By Tony Fernandez
When I began DJing, I used cassette tapes. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I did. A lot of the tracks were bootlegged off the radio in NYC and then I’d bring these gems to VA, where I was in school (I was 14 at the time; I know better now). I quickly moved up to vinyl, eventually stepped up to CDs around ’89 and have been hustling for new tunes ever since.
Back then, I had established a network of people that knew me and knew what I liked. There were record stores. I knew the people in those stores and they knew me. There was mail order. I used to call 12” Dance in Washington DC, or Dancetraxx/Vinylmania in NYC more often than I’d like to admit. And there were record pools. Pools would have advanced copies and promo-only mixes that weren’t accessible to the public. Naturally I wanted those the most.
Having that new release or remix and dropping that track in your set is an awesome feeling.
It’s even a little sweeter, if you have that mix that no one else has.
I was fortunate to become a Billboard Reporting DJ for a time, which led to even more music that was not readily available to the public. Then the Internet happened. Napster happened. Limewire happened. WinMX happened. Audio Galaxy happened. The Internet became the great equalizer. Through legit (and sometimes not so legit) means, anyone could get almost any song created by any one.
And everything changed.
Music can now be streamed or downloaded at your desire: remixes, unreleased mixes, bootlegs, white labels, promo only releases, etc. — literally millions of songs and remixes await the click of a mouse. With a little effort you can find foreign edits and mixes done by DJs in the UK, France, South Africa, Germany, and more. That crazy version you heard at your club, concert, festival, radio, car, store, gas station, TV commercial, streaming service? Your chances of finding that version now are pretty high.
So if we ALL have the access, by and large, to the music being cranked out for public consumption, how do you find that unique banger that’s going to make you stand out? Trust me, it’s out there. There is new music to be found and new music to be had…
You just have to be proactive and find it.
- If you just wait for your monthly subscription to feed you tunes, you’re not being proactive.
- If you just echo what’s on radio, you’re not being proactive.
- If you’re bemoaning the “fact” that there’s no “good” music, you’re not bring proactive.
Some would say (me included) that it’s part of your job as a DJ to seek, find, and play new tunes.
Be proactive in your approach. Be the proactive DJ you can be. Find those new tunes. Your crowds, your floors and your clients will thank you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org