From The Ground Up: Housekeeping and Preparation

September 15, 2014 by Stu Chisholm

Last week I took the liberty of hijacking my wife’s new work station (more specifically, her scanner) and “went to town” on a private little photo album I’d assembled over the years specifically focused on my DJ business.  It was always just a fun thing that I did for myself, jazzed up with captions that I’d cut out of magazines, some stickers and labels.  I’d have never thought to show it to a competitor!  It was mine and mine alone, heavily focused on my gear, music and what I was doing with it all.  But now that I’m giving my business a make-over “from the ground up,” I thought it a fitting way to close the door on the past and forge ahead by posting that album on the Stu & His Crew Facebook Page.  It’s a great springboard into the future, because I’m again feeling all of the excitement and enthusiasm I had when I was figuring things out for the very first time!  My departure from convention is as radical as anything I’ve ever done and I can’t wait to see it all come together!

Unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t seem as excited as I am!  I finally set up an appointment to get Vanzilla into the body shop for it’s overhaul and makeover, which for both our schedules has to wait until after this coming weekend (the 19/20th).  At that point I’ll have to empty it out completely and it could be a good 2 weeks while they work on it.  I’ll also be meeting with their graphics guy to figure out what sort of treatment we want to give the exterior and, of course, get the all-important quote!  The last time I was there, they had just done graphics for a fleet of ambulances.  I’m very impressed with the great colors available now in the reflectorized vinyl lettering that you see on many emergency vehicles.  How amazing, mind blowing and radical will it be to use THAT on a DJ truck?  For the moment, this is my plan.  I’m also going to discuss the possibility of incorporating some Ceelite into the graphics.  (You may recall my story on Ceelite in the September 2007 issue of Mobile Beat.)  Whatever the final result, one thing is certain: this truck WILL get seen!  For now, though, I’m again in waiting mode.

On the DJ system upgrade front, the new tablets arrived!  Yes, you read that right: tablets.  As I described earlier, these ain’t your roommate’s iPads!  These tablets are “ruggedized,” made for life on the road.  Shock resistant, they’ll survive a drop to the ground.  On concrete.  They don’t mind being caught in a light rain, and best of all, can be read clearly in direct sunlight.  They also leave iPads in the dust as far as operating temperature, so they won’t overheat in the summer months when you’re spinning those outdoor picnics and barbecues.  (My trusty old Cortex has the annoying habit of simply stopping when temperatures hit 90 or so.)  They’re surprisingly powerful, having the latest generation processors, speed, etc.  My only concession to NON-cutting edge thus far: I opted for the Win 7 pro OS as opposed to 8 or an Android platform.  There’s several reasons, the main one being that I’ll have far more software options available.  As I write this, I’m considering several of them, but holding off on a final decision until I get word from Ben Stowe, who just finished up with the Las Vegas DJ show as a presenter and is putting something together for me in-between his other obligations on his crazy schedule.  I must say, he’s been a great sport, as I really put him on the spot.

My would-be accomplice

My would-be accomplice

Another part of this build that I’m placing great emphasis on is the console case itself.  I’ve been looking around online for several weeks now and cannot find a design resembling anything in my head.  At this point, I’m considering outright custom fabrication.  There may also be some other options from some “outside of the [DJ] box” areas.  If you’re one of my regular readers, you know that I’m a big fan of stealing ideas from other professions!  I’ve incorporated the products and methods of professional race car drivers when servicing my truck; ideas from police, military and first responders for some equipment, clothing and gear; radio engineers and technicians for equipment/electronics, and professional movers for transporting my stuff.  The image I have in mind may well come from yet another field that is gear-intensive, yet worlds away from entertainment.

So for now, I’ve got my final two car cruise nights of the season coming up, and a brief hiatus after this week’s weddings for Vanzilla’s facelift and console build.  Be sure to check back, as the upcoming updates are sure to be very photo intensive!  In the meantime, thanks for your eyeball time and safe spinnin’!

Stu Chisholm Stu Chisholm (52 Posts)

Stu Chisholm had been collecting music since he was about eight years old and began his DJ career in 1979. After much hard work, trial-and-error, and a stint at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, he studied the DJ arts with famous Michigan broadcaster, Bill Henning, at a local college. Stu interned at Detroit’s rock powerhouse, WRIF. To his radio and mobile work Stu later added club gigs at Detroit’s best venues, and voiceover work. He has shared his extensive DJ experience through his Mobile Beat columns, as a seminar speaker and through his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey: A Comprehensive Manual for the Professional DJ,” released in 2008.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business