Job title(s): Music Editor of ION Magazine, freelance writer, DJ, promoter, songwriter/band leader, branding and project management at 604 Records/Light Organ Records.
Location: Vancouver, BC
Average yearly earnings: 50-100k
How many hours a month you work: 230 (ed. for you 9 to 5’ers, that comes out to be around 11 hours a day with two day weekends “off”)
Benefits of the work you do: Travel is most certainly one of the finest benefits, because I’m the kind of person who can enjoy visiting Berlin as much as I do rural Quebec, especially when music is involved. Also, I get most every album about three to four months before it’s released, and that gives me a type of weasel-y, snobby satisfaction. It may sound hokey, but I find benefit in just assisting in anything music related; even deskwork that involves filling out spreadsheets about record budgets gets me going the same way that performing on stage or taking band photos do.
The crummy side of the work you do: It’s a frustrating industry, whether it’s because album sales are bleak, or some drunk floozie is throwing shit at me for not playing Tracy Chapman when I’m DJing. People define themselves with music, almost like wearing jewelry but they still feel like they should get what they want, when they want it, and for free. I don’t disagree, but making a living off it can be tough, hence the amount of hours I work and involvement in various sides of it.
How did you get hooked up with your current revenue streams: With the rock journalism, I just started pitching ideas to people and eventually they began to get published. I guess it kind of snowballed from there. DJing just happened because I like music, I hang out in bars all the goddamn time, and I can count to four. Band stuff I do because I’m deluded and think it’s appropriate to play guitar on stage and release records and think people will care. Working at a label just kind of came about after I gained a reputation as a guy who will work his butt off for bands.
Why you don’t work a “9 to 5”: Because sleeping until you wake up is the only thing in life worth living for.
What you see yourself doing in five years: Probably doing a little less performing (as a DJ) and doing more backend in the music industry. Hopefully I’ll become a better writer and have more work doing that too.
Funniest work related story: When I was 21 I was still trying to gain some momentum DJing, and I needed a gig real bad, so I took a job as the DJ and MC at a dirty strip club, doing the day shift. Now the day shift isn’t really the starting roster of dancers or patrons, so picture five or six taxi drivers and/or construction workers drinking bottled beer, ignoring a dancer on stage, just trying to burn away an afternoon. It was always a slow time of day, so generally the dancers would let me choose the songs for them. I always enjoyed playing “Ass ‘n’ Titties” by DJ Assault. Eventually I just started drinking most of the day away and my MCing would become a little blue. I’d announce things like “It’s hot outside but it’s hotter in here! Put your hands together for Dakota!” or “Sit your ass in the meat seats, we’ve got Tatiana for you!” Around that time I had to be told that terms like “meat seats” weren’t really appropriate and were demeaning, which came as a bit of a shock to a twenty one year old from rural Ontario who probably didn’t know how to even buy condoms yet without blushing. I quit when I realized they were moving hard drugs out of the basement and that I wasn’t getting paid on time.