Jordan Laffey, 23, a Newcastle born and bred lad who is becoming a hidden gem within the North for DJing.
Juggling working for The Ministry for Pensions and National Insurance combined with DJing at night is a struggle but Jordan who is known as ‘Laffey’ admits, “DJing is a lot more stressful than my day job” Surprised? Well, like many careers getting your foot in the door is hard, so I took it back to-day one when and where it all started for Jordan.
It’s been 4 year, in the first year he mentions how it “gathered dust”, but after that he started DJing locally at The Railey and the Woolsey in Wallsend and built from there.
Jordan had “always flirted with it really, ever since I was young”and “I was going to get into it when I was 11 or 12 then didn’t. I was around 18 or 19, I just decided to finally do it as I love music and got into house music where I DJ now, that spurred me on and I finally took the plunge”.
Inspiration surrounds us all and it shapes DJ’s, Jordan speaks how his inspiration was close to home, “My dad was into house music, I grew up around it and house music became more popular and going hand in hand with growing older led to going out more and I got more absorbed into it. I started spending less time in indie scenes to more popular scenes that stemmed my inspiration”.
Wanting to find out how Jordan keeps up a double life up with the mix of 9-5 full-time job to DJing, he says: “I don’t, haha I try, work is set hours so the moment I go to work and the moment I finish, well I do when I’m at work and I shouldn’t. I listen to music that I need to download for future reference”.
Fast forwarding to 5pm, he says: “I get home, I get the DJ stuff, go straight out and try to wake up in the morning to go to work. It’s difficult, I have my struggles but I try. I play in the centre of Newcastle, Collingwood street on a Tuesday night and Thursdays at Jesmond, that finishes at 11 o’clock and that gives me more than enough time to finish and get back home and get back to bed for work the next day”.
The two careers being so different, it’s interesting to know how much they do differ in change: “With my day job you just know everyone that is there and who you’re working for but, when you’re doing your DJing, your playing to so many people at are there and you don’t know. You don’t know whether they’re going to like the music, you defiantly feel under pressure, less pressure now than what I used too. When I first started, that is the main thing that you worry about, if everyone will like the music I’m playing. But you do get to gage it a lot better, when you do certain things, like Mimos on a Tuesday for example, I know what kind of music the owner wants me to play and I know what the people want so I’ve been doing it 7 weeks on the run now, you kind of get falling into habits of picking songs that you know will do well, but yeah it’s different, it’s defiantly a lot more stressful DJing”.
Being a DJ anywhere faces challenges, the first one being what genres you play to the people, Jordan speaks about his personal taste and the freedom he has in big city centre clubs:”I play a lot of commercial stuff when I’m DJing in town, I obviously don’t get to play a lot of stuff I would normally play. The stuff I normally play is quite independently labelled, it’s quite obscure and doesn’t come out in the charts. It’s pretty good, I personally like it but I wouldn’t play it in town because a lot of people would like what the hell is this?!”. Jordan knows the different between the people who know house music and would appreciate it but people who are only out for a night out wouldn’t because they wouldn’t know who it was, “they want to hear lyrics and a song they already know that’s been remixed to something similar”.
Jordan started his DJ side career at his local pub, where he plays for the Daisy Hill football team, “they do an end of season thing, every single season that usually falls in the bank holidays. Back then I always used to go Shin Dig as it runs the similar weekend so all the lads would end up going from the local to Shin Dig”.
“Hill Dig is now a popular event around Wallsend for locals, when asking how the idea came around to do a local version of the famous Shin Dig he says:”I’m not sure where it came from really, I think we just thought one day why don’t we just DJ the presentation night and normally we would get a band in which would cost them a quite of bit of money and all of the lads wouldn’t really enjoy the band, it was a lot more for the older lot and then we thought we’ll DJ and put on music that everyone wants to hear. The first one, was a different to what it is now but it was mental”.
Every Hill Dig became more popular widening the audience who came and got Jordan recognised for his DJing skills, he admits he never thought the event would become what it is today, :”Starting my own night in town, which I’ve done recently is actually set in how successful it was. We didn’t really make any money from it as we weren’t there to do that, but the club did who we DJ’ed for, I don’t why it went so well and so successful but it just was”.
