Lower East Side. He pretty much came up to me, I was wearing a Buddha necklace and he was the first person to ever say, like “Hey, you're Thai”. I was like, I was just baffled, like, “How do you know I'm Thai?” He was like “Oh, you're wearing a Buddha” and he was like “let me talk to you after you're set”.
So when I spoke to Way, he was like, “Yo, I have a hip hop group, a Thai hip hop group in Thailand”. And I was like “Yo, Thailand got hip hop?” I was just like, I was like, he goes, “Yo, come to the studio, come check us out, listen to our songs. We need a Thai DJ".
And I went to go, listen. I was like, Wow! these guys are pretty good and I was like, “Yo, I rock with you guys like, because you got good music”. But then he was like “We're going to go to Thailand”. I was like, “Wow”. So once I came to Thailand and we've seen this, we've seen, we've seen the scene and I was like, “Wow, we could really make a difference here” like we want to make a change like.
So he was the, Thaitanium was the pioneers of Thailand hip hop, and I wanted to be the pioneer of DJs just to help Thailand, put Thailand on the map.
THE MINDSET OF A SUCCESSFUL DJ
As a beginning DJ, people are going to say, you suck. People are not going to like you.
You know, you have to move on from that and learn and take what they said into consideration, like why didn't they like you? Is it because of this song or, you know, whatever, the playlist was wrong. Have a thick skin in anything that you do, because like, you could be a race car driver and they'd be like, you suck at it. You're not going to go home and cry and stop it, right? You have to keep going.
So as a DJ, I would say thick skin, just take criticism, just absorb it, and just how to change it in a way that you could win them.
5 TIPS TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL DJ
So today I got five tips, five keys on anybody who wants to learn to become a DJ.
LISTEN TO A LOT OF MUSIC
BE OPEN TO DIFFERENT GENRES
So Tip 1, I would say listen to a lot of music, be open to different genres; hip hop, house, EDM, R&B. For me, for instance, I listen to everything, I listen to jazz, I listen to K-pop, I listen to country, EDM, House.
You want to know a bit of everything, do your homework, you just don't want to just stick to one thing like it, just be in your little bubble. You have to like, get out of the bubble or get out, think out of the box.
So becoming a great DJ is kind of preparing yourself for what job you have, like events, you know, like they might not like hip hop. I might have to play some EDM like some party, like they want to do this, they don't want to just, you know, do that.
You know, like, you have to have everything. Be ready to give it to them.
PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
Key number 2, I would say, practice. I'm 25 years in the game, I still practice every day.
You know, just know your music because music keeps changing every day. There's always new music coming out. Just practice, practice, practice.
Back in the day, I used to practice at least 5 to 8 hours a day, just going over the same music, scratching, blending music, mixing, like how this song would go with this song, or maybe this song wouldn't work with this song.
Just keep practicing. All I could say is just practice, practice, practice.
OBSERVE THE PEOPLE PLAY FOR THE CROWD
So key number three, I would say, for you to prepare yourself.
Go to the venue early, maybe 30 minutes to an hour before your set time. Observe the people. What is the DJ playing now? You don't want to repeat the song right off the back. You shouldn't repeat songs anyway. But observe the people. How are they feeling? Are they energetic? Are they kind of down or they look bored?
Like, how am I going to get them to dance and get ‘em Hype? You know, like, observe the people. There’s always a mood, you could hear by the song you play. Are they cheering or are they singing along to the song?
Like, you have to really observe the people like, DJ’s just like to look down, right? Look up, sometimes like, look at the people. Is he happy? Is this girl smiling? Like, I play this song, is she cheering like, “Oh yes”, you know.
Observe the people. That's super key to becoming a DJ, a great deejay.
Play for the crowd. Don't play for yourself.
DON’T WAIT FOR OPPORTUNITIES
MAKE THEM YOURSELF
Tip number four, I would say, don't wait for the opportunity to come to you.
Go out there and get it. Meaning go to the club, meet the owner, meet the manager. Introduce yourself. Like, say, “Oh, I'm this type of DJ. If you need a deejay, I'm here for you”.
Maybe play for free sometimes, you know, in the beginning, just to get your foot in the door. Don't be shy. Don't wait for anything. Just go out there and get experience.
You know, like certain clubs might need an opening DJ, you get in there first and you work your way up to become that main deejay. Of course, they're going to be a lot of no's and a lot of like, “no”, but you have to be persistent.
Just keep trying and keep trying, keep trying. One day they're going to be like, “Let's do it”.
BE 100% READY, MIND BODY SOUL
Key Number 5, I would say, you have to prepare for everything that's going to come your way, musically, mentally and for your body, meaning people are going to definitely come at you, just trying to test you, maybe give you a drink.
You have to be strong not to drink and be able to say no sometimes. Or you may you have to fake it sometimes. Fake drink it and spit it out. You know, that's what I do a lot of times. But you have to be strong willed. You know, you can't break in. You don't want to be that sloppy DJ or get drunk and, you know, like hangovers and all.
You've got to be ready; mind, body and soul. Like full on, 100%.
5 TIPS TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL DJ
So the five keys just doesn't apply to just being a DJ. You could apply it to everyday life. For, for instance, doctors, car racers, mechanics. You have to prepare yourself for everything that's going to come your way and you're going to put out a great product.
You know, just prepare yourself and be ready for everything that comes your way and make it happen.
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