This is going to be a strange tale. But true. And hopefully explain why I am starting to go public mixing music on the internet, at first.
This isn’t yet another new thing. Although I am known for that. Or that I am just trying to be cool…I am known for never trying to be that.
This is different. This is…something which has been building for a very long time. Technology has only just caught up with where my head is at. I have only just gotten ways of having enough money to do what I want. Well, for the time being anyway. And it is, oddly, a calling. Though why God should leave it so late in time to activate it I have no idea.
I am also somewhat bemused that I have so much to learn about it and still feel very lost. But still, this is the story.
So it began about 30 something years ago. actually it began WAAAAYYYY before that when I was at primary school, and my friend got given this tiny box which made whiz sounds you could change by moving a knob. It was his synthesizer. No keyboard…just made interesting noises. But I loved it. Dance music was cool and i loved it. I grew up in the 80’s. For my 18th (1988) birthday present I got a synthesiser…Juno 106. Tried desperately to learn how to play it and failed. And this strange upstart group called the world wide message tribe were looking for people who would help them. I phoned up (the phones were connected to the wall in those days…and the internet didn’t really exist) but never got a call back. It wasn’t that I wanted to be cool, just something itched.
Roll forwards by a few years. I chanced upon this idea of DJing in worship. But it was decks. And I was on a youthworker salary. I had a good collection of older stuff from the 80’s, as much as I could afford, but couldn’t afford anymore.
I planted bands of young people to lead worship. Taught a few of them. Led some really cool celebrations with guitar and vocal. Bought flstudio and other music programs from trackers to drum beat things. (Now I use ableton because it makes more sense to me).
Finally recorded a kids song onto a computer, not dance, but it did well, in the end. At first no royalties…
Then i started training for ministry. And on the 3 day interview called the Bishops Advisory Panel, I talked about my vision. A church based around Dance ministry. Dance culture. To do communion that way.
And the Church of England said yes… as a pioneer. Which is what i was hoping for anyway.
Then as I trained odd things started to happen. The first was in a small chapel in Durham. Load of candles, and I was the last one out. And God asked me to sit and pray.
And into my mind came the picture of a young lad, and the scene a small eastern town. The lad grabbed my hand and dragged me to the edge of a cliff. I looked down and there was a dessert, and it was full of young people and children looking sad. They had lost hope. And the lad looked at me and said ‘lead my children in the dance.’
I looked at him, and I realised he was Jesus.
Well you don’t just follow pictures like that. So i wanted proof. Which came in the form of a chap who jumped in the back of my car at a conference centre. We were on separate conferences, me for Scripture Union, and him for the national Methodist church. He was fascinated that I was training to be an ordained pioneer, because he had just been appointed the Methodist church representative for their side of fresh expressions, nationally.
Which is why a few weeks later when i was driving south I downloaded a load of podcasts, and on one of them was this chap, who was doing the final thought. I listened diligently.
And he pointed everyone to watch the video of the lone guy dancing at the Sasquatch festival. And he said that we were called to lead in the the dance….
That seemed like proof to me.
There were another couple of God instructions to me over the following couple of years, but i won’t go into those right now.
Then three years ago I was writing some college papers about spirituality and God’s calling, and for some strange reason I started evaluating what God was calling me to. Looking at the past, my gifts, everything. And oddly it came down to this calling of being a DJ. But by this point, passed 40, I felt I was too old.
Anyway, to while away a few minutes I went on facebook, mulling this over, and I saw the name of a friend who I hadn’t spoken to for a while, and she looked like she needed some encouragement. So I asked God, and he gave me a picture for her (think vision/prophecy). I won’t got into details, but basically it was like I nailed an actual experience she had when she was a child. In fact i did nail it. Now, my friend is also a prophet. And so I told her of this odd idea of being called to be a DJ.
And she turned round and said for the past few weeks she had been dreaming about me being a DJ. And leading young people in the dance of worshipping God. From then on she has called me Revd DJ Priest. Hence the whole DJpriest thing.
Well DJ’s need equipment, right? And I had none. And no money to buy it. Then the opportunity kind of came about to start a children’s worship event. Which sadly hasn’t panned out in the way we had hoped but not matter, we gave it a good shot. It might still come to something.
I felt having the equipment would help, but had no money, but i trusted God. Two weeks later the money, all of it, appeared connected with that song I had written years before.
So i started practicing. And playing in front of kids, basically. For this last year a bit of practice here and there.
Big impacts mostly came on my own, however, when i would go into school and lead worship with the decks and dance. And my usual blend of magic. So I knew it worked ok. Practice practice…but not with a proper focus.
And I’ve not really played for any length of time in front of key audiences. I have massive experiences from bands and young people leading of course. But mixing, choosing the right tunes, building a set…all those sorts of things…I just never actually went to a club. Still haven’t. Though it has to be said, some of the major names of DJ i have come across and the producers, they haven’t either! They keep to themselves it seems so as not to be influenced… so not too worried that I am not like everyone else.
Then a couple of weeks back, just as I am practicing more and more, we ended up going somewhere and on the way home I wondered if it was truly possible to create a dance church. And I felt it impossible! God I needed some proof.
And then we stopped for a service station food stop. And there was a WHSmiths. So i went to get a magazine for me and the oldest son.
About once every couple of years i will buy a DJ magazine, mainly for the music reviews and for the tech. But I couldn’t read it until I got home.
Then once i did I got the shock of my life. On the page I opened to, for 8 pages, was an article on dance culture and faith, particularly Christian faith. I decided to take that as another sign.
So why mix live on facebook, and whatever else happens I shall add to this thread.
Well it’s simple. As an artist for the last year I have been practicing my art in public. Everything I do I throw up online. And it has served very well and I have connected with many people. I got this idea from a book somewhere about practicing in public, even if you aren’t very good. It sharpens your game to know its in public.
Thing is, I am not good enough to be paid to gig with music. And no one asks me. And I can’t bring myself to ask for opportunities considering there are many people who earn their living from it. (Ok, I’ve had a couple of offers but been too afraid to take them on…but who know’s if I get the chance again).
But playing to myself isn’t really pushing me. i need to be risking things and know people might be listening. Do my art in public, so to speak.
So here i am…just me. Mixing.
And seeing what will happen next….