Your first DJ gig. First time you get behind the decks. When you first press the “Play” button in front of hundreds. That moment..

Wow,  I remember mine like it was yesterday. It felt like world came to an end !

Let me tell you the story of how I first officially became a DJ.

If you read my bio, you probably noticed that I’ve had a huge passion about music since I ever knew myself. Still do. Listening and playing good tunes, actually music I like is the most satisfying time in my life.

Being a singer was my dream. I tried couple times, but apparently, you need to be at the right place at the right time for that to happen. It just didn’t for me. So, I am a “bedroom singer” now 🙂

 My first Party

In 2000, I was in Albany NY visiting my friends at the university up there. They had a party and somebody was needed to take care of music.

It was a friends’ gathering, nothing serious. No DJ equipment, no booth, just a boom box and a digital music player. Yeap, literally, a small size boom box !

I volunteered. I said ” leave it to me, I’ll make you guys have a great time “.

For about 2 hours, I picked the best songs I had in my player and played them with no mixing and DJ’ing skills. Song after song. It was a huge blast for everybody there !

That day, I knew I should have become a DJ. I knew I had the talent, passion and a good ear to blend great music and entertain audience. Only missing part was equipment and skills for mixing.

Ok, this wasn’t the first gig I was telling you about. Year 2000 in Albany was when I first experienced DJ’ing and decided to learn it.

First step into real DJ’ing

Time passed a bit. 3 years later, at a local bar in downtown Manhattan, I met a guy who we became best friends and business partners later. He was DJ’ing at that party.

Let me describe you how he set up his gear in the booth.

A lousy laptop which crashes 5 times a night, Mixmeister software installed on it, no DJ controller. This is actually a good program which enables you to mix tracks without the need of a control device. Place songs next to each other, visually mix them and play. It was fun back then.

What this guy did was one step ahead of my Albany DJ’ing session. He had a computer and the software.

We met, became friends and we realized that both had the same dream. DJ’ing !

I was so passionate and determined about it that I could spend all my money on DJ gear. In fact I did. Whatever I saved went to buying controllers, headphones, cables and other stuff.

For almost 2 years, we built our music library, read, searched on how we could learn DJ’ing. Days and nights of work. But still on Mixmeister ! I think we didn’t have the guts to push a real DJ button yet. Or maybe, we just liked it that way.

Let me remind you that digital DJ’ing was nothing like it is today back then. Equipment had only one fifth of the features there are now.

My first gig with real audience

2 years passed. In the meantime, my friend was so-called ” DJ’ing ” here and there and we were trying to promote our own party and looking for a good spot in Manhattan. It had to be either Downtown, Village or Midtown.

Finding a nice bar and cutting a good deal in NYC is not that easy. You ask for the busiest nights of the week ! Unless you establish yourself as a money-making promoter, things get really tough. We were unfortunately not those ” money-making promoters “.

In February 2005, we saw a bar at the corner of 1st Ave and 50th Street when passing by, called Azaza. Went in, talked to the owner and he said yes ! Our party was about to kick in on both Fridays and Saturdays every week.

I made a flyer and put my name on it as ” Also featuring DJ Tossun “. Yeah, this is my DJ name. I was on the flyer but had no intention of playing music that night. I didn’t feel ready. Come on guys, mixing tunes in a room full of people ? No way !

Taking care of the door and PR was my duty that night. What a great success ! We got about 400 guests and Azaza was packed !

I think it was the last hour or so. We had a great time, drank a little (!) and danced the night away. I was up by the DJ booth and my friend said ” play the rest of the night, I’m done “.

He put a song on and left…

Well my friends, I was officially the DJ ! What a nightmare !

Probably 200 people left in the room, all in front of me. I didn’t follow what the other guy spinned before. No clue at all.

Now I remember that moment. That big room turned into pitch black. I thought I was gonna faint. Dropping whatever I saw on the playlist in que.

10 minutes later, I got visitors. Girls, boys, all said the same thing. “If you don’t play something nice, we’re gonna leave”.

Did I care ? Hell, no. All I wanted was end the night.


Today, I think about the same wish and ask myself if I ever want the night end like that again ? Hell, no !

Do you know why I told you my first DJ gig and how I failed to please myself and the crowd ? Cause it can happen to anybody.

You may be scared, worried that you can’t do it, think that you’ll make a ton of mistakes, mess up the music. Yes, they will all happen.

The truth is that this is how you learn DJ’ing. Not in your bedroom. Spinning by yourself is easy. Taking that pressure and dealing with it is the real talent.

Let me give you a secret of mine. After all those years of DJ’ing, my legs still shake when I start the night and press the “Play” button. 5 minutes later, it’s gone.

The day I don’t feel that shake, I know my DJ’ing career will be over.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us how you felt on your first DJ gig by commenting below.

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