• Matheus Comelli

    Hi, my name is Matheus, i’m from Brazil, and at this moment i’m having the same thoughts about my life. Now, reading this post, I can say with all certainty, that is that what i want to do with my life. Great post, keep the good work.

  • Andrew Maxwell

    The truth of the matter is, you have to follow your heart in life, and not so much your ego or logic.We are artists, and in order to be successful and happy, you have to SHARE, what you love, in order to generate the income you want, and i read that in a book called The Davinci Method. I suggest this book for everyone. Figure out right now if you are neurotic, normal, or an Artist. The neurotic and the Artist are the same person, with simular potentials. The neurotic doesn’t give output (play out, promote , so on and so on) the artist does, and grows from it. So guys, follow your hearts, share what you love, becuase that is how you change the world, and your heart. (thethetaproject, look me up, facebook, soundcloud, i live in berkeley, and have a collective called panic r00m ,it’s a startup, with simular ideas, ok later)

  • Marcopoulos

    Very nice story but where was your risks?????? I quited my amazing job in Geneva for nothing!!!!! No gigs, no productions, NOTHING!!!!!! Peace great article anyway, really well written and full of interesting links.

  • Nawaz Roodi

    Being a part of a leading Wedding DJs Michigan group, I have found that the trend of calling DJs goes upward when economy is good, and declines during tough economic situations. You decided to become a DJ at a very wrong time, but in the end hard work paid its price as always it does.

  • Nawaz Roodi

    Tools that you are used are really superb but there may not be many people as talented as you. Actually, the DJ market has been flooded by the low quality disc jockeys that are not very careful about standards of DJing. They download music from the Internet libraries and illegally use them. The result is that most of them charge much little than competitors due to which market is becoming more saturated. Being the part of a leading Michigan Wedding DJ I have felt a great opposition from such DJs. Most of the times, the customers leave their points on knowing the difference of quality.

  • Deejay Tim on [fb]

    i enjoyed reading your article bro! I am in the process of doing the same. I love music/playing for crowds and I want to expand my goals. Your points of being flexible and adaptable are very true! Cool article! keep up the sucess for us to follow

  • Mabroor
  • Mabroor
  • Pospad
  • Carl Wolfgang Schultz

    thank you so much for the inspiration. it feels good to know that i am not alone .

  • http://archive.org/details/takepillsdie Andrew Cauthen

    nothing is worth it anymore. lets just have be nice to each other and have fun on this beautiful planet together. and not pay to live on it or charge anyone. bully culture is all just a trap, everything. nobody is happy. they can’t be, living off the suffering of others. we’ve grown up and out of hero worship / so called “experts”.

  • Tom Hammer

    I have been a follower of DJTT for well over 6 years. I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles and find them to be increasingly empowering for my inspiration and motivation. This was, by far, one of the best articles written on DJTT. Bravo Mohamed Kamal. Truly exceptionally written article. Pulled on the heart strings and distant dreams of myself and I’m sure many an aspiring DJ.

    • http://www.gigturn.com/ Mohamed Kamal

      Thank you and DJTT!

  • chris

    i`m one of these guys ;)

    Something For Your Mind, Brain & Ear`s >>> http://www.mixcloud.com/acidgreenvienna/acidgreen-musical-spectrum-preview-dj-set-2013/ YES iT`S TECHNO!

  • Agam

    (Y)

  • Chris

    I admire your full time dedication to DJing but I take this article with a grain of salt. A quick Google search on does not show any of your remixes or mentions in other DJ or party blogs/sites. Your facebook only has 143 likes and only 400 followers on twitter. Your startup site looks fairly new as most of your blog posts don’t have any comments. Your inbound marketing efforts don’t really show in Google search results.

    • Luis Hernández

      Well, he did something. Other guys are just criticizing around.

    • Max Martinez

      Did you look up Kimozaki ? That is the artist name.

  • Robert Wulfman

    I’ve never had a job in the first place

    • Luis Hernández

      Then skip that step and take over full time DJ career :)

  • Darien Dave

    As a sirius worker, you must have a pretty decent network already! so yeah.. everything is easier.

    and what kind of music do you play? same pop edm as in electric area?

    you’re looking too much on the business side of the things.

