seth Troxler

7 Steps to Making It as a DJ

Words: Florian Obkircher 
Photo: Carlo Cruz/Red Bull Content Pool  

Readers of the electronic music website Resident Advisor have just voted Seth Troxler the seventh best DJ of 2015. Here are his seven golden rules for success.

1. There’s no half-stepping

“One thing that’s really important to know is that if you want this career and you want it to be your life, you have to give up almost everything else. It has to be an absolute. There is no half-stepping, like, ‘Oh, I’m going to have this little side-job now and be comfortable with that,’ or trying to keep certain parts of your life normal. To keep that dream and excel in it, you have to go full-on, 100 million percent, or you won’t make it.”

2. Stay humble

“Don’t screw with your old friends or business partners, because these are the things that can come back to bite you a couple of years down the line. Treat everyone with respect and do everything the right way. Don’t be a dick. That’s really important, because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in stuff. Having the comfort in yourself to realize this, and also accept other people’s suggestions, is what will take you to the next level as an artist.”

seth Troxler

Jackmaster (l) and Seth Troxler perform at the breakfast party at Red Bull Guest House in Miami

© Robert Snow/Red Bull Content Pool

3. Read the fine print

“Take advice from people – a lot of the time, they’ll want to help you for no other reason than just to help. But also, like A Tribe Called Quest said, ‘Yo, the record industry is shady, so watch your back as well.’ Look out for contracts and look out for clauses. This stuff is all mega-important down the line, because loads of people get caught up in deals that look good on paper but, at the end of the day, are not. It happened to Prince – he had to change his name. It’s about being mindful about everything.”

4. Personalize your work

“If you’re sending out music, don’t just give links to your Soundcloud. Personalize things. Make things for that label. Start by meeting the people from the labels first. Build some interest with them so that you guys are talking, and then be like, ‘Hey, I’m making this for you, even though it may not fit right now.’ We’ve got artists who were sending us music for two years, then finally we were like, ‘Yeah, this is right.’ And then they came into the family.”

Seth Troxler

Seth Troxler performs at the Red Bull Music Academy ‘This City Belongs To Me’ series at The Belasco Theater in Los Angeles

© Carlo Cruz/Red Bull Content Pool

5. Stick with your crew

“One mistake a lot of artists make is that they’ll say, ‘OK, I’m going to put out a lot of music on a bunch of different labels and it’s cool because all these labels are hot right now.’ It doesn’t really build you as an artist. It’s better to pick, let’s say, a couple of crews you’re down with – or one crew, hopefully – stick with them and build something, build a plan.”

6. Sit on your music

“You shouldn’t really put out more than four, five singles a year. Five is a lot already. Quarterly is OK, but I think three good records a year is enough, plus maybe a couple of remixes. Being out in the press is good, but not too much. Some people put out a record every couple of weeks on a different label, but it doesn’t really help your discography, and also the quality control isn’t as high. Quality control is important. Sit on your music until it’s good enough.”

7. It’s about who you know

“Go out and be a part of things. It’s important to be involved in the scene and meet people. When I started out, I was everywhere, never really talking about myself but just hanging out. You meet people and they’re like, ‘What’s up? It’s you again.’ You start to talk and things progress naturally. It’s not what you do, but who you know. You can have a degree from a great school, but if your networking skills are bad, chances are that things won’t go so well.”

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02 2016

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