Acting as one of the leading electronic platforms, ‘The DJ Sessions‘ has been evolving on a constant rate ever since its introduction within our community, and in turn amassing a vast array of viewers/listeners with each podcast. Having produced over 2,200 episodes in the last twelve years, this Twitch and Mixcloud “Featured Partner” has been the go to place for anything and everything electronic music related, with each series offering the most up to date news, live mixes and interviews, courtesy of both rising stars and the dance industry’s elite. Reaching audiences at every corner of the world, ‘The DJ Sessions’ has set out on leaving a lasting legacy behind, with each of their online episodes, as well as their event services, gaining global recognition from the world’s biggest streaming platforms and not only.
Taking pride in what they have set out to achieve within the dance scene and the surrounding environment(s), ‘The DJ Sessions’ define their initiative as a “WA State Non-profit charitable organisation that’s main purpose is to provide music, art, fashion, dance, and entertainment to local and regional communities via events and video production programming distributed via live and archival viewing,” and thus far, have ensured that with each of their project(s), countless of dance music enthusiasts are treated to the most mesmersing and at the same time rewarding of experiences. The most unique of concept’s in our humble opinion, such initiatives can only further enhance dance music’s presence within the live sector, and we are all for it.
Having set their sights on global domination is one thing, but having achieved a plethora of accolades over the years, is most definitely a note-worthy mention that cannot go unmissed. Placing constantly in the “Top Ten” on Twitch Music and the “Top Five” in the “Electronic Music,” “DJ,” and “Dance Music” categories, ‘The DJ Sessions’ are well and truly on a quest of delivering the most captivating and enticing of shows, no matter the particular series that has been chosen at any given time. Playing a huge part in their current success, the likes of Steve Aoki, Benny Bennasi, Dyro, Sander Van Doorn, Paul Oakenfold, and DJs From Mars, are just a mere few of the international artists to have featured on ‘The DJ Sessions’ platform, and in turn elevating the organisation’s presence on a worldwide scale.
With this in mind, ‘The DJ Sessions’ are showing no signs of slowing down, but to the contrary, they have embraced their current success in the most fitting of ways, and in turn have set out on making 2022 their most productive year yet. The launch of a new website has led to easier access of past episodes, as well as current live streaming, whilst an upcoming label of their own is also on the books, and we can’t wait for all the eclectic music that is set to be released. In light of this, we are more than excited to have caught up with person in charge of this globally rising platform, and in turn, gain a further insight on their concept as a whole, what to expect as time progresses, any further goals that have been set and much more.
Hello and thanks for joining us! Could you give us an insight on how the idea behind the creation of ‘The DJ Sessions’ came to be, and how rewarding has the recognition surrounding your platform been ever since its launch?
“The DJ Sessions” was started in 2009 based on an idea that I came up with while at Winter Music Conference. A friend of mine and I were talking about live streaming and while I had been running internet radio stations at the time I knew that the cost of doing a live video streaming was out of our reach at that point. He mentioned to me a company called Ustream and I started playing/testing out the platform over the summer of 2009 to see if I could go from broadcast television/podcasting/internet radio to a new medium without breaking the bank.
Planning the idea of live streaming DJ’s online was easy because I knew a lot of people in the nightclub industry after being in it for a number of years but it wasn’t until late 2009 that a friend of mine actually called me up and said “Darran I’m coming over to your house and we are doing “The DJ Sessions”!!!. It also happened to be at WMC that year I managed to get an interview with Dave Dresden and in late 2009 he was coming to Seattle. I asked his PR person if we could have Dave come by and play on “The DJ Sessions” and do an interview? The answer was “yes”. So when Dave came by the studio and started playing on the show I knew right there we had something and that I was going to move forward with it and make TDJS a brand to be known. The success of watching something grow from a dream in the back of your mind to becoming recognized as an international brand, producing countless episodes, working with a number of independent up-and-coming artist musicians producers to some of the biggest names in the world has been one of the greatest journeys I’ve ever taken in my entire life.
Being recognized as a Ustream and Livestream featured partner right from the beginning really set the tone of where “The DJ Sessions” was going to go and it wasn’t until 2018 when we had to find a new live streaming partner that we approached Twitch and were immediately on boarded as a “Feature Partner”, one of their first “Featured Partner” DJ shows, and was put on the front page of Twitch, something we were not really prepared for. That stream ended up doing 2,500 concurrent viewers over four hours. It was kind of a real revelation that we had entered the big time. 2021 was a good year for us on many levels. Launching version 3.0 of the site that would let us expand in bigger areas was a huge undertaking. There was also the development of the TDJS App that is now in Apple and Google Play as well as our first VR Nightclub “Beta” in Altspace with more places coming soon.
Reaching the Top 10 channels on Twitch has become somewhat of a regular occurrence, we would like to know the main contributing factor(s) that have led to your current success, as well as what makes you stand out from similar online platforms?
I believe one of the things that led to the success of “The DJ Sessions” is due to the perseverance of the team and the people that we work with. With over 2,200 episodes produced over 12 years it takes a village to keep something like this up and running. It wasn’t always that way though there were some times when I needed to take a break and did. The real magic of “The DJ Sessions though are the Resident DJ’s. They are the ones the really bring “it” to the stream weekly.