  • Anthony Woodruffe

    I really adored this article and it reminds me of the roller-coaster ride you take when deciding to take this job on full-time. I’d love to tell my story too but I just can’t seem to find an email address for DJTT to contact you’s guys about it.

  • Darryle

    You get paid to create remixes?

    • http://www.gigturn.com/ Mohamed Kamal

      Yes, but not for my early ones.

      • Max Martinez

        Very true. We had some remixes on the same label and for the early ones we were not paid. They were more of a promotional tool to get our names out there. Now at this stage of the game getting paid for remixes or bartering for services is the way that it is being done.

  • Ted

    I was literally having this thought today when I left work unannounced to go for a walk. A lady in the park had 2 tall djembes and I sat down with her, and we played side by side. It wasn’t for more than 2 minutes.. but therapeutic none the less.

  • Robert

    I realize that this comment is extremely long, but I hope it creates for some interesting thoughts and discussion.

    To me, this is one of the best articles ever put out by DJTT. I can find tutorials on setting up my Midi controllers pretty much anywhere, but these types of life stories are truly what inspire me to work and strive for my dreams and give me a clearer roadmap of how to achieve my goals.

    Congrats to Mr. Kamal on your success and your continuing ambitions to keep raising your own bar!

    After reading many stories of artists finding success in competitive fields (mainly just cause I think people are interesting), I think it bears mentioning some levels of risk one takes when attempting to make music their career:

    #1 Least Risky: Prodigy (also one of the hardest situations to encounter): there is little risk because there are fewer responsibilities at this age:
    - Hugo Leclercq: Started music at a young age, found Internet fame making remixes for Fruity Loops competitions as Madeon.
    - Alain Macklovitch: bought turntables with his bar mitzvah money, stayed in his room for a year to practice, and won the DMC championships at 15 years old as A-Trak and continued his career with music ever since.

    #2: The Double Life:
    - Steven Markowitz (not a DJ, but a good example) – Found internet fame as Hoodie Allen, while attending UPenn and was working for Google when he finally decided to make rap his full-time job. During his time at Google, he said that he was essentially working two jobs and sleeping very little.
    - Gregg Gillis (also technically not a DJ but a perfect example) – Began the art project Girl Talk in 2000 while attending Case Western, he worked as a Biomedical engineer after college and would play weekend gigs, which grew in frequency and size over time. Only when he noticed in 2007 that he was making as much from the gigs as he was from his day job, did he decide to become a full time musician.
    - Sam Zornow (could be categorized between a few categories): Also began on turntables with money from his bar mitzvah and won a number of competitive titles titles and was runner up at 2004 DMC NYC as DJ Shiftee before attending Harvard. Accredits energy drinks in allowing him to complete a degree in Math while practicing his turntablism for the DMC USA and World championships which he would win following his graduation. He was not able to compete during most of his time at Harvard but practiced frequently.

    #3 Parental Support:
    - Dillon Francis: After high school, asked his parents (very successful people, father is a doctor) to give him a year to work on becoming a producer in lieu of going to college. Used $500 to intern temporarily for Cory Enemy and learn from him (also held an internship with The Hundreds), and bought Ableton Live on credit. Told his parents if he didn’t make it he would go to community and transfer into UCLA. After a year, he found some success so started to pay his family rent, but also needed about 2-3 years before he found the high level of publicity and success he had under Stretch Armstrong and Mad Decent.
    - Steve Aoki – “When you’re young you don’t have a lot of money, but you have time which is needed when creating hype for a label.” Started Punk Rock Label and collective Dim Mak while in high school, running the operations himself with friends, grew through various bands coming and performing and eventually signing the band Bloc Party. Although he worked relentlessly on his project, Aoki also had a bit of flexibility in taking risk as his father is a very successful restaurant owner and former professional athlete.

