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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Life of a Second Life© DJ; DJ Rhage Firehawk- Nomad Aries Reporting…

   I am a music freak and travel from club to club to hear what is being played. 

 There are a lot of fantastic DJjs in Second Life©, it is literally a gold mine for music lovers.

  Sometimes when you are not expecting it, you hear a DJ play and you have to go hear more.  That is how I met DJ Rhage Firehawk.  I wasn't in a club; I was working at home listening to a club stream when I became distracted by the music. I had to stop what I was working on and listen. Listen was all I could do.  I ventured into the club to tip the DJ for an awesome set of music and ended up staying for the rest of the party.  I just didn't want to leave; it was one great tune after another, smoothly spun by DJ Rhage Firehawk.

I have caught up to DJ Rhage a few times since and his sets are always something different and surprising.  He is a very friendly and open person who just loves music. 
 Rhage has been DJing for a long time both in real life (for his own personal enjoyment) and on Second Life.  He is always working on and experimenting with his music. 

We had an interesting conversation and it turned into an interview, so here then, with the permission of DJ Rhage, is my interview with him. 

Interview with DJ Rhage

What intrigues me is why people choose to do what they do in Second Life.  DJing for example is not as easy as some people think and it involves a massive amount of work and time.  Most DJs need a catalogue of music which takes a lot of effort and time to compile.
An average set on SL is two hours long.  A DJ has to have enough music to fill a two hour slot and be aware that if the next DJ is late or has technical problems, they may have to play over the two hour time limit.  They also have to wrap up their set in time for the next DJ to take over or jump in earlier if the DJ crashes or needs to leave early. 
  It is work and an art.  A handover can be messy or seamless, depending on the DJs and their experience.  

Why would you want to DJ in SL? This is how DJ Rhage answered " When I started off as a dj in sl its not actually something I was actively looking to do, some friends told me to give it a try and got me an audition at a club so I figured I would give it a go and now, four years later or so, I’m still dj'ing. I started DJ'ing on SL sometime around 2008-2009 I think, on a different account back then". Four years is a long time on SL.  That's a lot of music, considering that DJ Rhage plays more than one style of music. I noticed this and asked him about it. 

You play a lot of different styles of music. Did you start off playing all of them or did dj'ing in SL help you expand to different styles?

“I started off playing trance and slowly over time discovered other genres and decided to experiment and see how the crowds and listeners reacted. That’s what made me become familiar with several genres" said Rhage.
Rhage plays the following genres; Trance, House, Electro, Hard-House, Hard-Trance, Hard style and Psytrance.

What genre of music is your personal favorite to play?
Rhage says “I think after all my years of online dj'ing I would say that trance is and always will be my favorite genre to play".

The reaction from listeners is the fuel that energizes a DJ. It is how a DJ gages the reaction to their playing and particular style. Developing a following is one of the most difficult things in SL. because the people of SL are international and come from every nation around the globe; the residents also deal with different time zones continuously. 
 Clubs deal with it constantly too because DJs and hosts can only fill time slots in their time zone.  It is a fact of SL life.  This also creates a problem for DJs.
Some clubs expect a DJ to bring in a crowd with them.  In SL this is nearly impossible. On one occasion, a DJ might be filling in for a one who plays in a regular time slot.  People will Teleport in expecting to hear the regular DJ, and find when they land, they are listening to a different one. 
They may stay and listen and the guest DJ can pick up new listeners. If the DJ doesn't usually play that time slot they may lose those listeners, those people may not be online at any other time.
 A DJ cannot guarantee how many people will be listening at any time they play.  They may have a large number of people in their group but when those people will be online, is impossible to know. 
This is one of the major stumbling blocks for a DJ on SL.  They may have tons of music and experience but building a following is extremely difficult and frustrating. For this reason, in SL, most DJs work at more than one club. In four years of DJ'ing in SL, Rhage is still trying to build his following.

I asked Rhage what he thought in general about the clubs on SL and how they treat DJs. I also wanted to know what the perks of DJing in SL were and what are any pet peeves he may have about it?  Here is what DJ Rhage had to say,
 "In my experience the majority of clubs treat DJ's very well. Perks of DJ'ing for me, there is only one perk and that’s people enjoying the music and vibes I bring to them. Pet peeves of being a DJ in SL, I would have to say not getting the recognition and praise dj's deserve specially if they are actually good DJ's”.

DJ'ing is really about entertaining people. When you are in a club there are gestures played, mostly by hosts and some listeners that express feelings like “This DJ Rocks", “Excellent" “I really love this tune" etc. 
After awhile nobody really listens to the gestures, most people turn them off so they can hear the music.  Sometimes though, depending on the gestures, a DJ can tell who is listening and really enjoying the music.  People also tip if they can to show appreciation.  Some DJs can actually monitor how many listeners they have and as in my situation, you may not even be in the club. 
 In real life, a DJ can gage right away what the listeners’ reaction is to the music playing, on SL however, it is more difficult.  The next time you are in a club, think about this and if you enjoy the music, try to show some appreciation to the DJ, it makes all the difference. 

When I asked DJ Rhage what type of club he prefers to spin at, he replied “I enjoy playing at any club as long as people enjoy the music I try to bring to them, then I am a happy DJ " and he smiled. 

DJ Rhage is one very busy DJ, when he isn't working he is a manager at one club he works at, he also mentors and helps other new DJs.
In my experience I have found that DJs do tend to help each other and are quick to provide information and guidance to those wanting to enter into this entertainment field themselves.  Many DJs I know personally, have built close and long standing relationships with fellow DJs. 

I asked what advice you would give someone starting to DJ in Second Life. Rhage replied " I would suggest they IM me in game and if they had any questions or wanted advice, I would help out".

What basic equipment would a person need to begin djing on sl? “Virtual DJ and music, oh, and a stream of course" said Rhage. 

I asked DJ Rhage where he saw himself in the future on SL. " I have a passion for music so I would guess I will always be DJ'ing whether it’s in SL, web based radio or just mixing for fun. I would like to think I would still be DJ'ing in SL too" answered Rhage. 

 Do you think you will try DJing in the real world at any point? "
If I was given the opportunity to, I would definitely give it a shot" said Rhage. 

Where do you DJ now in SL and when? Rhage told me "I DJ on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm slt to 8pm slt at Dexler and Fridays I dj 6-8pm slt at Electric pulse". 

DJ Rhage is presently preparing to audition for another club in SL. In all probability you will have a chance to catch one of his sets very soon at three different clubs. He is a tireless worker and constantly experimenting with music.
 Recently I caught a set that I found amazing. DJ Rhage played a Psytrance set spinning live from four decks.  I had not heard anything like it before and he picked the best genre for this experience in my opinion. 

Finally, I asked DJ Rhage if there were any thoughts you would like people to know about your experience DJ'ing in Second Life.  He replied,, " Don’t be afraid to experiment, yes sometimes you may fail with what you experiment with but when you pull it off and you get a full club cheering you on, it’s worth it. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in order to get established."

I feel that those words best describe DJ Rhage Firehawk, always experimenting and perfecting his work and being brave enough to put it out there for us to hear. He is ever expanding his scope of music and skills. If you get the opportunity to hear this DJ, please do.  You will not be disappointed. 


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