How Do DJs Make a Name for Themselves? That’s My DJ Tells Us How

Author: Elizabeth Zarb, Entertainment

Being a DJ looks cool and glamorous, right? Well millennials, thanks to a new series, we get a inside look at what it’s really like. 

That’s My DJ, a multi-award winning web series by D.W. Waterson (also known by her DJ name hey!dw), follows aspiring DJs as they try to break into the EDM scene. Yes, it’s just as awesome as it sounds.

The idea for the show came to Waterson based on her life as an EDM DJ for the past 3-5 years, knowing she wanted to bring this other world to life. “I remember when I was getting started just kind of looking around the room and being like ‘wow, there are a lot of interesting people here, and characters, and awesome music, and these flashing colorful lights, why isn’t anyone kind of telling that story?’” she said.  

The premise of the show goes beyond those colorful flashing lights, and into a world that seems glamourous on the outside — but is a whole different story on the inside. Mainstream media often shies away from showing the world of DJs for what it is.

Waterson wanted to change this. She was so inspired by the world around her that the entirety of the series’ second season is autobiographical, while the other seasons are based on people she has met and stories she has heard while being a part of the EDM scene. As a result, That’s My DJ’s scenes are shot clearly, without any sugar coating but rather, in a gritty reality. 

Season 3, however, is the darkest season of the show. “Sam (the DJ who is Season 3’s main character) is more of a producer, and he’s kind of being pushed into the DJ scene,” Waterson said. Sam’s “happy place” is making beats by himself.

“He’s constantly being pushed out the door to socialize, to drink with people, to stay up until six in the morning doing drugs in order to book his next gig, which kind of sends him on a downward spiral… it’s a very chaotic dark world.” Waterson wanted to use season 3 to show the consequences of drugs and alcohol, which are so present in the DJ world, and to explore where the line between doing drugs casually and becoming addicted falls. How does it end? Watch the series to find out! 

The webseries’ success came as a total surprise to the cast and crew of the show. It won awards at both the 2016 New York Television Festival and the 2017 Vancouver Web Series Festival, including Best Directing. “It’s cool to see when you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into something… and for everybody to react the way that they did to the [second] season was very humbling and grateful,” Waterson said.

When asked if she had any advice for people trying to break into the EDM scene or people trying to get a web series off the ground, Waterson offers advice that is applicable to the DJ realm and beyond.

 “You really kind of just have to do it,” she said.I know that sounds almost like a cop-out advice, but that’s kind of the advice that I got at the beginning. A lot of people sit on ideas and are like ‘oh but we don’t have enough money’ or ‘we lost this location’ or ‘I don’t believe in myself’ or ‘how do I get a DJ gig at a bar?’ You just kind of have to be like stupid confident… Just do it and finish it, and it you’re proud of it at the end then put it out there and really push and try to build your fanbase, because that’s how you build yourself career at the end of the day. And if you finish it and you’re not happy with it, then it was an amazing life lesson for what you want to fix next time and then go do it again.” 

How can the show inspire you? It is, (as other webseries are) is a shining example of a millennial with an idea brought to life. While not everyone can relate to the EDM scene portrayed in the show, the arcs the characters go through — whether it’s heartbreak or trying to make your mark on the world — are arcs that every young person goes through.

All three seasons of That’s My DJ are available to watch on YouTube and at thatsmydjseries.comYou can follow D.W. Waterson on Twitter and Instagram at @heydw_x. 

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