    #4 Grinding: Probably the most difficult and risk-heavy approach to take. Also often accept that a poor man’s lifestyle may be in the cards.
    - Sonny Moore: Found success early on as singer for FFTL, which found him his manager and a following early on (which was helpful in his later initial stages). Left the band and worked as solo artist, but had initial difficulties, eventually being close to forgotten for his solo work by his label. Vocal chord surgery put him into debt, and he lived in an abandoned warehouse while also sleeping on his friend and mentor 12th Planet’s couch in LA. “I was just making electronic music for fun after that. I hit a point in my life where I was cool with being broke and having a real cheap apartment.” During this time he also built his chops as a DJ at local warehouses and eventually Dim Mak Tuesdays, creating his project called Skrillex.
    - Ramble John Krohn: at a lecture at my school: “If I could live on a ramen noodle budget and be content, then I could continue working as RJD2 with little income.” Also promotes the concept of the 10,000 hour rule.
    - Wesley Pentz: Held a variety of jobs, worked as an after-school teacher, worked at Subway sandwiches, and lived in Philadelphia after studying at Temple U. for affordability, as other more attractive art cities cost more in rent. Stole his first sampler in Florida and his turntables were in and out of layaway constantly. Looked for collaborators in his ambitious art projects as Diplo but found few who held the same level of ambition, so he started his own DJ night called Hollertronix with DJ Low Budget, which started out in basements, but built its own following and hype, eventually reaching the airwaves of blogs and magazines, and networking him with important collaborators such as photographer Shane McCauley.

    This is not to discourage anyone from following their dreams, but rather understanding that to achieve SUSTAINABLE success you must take RISKS over time, and in your initial stages, those risks should be very CALCULATED and you should be willing to learn from them.

    When college athletes decide to forego the completion of their degrees for careers in the NBA or NFL, they usually have a pretty good sense if they will be invited to a training camp somewhere, allowing them a better sense of the risk involved in the competitive world of professional sports. Additionally, many of the ones who are not so sure they will make it as pros may stay in school but they are still busting their butts so that they can give it their all to their school and get the degree as backup (some eventually have falling outs with the sport altogether and focus on other things instead). Thus, this example highlights that even if you don’t think you are ready to make the leap of quitting your day job, if you TRULY want to pursue a goal in a competitive business, that goal needs to become your 2ND or 3RD JOB essentially if you want it to eventually be your main job.

    The two qualities I really see from Mr. Kamal in this article are:
    1. He was well educated, that is something that helps a lot in business decisions when you are doing it yourself in this entrepreneurial fashion.
    2. He worked really really really hard. You can’t replace hard work (unless you’re a really attractive model I guess haha, but even then sustainability requires work).

    As a recent college grad, HUNGRY for success (and hungry in general), I’d love to discuss this topic further with anyone. Cheers!
    -Robert
    (Also, I highly recommend the book: “Talent is overrated” for anyone looking for insight into success in a highly competitive field.)

    • franl

      Wow, this could be a post all on its own! Great stuff!

      • Robert

        thanks. This stuff is so interesting to me for some reason. haha, I don’t know why.

    • Not a pro

      I could not disagree more. Do you see the meta description of djtt? Says learn how to dj on digital. This is quite possibly the most pointless article on djtt ever. Sure, good for this guy that he made it, but lets be honest, most of us are just hobbyists, just because you think/ dream about being pro does not mean you should or that it is responsible. Idk what happened to vids and tutorials.

      • Robert

        Hey, I totally agree with you that this type of article should not be the focus of DJTT, I mean “tech tools” is in the name, especially given how many different ways there are to approach “DJing” nowadays, there is a plethora of more tutorials to be made. So, I do agree that there should be a lot more focus on Tutorials overall.
        However, the information I shared and in the article makes me think that that this is still super valuable, especially for someone who is trying very hard to go “pro” (also a loose term) and in fact isn’t necessarily an inspiring article but rather informing one, because it’s showing the ups and downs and heavy risks involved in the process, even when those are calculated. In fact, I would say this is showing how to do it in a MORE responsible manner. The guy had already had some type of experience as a mentee at Goldman Sachs, so he clearly had some options going for him even if he never touched a turntable again, a cushion that very few people have, DJs or let alone anyone in the entire earth.
        I agree, most of us will always be hobbyists, but this article was great in showing what goes on in that process of reaching that so-called “success” or “10,000″ hours to mastery. Should this be the focus of DJTT generally? No. But, overall, I think this article does add a ton to the catalog of the blog.