“The music I do it at the ‘Hill Dig’ events is a mix of stuff that I know people will enjoy but I don’t try to educate them too much, it’s the criticism I’ve had off my dad before and he’s critical, he just says that don’t try to educate people too much and it’s the same in all types of DJing such as parties, you’ve got to play stuff that you enjoy to play otherwise you’ll be sick of your life but also you kind of just play that you listen too especially when I have a particular taste in music and people don’t know what it is or people won’t enjoy it. You’ve got to find the happy medium, so that’s where I build my sets”.
Speaking more about starting having his own night in Newcastle, he tells us how it all came about: “As of recent, me and my mate Dan, have done it over the past 6 to 7 weeks. It originally I would say about 6-12 month ago I did it with another lad then we stemmed off. It came about as I know the person who runs the bar. I dropped him a message about any spare places and mentioned I was happy to do it and I’m here every single week, the ‘Hill Dig’ only come once in a while so I needed something that was set on a week basis, so after I asked him it took 3-4 weeks and he came back to me telling me he had a space on a Tuesday night, asking if we wanted to do it every Tuesday so it just came from there and been doing it since”.
Being in an industry that a lot of lads try to get into, it’s good to have a mentality to not to it for the money, Jordan clearly does this side project for his genuine love to DJ, he says: “We get about £20, it’s not a lot but it covers beer money and a taxi, but it’s not about the money and it’s a good start, it’s about getting your foot into town, it’s so hard to get a place and hold it down especially the kind of music I play but I seem to have a bit of freedom when at mimos”.
Looking to the future we speak about what would his ultimate goal, is it to DJ or something entirely different? He says: “Defiantly DJing is the goal, I’m a bit realistic about it so I’ve got my full-time job and just got a promotion, I’m trying to continue to keep getting promoted incase it doesn’t work. Preferably DJing and producing music but I’m keeping it in the sideline”.
Inspired by DJ’s can mould your taste, when speaking about idols in the DJ world, Jordan admits: “There is a lot, it’s evolved as I’ve got more and more into the music, to start off with to be honest it was Swedish House Mafia, which is funny as it’s so different to what I listen too now but that proper got me into dance music. As ive got older it’s changed, Carl Cox is obviously is a big one because it’s Carl Cox. I love his DJ sets because he plays loads of classics, I watched his last one at Space in Ibiza and it was just amazing, that’s the sort of stuff I would love to play”.
“Soloman is the number one that I look up to as he’s the kind of music I like to play. He does stuff where it’s very dance but it sounds daft but sounds like it has substance to it so it’s not just the same tune, so you know when you go to some clubs and it feels like your listening to the same song for an hour and a half, he kind of takes you on a journey with his music, it sounds stupid, cliché and corny but he does and he makes loads of good music, he put’s Kate Bush in his sets and it’s so different but it works”.
At the end of the day DJing is about getting the word out in music, when it comes to where would Jordan like to ideally play if he could choose anywhere in the world, he says: “Theres a few, Berlin would be an amazing, obviously I would love to do Ibiza that’s obvious but it’s not my number one but it used to be in my head.
I went to Berlin with friends and it was just immense, you’ve got Fabric in London which would be class but reasonably Shin Dig is my number one goal as you’re at home and playing in front of all of your mates, not in a local club but in a massive club that people are paying in, that would be the number one then obviously wherever that stems”.
It’s obvious Jordan has massive potential to do it all, with years of experience and a genuine interest in DJing. When asking Jordan for advice for other budding DJ’s wanting to get within the industry, he says: “Listen to as much music as you can, it’s one of the things I’ve done as of recent and it’s completely pushed me on and just practise all the time, it sounds so obvious but you don’t find enough time to practise and you rest on it when you know how to mix but just because you can mix two songs doesn’t mean you can DJ. You really need to learn your songs and learn what ones go together and really take time to build your sets. I’m doing it more and more now as I’m DJing and really from the off gage what kind of music you want to play as I’ve found the last two-year I’ve been frittering round with different genres and it is good to be adaptable but also at the same time you kind of get lost in what you want to play and don’t really build a personality as a DJ, you just sit there and you’ll do anything, it comes across kind of mix match. I done a set once, it was good in my head but there was so many different genres going on it was just a bit all over the place. So I would defiantly say listen to as much music as you can and get a gage of what music you wanna play, stay true to yourself”.
Want to keep updated with Jordan’s a.k.a Laffeys mix’s head over to his page on Mix Cloud.