Hi, Doctor Nick! - Hustling for DJ Gigs When No One Wants to Book You and Ear Plugs 101

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Nick Hook knows how to hustle. The dude wears about 42 different hats—DJ, producer, engineer, street shaman, and, of course, advice columnist—and even when he's having a crazy day with multiple sessions in the studio, the good doctor takes the time to help out the XLR8R faithful. Doctor Nick is here every Thursday morning, so send him your questions at doctornick@xlr8r.com. He wants to help.

Yo. It's almost spring in New York. I'm waiting for that one day when it hits and we all go nuts. I can feel it. It's close.

Shout out to the supermoon outside. Shout out to a good session earlier today with L-Vis 1990. I'm writing this as I engineer a session with Killer Mike and El-P right now at 1:20 a.m. The music is incredible. It's kind of surreal because I grew up riding my bike listening to Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.

Send more questions. doctornick@xlr8r.com. Some good ones have been coming lately, and I finally got my business cards, so now it's on.

Hi Doctor Nick,
I really appreciate your articles. My roommate and I just moved to a new city to pursue music, and have been contacting promoters, attending every show we can, tastefully schmoozing, but we just can't seem to get booked.

Do you have any tips for making the next step? I don't mean to seem pretentious, but we aren't playing country music and we live in a city with a big techno and house following, so while we don't care about how many people or where we play, we're just not looking to get gigs where people's expectation isn't house music.


Yo. Hi. Thank you.

How long have you been in the city? When I first moved to NYC, no one booked me for like three years, literally. I didn't know anyone at all. I kind of forgot about all this, but I ended up trying to do my own little parties and DJing at shitty bars in Park Slope and in weird basements of bad restaurants. I didn't listen to your tape, cuz I've been insanely busy and I don't want this column to turn into me being some critic of who is good and bad. That's all subjective, but obviously I and everyone who reads this believes in themselves and has some sort of aspiration. The tracklist looks great though.

I remember I once got a call to fill in at a club called 205 in NYC and I showed up and kinda crushed it. Everyone was like, "Wow," and from that, Good Peoples/MeanRed started booking me and I got a few gigs. Be a little patient, but keep on going out, keep making mixes, all because you want to and enjoy it of course. There's nothing worse to me than someone that goes out to "network." I feel like people can sniff that out in one second.

I've said it before, but start your own party. I'm about to do it again here in New York cuz I feel we need some sort of spark. We're going to go pick a location that hasn't had a million parties, can get grimy, bring in our own sound and bar, and go for it. A couple female friends of ours are going to host, and we are going to link with another promoter friend and do it at a little tiny place. When I threw my last party with Michna, the whole premise was not to make a penny. We invested all of our money back into it, and sometimes lost, but we brought SBTRKT to America for the first time, did Lunice's first headlining show, Egyptrixx, DJ Assault and on down the line. I don't remember half of it because it was so fun and people knew they were gonna do the same. The ultimate benefit of doing your own thing is that it's your rules, and you can show people why you stand apart.

Good luck mane.

Hi Doctor Nick,
You've been pounding the life out of your ears for years by going to so many shows. What kind of ear plugs do you use to protect your precious, beloved sense of hearing when you go to shows?

To be honest, I have a very real problem—losing things. I've been meaning to get those $100 ear plugs that are custom fitted for my whole life and literally every month, I say I'm going to do it, but I don't. I generally tend to use the regular foam ones that you get from Walgreens and stuff, and I have to say they do a pretty good job.

I know friends that have the molded ones and swear by them. Go get them, that's my advice. And send me a pair for this wonderful advice I just gave you so I don't feel as guilty when I inevitably lose them.

'Til next time. Holler!

Hi, Doctor Nick! appears every Thursday on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Nick Hook can help you.