      • MixManMike

        You are stupid. Take the advice and go with it.

      • http://www.djbis.com Bis

        There is a reason you aren’t a pro. Hard to believe there are negative Nancies out there trashing quality like this.
        An article like this is welcomed, no matter what the source.
        The readership here is wide, not just noobs looking for gadgets.

      • Charlie Grier

        ridiculous statement.

    • Crazyfeel

      What a great essay. Your comment should be an article on its own. I learned a lot of new things I didn’t know before. Thanks!

      • Robert

        Hey Thanks. This is the second person who told me this, so maybe I will post it somewhere and broaden it out to more than just DJs, maybe Djs and solo musicians

    • http://www.djbis.com Bis

      Shit man. That was an amazing follow up to an amazing article. How inspiring!!!
      Thank you!!!

      • Robert

        thanks for reading

    • Charlie Grier

      Fantastic article and brilliant and helpful comments. cheers guys. more like this please :)

      • Robert

        hey, thanks for reading

    • Simon

      I just had a moment last week where all of the sudden I wanted to make edm. It sort of just called to me I guess. As I have just ordered a midi controller as well, I can totally agree that tutorial videos are great, but this stuff is the gold. A lot of inspiration is all I want to surround myself with and your comment was just that! Im hooked

  • http://www.AngelBLive.com/ Angel B

    Awesome article and story Mohammed! Thanks for your tips and inspiration!

  • JoBushwick

    Just make sure you think about the long term folks. Invest your money into your future. Too many artists (whether it’s music, photography, etc) are not thinking about our later years in life. When we are 65 we want a nest egg so – plan, plan, plan.

  • Jonathan

    This November will mark one year of being a straight-up DJ. I quit my day job as a full-time dance instructor and it was an EXCELLENT decision! After 5 years of waltzing ladies across a dance floor all day (a passion for some), I am now constantly closing deals, prepping music for the next gig and researching new technologies… and so much closer to my long-lost dream of producing my own original music.

  • Mike Graham

    For me DJ’ing and producing full time and making a sustainable living doing it has been a dream of mine for many years. Like the article I had dedicated myself to getting to that stage where I could cut ties with my employer and dive in. I spent countless years in my spare time learning to DJ & Produce music & countless time and money building a studio full of equipment. I hoarded money away to live off for awhile too. I did end up ending my employment 2 years ago but it was premature. I had to stop working because of health issues. The good thing that has came from this situation is I have been able to focus on my goal full time now. I have spent the last 2 years networking & building contacts, learning & trying to improve my skills and workflow. It has been a long slow process and frustrating at times. So frustrating at times I questioned the whole idea and almost gave up countless times. I have stuck with it and finally this past year I finally made some progress. I had my 1st remix label signed earlier this year and had my 1st EP label released a few weeks ago. I now have more opportunities coming from a few labels now after my EP dropped. Things are looking up now. The only the that might not be attainable is DJ’ing and touring for a living due to my health woes. Last time I traveled to gig I had a bad health scare. I know that’s out of the picture. I am doing weekly web radio weekly voluntarily and am content with it. It actually is a good tool for promoting my productions as well as other artists. Promoting other artists makes for good contacts and possible opportunities to do remixes. I actually got a remix opportunity from an artist I promoted on my show. I haven’t hit the point of sustainable income just yet but I believe I am potentially on the right path now. Besides money I love doing this no matter what. If I never make a dollar so what I just love doing this stuff for my own sake. It keeps my sanity I will continue until I die

  • Anonymous

    Can you explain more about Gigturn?

    • http://www.gigturn.com/ Mohamed Kamal

      A social media platform designed by algorithm, to help DJs get more exposure and gigs worldwide while having direct interaction w/ their fans, promoters and venues. In the US only for now. More info http://www.gigturn.com

      • Ken

        I’m still confused about what gigturn.com does. How exactly does the
        site “help DJs get more exposure and gigs…” and “interact with fans,
        promoters, venues…”? I couldn’t find more info. on the website. Just
        one blog post about music selection and a help wanted ad.

