With music industry experts providing thoughtful discussions from insightful queries, we take a deeper look into how it all works.
To start things off, I figured I would venture into an unknown world to me. The world of House music. And so, with the power of LinkedIn, I had managed to connect to an individual who was well within that world.
Dan McKie – DJ, Producer, Promoter, Engineer
Being party to the residency spot as an Ibiza DJ, Dan has had his fair share of performing prolific stage shows. With his productions seen deep within the world’s leading labels – as well as his own – in house and techno music, Dan gives us some of his thoughts on the music industry as we know it today.
How did you first start out?
I started out as a cheesy on the microphone chart music playing DJ and then fell in love with house music. Then just worked hard for the last 20 years, and I am still not where I want to be …
Interesting to see, this. 20 years in the music industry, and wishes to still be further where he is now. It also seems that the path he took was pretty much on course from the get-go, with him still being involved in media productions and being live on the radio.
The majority of the pros we spoke with back in Building Your Repertoire: Industry Advice from the Pros, however, (https://manvmusic.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/building-your-repertoire-industry-advice-from-the-pros/) were either involved in some other career prospect and a complete u-turn was taken in the process to end up where they were now. So, don’t always assume that the path you have taken now, will be your final destination. Deep stuff, I know, but certainly worth thinking about.
What was your big break?
Not sure I have had that big break yet, people know me in the industry but I haven’t had that ‘hit’ yet. I’ve had plenty of support from the likes of Radio 1 DJs, Carl Cox, Norman Cook, Roger Sanchez and others so that has for sure helped.
The ‘big break’ saying is cast around a lot and so I wanted to ask him about whether or not he had his ‘big break’ yet. To be truthfully frank, I don’t think the average music industry professionals has ever had their ‘big break.’ The concept of a ‘big break’ might mean that headline show at Glastonbury or that Number One spot on the Charts. Which only the lucky few achieve.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
All kinds of house and techno. I also make some disco. I don’t go in to making a certain sound, hopefully it has that ‘Dan McKie’ sound.
This is pretty much what it is all about. Standing out above the rest. You’ll know you’re on to something if you believe you’ve got your sound going for you.
What is the one message you would give to upcoming musicians/producers?
Be nice. Simple rule really. Don’t let that ego take over.
This spans back to the dog eat dog ethos that seems to be ripe in the music industry. With all the years of creativity and diversity that is clearly evident, it seems that egos can spark competition – certainly not the good kind either.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Not sure, I always enjoyed working in bars so I am sure I would of worked my way up to be a manager or owner of a bar/club by now or maybe a booker (as I have done that too). I also trained in Photography, so technically I am a professional photographer (before the digital age that is).
Wow, ok – not the first music industry worker I’ve spoken to about who has an academia of some sorts in Photography, and it seems like he won’t be the last, either!
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Not really advice. I just take mental notes when I speak to people who are genuinely nice and have been in the industry a long time. I’m not perfect but I know how not to be a dick and I’ve learnt that from many a conversation over a beer or dinner.
This pretty much the intentions of this new series. Taking mental notes from those who have been doing for a long time. Preferably individuals after and prior to the big changes that technology had on the industry, too.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
The cliques, the tw*tfulness and the egos. So many of all aforementioned in this industry.
Yeah, he’s not wrong. These are pretty much peppered throughout, certainly with the cliques present. This spans to pretty much every topic I’ve discussed here involving the closed door etiquette in the music industry. From designing record labels to promoting shows, it seems that if you don’t fit within the groups’ ideals, you ain’t getting into the club. It’s pretty interesting to see for someone who has promoted and performed through the majority of Europe, the cliques are ever present – even for someone who has vast connections.
What are your favourite venues to play with?
I currently enjoy playing Club Haus in Barcelona, El Moli in Arinsal, Andorra and I have enjoyed in the past playing Space Ibiza, a beach party in Chania, an outdoor event in Sterlitamak Russia and a few others. Ice In Las Vegas was a particular highlight.
What a vibe this is.
How hard has the COVID-19 been on your music career?
It’s has been tough in general on a personal and work level. I am a DJ firstly and I can’t perform in bars or clubs for the foreseeable, I even spend years working my way in to venues I really wanted to play and now they are cold on me as they can’t have DJs. I am just trying to keep up the productions and stay in the minds of people for when the gigs come again.
It’s a waiting game, at this point. But now, we’re not looking see the return of live gigs until Summer 2021.
What’s next for you?
Keep releasing music, making music, pushing my sound and my labels. Eventually DJing! Enjoy my family and a beer.
What an apt end. Stay tuned for more in the series, folks.