How I Quit My Band and Brought My Guitar to the New York DJ Scene

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Someone once told me, ‘being in a band is like trying to date 3-5 other dudes’. We were out to become the next big metalcore band, and playing lead guitar was a total blast.  There was one theme that tied together my every experience of playing guitar in bands.   I loved the music, but at the same time, I hated the limitations. Limitations of instruments, limitations of the skill, limitations of the music the band members would actually agree to play. There were none of these limitations when I was producing music on my computer though. I could have as many guitar tracks as I wanted, as many drums, and all sorts of weird synthesizers that we couldn’t do live.

I didn’t always surround myself with the most scrupulous characters.  I remember being in an online chat with my band at the time, ‘Life Under Glass’, when we were talking about plans for the future. The two other guys in the band were real winners…they routinely drank cough medicine to get high, and they happened to be doing that at the time. They were seriously considering moving to North Carolina to pursue music, and they were telling me I either had to move with them, or I was out of the band. Nothing against North Carolina, but Were they insane? As far as I know, NO ONE moves to Charlotte, NC to pursue a career in metal.   I could tell these guys were losing touch with reality and I didn’t want to be there when reality finally caught up to them. I told them as much and quit the band, right there…  I was going to figure out a way to do it all my own electronically, and own it all of it. And instead of moving to North Carolina, I was headed to New York City.

New York City, as you may have heard, is a big place. It’s easy to get swallowed up by it, due to the vast number of people that come here to prove something. You might be a big deal in your hometown, but come to New York, and you may as well have never existed at all. This was my challenge, and to be honest, I wasn’t at all prepared for it.

The common wisdom in the business goes, in order to make it in music you need to network, and to network in electronic music, you need to go to clubs. Clubs are a great place to drink and party, they aren’t a good place to meet people. You can imagine why… unlike seeing a band play, there’s literally no break in the music to talk to others, and the volume is so loud you couldn’t really have an intelligible conversation anyway.

But going to clubs had one benefit— I started to understand and love dance music. It’s really that feeling in the air, the energy of the crowd, the movement of the floor due to the 3000 watt subwoofers you’re standing next to. The weird connection you have when everyone is going crazy, headbanging along to the drop. The DJ is up there on the stage, orchestrating it all. I wanted to do that, more than anything. I wanted to stand on the stage and control the movement of a thousand people with my songs. When I saw Skrillex and Zedd play at Pacha, I could barely comprehend how huge dubstep was becoming.  With Dubstep, it seemed like anything was possible.

It was time to grind. I really focused all my free time on my craft, and it took a toll on me. There were many nights where I didn’t come home from the studio until 3 or 4am, much to the annoyance of my girlfriend.  About a year after I started producing dubstep, I was releasing tracks on Soundcloud. The first remix I released was featured on the radio show of one of the founders of Soon after that, I soon released a dubstep remix of Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ that went viral in a big way— it was picked up by ThisSongSlaps as well as a number of other blogs, and even made some top lists of the best remixes of that tune. I was also recognized by bass music heavyweight KJ Sawka of Destroid and Pendulum fame, and was able to release on his label, which was a huge honor and I’m truly amazed that I’ve gotten to work with such big names in such a short amount of time.

The networking I had set out to do had gotten me connections with a few promoters, and so I had been playing my music in clubs as well. After being in bands for so long, I felt like something was missing while I was up there, so I started bringing my guitar and improvising over the music, just to see what would happen. Then I started using all the sound design skill I could muster to make the guitar sound like a huge assortment of different synths, different in each song. Things completely started to change. Instead of being one of many DJ’s up there pressing the ‘sync’ button, I was simultaneously living out two dreams: to play guitar, and to make people dance with my music.

The truth is though, in music, you have to work hard for everything you get. Even once your first track goes viral, nothing is guaranteed and every success I get I’m grateful  for.  And even though I didn’t start the next great metal band, I ended up creating something far more unique. And I’m going to continue building and seeing how big this project can grow.

As the saying goes, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. It’s been a long journey, and even if you just heard my music for the first time today, you’re a part of it now. If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my most recent album, ‘Lost in Time‘.

Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][ut_animated_image size=”full” image=”687″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][ut_btn button_add_icon=”yes” button_icon_type=”fontawesome” button_effect=”aylen” button_size=”bklyn-btn-large” button_align=”bklyn-btn-left” button_border_radius=”10″ font_family=”inherit” font_weight=”600″ text_transform=”capitalize” letter_spacing=”0.02″ button_text=”LISTEN TO ‘LOST IN TIME'” button_icon=”fa fa-headphones” button_link=”|||” button_text_color=”#ffffff” button_background=”#3160e3″ button_text_color_hover=”#ffffff” button_background_hover=”#e000c0″ button_background_hover_2=”#ff0000″ spacing=”margin-top:20px;padding-top:20px;padding-right:20px;padding-bottom:20px;padding-left:20px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_section content_placement=”middle” css=”.vc_custom_1536285048553{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;background-color: #d2003a !important;}”][/vc_section]