DJ No’Side’s DIY Education

DJ NoSide

Where does your DJ/Producer name No’Side come from?
I chose No’Side as my producer name because the word sheds some light on the town that molded me into the person I am today. “Noside” is a nickname we used as kids for the northern section of Edison, my hometown. It’s simply Edison spelled backwards. Plus, it’s pretty catchy!

What was it that ignited, and later fueled, your interest in music and a career in music production?
From a young age, music played a major role in my upbringing. Whether it was a Hindi song or a Beatles record, something was always playing in my house. I took a variety of lessons growing up, ranging from Western drums to Indian classical music. As college rolled around, however, I had no intentions of pursuing music any further. It was strictly a hobby.

A year at NYU completely changed my tune. After immersing myself in the vibrant music scene of Manhattan, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the arts. During my sophomore year, I attended a course called “The History of Hip-Hop.” It was this course that sparked my interest in music production and DJing. I purchased some basic production equipment and became obsessed right away. In 2009, I graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Technology. The rest is history.

What genres influenced your mixes when you first started?
I’ve always been a fan of urban music, especially hip-hop, funk, soul, and R&B. I also use a lot of Top 40 and pop in my mixes to connect with the younger generation.

My personal taste in music has evolved a great deal since I started producing. As a music producer, you are constantly looking for new sounds to add to your collection. Hip-hop generally features heavy sampling from classic funk, soul, blues, and disco. This has definitely broadened my musical horizon.

Coming from an East Indian background, it must have surprised your parents when you chose a career in the music field. How did pursuing your dream sit with them?
Many Indians in my local community were shocked that I chose to study music in college. However, my parents were 100% supportive, and I am very thankful for that. I laid out a game plan for them and they approved right away. Going to school in New York also helped ease their concern, because there were hundreds of potential internships available. I am definitely blessed to have such understanding parents. Many of my Indian friends who chose to pursue a risky career weren’t so lucky with their parents.

As a newcomer to the DJ community, how did you go about promoting yourself?
I believe that my DIY approach helped me learn the ins and outs of the business much more quickly. It’s also forced me to learn marketing, accounting, brand management, social media, and strategic management.
Since the job market in the music industry was bone-dry when I graduated, I decided to start my own production company right out of college. No’Side Productions LLC was born in July of 2009. I immediately knew that it would be tough to build a company with no formal business training, but I felt it was the best way to carve my own niche in the competitive industry. Many of my college classmates followed the same path, so we had a nice support group for each other. I believe that my DIY approach helped me learn the ins and outs of the business much more quickly. It’s also forced me to learn marketing, accounting, brand management, social media, and strategic management. I’m further solidifying my business savvy by attending graduate school in the fall.

How do you use social media to your advantage?
Social media is an absolute blessing for musicians, producers, and artists in general. I thank YouTube for jump-starting my career. I put a few of my first remixes on the site, and somehow, they really caught on. YouTube helped me develop a pretty substantial fan base from different corners of the world. My channel currently has nearly 5 million total views and 2,300+ subscribers. I also use Facebook and Twitter extensively to spread my music and build my fan base. It’s important to build a unique personality on social media sites to avoid blending in with the competition.

What kind of gigs do you usually land? Which ones do you actively seek out?
In terms of gigs, I tend to DJ at clubs, bars, social events, and fraternity houses in the tri-state area. I can definitely thank the fraternities at Rutgers University for jumpstarting my DJing. Now, I’m focusing more on the production side of things. I’m currently working with a talented, up-and-coming rapper from Jersey named Apollo The Great. He’s a dope lyricist who has worked with Wale, Freeway, Sean Price, Jon Connor, Stalley, and many more. I’ve also produced for other emerging independent artists from across the country. A few of my collaborations were often played on Power 105.1 and Hot 97.

Do you have any other words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
As for advice, I definitely believe that a striving artist or producer should embrace the DIY method. Looking for an industry executive or a venture capitalist to jumpstart your career is a crap-shoot. Work hard with a clear vision or purpose in mind. When it comes to creating new music, always look long-term – try to create music that is timeless. This is one of the hardest and most competitive industries to break into. Understand that frustration and rejection come with the trade. It’s all about overcoming the rejection and working even harder. Instead of being a one-trick pony, look to master several aspects of the industry. Diversifying your skillset can and will help you in the long run.