WubMama, High Season, Disco Vinnie, DJ_Spitfire, Zona, Tripdubb, Synergy, DJ Dangerish, LUZI TUDOR, DA33L€, Avian Invasion, CHRIS138, Orion, Justin Murta, Machine Logic, and Serjey Andre Kul all bring a wide array of talent and style to the series. I have even taken up the decks on occasion under the name “The DJ…Sessions” but that is something of a side project and more of a internal parody since people always ask me if I’m a DJ so I decided to create an alternate identity and take to the decks…but don’t take it seriously although I have had some good numbers while streaming. Doing this for 30 years and knowing how to pace myself, maintain a healthy lifestyle, make sure the job gets done, and deliver on the promises that I make has led to the overall success of “The DJ Sessions” becoming a brand. We now have our sights set on bigger goals and having even more of an international presence in 2022 and beyond.
Having produced over 2,200 episodes, and at the same time featured a vast array of international and local artists on your podcast(s), could you give us an insight on the significance of providing a platform for up and coming producers within the scene, and how impactful can an appearance on your platform turn out to be for such artists?
Ever since my early days of being in public access television then moving into broadcast television producing shows for FOX and NBC it has been the core mission statement of every series that I produce to work with independent artists and unsigned talent giving them an audience to reach out to that they may not otherwise be able to connect with or get in front of.
It has proven to be beneficial for many DJs and producers that have come on the series. I’ve even had compliments from some of the top names in the industry that definitely see the value of being on a show like ours even though we are not the largest out there, we’re also not the smallest either, but they recognize that they may reach one of our two of our audience members that may become a fan of theirs and then an start telling their friends about who they are and what they do and why they like them and you never know who you’re going to meet or who you’re going to influence to become that fan.
We have a policy at “The DJ Sessions” and that is what we call the “Open Table” policy. If you have a desire to play and you want to appear on a show you can definitely sign up at our website and request to play on “The DJ Sessions”. While we can’t facilitate everyone around the world, it helps if you’re in a city that we have an established base, we try to work with everyone and get everyone on the show which then also leads to our TDJS “Resident Program”. We like to definitely bring people on that have a passion for wanting to grow and to develop themselves and be in this industry.
Any chance for an artist to have a production company, magazine, online blog, or just somebody or some company talking about them other than themselves is always a “feather in the cap” of any DJ or producer. It only helps to fuel the fire of the passions that one feels when creating something and distributing it or getting it out there to others.
Acting as a non-profit organisation, could you give us an insight on the current impact that your platform has had on local communities, as well as an overall outtake on the work that is achieved behind the scenes?
When I created “The DJ Sessions” Event Services I knew that I wanted to look at it as more of a philanthropic organization rather than a for-profit corporation and that’s why I chose to make it a non-profit/charitable organization currently applying for our 501 c3 status. Our mission is to help promote music, fashion, dance, arts, lifestyle, and more by helping those that may not have the resources to gain a large media reach one of the programs.
This year the “Meals4Music” program is launching where people can donate non-perishable food items which go to our local food banks for tickets to our shows. Quite frequently at our events you will see us giving out our headsets for free to people to try out the experience of a Silent Concert and kids under 13 always get headsets for free. It’s not about the money but we do have overheard costs of doing business. This is where our sponsors and advertisers come in to help out.
The impact of not having many outlets for people to get out to dance and congregate we were seeing first-hand by us on the ground. It was a hard blow to many around the world. We devised a playbook in early 2020 on how to conduct safe collective dance music events by using our Silent Concert technology that we rolled out in 2020 and 2021. We then turned that into a campaign to have people “heal” by coming to our events and being able to share a collective dance music experience while still maintaining the rules and regulations that were set in place.
This led to a number of partnerships with local organizations ranging from health professionals, yoga instructors, guided meditation, and other various forms of activities that would get someone out of the house and back into the real world doing something in a collective environment. We spent countless hours behind the scenes talking with a number of different people to achieve this vision of bringing healing to the community which also caught the eyes of some of our city officials that really loved what we were doing and brought us on board to do events once things were able to be opened back up.
With the expansion of ‘The DJ Sessions’ a current work in progress, we would like to know any future plans that the platform has set out on achieving, as well as the significance surrounding the latest goals that you have set?
The future of “The DJ Sessions”… Well I can tell you there’s always something new coming from “The DJ Sessions.” We’re really excited about the launch of our new website, the launch of our new mobile app available on both Apple and Google stores, and the launch of our first VR nightclubs called “Entry” and “Beta” on Altspace and other platforms coming soon.
We’re also expanding our operations in the United States to work with a new event space in Phoenix, Arizona that has a capacity of up to 8000 people where “The DJ Sessions” will be overseeing live streaming productions and VR/AR/XR experiences, and also the exclusive Silent Concert vendor launching later in the year Silent Festivals with our seven channel headsets along with other major events on the West Coast.
We are currently talking with agencies looking to book “The DJ Sessions” as headlining acts to some of the major gaming and electronic music shows around the world. We are also expanding our International reach by attending the major music festivals and conferences around the world. In addition to all this we’re also developing plans to launch our own record label in Q3 of 2022 so there is a lot going on over here at “The DJ Sessions” and I’m sure there will be something new developing by the time this article gets released.
The most rewarding of online platforms, ‘The DJ Sessions’ have created an environment where dance music enthusiasts and not only, can find a common ground through their love and passion for music, and in turn, allow us all to gain further insights on all our favourite artists within the scene, as well as be introduced to the rising stars of the future. With this in mind, be sure to check out ‘The DJ Sessions’ official website here, and get set to embark on the most unique of musical journeys through each podcast series on this fast-growing platform. Enjoy!
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