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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

So you want to be a DJ? Or maybe you’re a DJ already.

There is a running joke these days that says “everyone is a DJ” now. I have been doing it for seven years—and even that amount of time pales in comparison to the amount of experience others have.

This month, I’d like to share some things that I have learned over the years.

Know Your Goal: First things first—and that is to understand what you want to do. It’s important to be realistic, especially at the start. Do you want to play clubs? Weddings? Do you also want to create your own music? I think of what I do as a business—no different than being a plumber or doctor. The only difference is the medium with which you are working. As a DJ, it is important to know that most markets are over-saturated, so you’ll need to find a way to stand out. Your best shot is to find something that fits you.

Get on the Web: Having a presence on the internet is more vital than ever before. Social media is a great tool. Choose the networks that best fit your target audience. I like Instagram because it’s easy to digest: Photos, videos and short captions let your followers keep up with you. Facebook is also good, because you can run promotional ad campaigns and reach a targeted audience. No matter what your social media choices are, a website helps tie it all together. You can list links to your mixes, music, events and more—all in one place!

When in Doubt, Reach Out: I have had some people ask me: “How do you get your gigs?” The answer is pretty simple: I reach out to venues and promoters directly! If you know of a club that you want to play at, record a mix, and shoot the venue a short email. I find messaging via Facebook pages to be efficient at times. Think about why you would be a good fit for the venue. From a business standpoint, why should they hire you? How will you make them money?

Be Respectful: I live by the rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Over the years, it has never steered me wrong. No matter how big (or little) your local scene is, there are those who have been doing it for a longer time than you. I always made an effort to reach out to those in the scene with experience. If I wanted to play at a venue they were at, I would talk to them first. In that vein, don’t try to move in on a DJ’s residency. It may be tempting, but the best thing you can do is put yourself out there and perfect your craft. Things come in time.

Say No to Ego: This is a big one! No one likes someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else. I’m proud of what I have done, but I know there is always more to be done, and more to learn. In the music business, it is easy to get carried away. Be yourself, and learn how to market yourself in a way that feels right. If you enjoy what you do, you will connect with others—and the gigs will keep coming.

I hope you find these tips to be useful. I know that when I first started, I had to go it alone for a while. Everything takes time—so keep on working on getting better, and success will come!

Published in Subatomic

Meet Lino A.F. Mendoza. The Santa Ana native works as a server as his “day job,” but at night, the Rancho Mirage native becomes a member of the House Whores. The DJ/electronic dance music group regularly plays at Azul/Alibi, and has a standing gig every other Saturday—including this Saturday, Sept. 21—at Clinic Bar Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive. The music starts at 9 p.m., and admission is free. Lino, “da sound guy,” recently was kind enough to take the time to answer The Lucky 13. For more info, find the Whores on Facebook.

What was the first concert you attended?

I believe it was Santana and Rusted Root at Glen Helen (now known as the San Manuel Amphitheater).

What was the first album you owned?

Violent Femmes.

What bands are you listening to right now?

None. I like EDM, so I like a lot of Sonny Fodera, Little Louie Vega, and Julz Winfield

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

This is a hard one, because I can’t say one thing is bad or worse than the other, so I’m gonna quote Ray Charles (and others): “There is only good and bad music.” It just depends on what’s being played.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

It would be Pink Floyd—Roger W. Pink Floyd. And Prince!

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

L.A. underground deep house.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles).

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

Jamiroquai’s “Little L”: “Why does it have to be like this? … With a little ‘l.’”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Doors. Jim Morrison music was always really deep. He made you think, like, in 5-to-1.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

It would be Little Louie Vega: “How much has the music scene evolved since you were playing at Studio 54 in NYC?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Spirit in the Sky.”

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Mark Farina’s Mushroom Jazz Vol. 1, and/or Bare Essentials or Carte Blanche Vols. 1 and 2.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Anything from the Butter Factory.

Published in The Lucky 13

Sacramento native Ron Cameron, 44, describes himself as an “artist, actor, writer, designer, DJ, etc.,” and a quick look at his website reveals that his description just begins to scratch the surface. But as for the “DJ” part: You can catch the Palm Springs resident every other Monday at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. His next show will be Monday, Aug. 12. Find more deets at www.facebook.com/Barwastaken.

What was the first concert you attended?

