What is it that makes for a great celebration or night out? I think that many, including myself would say that music is a major influence. Music sets the mood, ambience, and tone of the party. That responsibility usually falls on a DJ.
Between choosing music, spinning, and keeping the crowd entertained, as fun as it may seem, it is a skill, a job that improves over time. Ask Autumn. Also known as DJ Auntie Social. A current resident DJ at INNJOY in the Wicker Park neighborhood and other locations, Autumn has been deejaying for 10 years.
Having asked if this was something she wanted to do, Autumn says it is something that she never expected to do. An artistic soul who loved photography, she attended culinary school and worked for a time as a sous chef. But it wasn’t love.
Her husband, who would DJ weddings as a side gig, decided to train her. While playing music may sound easy, it is hard work and can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning. Before the party starts, a DJ has to set up the sound gear which is not the lightest to carry, set up lights, and make sure that the sound is just right. There is a lot of tech work involved most people do not realize says Autumn. You have to be able to troubleshoot. Something can go wrong in the middle of the set but you can’t just stop the music to adjust something. You have kept the crowd going while fixing whatever the dilemma is.
As a female in a male dominated industry, Autumn says she is always being asked if she “knows what she is doing?” She stresses that she learned as much as she could as she shadowed her husband. She first started playing at parties and weddings. And with time, able to manage her own equipment and fix things on her own. For Autumn, that is part of being able to show others what she can do and hone her craft. She says that the same way others may care about their cars or other expensive items, she cares for her sound equipment.
I asked Autumn what the most important part of being a DJ is. She says that it is making sure the crowd is having a good time. A DJ facilitates the atmosphere. While it is a profession that is very technical, it can also be fun. After all, seeing people make memories of a great time makes Autumn happy. Seeing everyone vibing, dancing, even the room shake is awesome. While she enjoys all types of music, she does like a good theme night such as New Wave – 80’s night.
Advice that DJ Auntie Social has for other female or aspiring DJ’s is to know who you are. The more gigs you get, the more you will learn, and the more confidence you will have. Networking is important. Even with having a residency, she still goes out to meet and talk to people for more opportunities.
While she aspires to play larger venues such as well-known hotspot Tao, she has also been managing Artispure, a non-profit collective that is focused on gathering artists, musicians, and other creatives to create a network of resources. For anyone looking for entertainment services for private, corporate or other events, look here!
As we wrap up our interview, Autumn, clearly a Boss, muses over the rest of her day still energized while I am ready for a nap, and I tell her I will definitely check out one of her sets. You definitely should too once the quarentine is lifted.
Photos : Liz Rocha