Growing up in this generation as Millennials, it seemed like everyone knew someone who bought a set of decks and wanted to become a DJ. In most cases, people lost interest after a few months and left their equipment to gather dust. Everyone thinks they could press a few buttons and play some songs for a crowd but what is it really like to have a career as a DJ?
Dan Duffy is a resident DJ in the Academy and Hijinks club night in Tramline nightclub. The 23 year old first started DJing When he joined the DJ society in his 1st year of college, “it was something that always interested me. My uncle used to DJ and I looked up to him growing up so I threw myself into it during college. I learned all of the basics and gained so many connections through the society in college.”
The industry is extremely saturated and Dan found it difficult to get noticed by promoters when he was starting out. It took him around 4 years as a DJ before he started to get regular bookings.Duffy is not a Dublin native and he used to head home for the weekend instead of being out at clubs and getting to know the people running club nights. This is something he says he regrets, “people always ask me the best way to get booked. There is no magic formula but going to venues where you want to play and networking with people is huge. Once they have a name to the face, it is easier to get booked.”
The schedule for a DJ is unlike any other job. You are working almost every weekend, weekdays with student gigs and working into the early hours of the morning every night. Dan is usually booked across multiple counties across Ireland. His most recent week of work has him in Dublin on Monday, Navan on Tuesday, Kilkenny on Wednesday, a few days working two gigs in one night in Dublin and then another gig in Navan. That is an insane workload and sometimes Dan finds it hard to maintain, “it does take a toll on you physically and mentally. Sometimes it is hard to motivate myself for a gig but then I realize that I am doing something I have wanted to do since i was 13 instead of a 9-5 job that I hate.”
Dan has been working as a resident DJ in Tramline on D’olier street since August, it has become a very popular venue for students and has grown so much in such a short time. The 23 year old admits he is having a great time working in the club and playing for a student crowd every Monday, “I love playing in Tramline, the student crowds are always mental and no gig is ever the same. It is a special feeling to be apart of the team in Tramline. Sometimes it is hard being on the road on your own as a DJ so it is great to build these relationships and I feel like I am growing along with the success of the club.”
A massive part of working as a DJ is working at festivals during the Summer. Dan has worked at some of Ireland’s biggest festivals for the last few years including Electric Picnic two years in a row, Longitude, Life and this Summer he is closing a stage at Forbidden Fruit on the final day.
Working in front of thousands of people at big events was one of the reasons Dan got into the industry. It was a long term goal before he even picked up a residency, so much so that his message in his yearbook leaving school was that he wanted to play at festivals, “festivals were always my big thing. When I was leaving school we were asked where we wanted to be in 5 years. I put down that I wanted to play at a festival in front of thousands of people. I got my first festival booking in my 4th year as a DJ and I was chuffed.”
Dan has achieved so much in his few years working as a DJ. It shows how driven and dedicated he is to his trade that he was hitting goals he made as a teenager in only 4 years.
If you want to see Dan DJ, you can every Monday in Tramline and The Academy every Saturday.