Category Archives: For the Love of Knowledge

C’mon, Man!

By Glen Ervin:

 Assumptions: We all make them all the time. It’s how our brains function, the result of millions of years of evolution (one would assume) during which pretty much everything was trying to kill you. Good times. Problems arise, however, when we confuse our assumptions with reality despite clear evidence to the contrary.

The pipe and tweed crowd refers to the habit of hoarding preconceived notions as cognitive bias, and have come up with some pretty catchy titles to describe its symptoms.

Some you may recognize: the Bandwagon Effect, Confirmation Bias, Cheerleader Effect, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, aka all the other kids are doing it, I’m just here for opinions that agree with mine, five girls in skimpy skirts are better than one girl in a skimpy skirt, and way too many idiots have an inflated opinion of themselves, respectively.

Others less well known have no doubt spread your way.

Maybe you’ve caught an earful of the Sharing Music Doesn’t Hurt Anyone Bias. That’s the shell game some DJs play where they convince themselves that taking caviar off the table of rich recording artists is no big deal while conveniently ignoring the fact that everyone from secretaries to songwriters to how much DJs can charge for their events is negatively impacted by music piracy.

Or maybe it’s the Music Is Free Effect, Real DJs Don’t Use Sync Bias, Real DJs Beatmatch Effect and, my personal favorite, the I Have More Songs On My Hard Drive Than You Do Bias that make you back away from the keyboard and voice the only reasonable response available…

C’mon man!

If you’re in a place where you think you’re entitled to earn a living by ripping off artists and driving down prices for other DJs. Or need to build yourself up by tearing other DJs down, that’s… a choice.

Just know those of us who strive every day to make our best better and value the music that makes doing what we love for a living possible are rolling their eyes.

And while we may not always say it out loud, we’re thinking it…

C’mon man!

After being turned out to pasture following a 16-year club residency, Glen Ervin finds himself gainfully employed as Promo Only sales manager, media consultant and staff writer.

To mix or not to mix (hint: mix)

By Tony Fernandez:

Its 2018 right? Which means that since the late 1960s DJs have been segueing from record to record, song to song, to maintain a vibe and the consistency of that vibe, roughly some 50 years. So why is it in the technologically advanced world that we currently live in that some DJs still chose not to mix?

Before I continue on my diatribe, let me step off the soapbox for a moment…

I do realize its America. As such, I know I have no right to dictate how one should DJ. I’m sure there are plenty of DJs that don’t mix and make a lot more money than me.

Back to my soapbox…
I’m not saying that all DJs need to be qualifiers for the DMC battle for World Supremacy or finalists for Red Bull Thre3Style. Just asking how is it possible that some DJs put no thought or effort into mastering a fundamental skill that all DJs should have in their arsenal.

Let’s put it this way: If you don’t mix, you’re pretty much a bag of bones that pushes buttons.
You’re just navigating a playlist. And yes, for those who don’t know, I am NOT a fan of playlists.

Let’s frame it another way: On some level we’re all pretty much playing the same songs. We all subscribe to the same record pools (shameless plug for Promo Only here). We all have the potential to have the same content. So… how are you as a DJ going to distinguish yourself from everyone else?

Come on kids, you have to do better. You have to maintain a certain set of fundamental skills. Know your music. Know how to read a crowd. Know your gear. Know how to say no to that seventh cocktail. And know how to mix.

While I’m pontificating, let me add: If you don’t mix (for whatever justification you hang your headphones on) don’t post up and comment on how ‘I haven’t needed to mix in the two centuries I’ve been a DJ and I’m still getting work…’ Honestly, to me, that’s a cop-out and a mitigation of a rudimentary skill you should possess. Besides, stating that you don’t know how to mix isn’t really painting yourself in the best light.

Mixing isn’t neurological surgery. I’m truly not trying to make mixing more important that what it is. But there is a method to the madness, as it were. Mixing is more than just finding songs with the same BPM. Mixing is more than just blending two (or more) songs together. You have to pick the CORRECT song to mix with. You have to know when to START the mix. You have to know when to END the mix. And you have to be consistent from song to song to song, usually for 4 hours or more.

