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Blue the MisfitEXPAND
Blue the Misfit
Roderick Pullum

3 DJs On Why They Left Dallas for Other Markets

For anyone who pursues a career in the music industry, they will most likely be faced with the decision to remain in their hometown or move in hopes of finding greener pastures. This is especially true for DJs, specifically those whose primary clientele are promoters who hire them to perform at clubs, festivals and corporate events. The climate of the market they live in has a direct correlation to the income and notoriety their talents will yield.

We spoke with three DJs from Dallas who opted to make the move to different cities about their decision and their experience with it thus far. Each chose different corners of the country. Brndn Blue fka Blue, The Misfit, moved to New York City, DJ Dilly moved to the Bay Area, and ATG like LeBron James years ago chose to take his talents to Miami.

Brandon Blue f.k.a. Blue, The Misfit, moved to New York City five months ago

Do you officially go by Brandon Blue now?
Yeah, I decided to go by my real name instead of just “Blue” or “Blue, The Misfit” because my brother (Anthony “Stonie” Blue) is the more popular Blue out here. It made things confusing when I’d introduce myself. I found myself telling people I’m Brandon or Brandon Blue so much that it made sense to change my stage name to my real name. I spell it as “Brndn Blue” so that it isn’t so hard plain.

What part/what neighborhood do you live in?
Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Why did you move?
To level up essentially. I felt like life was too repetitive in Dallas. I got too comfortable with my success and status. I wasn’t progressing. I was starting to dread the grind and I also wasn’t in a great place mentally or creatively. Figured a change of scenery would do me well.

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What’s your daily routine?
I wake up around 10-10:30 every morning, go to my mixed martial arts class at noon, which is a new endeavor as well. When I get back home, I try to do something musical. Make a mashup, produce a beat or a remix, work on a DJ mix, anything. When I burn out from that, I look for events that are going on in the city and force my way out the house to meet and network with as many people as possible. Every day, my goal is to meet and be in touch with as many creatives as I can.

What residencies have you had so far and how did they come about?
A place called Sonora Bar & Grill and a promoter that I had met through my brother put me on after a follow-up conversation I had with him. It’s a biweekly event that I do with two other DJs. Prior to that (and currently still going) I had Brooklyn Bowl once a month and occasional pop-ups at Kinfolk in Williamsburg.

You got the subway system down yet? I assume it's a lot more complex than the DART rail.
Much more complicated. I still get lost from time to time, but I spend about 60 percent of my day commuting, so I figured it out fairly fast. Certain trains shut down or reroute when it’s late, which is a drawback, but at least in NY you never need a reason to own a car.

What do you like most about New York? Is there anything you dislike?
I like the grind. The fact that I’m a nobody in this large city makes me want to work harder or find more ways to stay creative. You always feel like you’re not doing enough. It’s everything I thought it would be. I’m not a fan of the cold, which is the obvious answer. The city overall is pretty disgusting. Trash everywhere, subways have rats in them, smells like piss in certain areas. It’s not glamorous, but it’s the cost of living here.

Do you ever get homesick or are there any specific things you miss about Dallas?
I don’t. Or at least I haven’t reached that point yet. I’m perfectly fine so far.

How do you think it has benefited your career thus far and/or how do you think it will help you long term?
My network is a little larger and growing by the day. As I continue to build relationships, I’ll eventually get to the places I want to be. Which again, is obvious but that’s how the world works.

Will we see you playing any gigs in Dallas anytime soon?
I’m sure you will, I just don’t have a timetable for it.

Are there any projects or announcements you’d like to make people aware of?
I’m releasing mashups and mixes on my SoundCloud consistently, so I just want people to keep checking in. SoundCloud.com/BrndnBlue.

ATG
ATG
Roderick Pullum

ATG, moved to Miami in June 2015

First off, much respect to you for packing up and making the move. I don’t mean that as anything negative toward Dallas. My point is, most people will have an idea about doing something to improve their career but never have the nerve to act on it.
Thanks for reaching out man. Yeah, I understand what you mean. I love Dallas but not for my career.

Specifically, what was the reason you decided to move?
I just felt like I had hit the market cap in Dallas and needed to expand to other places. Felt like I was being trapped in Dallas and needed some inspiration.

How long did you DJ in Dallas and where were some of your favorite/primary venues you worked at?
I started DJing in Dallas in 2007 at Club 17 and Purgatory. I can say those were some of my best memories. Plush, Zouk and Kinki’s were some of my favorites.

Were you nervous about moving?
I wasn’t. I know how the industry runs and had confidence with my game plan.

Exactly what part of Miami do you live in?
South Beach

Describe your first day/week as a resident of Miami.
Ahh, man I was just exploring. Getting to know the town, the streets, the vibe of the city. Trying to cope with the fact that no one speaks English.

What are some of the biggest differences you see in the Miami club scene versus the Dallas scene?
Man, I’m really impressed with what Dallas has become lately. To be honest, there’s not much difference besides the fact that Miami has bigger venues and more people, but the energy with bottle parades and prices of tables in some places is on par with South Beach.

What do you like the most about Miami?
I like the fact that there is always something to do. You are never bored. You can go to the beach, ride a bike, go paddleboarding, walk Lincoln Road, hit up Wynwood or go to E11even [a Miami club that’s open 24 hours]. I went to the beach on Christmas; the weather is great year-round.

Is there anything you miss about Dallas?
I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss Whataburger.

What’s the biggest show you’ve played since you moved?
I’m always playing crazy shows with amazing artists all the time. I’ve DJed with Nas, 2Chainz and 50 Cent.