Oh, man, it was probably by accident in the late 1970s when I was a kid: either Bo Diddley at Cal Expo state fairgrounds, or some other retro ’50s band at the Sacramento Raceway drag strip. My first intentional concerts were hardcore punk shows in downtown Sacramento, starting in 1981.

What was the first album you owned?

Spacemen, Music for Batman and Robin LP, Roulette Records, 1966. I got it on a shopping visit to a thrift store with my mom when I was only 4 years old. It probably explains my adventurous musical tastes in later life! A real mind-bender, for sure.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Well, since I’m a DJ, I listen to thousands of artists on a regular basis. I still listen to a lot of the same stuff I got when I started collecting music back in the 1980s. Lately, I’ve been regularly listening to The Delgados, Neil Young, Broadcast, Lee Scratch Perry, Ride, The Seeds, Donovan, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, Autolux, Creation Rebel, Grandaddy, Bob Dylan, Dub Syndicate, Kaleidoscope (UK), Mutabaruka and any of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound production stuff. Current bands would be Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tame Impala, Django Django, The Oscillation, Flying Lotus, DJ Food and stuff like that. Those are just off the top of my head.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

I’m scared to death of the overly trendy so-called genre “dub-step.” … I’ve been researching dub since the ’80s; dub is nothing new. It started in Jamaica in the early 1970s and morphed into DJ-toasting by the late ’70s and then crossed the pond to New York and became rap and remix culture. So what is “dub-step”? Somebody please enlighten me! I’m a-scared …

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Current would be The Black Angels, I haven’t caught them yet! Defunct would be The Clash, because they are my all-time-favorite band, and I never bothered to see them when they were around. They even played at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1982, and I skipped it, because it seemed like too big of a deal back then. I was only comfortable with the tiny hole-in-the-wall punk clubs when I was young.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

My last guilty pleasure was in the mid 2000’s with M.I.A. (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam). She was super-popular in the dance clubs at the time, and I’m not a dance-club kinda guy. I loved her style, her sound, her fashion and her cover artwork.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I dunno … just places I’ve ended up in the past decade. In Los Angeles, I’d say Echoplex, Troubadour, and Silverlake Lounge. In San Diego, a mainstay has always been The Casbah. In San Francisco, it’d be Slim’s, and Bottom of the Hill. Around here, I’ve only been to Pappy and Harriet’s up in Pioneertown.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

So many song echoes, so little time. I have a lot of favorite lyrics, but none that really stuck in my cranium. It’s usually the rhythms and beats that firmly lodge themselves.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

So many have been life-altering at certain phases of my life: Neil Young, Catherine Wheel, Jimi Hendrix. But I think the biggest revelation was when I first heard DEVO in 1979. They almost made me dump my complete musical knowledge up to that point, which consisted mostly of hard rock and heavy metal. So DEVO opened my mind to other new music like The B-52’s, The Specials, Buzzcocks, Wall of Voodoo and The Clash. That all happened in 1980 for me when I was in the sixth- and seventh-grade. I’d say The Clash was probably just as important as DEVO for me, as far as making me look at the world in an entirely different way from then on.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’ve been very fortunate over the years to be able to interview some of my favorite bands for various magazines, so I got to ask those people some important questions. I still haven’t interviewed Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale of DEVO yet, I almost did a few years ago, but the magazine folded right when I was starting to prepare the piece. Maybe I’d ask Neil Young: "What next?"

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I’ve seriously never thought of that; I’m still clawing my way to the top. I hope that I have at least 40 more years to come up with that selection. Maybe something ethereal like Spacemen 3, “Transparent Radiation,” or their offshoot, Spiritualized, “Feel So Sad.” Or would that be too heavenly cheesy?

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Impossible question there, buddy. I could maybe narrow it down to five: The Clash, Sandinista!, for its 3 LPs worth of genre-hopping. Catherine Wheel, Chrome, for its sheer soul-wrenching cinematic power. Neil Young, After the Gold Rush, for its simplistic humaness. The Wedding Present, Seamonsters, because the guitars just sound so great. Finally, Steel Pulse, True Democracy, because everyone needs some good, uplifting, yet provocative reggae in their lives. There are so many more, but those are just off the top of my head right now; ask me tomorrow.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Whatever’s NOT on Top 40 radio right now!!!

Published in The Lucky 13