I truly do not understand how someone can find solace in not mixing, ergo, not being a complete DJ. Mixing music is what a DJ does. It’s part of the essence of being a DJ. Dare I say (if I haven’t said enough already) that mixing is a requisite skill that every DJ should have in their toolbox.

Till next time DJs. Keep ‘em spinning.

And mix those spins.

 

 Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

 

A DJ’s role

By Tony Fernandez:

Let me say right off the bat… I am NOT a fan of Cardi B’s music. To me, “Bodak Yellow” is unlistenable. Recently, however, I found myself, mostly out of curiosity, watching Cardi B co-host the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I will admit I was thoroughly entertained. She was funny, engaging and genuinely herself. She was hilarious. Then she performed “Money Bag…” which brings us to the dynamic of music in general and to the DJ’s role in that music specifically.

As I have stated, I am not a fan of Cardi B’s music. However, I totally respect her as an artist. She has the right to create any music she desires and to work her shtick any way she sees fit. I don’t find fault with that whatsoever.

On the flip side, I believe any artist that puts themself in the public forum, any artist that is trying to monetize their craft, opens themselves up to admiration in conjunction with disregard: I can acknowledge and respect Cardi B as an artist…

I don’t have to purchase or play her music.

As DJs, we’re hired to be professional music soothsayers. We play songs in accordance to the client’s wishes or the crowd’s feedback. We all, myself included, play music that we don’t personally like. We’re there to do a job, not play for our personal entertainment.

BUT…. (there’s always a but) while we are DJs, we are human as well. We all have our personal proclivities. We have our biases. We have our likes and dislikes. And on some level, consciously or subconsciously, our dispositions are reflected in the way we program.

As a DJ, I have both the right and responsibility to pass judgement through my own personal filter. As a DJ who acts as an ambassador of music and is a tastemaker, I have the right to exercise my disposition at my discretion.

I play songs I personally don’t care for all the time. There are also songs I will not play. Period. I have garnered through experience and reputation the right to be in that position. I work with clients and venues that understand that I have PLENTY of other options, songs, and artists to play/program.

Not playing an artist doesn’t pass my personal filter is not going to kill my floors.

I don’t let what’s popular dictate how I program. I do take requests. But those requests have to be tempered with what works best at the event I’m working. Taste, appropriateness, content, and personal experience all come into play before a song is played.

I feel it’s incumbent on DJs to be able to exercise their judgement and mollify music that has questionable content. Granted that “questionable content” is often subjective, but the fact remains that DJs should feel compelled to be gatekeepers of “good” music.

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email

Where Are You At Your Events?

By Mike Walter:

I gave a seminar at Mobile Beat’s Las Vegas show last month and one of the things I discussed was breaking the fourth wall and getting out on the dance floor at certain moments of your events.  That’s a style of DJing that has been engrained in me from my earliest days as an MC so it’s something I have always done, and something I have always taught my DJs to do.  If it’s not something you do, please allow me to make my point.

My very first MCing job was back in Queens, New York in the mid-eighties at a bowling alley.  I was an avid bowler at the time (used to carry a 170 average for what it’s worth) and I frequented this one place near my house and got to know the owner.  He came to me one day and said he was starting something called “Friday Night Madness” which I’ve seen in many other bowling alleys since, often under the name “Rock and Bowl” or something like that.  Friday Night Madness went from 10pm to 2am and featured a DJ, disco lights (which, looking back, were pretty lame) and one red pin in each set of pins.  The point of the red pin was that whenever it came up as the head pin, the bowler could win a prize if he or she threw a strike. I thought the idea sounded great and I figured he was just telling me because he was excited about the concept and wanted to share it with his regulars.  But then he made me an offer.  He’d hired a DJ to play music but that guy didn’t want to speak.  And they needed someone who could get on the microphone and make some announcements, mainly, spotlighting whenever a red pin landed as the head pin.  I jumped at the chance, especially when he offered me $25 for the night (and unlimited beer). As a nineteen year old, that was a pretty good offer!

