By Keith “K.C.” KoKoruz, “The Science of Marketing”
I have an amazing relationship with both my nephew Will and my niece Ella. Will is my shadow. He has been hanging out with Uncle Keith since he was 4. In the past few years he has loved jumping on the microphone and emceeing as much as a kid can in our company showroom. Two years ago I bought him a Pioneer WeGo controller and a laptop. Since then he has been practicing and thanks to the internet researching everything he can about DJing. This kid could work at Guitar Center tomorrow. He knows every brand, model number, price, etc.
This summer he worked in my office on Mondays doing the crappy jobs that all 14 year olds need to do as a first job. With his money saved up, he bought himself a Pioneer DDJ SX2 controller.
He is now at an age where his parents felt he was old enough to make the trip to DJ Times with his uncle.
We flew in on Monday and went right to the Trump Taj. The first thing Will said in seeing the hotel and casino was that it reminded him of a carnival or giant game room for adults. I am on the Board of Advisors to the ADJA so we had exhibitor badges from the ADJA as I was working the booth for a part of the week. The funny part was this, after registering and getting our badges, Will saw the doors to the exhibit floor opening and closing as exhibitors were going in and out for various reasons. He told me he couldn’t wait until tomorrow to see the show floor. I asked him if he wanted to see it during set up and you would have thought he was Charlie in the movie Willie Wonka. We walked in and the Pioneer booth was ½ assembled. Will looked like a kid on Christmas morning. We walked the show floor and said hello to a bunch of friends of mine and then headed up to sit in on Monday’s seminars. This kid was now bouncing off of the walls.
My first DJ expo was a local one here in Chicago in 1989. I couldn’t learn fast enough. I absorbed everything and hung on every idea that I thought could make me money. I couldn’t wait to implement what I had learned. I was glad to see my nephew doing a lot of the same. He kept asking me questions about the ideas being shared and what I thought of them as well. We enjoyed Steve Moody and Mike Walter’s seminars. Of course the one line from Mike Walter’s seminar that he retained the most was Mike saying the following, “There are only two places I like to be called Master……..“ When he asked me about it, I told him not to worry since Mike wasn’t being called Master by anyone. I can’t believe Mike said that in front of his own mother and my 14 year old nephew. Thanks Mike. LOL
I took him to White House Subs to teach him what a New Jersey / Philly Hoagie really tastes like. BEST MEATBALL SUB he had ever had.
We attended the Pioneer demoIntroduction to Pioneer DJ’s All-in-One Rekordbox DJ System and much to my surprise, he knew a lot of what they were talking about. You have to love the information available on the internet. Jay Brannan did a great job and was excellent at fielding questions.
Frank Garcia’s beat mixing workshop was just what he needed to reinforce what I have taught him and for him to hear it from another perspective. Frank’s seminar is DJ Expo classic.
Dinner that night was at Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Resorts Casino. It is an awesome steakhouse and is well worth the money. That evening Will got to experience the magic of the boardwalk all lit up with all of the craziness of the people walking it.
Tuesday Morning the show floor opened and this kid was in heaven. I had the responsibility of working the ADJA booth but he was a kid in a candy store. I had never seen any attendee come back to me with so many questions, comments, etc.
Big Daddy’s Mitzvah madness was one of the seminars he attended and he loved the panelist’s energy and he learned a ton about Mitzvahs.
He then also sat in on Jake Jacobsen’s games seminar which is always a DJ Expo favorite.
Tuesday evening we were invited to a private industry dinner at Angelo’s and he got to meet some of the industry notables and friends of mine like Jeffrey Craig, Marcello Pedalino, Mike Walter, Steve Moody, Big Daddy, Bobby Morganstein, Adam Weitz, Matt Radicelli, to name but a few. By the end of dinner he was hitting up the QSC rep for a pair of speakers in the way of a sponsorship. There is no stopping this kid.
Wednesday he spent most the day wandering the DJ Expo floor playing with everything that he could get his hands on. At 5:00 he got stuck listening to his Uncle Keith give a seminar in Randy Bartlett’s place who couldn’t make it thanks to his gall bladder.
Wednesday night we had dinner with Hugo Drax the director of the ADJA as well as Andy Powell of DJ Event Planner at Margaritaville.
Sadly, because the DJ of the Year competition was held in a facility that you had to be 21 to enter, Will wasn’t able to attend. He headed back to the room. I poked my head in and watched the competition. Some of you may recall I was an avid competitor and eventually won the competition in 2003. I wish the competition would go back to hotel ballroom so that all attendees can enjoy it. Congratulations to Betsy Fischer on her big win as the 2015 DJ of the Year.
Thursday was our day to get our bargains. Will needed a case for his new controller and Thursdays on the DJ Expo show floor are the best days to negotiate because dealers do not want to take back gear they could have sold. We got a sweet price on a case and this kid was happy. We stayed for the grand prize raffle only to not hear Will’s name called and off to the airport we went.
This was a full week of Will learning what we do every single day of our lives. I think now more than ever from meeting so many amazing people that he doesn’t just see what we do as rocking the dance floor, but instead actually creating amazing memories for our clients.
Seeing what he found so amazing reminded me of so many different DJ Expo moments from the past 20 plus years. I look at Will and other teenage DJs as the future and I hope to see more and more coming out the expos with their parents, uncles, etc. Will is a proud new member of the American Disc Jockey Association as well.
Friday back at home, he has already created a new mix on his mix cloud account and posted it up to his Facebook page for the world to enjoy complete with his DJ Drops in the beginning. He is headed to the local roller rink to submit his resume. We all have to start somewhere.