Now that clubs are starting to take off post covid I am receiving more and more enquires about drinking and DJing , for instance, some people want to know if drinking's ok and if so how much is ok, whilst other people don't want to drink but because they're surrounded by alcohol everywhere they look, they're not sure how it's actually possible especially when they want to fit in and get opportunities. So long story short do you want to fit in or stand out, do you want to think you're killing it, or actually KNOW you are. Stick around as I have a tonne of experience with this and by watching this video until the end I am certain I can give you the tools needed to succeed not just behind the decks, but also in life.
So here's the thing, do you feel alcohol is an issue for you, as the answer to that question is going to be the pointer to where you are right now with your drinking. For instance when I started my first ever club, I was fresh out of school and playing every single week and at that stage of my life I found I could drink moderately and I honestly felt when it came to alcohol I could take it or leave it, and in truth the less I drank the more energetic and alive I felt. I remember people used to always come up to me and assume I was on drugs because when I'm sober and feeling healthy, I am literally bursting with energy, especially when I'm doing the things I love, but i did notice the more I drank the more unhappy and unmotivated I became as I think it actually stole that spring from my step, so the big question is, what did I do about it, and what can you do to avoid making the same mistakes a lot of DJs fall into, and that is alcoholism and the missed opportunities because of it.
So firstly there are different levels to THIS issue from people just drinking casually and being able to control it all the way down to people that feel they can no longer enjoy themselves WITHOUT drinking and they feel LIFE without alcohol is dull and uneventful.
So here's the thing, if you can take it or leave it, and I think everyone starts at that point, then, even though perhaps I shouldn't say this, but no doubt alcohol can be fun and it PROBABLY will help you with nerves and if you have the ability to stay at the tipsy stage, meaning perhaps 2 drinks in the first hour, or 2 drinks before your set, and then you limit yourself to 1 drink every other hour after that, then you can take all the benefits of alcohol and drink socially and most likely not risk losing your presence. in truth I guess that's the stage that pulls all of us in, as alcohol in small doses can loosen you up and may even help you to think more creatively, which is great when it comes to reading the dance floor and taking calculated risks in regards to track selection, and it may even give you a little bit of dutch courage to express yourself and bond with event organisers.
But heres the thing there is a very fine line between drinking and drinking too much and if you drink too much, you could hurt your chances of being taken seriously and could quite possibly be seen as annoying and people may actually want nothing to do with you. Put it this way, it was a common occurrence for people to approach me for sets when I was running clubs and if they were wasted to a point they were slurring in my ear, then i honesty did whatever I could to get away from them as quickly as I possible. See the truth is, if you're going to be a big drinker in the club scene, you'll need to have influence first and already be in the club scene, but if you already have influence, then you don't need alcohol for fake courage and alcohol could be the very thing that limits your influence in the long run.
I personally found the more alcohol I drank over the years, the more it became a problem for me and I think the issue is, you go from being able to take it or leave it, to a new stage where you're thinking about drinking more and it could even become the main reason you go out, not for the fun that the event brings but because you want to get drunk. But it doesn't stop there, if you start associating your good times to drinking, before you know it you may start to feel that you NEED to drink to even fit in, or worse, to even enjoy yourself and when you think about it, this is really sad as it literally means you are missing out on life and only experiencing it from a filtered reality. It's like that episode in almost sunny in Philadelphia where they all decide to do a dance routine for their high school reunion party and they show 2 perspectives, how they see it it - surprise surprise they fele they're killing it and then at the end it skips to the reality of the situation - how everyone sees them, it's honestly an hilarious show.
Jokes aside, I remember reading a quote when I was younger that said if you can't spot the problems, disasters happen and this quote really resonates with me. So can I ask, have you ever experienced problems relating to your drinking? For instance have you ever been drunk and reacted in a way that was unfamiliar to you - for instance you got into a big fight with a mate or even a family member and said horrible things you later regretted..... or perhaps you put yourself into a situation you would not usually find yourself in if you were sober - for instance you were out the front of a party or venue rationalising with drunk people and this may have even led to a fist fight....... or perhaps you woke up after a big night out and you're cringing at your behaviour from the night before.
