As a mobile DJ, January-March are my slowest months. April through December run hot and heavy. I like to use free time in the Winter to check out DJs in the bar/club/lounge scene.
There are many benefits:
- It’s important for a DJ to relate to the guest experience from the other side of the DJ booth;
- To gain exposure to new styles of music;
- To discover new tracks;
- To check out how other DJs mix particular styles of music;
- To support one’s DJ brethren and sistren – it’s a huge compliment when a DJ drops in to check out a fellow DJ;
- To network and meet new people;
- To stay inspired; and
- According to my accountant, attending DJ performances for educational/networking purposes is considered a tax-deductible expense. While I don’t recommend expensing bottle service, you should be fine writing off cover charges and travel expense as legitimate business expenses.
My February Road Trip
Stop #1 – DJ Cloak Dagger, The Living Room at The W Hotel
In this blog, I share my recent experiences on the road. The first stop on the tour was to Times Square New York City, to check out a set by Luke Rizzo, aka DJ Cloak Dagger. Luke is currently the artist in residence at the trendy W Hotel, and spins every Friday night from 6 PM – 9 PM in the swank hotel lobby bar known as “The Living Room” spinning primarily sexy house music. The Living Room has a nicely-appointed DJ booth, situated in front of a dazzling kaleidoscope wall of moving lights. Tucked into a corner near the DJ booth is a Photo Booth where guests can be photographed for free and then receive a photo print and/or email copy.
For an introduction to DJ Cloak Dagger, check out the mix from his Nocturnes series below which I consider to be a masterpiece:
Stop #2 – The Samovar Bar, Manhattan
Following the W Hotel, my wife and I enjoyed dinner then headed over to the Russian Samovar Bar on 256 W. 52nd Street. I’ve been patronizing the Samovar Bar for years. They serve up delicious carafes of infused vodkas (the cranberry is my favorite) and there are frequently an interesting assortment of characters for people watching. Tonight was no different. With the exception of an unfortunate incident where I was the victim of a “Cougar Attack” – it was a great night at Samovar. There were three live musicians who performed a fun international repertoire spanning from Russian folk songs, to Egyptian belly dance music (Oojami) to Latin favorites (Juanes). The vodka was flowing and a nice dance floor developed.
Stop #3 – Sunday House Social, Philadelphia
After resting my liver on Saturday, it was off to the City of Brotherly Love for the Sunday House Social series and currently led by the team of DJ Linda Leigh and DJ Dre Ovalle. Linda, who has her roots in the rave culture of the 90s – and Dre who is an upcoming DJ based in the Hamilton/Trenton area, aim to showcase the sounds of underground electronic music. The Sunday House Social series is based out of the Trenton Social (449 South Broad St., Trenton) every Sunday night from 6 PM until close. The series has recently expanded to Philly at Lolie’s Ale House – conveniently located right off Route 95 and having free parking. Future Sunday night dates at Lolie’s will be announced soon.
To make the evening as interesting and diverse as possible, several DJs are scheduled. This past Sunday in Philadelphia it was Linda Leigh, Dre Ovalle (open format with a techno edge this particular evening), DJ Landzi (funky house) and Hoju Pockets (drum n’ bass). I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
With “the sound of the underground” out of favor in America at the moment and being eclipsed by commercial house music and EDM, I encourage music lovers to support these talented DJs who are carrying the torch.
As an example of what you can expect from the Sunday House Social, check out Hoju Pockets’ Sunday evening set on Mixcloud at:
Stop #4 – Cielo (Deep Space Night with DJ Francois K. and Special Guest Ted Ganung)
In all of my years of international travel, I haven’t found a nightclub more special than Cielo in New York City. So for this Monday night, I conveniently scheduled a client meeting in Manhattan so that I could attend Deep Space at Cielo. The space is intimate and warm with cushioned log cabin walls and a huge disco ball. The star of the show is the incredible Funktion One sound system that delivers warm, punchy bass when needed but never strains the ear. This particular evening, DJ Ted Ganung opened with a reggae influenced set featuring roots, dancehall, dub, soca/calypso, Drum n’ Bass remixes and a smattering of house music classics. Francois K. took the reigns at midnight and brought the guests to a state of dance nirvana.
Check out DJ Ted Ganung’s Mixcloud set – which is a solid representation of his actual set at Cielo below:
In conclusion, there’s a world of music that awaits you. While you may need to travel a bit to find it, it’s worth the journey!