A Day In The Life of a DJ

By Jacob Peirce, Alex Trafecante and Caitlin Graziani

In the 1990’s grunge, garage bands and “jock jams” ruled the Billboard charts.  In the 2000’s boy bands, girl bands and rap music took over “Total Request Live.”  For the 2010’s a new genre of music has evolved and electronic, trance and auto-tune have taken over the world’s ears and iPods.

“Technology has paralleled the evolution of music,” said DJ Zimmie (also known as David Joseph Szymanski), a nationally touring “party rock” DJ.  “If you owned a laptop and you had the software you could start making your own music, so people that previously didn’t have access to big expensive studios can now start making music.”

DJ Zimmie laughs as he DJ's for the 'Adult Swim' Block Party held in Morgantown, W.Va May of 2010. (Photo Credit: http://www.DJZimmie.com)

In the 1990’s computers were making their way to the mainstream public, by 2000 most people had a computer in their home. In 2010 not only do people have computers, but smart phones and tablets that are capable of doing anything a desktop computer can.  Music and how it’s made has followed this pattern of technology closely.

“If you wanted to be a DJ in the‘80s you had to drop $3,000 on all the individual records.  Or you have to go record them on a tape, like a cassette, off of a radio, and get it pre-made into special vinyl to be able to drop those singles,” Ric Holgerheide, also known as DJ Raja who often performs in Morgantown said.  “You were carrying crates of vinyl, if somebody wanted something and you didn’t have it, you were out of luck.”

DJ’s and electronic music in general have become such a prominent part of the musical community that there are schools specializing in DJing and music production. Dubspot, is a cutting-edge electronic music production and DJ school in New York City.  They offer courses such as sound design, DJ/producer certification and music foundations. Just like any typical musician, you can learn the ins and outs of music, and learn to play your instrument best in their classes.

“I think the basis for being a good DJ and to get into DJing is a love of music,” said DJ Zimmie defending DJ’s as a musician.

DJ Zimmie poses for a photograph with a few female guests while in the middle of a 'set.' ( Photo Credit: http://www.DJZimmie.com)

Electronic music has come a long way from the underground scenes of European discos and rave’s held in basement dance clubs.  Skrillex (Sonny Moore), a well known Dubstep/electronica musician, is nominated for five Grammy Awards in 2011.

“I’m only hoping that my nomination this year will carry on to the next year, and open doors for more people to come up and be noticed and recognized as actual musicians,” said Skrillex in an interview with MTV on his Grammy nomination.

Skrillex’s nominations include: Best New Artist, Best Dance Recording, Best Dance Electronica Album, Best Remixed Recording (non-classical), and Best Short Form Music Video.

These nominations not only prove that DJing and electronic music have become mainstream music, but that they have revolutionized the way people listen to music.  Twenty years ago there was not a ‘Best Dance Electronica’ category for a Grammy.

“Music is creativity, either you evolve or you die,” DJ Raja said.

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