Now only you know when enough is enough but the good thing about bad experiences with alcohol is you can use them to motivate change, and I remember one morning I woke up after a huge night out and I had an epiphany and that was, if I keep this up I am going to lose everything. Now put it this way, I was self employed, I had been running really successful club events every weekend in Sydney for several years at that point, I had a solid reputation, people knew who I was, I was making great money and the idea that I could potentially lose all that if I continued on my current trajectory scared the hell out of me, and I quit alcohol that day and went 7 years completely sober - meaning I did not drink a single drop for seven years and better yet I owned it. If people came up wanting to drink with me, I would just let them know I DON"T DRINK, and there was no grey area around that for me. Sure I would still hang out with people and 100% I was in that drinking scene and culture and if people wanted to judge me for not drinking or not see me as fun because of it, so be it, I was at a stage where I wasn't willing to compromise my health or integrity anymore for the sake of fitting in and yes it immediately weeded out a lot of friends, but in truth the people that mattered most respected me for it and no doubt my life improved in every possible way a thousandfold.
My DJing got better, the clubs I ran tripled in size and I then expanded to run clubs down the east coast of Australia flying up and between states every week running and headlining club events and in truth I felt amazing, I felt successful, I had more energy than ever, I was motivated, I was in good shape and I had a spring and an excitement in my step. Sure there were a tonne of parties and after parties with people drinking, and in truth I was constantly surrounded by drinking , but I still went to everything, but instead of alcohol I drank water, and that may sound hard for you and perhaps at first it challenged me a little, but the thing is, once you've built momentum around not drinking, and you make it a lifestyle choice and own it, then in truth it simply became habit, i never really even thought about drinking.
for me, not drinking was easy, and if you personally feel you'd be better off not drinking, then I honestly feel you have to be 100% invested in your decision, that's the4 key, and if you start to doubt your decision not to drink, then no doubt it's going to find a way back into your life and when it does that voice in your head, urging you to have a drink is just going to get louder and louder as you empower it and most likely you'll have to start the process of quieting the inner voice of addiction again, and it's that voice that makes it really hard to cut down, as the more you give in to it, the louder the voice becomes and in short, the more you want alcohol.
So if you want to try cutting down first, which is a very natural step for the majority, I think a good measuring stick is to try and keep within 1 - 2 drinks per hour, and even balance that out by drinking water as often as you can, and if you do slip and have a big bender for the sake of your friends and family, then perhaps follow it with a 40 day commitment, like we spoke about in the last video I did and you promise to yourself to go 40 consecutive days without alcohol, and treat that as a reset and an opportunity to form new empowering habits.
So the real question is do you want to cut down or actually quit altogether. If you can cut down successfully awesome, yet if cutting down only seems to end with unfulfilled expectations or devastation, and you feel enough is enough, and you want to quit, , you have to associate pain to drinking and hate it - not in others, as people have their own journey and we must be kind to all kind no matter what, but just get to a point, for you personally, where saying no is the only answer and make not drinking part of your identity. If you're out and people ask you if you want a drink you simply say I don't drink and own it, it's called standing straight in life. But here's the caveat, if you feel by quitting you're missing out on something, then you're always going to find a way to come back to it. If you want to quit, there can be no grey areas, because as soon as you start to doubt your decision to quit, you've already lost and one drink could lead to one too many and the cycle begins again. But here's the thing, if you decide you want to quit and you perhaps even list the reasons why you want to quit and really associate hate to alcohol, in time your confidence will build because you are exercising self discipline and you're going to feel like you've got some kind of control over your life and that's where true power is born. pretty much every successful person has that one thing in common - they know how to exercise self discipline and they have empowering habits in place that gear them towards success. it seems to me it's the people who struggle with self discipline the most that usually have their story end in some form of tragedy, even if it's just a loss of self esteem. I personally find self esteem goes hand in hand with your ability to exercise self discipline, and when you win over your urges and better yet replace them with more empowering habits, you feel awesome.