The first few weeks I stood behind the counter (the one where you get your rental shoes and pay for your games) and made all my announcements from the microphone on the gooseneck stand.  I felt detached from everything and ineffectual.  After a few weeks, attendance was booming and the owner told me he was getting me a cordless microphone.  Once I had that I was free to roam.  If a red head pin came up on lane #38, I sprinted down to announce it and watch the bowler throw their ball. And if they hit a strike I was the able to congratulate them as I gave them a prize.  If a guy wanted to dedicate a song to his girl I walked over to their lane and made the announcement in front of them and then urged them to kiss. And late in the night if some of the ladies wanted to dance, I was right out there with them, bumping and grinding (I was nineteen!) and inviting others up.  I felt much more effective as an MC because I wasn’t tethered behind the counter.

When I started at Star DJs they had a similar approach to DJing.  They expected the MC to do bridal party introductions from the dance floor and to lead the crowd in dances as well.  This was the late eighties and every MC was equipped with a sequined jacket that we broke out at climatic moments of the night like “Shout” or “Mony Mony.”  And while times have changed, no doubt (I don’t even know where my sequined jacket is these days and I no longer jump up on my bass bin and lead the “Y.M.C.A”) the basic philosophy still holds true. We, as MCs, are more effective when we get out in front of our DJ system and utilize the wireless microphone technology God has given us to make our announcements and (from time to time) lead some dancing or prompt the crowd.  If you doubt that, I’d encourage you to think about any concert you’ve ever been to.  Has the lead singer ever hopped off the stage and gone up and down the aisles?  I’ve witnessed artists like Michael Buble and Mick Jagger and Michael Franti do this and it always brings the energy up.  Now, you could argue that we aren’t rock stars and that getting out on the dance floor can steal the show from the bride and groom, but I’d come back with the fact that, as DJs, we are the rock star at the event and that clients hire us to make the best possible party — so if penetrating the dance floor does that, then I’m just doing my job.

I know this topic can be divisive so if you vehemently disagree with me and think a DJ’s place should always be behind the system then I have to respect that and say, fortunately, there’s more than one way to be successful in this great industry. But if you normally hang back behind the gear and are willing to give it a try, I’d encourage you to get out front a bit. I believe you’ll be happy with the results and may start doing it more and more. And if you love it that much, let me know. I’ll try to find my old sequined jacket and lend it to you.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

Rip Off The Rearview Mirror

By Mitch Taylor:

Out of the blue the other day I got a call from a fellow DJ and his statements somewhat surprised me.  He said biz had slowed down and he was struggling a bit.  He blamed it on himself first saying he hadn’t been beating the pavement as much as he had in the past but then, after suggesting a few thing he could do to better his situation (after all he did call me, right?), the verbal posturing began and suddenly the blame is placed upon the multi-ops who send out $500 DJs, payola in our business and everything else.

Why am I sharing this with you in this space?  Because I’m sure that you have been in this same place at one time or another.  I know I have.

Look at yourself in the mirror.  Dead in the eyes.  Realize YOU have the power to control your life.  We live in the land where dreams are made, during a technological revolution.  Stop making excuses and take advantage of the incredible opportunity that lays before you.  Seize it.  TODAY.  Right Now.

Where do you draw your inspiration?  I write this coming back from a conference of my peers and being around them inspires me to do great things, better things.  What inspires you?

For me, it’s my kids.  It’s the look on a bride’s face, that genuine smile of knowing from a mother when you put your heart and soul into an event and everything turned out better than they could have imagined.  It’s the knowledge that I continually need to improve and step up my game because some young buck is coming up behind me somewhere, hungry to take over my business and get his cut.

Rip off the rear view mirror.  Don’t look back.  Always keep improving.

If you need help with motivation and things you can do to be better, check out fellow Promo Only columnist and person that inspires me Mike Walter’s book “10 Things You Can Do To Have A Better Day.” A great read.

