Royal DJ Academy: Week 2 summary

Monday

Tomorrow is our first test and we have been practicing our sets all day. It feels good! I’m not that nervous. After school we went back to the hotel and relaxed a bit. Later in the evening we decided to eat at a restaurant right next to the hotel. It’s mostly been empty when we walked by but the staff standing in the door is so friendly so we wanted to try them out. It was a good decision! The service was incredible. Probably among the best restaurant experiences I’ve had to be honest. They gave us not only one but TWO free plates of different samples of Greek food from their kitchen. The food was very good! At least 1 notch better than the restaurants we previously tried in Rhodes. I’m not lying when I say that a 1-Michelin-star rating is not far off! Did I mention that they also gave us free dessert? Highly worth a visit. The name of the place is Thyme*. Unfortunately I couldn’t find them on TripAdvisor.

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Tuesday

Test day! We begun by warming up and playing our sets. And before lunch, we had a go! I begun with mine, and I felt relaxed and in control. Played it almost to perfection! The teachers applauded and gave me high fives! Grade: A+! Karolis and Cornelia passed their tests as well. After tacos for lunch at Grill house,  the rest of the class day was spent practicing beat mixing and echo mixing. No record box preparation today. Our homework was to start to plan our new sets! The next test will be 15 minutes and this time we are allowed to choose two of our own songs to be in the set.

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The evening was spent partying! We obviously had to celebrate passing our first test! We met our teacher Oscar at Wall Club and shared a bottle of vodka. A few friends of Cornelia also joined us. It was a really fun night! We felt unbeatable.

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Wednsday

We met at 11:00 AM as usual but today our teachers were busy until 13:00. The club was arranging a new beach party and the meeting point was outside the club. The plan was for us to play our sets at the pre-party gathering about 12:00. It was a good opportunity to get some experience playing for a real crowd so I was very eager to do it! Most of the tourists would stand outside the club in the sun, drinking and waiting for the buses to take them to the beach party location. But the music would be heard by all of them. I was first up. The song playing was a rap-song I’ve never heard before, so I made a nice echo mix into my first song of the set. I think it went quite well! Blew the timing slightly on one of the beat mixes but I saved the situation nicely. I’m particularly proud of the live mash up of John Déman – Vafan and Pirates of the Carribean 2016 in the end of the set. Cornelia and Karolis also performed their sets well! It was great fun to play for a crowd for the first time 🙂

After lunch, our teacher Jonathan went through looping. It’s a very useful tool that DJ’s use often. The day playing was quite short and we finished early. In the evening, Me and Cornelia uploaded videos of our sets and within 10 minutes Cornelia was contacted by a guy that wanted to book her for an event!

Thursday

We went to a nearby café to buy our usual morning frappé. If you haven’t heard of frappé, it’s a variation of coffee that was invented by accident by a Greek Nescafe representative in the late 50’s. It’s best described as cold coffee with ice cubes and foam on top. The foam is created when Nescafe is blended with a small amount of water. It’s common to add sugar and condensed milk. Many other variations exist where the frappé is blended like slush or covered with cream, ice cream and chocolate sauce. I have mine black.

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When walking out from the café, the manager called us over. He noticed that we spend time there a lot to prepare our music, and it turns out that he also owns a large club next door – Colorado. He wanted to exchange contact information in case we wanted to work there next summer as DJ’s! We are only half way finished but already we have potential job offers. How great isn’t that??

We practiced more loops and some other techniques with Jonathan. Our head teacher Simon showed up to teach us how to use hot queues and play R&B and Hip-Hop. That was so nice! Our teachers have such incredible skill. It’s like the mixer and turntables are a living, breathing extension of their body. They do advanced stuff so fast and effortlessly. It’s such a pleasure to not only listen but also watch them play. After watching our DJ teachers, I’ve realized that the station is really an instrument. They use buttons, knobs, turntables etc to blend songs perfectly together and even create new versions of songs on the fly. It’s truly an art form at that level. Some day I aspire to play at that level too.

We received home work create a mash up by using an instrumental track and an acapella. In the evening we went to Colorado to check out our potential workplace for next summer. The first thought when we arrived was that “wow, this is actually a real club”. Most of the places in the bar street are very run down, but Colorado is big, newly renovated, fresh, and two stories high.

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The second floor is going to open next summer. Colorado has a bit older and more international clientele than the 18-year old Scandinavians that frequent the bar street. Me and Karolis spent the rest of the night in our hotel preparing music and setting queue points.

Friday

Last day of second week! We have been taught most of the essential techniques and now we simply need to practice. Simon and Jonathan told us to really push our skills today and play around and try to do the stuff we wanted! It was fun! A big announcement was that we are going to start playing live in a few clubs on the bar street starting Monday! We will stand next to the main DJ and play together all night. I CAN’T WAIT until Monday to have my go at Wall Club!

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On Wednesday we have our next test and that will be to play a 15 minute set of about 15 songs at a pool party in front of 600 people! Teacher Jonathan Santambrogio demonstrated a 10 min completely improvised example of how it could be done. Me and Karolis just watched in awe as he SLAUGHTERED the players with banging live mash ups and loops. Our teachers have crazy skills!!

Finally, the last test will be in about 1 week. Us students will have a DJ battle against each other live on stage at another pool party. It’s going to be so much fun!

It’s so tempting to just head to the bar street tonight, but I have decided to practice in the hotel instead. I need to plan my next 15 min set, and make a great playlist of song that I can play at Wall club. So happy and excited!

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Saturday

We headed for Pepe’s bodega at 11.30 to play at the pre-gathering to the beach party. None of us were prepared at all but we all felt confident. We got in about 7-8 songs each and we all performed well! Joakim, the main DJ, just went out and had drinks with the tourists and let us run the music 🙂 Felt fantastic! Afterword we didn’t really do anything else than prepare music. In the evening we went to a nice Greek restaurant on the walking street. It lies kind of in an ally and it’s very cozy. It’s called La Casa, and our waiter was exactly like an old hunchbacked Italian gangster grandpa with a raspy voice. If you go to Rhodes, eat here. Their hummus is top notch! A mandatory tour to the bar street in the evening followed.

Sunday

Preparation day. We were all quite stressed about playing in the bars on Monday. We had a lot us music to prepare, not to mention planning our next 15 minute sets for Wednesday and the DJ battle on Saturday. Me and Karolis prepared music all day! Cornelia felt a lot better, having been a bit sick during the week.

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