Posts Tagged ‘ starting in DJing ’

A DJ Journey Begins – How 9/11 Made Me a DJ

The first time I heard techno I was 16 years old. I was with a bunch of friends. It was summer in upstate New York. We were hanging out on the lawn listening to the college radio station from the car stereo. Then this music came on. It was like we heard it at the same time. We sat up and looked at each other and collectively said “What is this?” I called the radio station in my excitement.  When the DJ got on I said “Hi, my name is Cristina. What is this music?” The DJ said “Hi Cristina, this is Techno.” I asked “What’s the name?” He said, chuckling at me:

“This song is called “Only For The Headstrong”.

One thing you need to understand.  The only music I was exposed to growing up was my mother’s New Age music and my dad’s Cuban percussion. Oh and I played classical music on the piano, by ear ( couldn’t read sheet music to save my life ).

So what do you get when you mix New Age, Cuban percussion, and classical music composition?

Techno.  I was imprinted to appreciate dance music already.

Flash forward a lot of years ( and a lot of clubs and DJ sets ) and I was living and working in the city for 6 years. 6 years I had been in the city and never once had been to The World Trade Center. Not once. The company I worked for at the time wanted me to take a tour of this high tech computer lab on the 75th floor of World Trade Center 1 on – yeah you guessed it – September 11th, 2001 at 8:30am. I was going to meet my rep Todd there for breakfast and then have the tour.

Everyone gives the snooze button on their alarm a bad rap. My snooze button saved my life. I was running about 10 minutes late. I was on the first subway that stopped at Rector street and made the announcement that there had been an explosion in the WTC. I’m not going to get into the rest. I made it out, I saw the towers fall, I walked from Houston and Varick to 95th and 3rd ave – it was like Apocalypse Now, only with lots of bottled water and free pizza.

Here’s the deal. My rep Todd barely made it out alive. He saw things no human being should see. I can recount the things he told me but they are too horrific and not the point right now. He told me there were people who turned right instead of left on the staircase and they never made it out. I could have been right there with him.

I could have made that wrong and fatal turn.

People talk about having moments of clarity. A moment of clarity is when you experience something and it changes your life forever. A moment of clarity is that moment you realize who you want to be is who you really are. When I processed everything it hit me like a ton of bricks. That close call made me think about the last time in my life that I had felt a moment of clarity. It was when I was 16 years old and I heard electronic music for the first time. When I heard it, it changed my life forever.  When I realized I got a second chance, who I wanted to be was who I was all along.

On October 9th, 2001, about one month after my close call, I opened up a cardboard box and heaved out two turntables. I couldn’t believe how heavy they were. As I was carrying them to my ramshackle DJ table I knew that my life would never be the same.

Only for the headstrong, indeed.

( A DJ friend, when I shared this story with him, found ‘Only for the Headstrong’ and I can’t believe I still recognized it after all these years – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFXQfEW5SxU )