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DJay Mando

Read the DJay Mando Interview below and share it on social media.

Please tell our readers who you are and what you do?

I go by the name of DJay Mando. I'm a DJ from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and I pride myself on being one of the most energetic and versatile DJs the state of Wisconsin has to offer. A lot of DJs don't seem to engage the crowd very well, so I made a point to get the crowds I play for involved in the performance. I love hip hop music, and my goal as a DJ has always been to bring people together through music, no matter what color you are, where you're from, how you are, or what you believe in; at the end of the day, I feel like everybody believes in music, and everybody loves having fun. To me, the music that is the most fun to listen to is hip hop music. My love for hip hop has driven my goal, and I've seen its power first-hand.

How would you describe your influences and how have they changed over the years?

As a DJ, everybody always expects me to list a bunch of DJs as my influences, but to be honest, the only DJ that I point to as an influence is Markus Harshaw, the man who taught me the fundamentals of DJ'ing. He took me in and showed me how to do what I do now, from knowing and reading your crowd, to knowing how to build out a set to manage the energy of the room.

My main influences have come from the artists I've listened to throughout my lifetime. As a kid, I listened to Biggie Smalls, Nas, 50 Cent, Eminem, Snoop, and Ludacris. In middle school, I had access to Limewire, BET's 106 & Park, and Youtube, so I started listening to Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Bow Wow, Nelly, Lil Wayne, T.I., T-Pain, and Soulja Boy. Most important to me at the time was discovering the Atlanta dance wave that was going on, because those songs were getting played at my school dances. If you knew the dance, you'd be popular with everybody. You had songs like Lean Wit It by Dem Franchize Boyz, Snap Ya Fingers by Lil Jon and Cherish with Do It To It highlighting the Poole Palace, DJ Unk's Walk it Out and 2 Step, and then the Crank Dat dance phase, which birthed Soulja Boy's smash. The school dances and the songs that came with them really established my love for the high, in-the-moment energy that comes from a hyper-engaged crowd and the right song at the right time.

Throughout high school, I started listening to people like Waka Flocka, Future, Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, and more Lil Wayne. My high school years really solidified my appreciation for "tough" music, the gang music. People like Flocka would get you so hyped just by saying something that sounded tough, it made you want to be angry. Then you had people like Gucci and Future who were hood superstars, talking about what they had to go through to get rich. And then when Wayne dropped Sorry 4 the Wait with the Rollin remix… it was a wrap.

Those years and the years after showed me that you don't necessarily need to make music that's introspective or deep for it to mean something to somebody. It's not always about what's being said, it's more about the feeling that it gives you, and that's what drives a lot of my DJ'ing now when I pick out songs for my sets. The artists I listened to throughout high school and college influenced me to bring energy, an energy that was undeniable and contagious. You'd have to try to not have fun at a show of mine, not because of what I play, but because of the way I can make you feel when I play it. And that's what helps me accomplish my goal of bringing people together through hip hop.

What´s new right now?

Right now, I've got three songs out on Spotify and Apple Music that y'all should listen to. I just rolled out some merchandise that anybody can cop if they go to I'm working on going on tour in April with Yung Gravy, and I'll be putting out more music in the coming months so be sure to follow me on all social media to keep up! Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, everything's the same if you want to follow: @DJayMando

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Are you a superfan of anyone? How did you become a superfan? Do you remember how you become a fan and what turned you into super fan? Have you ever thought about why you´re such a fan?


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What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?

Make sure you're proud of your music. I try and make music that my parents wouldn't mind listening to, or at least knowing that I've made it. I used to make music that I knew for a fact my parents wouldn't like because I'd cuss too much or something like that. Now, I've figured out how to make polished music that goes hard, but I wouldn't be hesitant to still play in front of my parents. If you can play it in front of them, you can play your music in front of everybody.


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How do you get gigs? Can you share any tips?

What has served me the most is word of mouth. People talk about the performances I've given, and they speak so highly till their endorsement piques other people's interest. The value of referrals is unmatched. A venue booker will definitely be more likely to book you if one of their friends or colleagues tells them about you and lets them know that you're good at what you do.


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Do you have good promotion tips for other musicians?

My main thing is giving people my social media so that they can follow me after our in-person interaction is done. Eventually, if you give out your info to enough people or to the right people, you won't have to promote yourself because your followers will promote you for you.


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Do you have insights on how to grow your audience on soundcloud that you want to share with our audience?

I put out music on soundcloud and don't tell any of my friends. I just let the internet find it. People who don't know you are unbiased, meaning they won't listen to your song if they don't like it. Their only impression of you is your music. So if a bunch of random people end up listening to your song and blowing it up, then you know you got a smash.


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What has been your biggest challenge right now? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

My biggest challenge has been releasing original content and procrastinating on it. All it takes to stop procrastinating is to start doing something, anything. And then, before you know it, you'll have an entire body of work ready to put out.


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How do you personally discover new music?

I use Youtube, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

With Youtube, if you search for music and go out of your way to find new music or music that isn't mainstream, Youtube's algorithms will start helping you out, and they'll start listing songs that are trending for you.

If you like a song on Spotify, use that song's radio option. The radio will take you to songs that are like the one you listen to.

Soundcloud's top songs list is something I pay attention to so I know what's trending in the Soundcloud world.


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Once you discovered new music, do you tell others about the new music/artist you discovered? If yes, how exactly?

“I make a song of the day post on my snapchat and instagram stories and let people vote on whether or not they think the song sounds good.


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What is your number one tip to improve your music production or songwriting skills?

The three R's: Research, Repetition, and Revision.
Do your research, watch youtube videos and interviews on your favorite producers'/songwriters' work process. They'll give you insights and tricks to master your craft. Information will beget knowledge, and with knowledge you have power.

Repetition and doing at least something every day is key, because it keeps you in practice, and lets you be fully prepared to work at the highest level. As an athlete, repetition was so important because repetition hones your fundamentals. You need to have solid fundamentals so that you can push yourself to a new level and master more advanced techniques. You gotta learn how to dribble before you can learn a crossover, and you need to learn how to write a hook before you'll be able to create a full, complete song.

Revision is important because you can do your reps every day, but eventually your repetitions will become, well, repetitive. Your lyrics or productions will start to sound the same, limiting you to a box of complacency and comfort. You know what works so you stick to it, because you're good at it since you've done it everyday. Revision will force you to think critically and delve deeper into your strengths and weaknesses. Revision will take your piece and make it polished and perfect. If you combine Repetition and Revision together, you will reach mastery.


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What is your best tip for those who struggle with finishing their tracks?

If you can't finish the song by yourself, then to me that means you're going to need some more inspiration. What inspires me is competition. I want to be the best, and better than everybody around me. So if you can't finish it, give the song to somebody who can. Let a producer you like work on the beat and finish it up; let another artist finish the second verse, and maybe make their own version of the hook. Listen to what they've done and take notes on what you like and what you don't like, what you can learn and what you can do better. Take that information and use it on your next endeavor. Or, put out the finished product with them on it, and let them kill it. You'll see the love that they get for their work alongside yours, and something like that motivates me to finish my own project or song, because I want that recognition and satisfaction of finishing something and truly killing it.


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We meet again in one year. What has changed?

I've toured the country, I'm getting paid more, getting booked at bigger places, and making music that people love.


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