I’ll let you in on another little secret.  You know someone else that inspires me?  Go look in the mirror.  It’s you.  You, your passion, desire and drive for this business.

Now go out and make someone’s day better!

About: Mitch Taylor owns and operates Taylored Weddings and can be reached via email at mitch@mitchtaylor.net. For more info about his Creating Connections books and workshops visit creatingconnections.biz

Ask Questions: Get Better Every Day, Your Way

By Mike Walter:

If you’ve read my first few posts for this blog you’ve noticed I have talked about health and fitness. And if you know me, even casually through social media, you may ask why I am qualified to speak on this subject. After all I’m a middle-aged man in average condition. My height and weight (6 foot, 190 pounds) actually put me at the high end of average and I’m certainly no Adonis with my shirt off. DJs like Marcello or Jay Sims or Rob Snyder have to be more qualified to talk about fitness, right?

Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s like sports where the best athletes rarely make the best coaches. For a great athlete things often come naturally which means someone like Michael Jordan probably never over analyzed his game in an effort to get better. If you look through the list of best coaches in any sport, they are usually athletes who struggled to make an impact or even remain on the roster. Those are the guys who spent countless hours breaking down every nuance of a skill in an effort to improve. And though that rarely made them superstars it left them in the unique position to teach the game to others.

It’s in that struggle that coaching and managing and educating often comes from.

So I’d argue I’m probably the best guy to talk about fitness because I struggle with the topic as much as most people. As I walk the hallways of every DJ convention, for every lean and fit DJ I pass, there are twenty just like me, guys who find it hard to resist every temptation and who struggle to maintain a consistent exercise regimen.

I would also use a similar argument for explaining why I’ve been such an effective DJ trainer through the years. I am not a natural talent when it comes to entertaining. I have pretty good pipes for sure but I’m not a great dancer and my beat mixing skills have been honed from years and years of practice. I think that’s what makes me such a good trainer. I can relate to most struggles that a DJ or MC might go through and help them with first hand advice as to how I overcame something similar. I can break down most tasks that we have to do as entertainers and explain it to someone because I’ve probably had to break that same process down for myself in order to improve. Those are the things that have helped me train my own DJs for over 20 years now and those are the reasons I’ve been able to help so many others set up their own training programs.

It’s also why I’d love this blog to become as much about performance as it is about fitness. And I’d love you as the reader to direct it. Please ask away.   Let me know what future topics you’d like to see me cover and I’ll be happy to write about them.

Till then, just keep trying to get better everyday: Keep moving and burning those calories and keep practicing your chosen craft.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

“I Turned Down My First Client”

By Brian Buonassissi:

 

Here’s a statement I never thought I would make: After some 22 years of business I turned down my first client. Last year, I was listening to one of the PHDJ podcast episodes hosted by Mike Walter and Joe Bunn (if you’re not subscribed to it, you need to be) and the question came up if either of them had ever turned down a client? Like me, up to that point, neither of them had. However, the question gave me serious pause to think about clients that were “questionable.”

I can think of a handful of clients our company has taken on where, when we went to contract, I had a feeling they were going to be trouble clients. In the end, they all ended up to be exactly that – every single one of them. In some cases, we had to give a partial or full refund. Listening to the podcast, I began to ask myself, “Why did we take these clients on?”

The reasons varied. Part of me didn’t want to feel defeated. I wanted us to take on the challenge of making these clients have the party of their life. Another part of me may have wanted to make sure our DJs were working and there was fear that another booking may not come. And then there was another part of me that wanted to bring in the revenue.

As my DJ profile and demand has grown over the years, I’ve had the luxury of being able to pick and choose which clients are “the right fit” for me. If a client wasn’t a good fit, I’d send it down the chain to one of our other guys. That type of client didn’t really affect me as our other DJs had to deal with it and I masked it by saying, “It was good training” for them.

It hit in me in the face that I was being rather selfish. That started a process over the last few months of 2017 in identifying just who our ideal client was. I’ll share some of that with you.

