Night Life: The DJ

Once in another lifetime, I was a DJ.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been out of that world for five years.  Time moves quickly, and life happens pretty fast.  I’ve always wondered where I would be if I continued to pursue music.  Who really knows.  Here’s an article that was written in 2004 about me and DJing in Athens…

Music.  It sets the atmosphere for parties and surroundings and is more powerful than simple rhymes and beats.  Music sets the mood, and at Ohio University D.J. Brian Fisher pumps up the weekends and gets the parties started.

“It’s a whole other world when you’re behind the speakers instead of in front of them,” says Fisher, a sophomore at Ohio University.

He’s been deejaying since January 2004 but started preparing for his hobby in high school.  He decided deejaying would be a great way to combine his love for music and need for a job during college.  He could make money while doing what he loves!

A people-person with a love for crowds and a good time, Fisher began deejaying at house parties around campus.  He started saving for equipment as a senior in high school and gradually added to his collection as he went along.  His brother-in-law, who deejayed in London and used to produce music, offered him technical advice as he got started.  He also taught him about the technical aspect of turntables and showed him the basics and brands.  But what really helped him learn how to use turntables was reading books about it and constant practice.

“It’s all trial and error,” he says.  “If you’ve ever heard of a closet D.J., that’s what it means.”  Learning turntables takes practice and patience.

Fisher tests out his new material and music mixes at house parties, which allows him to garner a reaction from the crowd.  Depending on the crowd, which for him is usually college students, Fisher plays the top 40’s and some oldies.

“When it comes to playing music, 3o percent of the music depends on how I feel, and 70 percent of it is what the crowd wants,” says Fisher. “ As a D.J., they’re here to hear you play what they want.”

He always tries to stay in tune with the crowd’s needs, because the music he plays easily sets the atmosphere of the party and affects the tempo.

“You set the mood.  With slow songs and fast songs, you can affect the dancing in the crowd,” says Fisher.  “You gotta be in the crowd to be with the crowd.”

As a D.J., he gets to experience it all.  He controls the music and experiments with beats as the crowd enjoys themselves around him.  His favorite part about deejaying is “when you can look over the entire crowd, put on a song that everyone loves, and watch a huge crowd get pumped.”

Fisher’s good friend Jon Oh says he “knows how to set the tone for a party, and knows the right song to get everyone pumped up to start off.”

Besides keeping the music playing, he gets a unique perspective on the party.  From behind the table he has seen it all when it comes to college parties.

“You can get desensitized, “he says.  “Some things become normal, like people dancing on tables.  If they’re up there dancing I know that they’re having a good time, but at the same time that doesn’t mean that my deejaying is incredible that night.  I’m doing a good job when table dancing is a part of the party.”

Rowdy crowds are a part of D.J. territory.  Fisher has seen crowd surfing or even had the music drowned out by the crowd when a favorite old song is played.

“That’s the stuff that makes me smile,” he says.

But the crowds aren’t always loud and crazy.  Sometimes they’re small, or a challenge to get dancing.  When Fisher notices there are a lot of wallflowers at the party, he does what he can to get them moving and grooving and “reverts to the classics and doesn’t experiment much.”  He says there’s only so much you can do as the D.J., and it’s your job to use the music you have and your people skills to make the party as fun as possible.

“Generally, people come to dance.  But at the same time you can’t force anyone to dance.”

And as many perks as there are to being a D.J., Fisher admits it has its downsides.

“Sometimes drunk people run into equipment, or vital CD’s get scratched.  Sometimes you play a song that you know will be hot soon but you’re too ahead of the game, and the crowd doesn’t like it.”

He also doesn’t enjoy the packing and setting up of equipment before and after shows.  His least favorite part is taking it down, because that means the night is over and his time is up.

And the music selection can sometimes be tough.

“The catch-22 of deejaying is people requesting music,” Fisher says.  “It’s good because you know what some people want, but that’s not always what everyone wants to hear.  Sometimes what they request doesn’t match the flow you’re trying to create with the music.”

He deejays for the music, and the crowds are a big part of his job.  Without them, who would listen to the music?  He emphasizes how important it is as a D.J. to stay a step ahead of the game and know what’s going on around you in the music business.  As a D.J. you need to know “what’s going to be hot before it’s hot.”  You need to listen to a variety of music and always be looking for new bands and musicians.  And when you play something new, it’s the crowd that ultimately decides what they like, and the D.J. has to cater to the crowd.

One of the most important parts of deejaying is finding gigs.  Fisher says this must be done “however you can!”  Through referrals from friends, business cards, fliers, personal appearances, and his web site, www.freewebs.com/rockyourhouse/index.htm, he is able to find gigs around campus and sometimes off campus pretty regularly.  He stresses that word of mouth is the best way to get your name out there as a D.J.

“The best customers are the ones you get more than once, and the best way to market yourself is to have others do it for you,” Fisher said.

He says deejaying is more of a hobby and something he likes to do rather than a career for the future.  Currently a member of the Theta Chi fraternity and director of marketing promotions at AVW productions, as well as a D.J. and director of mobile D.J. services at ACRN, the campus radio station, Fisher has an ambitious outlook on his future. He hopes to work for an entertainment booking agency as a manager of a band or label.

“I’d like to make the money of a rock star without being the rock star, but with some of the perks too,” he says. “I support the music industry, because hopefully I will be working in it someday.”

His ideal internship would be in Los Angeles with William Morris, one of the largest and most respected companies in the music industry.  This summer Fisher will be staying in Athens and taking summer classes at O.U.  He also will be working, and hopefully have some D.J. gigs on the side.  During the rest of his time at O.U., he hopes to continue his deejaying and maybe throw a few concerts.

“I’d like to maintain what I’m doing and maybe gain something steadier,” he says.  “I do it regularly for the love of the music, and it’s very powerful and rewarding.

O.U. students have good things to say about Fisher’s passion for deejaying.  Jen Edse, who has attended Theta Chi parties that Fisher continually deejays for, says, “He is my favorite D.J.  He always seems to know what songs to play that everyone likes and enjoys what he’s doing.”

Leah Gilliland, another fan of his deejaying, says, “He always plays a pretty good variety of music.  I admire his dedication and that he started up his own business as a D.J. in Athens.”

D.J. Fisher is the guy to go to when you need some great jams and quality entertainment for a party around campus.  He founded “Rock Your House Entertainment- ‘playing the latest and greatest music’” and continues to live up to his motto, one song at a time.

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