Essential Mix - Doorly
But I felt I'd really reached the limit of how far I could go as a DJ and didn't really know how to work my way up the billings and be taken seriously as a headline artist in my own right.
Then one day the Radio 1 crew got in touch, having heard good things and offered me the chance to be part of the BBC Introducing tour where 4 DJs doing well as redidents would be given the chance to shine on a bigger stage .... the biggest stage, their set aired live on the Essential Mix!
Obviously this was huge and I pretty much bit their hand off!
So in April 2008 we did just that, we filled a warehouse with speakers and a personal hero of mine, Pete Tong came to my clubnight and introduced me to the world live on the air and off I went!
(Strangely, no, I wasn't nervous at all! I had been DJing for so long (around 8 years) and never done anything that high pressured as a DJ but the fact that it was in my home town and there were 2000 of my friends chanting my name just gave me to craziest rush, I can't even explain it!
So that was that, I'll be honest I did get a little excited beforehand thinking,"I'm about to do an Essential Mix which really puts me on the map, therefore I'll have agents, management and record deals on the table immediatley" ! Its funny when i look back on things like that because that was never going to just happen!
What did happen though was that I took that chance and used it as a catalyst to make things start to move. The biggest moment for me was when I was working out what I should play a couple of months before the show and I realised that every other person that had done an Essential Mix had lots of their own tracks in there as a reference point to them as an artist and I literally had none of my own original productions.
I had spent years focusing so hard on being a good DJ in the live arena that all my time in "the studio" was spent crafting DJ tools, edits and bootlegs, only ever being a beatmaker as a means to make my sets better. I still to this day see myself as a DJ that produces so that I can DJ more, and at better places! So that realisation gave me the well needed kick from behind to actually finish some of the ideas I'd started and I set myself the target to have at least 3 of my own tracks / remixes in the set so I would not just be seen as just another DJ.
Sometimes you just need that kick start and once I made those first tracks I realised how much I actually enjoyed doing it and more so, hearing them in a club and seeing people react (or not at times! But we've all got to start somewhere!)
I left a couple of months later to start my first full season in ibiza as a resident for Ibiza Rocks and Manumission and saw the immediate benefits of having done that Essential Mix. It's such hallowed territory that, especially in a place like Ibiza, the DJ's hobnobbing network capital of the world, it really means something and commanded me instant respect over there, allowing me to advance maybe faster than I would have done without that moniker after my name.
And then there's the other great thing that has come from that initial invite, Radio 1's continued support of me as a DJ. Anyone involved will agree with me that Radio 1 really is a family vibe, there is absolutely no clique and literally everyone that works at any area of Radio 1 are all of the same happy friendly mentality. In fact you would really have to be like that or you simply wouldn't fit in. I've made so many friends at Radio 1 towers over the last couple of years and also from its extended family which reaches far and wide into all areas of this game.
Starting that first season in Ibiza I was asked to play on the main stage at the Ibiza Weekend warming up for Pete, Annie and Vernon, a huge honour which I have done every year since. Add to that the growing support of DJs like Annie Mac, Kissy + Annie Nightingale asking me to do minimixes and full sections / interviews for their shows and then pretty much every other DJ on the station supporting my records from Grimmy to Zane! And on the live front I'm recoding live sets again from places like Glastonbury this year, another career highlight.
With this kind of support its impossible NOT to be noticed so once again, in fact I'll never stop saying it! BIG UP R1!
Its amazing to see my fellow Introducing Tour DJ's and now bezzie mates Jaymo and Andy George, who took a slightly different journey to me but have ended up doing just as well with their own show on the station - testament, not only to Radio 1 for spotting good talent very early but also in the team's ability to nurture that talent though to the next level.
So here we are now in 2010 and things are looking great for me, I've just finished my 3rd season in Ibiza, which has been the best yet, with our new event that I co-run "Reclaim the Dancefloor" absolutely smashing it. I'm in the USA at least every other month doing mini tours or weekend jaunts and I've just played at almost every UK festival on the circuit. My record label "Pigeon hole This!" is up and running with loads of exciting releases and tours. Its fair to say I'm a busy boy!
Along the way, all of those things I talked about dreaming of earlier have come to fruition as I've built a great team around me, with great management and the best agent on earth! (Lucy Lyrics)
But I suppose in any artists career there is a defining moment (at least so far) and for me that came when Huw Owen dropped me an email a couple of months ago telling me that my time had come and it was time for me to return to the hallowed Essential Mix turntables, this time as an established international artist in my own right! I can only explain it as one of those "you know you've made it when......" moments!
As big a deal as that first Essential Mix was, I always kind of had it in the back of my mind that I'd kind of cheated it a bit, in that when you look at the list of people that have gone before, doing an Essential Mix makes you part of an elite society of notable artists but mine was a bit different and haters could always say that I didn't deserve it or whatever but now I can sit back and proudly look at this as my biggest acheivement!
So that's my story from then until now, thanks again to everyone who has helped and supported me along the way and although I've acheived a lifetime ambition I still see this as just the beginning at this point!
I can't wait to see what the future brings!!
(A very grateful) Doorly xx
:: Check out my Essential Mix