Our ideal client:
*is between the age of 22-35
*is kind and generous
*is creative – loves uniqueness
*is cutting edge – enjoys social media and mobile apps, open to incorporating the latest and greatest
*Loves a variety of different music or at least has an appreciation for many different genres
*has an awareness that a DJ can make/break their event
*easily recognizes and appreciates value over low quality
*is willing to collaborate with us (there’s a mutual trust between us)
*has a crowd that loves to dance any chance they get
*communicates well and appreciates timely responses and reciprocates

That’s our Top 10 list. Once I identified our ideal client, it really put me (and our sales staff) in the driver’s seat and we found ourselves interviewing our clients just as much as they were interviewing us before taking on a job. There is still nervousness that I may lose out on revenue but the negatives of taking on a client that isn’t a fit completely outweigh any positives.

Back to the client I turned down…in a nutshell, they didn’t pass muster on 5 of the 10 on our list. It was enough of a warning sign for me that I knew this wasn’t the right client for us. I sent the client a contract anyway. However, when they came back with changes they wanted to see to the contract, it was like a little nudge from the heavens telling me to abort.

I spent some time thinking through how to communicate that I was going to rescind the contract offer; the last thing I wanted to do was for the planner to stop sending referrals (some of our best parties came from her). I talked to the planner first (over the phone) and she totally understood and even said she wished she had done the same. I tried calling the client twice but got v/m both times, so I drafted a nice email and sent it off. I never heard back. Again, more confirmation that I made the right call.

Have you ever had a trouble client? What have you done? It’s not a matter of if you’ll ever have one but when. If you take one thing away from post today, I would encourage you to identify your ideal client with no more than 10 bullet points. The process challenges you to real drill down. I think it will do wonders for your business. It has for mine.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events. He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com

New rekordbox lyric Plus Pack brings world’s first lyric visualization in sync with DJs’ tracks

Pioneer is releasing rekordbox ver 5.1, a new version of their music management software. The update enables a brand-new optional Plus Pack, rekordbox lyric, for displaying animated lyric visualizations when using the rekordbox dj Plus Pack.

Since we released rekordbox video in 2016, we’ve continued to develop the video functionality within our performance software and, now, rekordbox lyric offers a brand-new form of expression. Its lyric visualization feature, co-developed with COTODAMA, enables you to display visualizations of track lyrics on the fly via monitors or projectors when using the rekordbox dj Plus Pack. Animations are created automatically by the software and you can customise them to create your preferred look. rekordbox lyric is the first DJ tool in the world to visualize the lyrics of songs being played.*1

How to use rekordbox lyric

Subscribe to one of the following plans available from 18th January 2018:

  1. Lyric Plan ($6.90 per month)

If you already own a rekordbox dj license, you can subscribe to this plan to use rekordbox lyric.

  1. Premium Plan ($14.90 per month)

In addition to rekordbox lyric, you’ll get unlimited access to all the features and functions of rekordbox dj, rekordbox dvs, rekordbox video and RMX Effects.

30 day free trial of rekordbox dj

If you use the rekordbox dj trial version, you can try all Plus Packs including rekordbox lyric for 30 days. During the trial period, you can try rekordbox lyric’s features using sample songs that can be downloaded through rekordbox.

Find out more about the rekordbox Plus Packs and watch our rekordbox lyric introduction video.

*1 First application service in the DJ application market (according to research conducted by Pioneer DJ Corporation, 11th January 2018).

* Lyric Plan and Premium Plan are available in limited countries only. Find out more.

* In some cases, lyric data may not be acquired from tracks.

* If you already subscribe to the current rekordbox plan (now known as Base Plan) and would like to subscribe to Premium Plan, you’ll need to cancel your current subscription and take out a new subscription for Premium Plan.