So yeah, that's the truth about alcohol from my perspective and personally I don't think you have to drink at events or anywhere for that matter to make other people happy. Stop limiting your potential to fit in. Be the warrior of your own life, stand straight and create your own path and if you're having trouble quitting, well it's probably because you've made quitting a grey area and by quitting you feel you are missing out in some way, but that's total bullshit, drinking limits your potential and your ability to be present for the people in your life and if that resonates with you, then perhaps the world is saying to you it's time to let it go forever and experience life sober and if you think you can't experience music without alcohol or drugs, that's the addiction talking, trust me, when I was sober for over 7 years playing every single week, multiple times per week, they were the best years of my life and the good thing is, I had no regrets, I was present, I had the energy needed to succeed and I was bursting with ideas and inspirations and that for me, is one of my greatest sources of happiness, to be able to create and share what I love. I found I could operate from a position of strength at all times and perhaps I was even a good inspiration for the friends and people around me, and the truth is had I not quit, my life may look completely different right now and personally I can look back on my journey with pride and I'm grateful I can now share these lessons with you.
The funny thing is, people often say when playing in clubs they have to drink to network, for instance with bar staff, the other Djs, etc etc, but none of those people are in a position that they can really help you anyway. the people booking you and the people in positions of power will respect you if you are sober, so personally I feel drinking to fit in is just an excuse and chances are you'll probably go further as a DJ when you don't drink as you'll feel more overall happiness by learning to bring the fun and joy through you as an expression of who you are as opposed to needing external triggers.
So when in doubt lean out my friends and watch your whole world expand! They say an ounce of discipline equals multiple reward and yes you will be tested, but at least you'll be awake enough to take the challenges of life head on and by doing so you raise your personal standards and you avoid settling into a life with regrets and should ofs. You'll also find by not drinking you'll be more inspired to take action and better yet you'll have the energy and drive to do so. This is our life guys, let's make it count and this doesn't mean avoiding places where people drink, it means using those experiences as chance to exercise self discipline and be there for people by being on the front line and better yet lead and inspire them, not by lecturing them, but by showing them how amazing life can be when you live it on your terms. you've got this and how do I know, because I've been there before and I've got you and let's say you aim to quit and you fail, don't beat yourself up about it, we're all human, but try to use it as motivation t try again and perhaps use a 40 day challenge as a springboard into a new way of life. I remember reading once, quitting is a cycle and relapses are part of that cycle and in time you'll get to a point where either something really bad happens that will give you the motivation you need to exit the cycle and quit forever or perhaps you'll just get to a stage where you just feel ready to let it go.
With covid restrictions easing a tonne of my students are now getting shows in clubs and some of them have been asked to do a back to back DJ set. So in this article (video above) I will explain what is a back to back set, the different ways you can approach your back to back set, why the promoter would even ask you to do a back to back set, how to prepare for it and how to assure that when you both play you stand out and make an impact assuring repeat shows.
Have you ever used USBS in clubs and experienced problems? Or perhaps you haven't used club gear yet but you're open to it but not 100% sure how it works or maybe you've already jumped on club gear only to find the gear is not reading your USB properly and every time you load a track you can't see the waveform or BPM?
As many of you know I often take the positive thinking outlook side of things and I've actually done a whole heap of mindset for success videos that were really popular yet I wanted to share something I read recently that I think could really help you manage your expectations and feel victorious no matter what happens. The concept: negative thinking for positive results haha.
I love my job so much and one of my favourite things is listening to student mixes and giving them feedback. The majority of the time, I am blown away by how talented they are, and lots of the time I feel it's kind of like that grasshopper analogy, where the students have surpassed the skills of their teacher, which to be honest makes me really happy and to see so many of my students now landing residencies in clubs and getting really good gigs, it blows my mind.
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Not sure where to start? In this mini series I answer many of the questions beginners have about learning to DJ.
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Not sure where to start? In this mini series I answer many of the questions beginners have about learning to DJ.