Saoirse: The industry is geared towards rewarding producers more than DJs

Words by: Ben Raven
Posted: 5/10/17 16:06
DJs who break through based on their DJing skills alone are few and far between. But just how hard is it to accomplish and what kind of work do you need to put in? Star on the rise, Saoirse has managed it through a perfect storm of well executed sets, word of mouth and a relentless succession of impeccably selected online mixes, so we asked the Irish born, London based DJ for her thoughts on the matter.

Saoirse: As an accustomed raver who comes from the dancefloor, when I decide what party to go to, my choice is always based on how good I know the DJ is going to be, rather than what they've released.  I understand from a promoter’s perspective that you need to get bums on seats so it's sometimes harder  to book only DJs you know are killer.

But surely we should reward great DJs with gigs, and not as so often happens, producers who have a big hit and then turn out to be not quite as skilled on the decks. The industry is geared towards rewarding producers more than DJs who are known for just DJing. One smash record and you could be doing a world tour within weeks. It's taken me 15 years.

It's no doubt that this year has most definitely been incomparable with regards to the gigs I've played. It has felt quite like a snowball effect because with nearly every gig, another gig comes from that. Whether it was a promoter who was there that liked it and then books your for their party somewhere else, or the promoter of that particular event books you again because they were happy. So it's the true what they say, the more you play, well, the more you play.

How do you make it solely as a DJ?  This answer is totally subjective as having a strategy may work for some and not for others, but there is one thing I am absolutely sure about and that is to never compromise your music if you want true happiness from DJing.

Some of the worst gigs I've had in the past were when I compromised my own musical beliefs to please a crowd. If you're actually truly in this for the music and not the fame then stick to what you love and eventually you will get the gigs with an audience who love what you do. Podcasts certainly help, but don't do too many.

And, I will say this, nothing is unattainable.

I get asked alot "If you don’t rely on production do you need to dig that bit deeper to raise your profile?" I feel the expectation is (and this is possibly my own insecurity) higher as people are thinking "well how the hell did she get there if she doesn't release?!" So they scrutinise your DJing more but that's ok because it just motivates me more.

Often I will have a mix on my own three nights a week for hours each time and then I have two gigs on the weekend, so often [I’m playing records] five nights a week. I love to really learn what's on my records. It’s literally so exciting to me! A couple of glasses of wine and a sesh on the the 1's and 2's will always be what I do.

I have a full time job that I love, collecting and playing records is just something I will always do for my own fulfilment, it's literally like meditation for me, when I'm anxious or for instance have argued with a partner, i'll just have a mix and everything will always be grand. It's never been about trying to breakthrough or live a life from it, and perhaps it was this attitude that actually helped, who knows?

Another question I am often asked is digging methods, I try to get to as many record stores as I can in new cities when traveling, that's where you find the true true madness and most nights I'll sit in bed with my lappy before sleeping just trawling through Discogs.

It's also worth mentioning the ever increasing troll mentality, I recently learnt how nasty people can be online if you have a bad mix at any point, but you just have to keep reminding yourself of those good gigs you had when you know the audience were having an absolute blast so that your confidence doesn't start to decline.

To follow Saoirse on Facebook click here.


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