KEY FEATURES OF REKORDBOX LYRIC

  1. Lyric visualization in sync with tracks

Thanks to COTODAMA’s Lyric Sync Technology, the lyrics of the tracks you play are sent via your laptop’s video output (HDMI, etc.) to a connected screen or projector. Just play music that’s been pre-analysed by rekordbox and smooth, dynamic motion graphics based on the track’s mood and structure will appear when rekordbox lyric is enabled. You can perform with your tracks normally (for example, adding FX) and the visualized lyrics will appear automatically.

  1. Customizable visualized lyrics

You can change the tone and type of motion graphics generated by rekordbox lyric. And, with the flexibility to customize font colour and transparency of the background individually, you can create visuals on the fly to match the crowd’s vibe.

  1. Compatible with rekordbox video

Use rekordbox video with rekordbox lyric to apply its Transition FX to visualized lyrics and to layer lyrics over videos and images. By combining various elements using both Plus Packs, you can create unique visual performances to accompany your DJ sets.

About Lyric Sync Technology
rekordbox lyric utilizes Lyric Sync Technology that automatically visualizes lyrics beautifully. Lyric data is acquired from the database of over 2.59 million songs provided by Sync Power Corporation. The music analysis technology of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) automatically analyses the lyric data to determine the atmosphere and composition of the music, and its Expression Engine generates motion graphics for each song using the Morisawa font.

rekordbox lyric Specifications

Compatible OS Mac macOS High Sierra 10.13 (updated to the latest version)

macOS Sierra 10.12 (updated to the latest version)

OS X 10.11, 10.10 (updated to the latest version)

Windows Windows® 10, 8.1, 7 (the latest service pack)
CPU Intel® processor Core™ i7, i5, i3
Memory 4 GB or more of RAM

 

* Disclaimer: specifications and price are subject to change.

* rekordbox is a registered trademark of Pioneer DJ Corporation.

* rekordbox lyric displays lyric information based on the license of LyricFind.

* Mac, OS X or macOS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries.

* Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other countries.

* Intel and Intel Core are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the US and other countries.

* The names of companies, product names and technology names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

 

The Triangle: Conferences, Workshops, & Coaching/Mentoring

By Brian Buonassisi:

As we embark on a new year, I think it’s important to assess where you are at and where you want to go in 2018. I’m not talking about fickle New Year’s Resolutions but more to steering your business in the right direction. For some, no major course correction is needed. For others, you many need to completely change directions due to where the wind in your market is taking you. Over the years, I’ve found that there’s a pattern to growth and it’s not a linear thing. It’s like a triangle – you keep going through it. You’re either in need of conferences, workshops or coaching/mentoring. All of them have their place but I thought as you start thinking through your 2018 budget, this is a perfectly timed topic to talk through each one.

Conferences
There’s really 3 “national” DJ conferences out there: Mobile Beat, Marquee, and the DJ Expo. While you can definitely pick up some things to help your business at any of them, these conferences are mainly inspiration and network heavy. To encourage attendance, the show producers have to cast a wide net and cover as broad material as possible. You have the beginners all the way through to the industry veterans. It’s a great way to re-charge with your DJ brothers and sisters as well as take in a ton of information over a couple days. However, the reality is that it could take weeks if not months to go through all your notes and implement a strategy to employ some of it.

Workshops
Typically, workshops are more narrowed in scope. You are drilling down on a specific subject matter (or two) rather than a large range of categories. For example, you may want to improve with mic etiquette or scratching or sales, etc. If there’s an area that you feel you could use some development in, finding a workshop to address that area could be the solution. The other advantage to workshops is that you interact with those who are looking to learn the same type of subject matter. That can bond you together with a person you may never have had a chance to meet otherwise.

Coaching/Mentoring
So far it may appear like each one of these options is a step up from the other. While coaching/mentoring could feel that way, I honestly think it could be a great first step. Rather than undoing bad habits or mistakes, you are able to deal with issues in real time. Finding a coach or a mentor isn’t cheap (not for the good ones at least) but it saves you a lot of money in in the long run. These sessions are either in one on one settings or in a small group (10-20 people) whereas a conference may have thousands and a workshop could have up to a hundred or so. The constant touches (at minimum you’re meeting a few times a year but most meet weekly or monthly) and accountability with coaching/mentoring makes a ton of difference in not only getting started with a plan but staying the course.

