Durham DJ Society: The Story So Far

DJ society is a community not just for experienced disk jockeys. The society is made up of a variety of different people, from semi-professional standard DJs to- event organisers, radio presenters to those simply fond of electronic music and anyone that loves a good night out.

Liam Watkins at the DUCFS Launch

The DJ Society we see today was not the first created, with one flopping in 2012, but has showed promising growth of interest and participation in the last three years. It was in Slug and Lettuce that Liam Watkins and Andrei Sandu stood over the balcony, cussing at Shakira, thinking something needed to give. Andrei’s past experiences with DJing after meeting the likes of Redlight had launched him into an industry that has seen a real explosion in the last decade, particularly in the mainstream due to the newfound accessibility of mixing. The two created the society in late 2014 with an aim to bring something to Durham that had failed two years prior – the opportunity to learn new skills, the opportunity to refine existing skills, and the platform to share a love of electronic music.

DJ society has built a reputation over the last two years for being Durham’s most reliable provider of DJs for club nights, college functions, and house parties. The society started providing DJs for college bops and balls which soon made them the go-to for social execs across the collegiate system and shortly after dipped its toes in Durham’s clubbing scene. After their Hip Hop society collaboration at Loft in November 2015, DJ society began attracting attention from both DJs in the local area and club nights looking for fresh talent behind the decks. The society has been involved with DJs for the likes of Exhale, BLEEP, Freak Out and many more. With their members having played in just about every venue in town, DJ society aims to become a respected organisation that can provide its members with a platform to express their skills – whether this be mixing, promotion, lighting, event organising, radio presenting and much more.

DJ Soc and Hip Hop Soc collaboration night.  

“When you’ve got students coming from all around the country, different areas, different cultures, different walks of life it means you’re seeing different tastes, styles and vibes etc come through that door… you get this talented and diverse group of people that are really capable of anything…. We’ve got junglists, tech-heads – lots of them, house DJs, grime, and commercial DJ’s too; you name it we’ve got it.”

The society is currently involved in more than just club nights. Durham DJ Society Presents is DJ Soc’s official radio show on Purple Radio every Friday evening, showcasing the hottest pick of the week and leaving no DJ in Durham unheard. The radio slot features a new student DJ every week and has so far brought Drum and Bass, bassline and grime to the air waves; a rare find on any student radio network. Anyone can show off their mixing on DDJS Presents, regardless of level, and the society strongly encourages anyone with even basic level transitions to come and try something new.

“The radio show is one the best opportunities the society delivers to people. It is such a vital part of the society now and does a great job at connecting members and giving people the opportunity to perform live on air. The studio is great because it becomes your space you know, for that hour it’s your cave and you’re in control of what goes on, what sounds go out, what tunes get played, how you present your work…

What about those who don’t DJ but want to? Well, after a long struggle (or battle) with finding resources such as equipment and space for sessions, Durham DJ Society is proud to announce this year that, after developing close relationships with local DJ societies, they’ll be teaming up with Northumbria DJ Society to provide sessions for members – free of charge! Rumba Sessions are run by Northumbria and, using the latest technology in decks and sound systems, teach beginners the ropes of mixing with nobody leaving until they smash out their first seamless transition! Northumbria have said they’ll be happy to open their sessions to Durham students throughout this year and the society are really buzzed to get more people into the industry.

… DJing is an art form, like any instrument, and bringing this together with working in radio is a truly wonderful experience and provides a long list of skills for any career in the music industry. If you play the tunes you like, you mix them, you present them, you structure the show and, obviously, enjoy the hell out of it, by the end you’re left with something that is truly yours – you’ve created a show and people are in your zone enjoying your art.”

Andrei Sandu at Freak Out

For those that DJ from home and plan to keep it that way, the society has a Soundcloud profile that frequently shares mixes sent in from students and local producers. The society are happy to be used as a platform for more exposure with both producers and DJ’s so if you’ve got mixes in the bank then deposit them now and send them in.

Joining the society is easy. Why? Because there’s no sign-up fee, no details required, no long term commitments – just like the page on Facebook and give us your email address and you’ll be kept in the loop with DDJS’s newsletters, sent periodically including vacancies, opportunities and essential information. The society is forever growing and changing and, with the turn over due in summer when members leave, is now hiring for executive positions. The Society needs a new treasurer and there are a number of admin positions available. All of these can be applied for through the society Facebook page or via the secretary’s email along with any queries: j.cooper9@live.com.

“It is really important that talent and skills aren’t wasted because too many people can do all these great things but just don’t think there’s anywhere they can put them to use. If people want experience in event management, promoting, lighting, artwork, mixing, admin roles and managing a society then we strongly encourage people to get in touch – this isn’t just about what you can do for the society, but what the society can do for you.”

Soundcloud account: https://soundcloud.com/user-178423535 (lots of student mixes available here)

Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/DurhamDJSoc/

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