The journey of becoming a DJ with Cloonee, Tommy Farrow, and local talent

By admin

28 May 2024

Credit: airin4music

With the high for house music dominating the scene, love for the sound has captured the hearts of almost everyone. The timing is now more than ever to start your DJ career. Follow as we share the remarkable journeys of up-and-coming DJs, from bedroom baseline to backstage in Ibiza. Encouraging you to venture into the thrilling field of DJing.

Anyone from anywhere with enough passion, hard work, and determination can turn their love and drive for music into electrifying experiences for audiences worldwide. Next, it could be you. One DJ viral sensation David Bissett, 28, from Sheffield, also famously known as Cloonee, says: “You never know how far you might go, one minute you’re at student nights in Sheffield next minute you’re preparing your set for Coachella.” Similarly, DJ Tommy Farrow, 26, from Sheffield says: “When I realised people pay to see me, I just thought that was amazing.”

But that inspiration comes differently to everyone, one person’s transformative live performance contrasts with another’s creative outlet for experimentation and self-expression. The innovation for following your musical passions is limitless. For example, one DJ, Ben Thomas, 26, from Nottingham, also known as Ben JAMMIN, says: “What made me get into it was, I always liked music and I always used to think how did they make that?”

Regardless of what initially inspired you to want to spin the decks, many DJs have different guidance on how you should start. Ben Jammin says: “My advice to anyone wanting to give it a go would be to download a DJ app on your phone and have a mess about on that first see if you like it. I would then buy some cheap pioneer decks like £200 and just practice in your bedroom.”

Remembering you are only just starting so be patient with your journey and stay true to your passion and love for the music. Likewise, Farrow’s advice says: “when I was just a teen my sister gave me some decks, and I just instantly fell in love. Then when I went to uni I got into production. I felt like I worked harder than anyone else I knew and eventually it paid off. So, my advice is to set out your goals, make a list, and just follow them, make sure you’re being realistic at first, but the hard work will pay off.”

After you believe you have gained some experience and are confident enough, you need to begin networking, as this is how lots of DJs breakthrough into the industry. Cloonee says: “Try to reach out, to make contacts, I started by being part of an events company, seeing the vibes and the atmosphere, I was like I want to do that. My first few gigs were just standard student nights, with some nights being just 10 people and they were my mates.” So, be prepared to play for smaller crowds, not be too selective at the start, and make sure you are taking every opportunity that comes your way, gaining lots of experience. Similarly, Ben Jammin further says: “Go to the events you wanna play at and try to meet people, you might end up talking to promoters. That’s how I got my first gig.

Some promoter walked into a pres I was playing at, and asked if I wanna play, which was amazing. But I had been playing at pres for ages before I got that call-up. So host pres, afters, and stuff, then get yourself to places you wanna play at and it will come. Don’t be too picky in the beginning, my first year of sets was playing to no one for almost a year, it’s about the small wins.”

However, despite its glamorous facade, the world of DJing isn’t always a party. While it certainly has its exhilarating moments, it’s essential to acknowledge that behind the scenes, DJs face numerous challenges. “It’s very political in the DJing industry.” Says Ben Jammin: “Lots of companies are rivals and don’t like each other. But the gigs are spread out between them and you as a DJ have to be on as many gigs as possible, to try and get on as many different line-ups as possible, to get your name out there. So stay out of politics. That would be the key thing that I would say.”

Success within this competitive industry demands lots of commitment and tenacity. As Farrow similarly says: “A pre-warning would be there’s a lot of self-interest in the DJ world, whether that be from promoters or other DJs. What you have to realize is others are not necessarily your competition but your inspiration to work harder, there’s enough space out there for everyone, so you shouldn’t hate on other artists.”

So, behind the glitz and glamour, remember why you’re doing it. “There’s also a lot of people that do it for the wrong reasons,” says Ben JAMMIN: “like status, money, girls, being accepted or to be cool, etc. But to be honest you have to love it because to get good at music production, which will get you gigs, takes a lot of time and dedication.” Additionally, there may be a lot of people in the industry who are not that pleasant at times.

“Don’t get me wrong you do meet some amazing people through doing it, but some people are just dickheads, you just have got to be true to yourself, don’t be up someone’s arse, but make sure you are on good terms with everyone.” Just keep on remembering your love for the music.

Yet, the ultimate guide for a DJ is through production, if you want to have thousands of people see you for your songs and your name, you’ve got to find your sound. Ben Jammin says: “It’s not how good of a DJ you are, it’s about how good your production is. If you produce absolute bangers, you’ll get big gigs because people will want to watch u play them songs.” However, producing songs is not always as easy as it sounds, Farrow says: “Once you start working for someone, it does get tough. My producer told me to just make bangers.

I was like easier said than done. I don’t think he realized how pressurizing it was man.” Although for some DJs producing may just come naturally to them, just like Cloonee who says: “I knew producing is what I wanted to do because I just couldn’t get enough of it. When my first song separated dropped in 2016 there was no greater feeling. Then I couldn’t believe it when bigger, more famous DJs started dropping my tracks in places like Ibiza and America. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Thus, as you venture into the exhilarating DJ world, never forget to prioritise the love for music in your journeys, as it is your passion for the music that will carry you to new heights because, “you never know how far you might go.”

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