For myself, I’m in the coaching/mentoring category this year. Not only am I being coached in 2018 but I’m also coaching others. I’m only a few days in and it’s already been rewarding. What are your needs? What category do you fall in? It could be you need a little of all three. The reality is that doing any of these three things is going to put you ahead of 90% of your competition and give you a leg up. I hope to see you in one of these settings in 2018 and if I can help you at all, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events. He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with offices in Southern California, Destin, FL and New York City. You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com.

The Ins & Outs of Eating for Success

By Mike Walter:

Almost every nutritionist and dietician will tell you that counting calories is not the smartest way to go about losing weight or trying to stay in shape. So why would I recommend it? Read on.

So much of our weight is determined by two simple factors: how much we take in and how much we burn. I often compare it to the definition of wealth (wealth isn’t what you earn, it’s what you keep). As an extreme example, a number of years ago there were reports that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was eating 12,000 calories a day. He was scarfing down fried egg sandwiches with cheese, pizzas, and two pounds of pasta. Every day! He was consuming close to six times his recommended number of calories yet he was not only not fat and out of shape, he was an insanely successful athlete. Why? Because he was swimming for hours and hours a day, thus burning ten times the number of calories as most people. Not only was his diet not holding him back, it was essential to his success. Without that many calories, he wouldn’t have had the energy to train and compete.

Like I said, Phelps’ diet while he was training is an extreme example. But it points out the math involved in weight loss or gain.

Do you know how many calories you burn every day? Do you know how many calories you take in? Do you know how many calories it takes to gain or lose a pound?

I think these numbers are important. And while I don’t count every single calorie, I do have a general sense of when I’ve taken in more than I’ve burned (not good) and when I’ve burned more than I’ve taken in (good). And it’s those general numbers that help me maintain my weight.

First, let’s start with a quick calculation. If you want to know approximately how many calories you burn per day multiply your weight by 14. So I’m currently at 190 pounds which means with normal daily activity I’m burning about 2,600 calories per day. Now, if I go for a four mile run that day I’ll burn about four to five hundred extra calories. Same goes if I spend an hour on my stationary bike (pedaling of course, I can’t just sit there). So that would put me about 3,100 calories burned for the day.

That’s why it’s important for me to know the approximate calorie count in the foods I eat. My typical breakfast of cereal and a banana is about 250 calories.   If I want two slices of pizza for lunch, that’s about 500 calories. If I have an eight ounce steak for dinner, that’ll be about 600 calories. The two beers I have to wash it down with are about 300 calories. As all this food and drink adds up I try to keep it below my daily burn. I’m successful more days than not which is why I pretty much maintain my weight.

And that’s where the other important number comes in: 3,500. It takes approximately 3,500 calories to gain or lose a pound of weight. So if I consume 3,500 more calories than I burn, I’m going to gain a pound. Conversely if I burn 3,500 more calories than I consume, I’ll lose a pound. There are other factors involved, for sure, but the basic math sends us a clear message: burn more than you eat.

Finally, one of the calculations I like to do is to figure out how much activity food costs. I’m not a fast food guy but I’ll use the generic Big Mac, fries and a coke as an example. That’s about 1,100 calories, which may or may not sound like a lot. But I tell myself something different: that meal will cost me 10 miles of running. Or 11 hours biking. Which is maybe why I’m not a fast food guy!

Please notice how many times I’ve used the words “generally” or “about” or “approximately” in this blog. I don’t obsess over calories and I don’t think you should either. But having a general sense of how much you’re consuming versus how much you are burning is extremely important in my opinion. If you don’t, I think you should give it a try. Google can be your friend (simply type “calories in ____” and you’ll get your answer) as can a Fit Bit or Apple watch that can measure your daily activity. Armed with this knowledge, you may begin to start seeing why your weight is what it is, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.