What residences do you have, or which venues do you play at the most?
I play at Rockwell, SLS, Blackbird Ordinary, Wall, Redbar, The Wilder and Rhythm and Vine in Fort Lauderdale.

Do you feel moving has been good for your career?
Of course. It’s opened my mind first of all to new music. Constantly downloading music from all around the world to play for clients at parties. I love it. Also, the money is better out here.

Long term, what goals are you trying to achieve in this industry?
I want to start putting music out. One of the reasons why I moved to a city like Miami was to be able to DJ at clubs where artists and celebrities really did go to. To socialize, connect and see where life takes me.

Any projects or announcements you’d like to make?
Never tell your secrets. I just want to say that I really encourage everyone to get up, get out and live life to the fullest. The world is too big to stay in one place.

DJ DillyEXPAND
DJ Dilly
Roderick Pullum

DJ Dilly, moved to the Bay Area in July 2016

Why did you move?
Had a new job opportunity for my day job that I absolutely could not pass up.

How long did you DJ in Dallas and where were some of your favorite/primary venues you worked at?
Man, I have been DJing since the year 2000, since the eighth grade. Continued on at UNT Denton and would DJ parties all around Denton and at the bars out there. Sometimes even at bars in Addison and Dallas via promoters, but my first resident gig in Dallas started in 2009. Some of my favorites were my first ones at Hotel Capri on Lower Greenville and my long-running residency at Corner Bar (now Chelsea Corner). Also playing at Tim Daniels' spots (Off The Record, IBK and Dada). Tim’s an old high school friend of mine; DJing at his venues has always been a lot of fun.

Were you nervous about moving?
I was not; more anxious and excited. It was the right time, and so I was ready.

Exactly what part of the Bay Area do you live in?
In San Francisco. On the east side of the Mission District, which backs into the Potrero Hill area.

Tell me about your first DJ gig there?
My first gig was at Hawthorn. A cool, club/lounge spot in the heart of the city with an insane sound system, great drinks and a cool, sexy vibe. My now homie, Nate Mezmer (owner of Eye Heart SF event production company), was the one who listened to my demos and put me on. The first night there was a trial, but they were trying to figure out where I fit best so they had me open up for the DJ in the main room and then also open up for the DJ in their lounge room. Main Room was all house music and the lounge room was hip-hop. I played an hour set in each room and I'm guessing they liked it because I'm still there today.

What are some of the biggest differences you see in the Bay Area club scene versus the Dallas scene?
I'd say with every large city, there are similarities in the nightlife/club scene. But I guess one difference that comes to mind is the bookings and curation of the music in the nightlife scene. In San Francisco, the clubs will typically have a talent buyer, entertainment director or a consistent promoter that handles the music calendar. They will listen to DJs, pair DJs up creatively, curate specific nights or themes. They are a bit more deliberate when throwing an event. From my experience in Dallas you could get booked by a GM or the owner, which is not bad, but they have so many other things to worry about when running a venue, that the music or bookings is more of an afterthought at times.

What do you like most about the Bay Area?
There's always something going on out here. Whether it is an event, block party, parade or protest. People be out here always doing something. It's cool.

Is there anything you miss about Dallas?
My people, obviously. I have a ton of friends and family in Dallas, so mainly that. Also I miss queso. But I do miss the Dallas vibe, especially as I felt it growing tremendously right as I was leaving. Believe it or not, especially more than ever, there's something for everybody in Dallas. I always used to say whatever you're into, you can find it here in Dallas. And you are starting to see that more now with the different neighborhoods clearly carving out their different identities.

What's the biggest show you've played since you moved?
Technically it was the city's Pride Parade in 2017. Over 1.4 million were there when I played on one of the floats that was in the parade. Other than that, the Eye Heart NYE event at Fort Mason Center I played last year had over 4,000 people. I opened up for T-Pain and it was nuts. This past year’s NYE party was even bigger; we had Miguel perform.

What residences do you have or which venues do you play at the most?
I have my residency at Hawthorn, which will be going into its third year come 2019 and then I have my residency at Love + Propaganda, which is a super fun place to play. It's been voted Best Nightclub in the U.S. two years in a row. I play White Rabbit in the Marina area, on the north side of San Francisco, and I play a lot for this lifestyle brand Toasted Life that has me at several different venues throughout the Bay Area.

Do you feel moving has been good for your career?
For me, absolutely. I definitely feel very lucky and blessed. I thought when I moved, my DJing would slow down a bit, but it's actually picked up tremendously. I won't say you have to move out of Dallas in order for things to pick up. I think it's more of a testament to how warm and welcoming the folks out in the Bay have been. I've met a lot of dope DJs, who are super talented and have no ego. They are definitely big on community and have a group mindset about things.

Long term, what goals are you trying to achieve in this industry?
Man, just to keep playing dope music for as many people as possible. Music isn't going anywhere and neither is DJing, so I'm trying to be in the mix for as long as possible and see how far this once childhood hobby can take me.

Any projects or announcements you'd like to make?
Do people still say follow me on xyz, because if so then follow me on @iamdjdilly [on Twitter], that's my IG. Also go to my website www.iamdjdilly.com.

You were on a billboard for the NYE party with Miguel. How did that feel?
Well it wasn’t me, it was just my name. But it was really, really cool. First time I saw it, I was coming back from Oakland and right when we got off the bridge there it was. My girlfriend screamed. I was dancing; it was fun.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Hi, Mama!

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