        • http://www.gigturn.com/ Mohamed Kamal

          If you msg me privately, i’d be happy to share how it works.

          • Crazyfeel

            When will the invitations be sent? I just signed up and I’m looking forward to it!

          • DJ SOUL

            hey bro..just sent an email to the site..not sure if you will get it directly but I didn’t have any other contact info. My email is djsoul76@live.com. I would love to sign up to be on the site

  • Anonymous

    i have never had a real job in my life, i always got by either performing or teaching music, granted there was a time when i did some freelance design work.

    the pay may suck, but i enjoy my life.

  • AJ

    First of all i would like to thank the writer and DJ Tech Tools for this article. Very insightful and inspiring for me as a DJ. For years being a DJ, i have been struggling with the thought of quitting my day job to DJ full time. But as mentioned i am afraid to as i have bills among bills to pay (car payments, student loans, mortgage and credit cards, etc) and right now my DJ gigs aren’t able to pay it all. On top all of that i’m married and may soon have kids soon, so i cant afford to not have a steady income coming in. However i am miserable at my job now and hate it with a passion. But it pays and pays greatly (with benefits). However i am still tackling the idea to quit soon and just DJ full time as thats what i want to do. And i know it can be done as i have friends who are DJs who do it for a living and make a good living doing it. The only goal i have set so far is if i can DJ or get gigs that pay more of equal to the amount i get paid at my day job every 2 weeks, i would quit instantly. But just like the economy DJ gigs aren’t paying as much now as everyone is a DJ and charging either low rates to nothing. However i have read a couple things that i need to work on based on this article. In conclusion, it all takes time, careful planning and a lot of patience.

    Theres 3 quotes i am trying to live by

    “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”

    “Its not what you know, its who you know”

    “You want to be happy in life, find something you love to do so much, you’d do it for free, then find somebody to pay you for it.”

  • David De Garie-Lamanque

    thanks for this inspiring article! I’ve been struggling with the idea myself for a few years now….afraid of losing fixed income and of failure has destroyed any notion that i could succeed….but hell….i just gotta go for it! :)

  • dude

    You are fortunate to have had the start at sirius though. I don’t want disregard what you have built its very impressive and speaks volumes to your success. Many others are not so lucky to have a start at sirius with a ton of avenues to gain connections and build a true network that you did. Although I’d like to tell people to really follow their passions like you, it is even harder without something you had at your doorstep. I think many who go down the avenue you have as fast as you have won’t find nearly the same success without the connections you gained from a player like sirius. Basically it was like moonlighting, or collecting contacts and making a name for yourself with a company that really allowed for that to happen. You are 100% right that doing djing/producing full time isn’t for everyone, and they need to carefully craft their choices, but you had a particularly unique instance to gain a following, contacts, and industry knowledge that many others have to learn and gain for years upon years.

    • http://www.gigturn.com/ Mohamed Kamal

      I was ‘fortunate’ to some extent; luck does play a part. I wasn’t always at Sirius XM. Prior to that I had a boring IT consulting job in downtown DC. Making the shift to the music-tech industry wasn’t easy.

      I like Mark Cuban’s quote “Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort”.
      http://diskotech.tumblr.com/post/46346133008/dont-follow-your-passion-follow-your-effort

      • aaron

        Wow, IT consulting job was boring for u. That job seems interesting to me & I think it pays good money…

  • Jay Dizzle

    Great article !! I can relay so much to this story. I used to live in Spain and make a living djing in several turist resorts 6-7 night a week for 11 years. It was to much! Now I have a stable job, happily married and DJ about 1-2 times a month. And I love it now. Though I guess that everybody dreams of making a career of DJing. But I agree whith the writer that its important not to overplay or burnout to keep the passion alive.

  • Tomash Ghz

    you have my respect sir! I’ve been thinking of quitting my day job and changing the field of my work, maybe not towards full time DJing, but still this is very motivating.
    If you have a clear goal, passion and commitment, anything is possible.