We met earlier this year in Malaysia when you were based here with your family for a few months (getting away from the cold UK weather!).
Our mutual interest in making money online and electronic dance music (EDM) had us catching up regularly for lunch and coffees at a popular co-working space in Penang.
Working online and home-schooling your daughters gives you and your family the advantage of being able to live location independently. I am also keen to know how this works for your work schedule.
I wrote about Coronavirus and life in Malaysia recently. Ironically as most of the world is experiencing some form of lockdown, life must be business as usual. It would be good to know how life has changed for you in this period of coronavirus.
So, let’s jump in Matt and thanks again for getting involved here.
1. Can you give us a little background information on you and your back story? For example, where you’re from, where you grew up.
I was born in Oxford and grew up mostly in the south of England before I moved to Brighton on the coast in 2002 and met my wife there. It’s a very unusual place with a high population of oddballs and misfits who like to do their own thing and be super creative. It’s a real hotbed for creativity and a very inspiring place for blazing your own trail in life.
I blame my time there for all that came after!
I’d always been fascinated by the internet and the ability to have your own site, show the world whatever you wanted and maybe create a business along the way. So I spent my days building sites for myself and others, learning a lot about SEO and creating online businesses.
I now run an SEO consultancy, some web and print work for clients too, as well as a few other online projects.
I was very lucky to meet my wife Deborah who shares my love of travel, music, independent thinking and was prepared to become a digital nomad too. We now have 2 kids and they seem just at home with location independence as we do which is great to see.
2. How did you first get into DJing and when did you first realize you could be a commercial DJ? What are DJing highlights?
I discovered a love of music especially electronic dance music when a huge rave was held on New Years’ Eve near my home town. I stayed up all night listening to the sounds emanating from a huge festival site about 2 miles away. After that, all my pocket money went on buying turntables and a mixer so I was a bedroom DJ from the age of 13.
I always looked older than my years so I was able to get DJing gigs from the age of 16 and spent many happy years Dj-ing 3 nights a week at various night clubs and bars in the South of England.
One of the greatest highlights was DJ-ing to a crowd of around 2000 at a one-off event. That was pretty special. I’ve also had the pleasure of DJ-ing at some festivals which is a unique experience. I’ve also met a few DJ-ing legends along the way which is always a highlight.
I’ve always had a natural gift for DJ-ing so I loved every minute of it.
3. What sort of music do you most enjoy and mix? I know you have some links to mixes online, can you give us a few here.
My musical tastes have relaxed over the years. Thanks to discovering raves in the early days my love of Drum & Bass, Techno, and Hardcore came first before I mellowed a little and got into all sorts of House music.
Funky and Deep House are now my favorites although I can’t help but still love listening to the faster stuff now and again. In my commercial DJ career, I’ve dabbled in all musical genres, I used to DJ at an Acid Jazz club back in the day, so I’ve seen (or heard) it all.
I started publishing mixes online at the beginning of 2020. The Top Show hosts a range of musical styles in mixes between 30 and 60 minutes long. There’s some great Deep House mixes as well as some awesome Latino House as well as some of the latest releases in all dance music genres.
The latest shows are always listed on my website at https://www.djtoptips.com/the-top-show/.
4. I did use to play around with producing EDM music many years ago and recently looked at doing this again. I was amazed at the advancement in technology, especially in terms of virtual tools and composition tools. How have you changed your setup and what do you use now?
Over the years I’ve dabbled with music production and produced a few tracks for myself and colleagues looking for mashups and remixes. It’s great fun but for sure the technology has changed massively over the years.
When I first started producing, I couldn’t afford any of the equipment producers used so I would splice up audio files and mix them together in wave editing software. It was clunky and not always perfect but it’s amazing how creative you can still be with enough motivation.
Nowadays I adore messing around with Propellerhead’s Reason which is an incredibly powerful software for music production. What used to cost thousands in rack-mounted hardware is now all simulated in software.
In fact, I recently used it to produce the percussion loops I sell on my site which are designed specifically for DJs https://www.djtoptips.com/loops/.
5. You set up and run a site you run that gives a ton of useful information (for free) on DJ’ing (aptly named DJ Top Tips).
Yes, my website offers useful advice and tutorials for DJs of all skill levels. I realized I knew so much and always had strong opinions, plus I love writing so it made sense to put all that together on a website. I run an SEO agency in the UK so I had plenty of skills I wanted to put to the test on an entirely new website.
I’m amazed at how popular the site has become with traffic increasing every month. I wanted to write very long, in-depth, high-quality articles that were the ultimate guide to each subject.
I’ve now started selling my own DJ friendly percussion loops that can be used in all modern DJ software to enhance your mixes.
6. You’re an internet marketer so is DJ Top Tips a passion project or you see as more of a web asset to flip in the future?
It originally started as a proof of concept, that high-quality content would get traffic regardless of incoming links and promotion. It takes time but that has definitely proven to be the case.
I wanted to test this fully before monetization, so I’ve only just started down that particular path. The subject matter has always been a passion so there’s an element of that too.
At present, I’m testing out marketing and SEO strategies to boost it further and see where it goes. There’s plenty of potential for online courses and more digital products so I’m excited for the future on this project.
7. The impact of the coronavirus has been felt globally, how have you been affected in both personal and online life?
It’s a surreal time for everyone and incredible to think about how much of the world has been affected. We were in Malaysia when it all started and looking back it’s amazing to see how naive I was to think it probably wouldn’t affect me.
That all changed in the space of a week as our flights back to the UK were canceled and Malaysia going into full lockdown as well. It was time to create a plan B to protect my wife and kids as much as myself.
We got home safely and self-quarantined after spending the best part of a day in airports and planes. It’s an incredible time to live through but one that doesn’t feel that it impacted us too heavily. We’re self-employed and used to being digital nomads so working from home isn’t an issue.
We home-school our 5-year-old anyway so apart from missing out on all the community-driven activities we’re well set up for educating our kids.
We own property and are lucky enough to live somewhere with green open spaces for exercise. So, while we’d love to be traveling the world and continuing our digital nomadic life we’re just as happy at home. The internet has made life a lot easier to that’s for sure. So, work on our various projects is continuing!
While the travel sites I run have taken a hit, the “personal development” sites are booming now that people are stuck indoors and looking to improve themselves.
8. You’re working on several new projects alongside DJ Top Tips, what’s your plan going forward for this year and 2021?
My wife Deborah and I are the types of people that have multiple ideas we’re desperate to get stuck in to. We’ve got multiple established travel blogs that we work with tourist boards and operators with. A site offering digital nomad advice, we’ve launched a new clothing brand using Print-On-Demand services called yummyclothes.com which is a proof of concept for our e-commerce marketing skills.
We’ve got some other ideas based on sports venues, zero-waste products and many more. The next few years are all about making these ideas a reality and applying our knowledge across the various websites we create.
It’s an exciting time with lots to keep us motivated and busy.
Thanks for your time again Matt.
As we briefly discussed when you were in Penang, I am keen to get back into music at some point (although I have been saying this for 2 years now!). When I do it would be great to get your feedback on my music.
I am looking forward to catching up with you and your family again one day, hopefully in Penang!