The lights come down and the room gets quiet...

Smoke rolls in. The floor starts to rumble. A voice booms from above tells you it's Saturday night.

That was the scene a freelance journalist discovered was a normal day for the driver of the mayhem and an unlikely source.

Anthony Anthamatten has done many things and his resume is very impressive. But one curious thing buried in between so many achievements mentions he was a dj.

Jennifer West sits down with the man of many talents to ask about this footnote of his life.

When he connects the dots to   caught was a dj early in his career she wondered how it fit into what he does today? He shares how this footnote of his life was more than a fun job. It touches everything he does in surprising ways.

Anthony Anthamatten (AA) speaks with freelance journalist, Jennifer West (JW)

JW:

“I enjoyed reading your book, Double Crossed. It was so cleverly written. I became  curious to know more about the author of the book that made tears run down my cheeks and laugh so loud I snorted.”

AA:

“I am glad you enjoyed the book and that is a funny story.”

JW:

“I enjoyed your book, Double Crossed. It was so clever how it was written and I became  curious to know more about the author. Then I discovered the many things you do. I didn’t know what to expect from such a book as yours that made me cry and laugh so loud I almost wet myself and even snorted.”

“You are designer and software developer with resume that blew my mind. I looked around more and saw you do so many other interesting things. But when I found out you had been a club dj and radio producer too? I wondered how any of this fit?

AA:

“It’s a pleasure to speak with you. And as far as your life being boring, your adventure has only begun.”

JW:

“I am 25 years old, drive a beat up car, and a freelance journalist writing stories that I hope somebody will pay me peanuts to read.”

AA:

“You are off to a great start.”

JW:

“Nobody believes in me. I’ve got a college degree and eat peanut butter sandwiches? I am sorry, this interview is about you, not me.”

AA:

(Laughs) “You are funny, but I am going to explain how this all makes sense.”

“I became a dj at 19 years old. A friend told me about a bar that needed a happy hour dj and I applied.”

“I didn’t know anything about being a dj and they wanted me to play music from the 1950’s.  I knew nothing about music from that era but I really wanted that job.”

“The first week I was so bad the manager kept wanting to fire me. But a friend, Scott Oswalt, convinced the manager to give me more time. Scott knew this  new kid would get better, how, I don’t really know. But I did get better with the help of other people.

“So the lesson I learned that I carry today is to believe in somebody. Give them a break. Mistakes will come. It’s part of growing. One day they may be great.

JW:

“That is a valuable lesson. I hope someone believes in me.”

AA:

“Those were fun jobs. I began in 1986 when I was 19  years old.”

JW:

“Wow, that was before I was born and don’t you dare ask me what year.”

AA:

(Laughs) 

JW:

“I have so many questions as a music fan about what that must have been like. But I need to stay on track and ask you how does this fit with what you do today as designer, software developer and  author?”

AA:

“Surprisingly a lot. If you take my books, for example, I use skills like setting a mood and timing things just right. Those are things I did as a dj when I performed every night.”

JW:

“I’ve read Double Crossed and that’s what you do. But how does this relate to your technology career? They seem so opposite.”

AA:

“There are more ways than you think. For example I am a UI/UX designer. In that role I create what you see on your screen to the smallest detail. More work goes into that than you might think.”

“People went the clubs I worked at back in the day, for a reason. It was hip, great music, and everybody was there.”

“Ask yourself why is that?  There were places closer to home.  They have a DJ, food, and cost less that us?”

“Let me try to connect the dots. The places I worked didn’t spare a dime to show you they cared as much as you.” 

JW:

“I never thought about it like that. Again that’s a creative job and software development seems not. So how did being a dj help you there?”

AA:

“I produced the show HotMix for FM100 in Memphis every Saturday night. For three years that show went on every week. It was a complicated show to do  and each took eight hours to make and never missed one in 197 shows.”

“Here’s what it taught me. I don’t miss deadlines and the show must go on.”

“One of the biggest values I bring to organizations is if I am responsible for it, the show goes on and  your product will be good.”

 

JW:

“You certainly connected dots that made a lot of sense. So Mr. DJ, I can’t afford your club. My outfit isn’t as nice and have to go down the street. What do I do then?”

AA:

“Good companies understand that. Because you aren’t rich, you get less?”

“No.”

“What great organizations do, maybe with my help. Is give you a great product you can afford without compromising quality.”

JW:

“This has been a great  conversation how being a dj really did connect in the things you do.”

“Do you have any more advice?”

AA:

“In my career, whatever I do, I never compromise quality, integrity, values, or trust.”

“As a dj I’ve worked for free for a couple who wanted to hire me but didn’t have the  budget. Or a small business who spent the little money they had on what they could afford. Then they were left with terrible results I offered to fix.”

“The moral of the story, there is difference between this place and that.”

JW:

“Can I ask another question? I am getting married soon, will you dj for me?”

AA:

“First of all, I am retired from that. I leave it to the kids now. Besides you probably wouldn’t like the music I played. Gap Band, Prince, Commodores ‘Brick House’. And ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ by AC/DC would be too old for your wedding.  Who wants to see people playing air guitar or dancing when I crank ‘Bust a Move?'”

“Your dj will be fine. He’s all digital with loud speakers and a full iPhone. I am sure he’s been practicing in his bedroom at the college dorm.”

“I will come to your wedding and listen to the dj better than me. And when you come outside and wonder why your bridesmaids, mom and granny are dancing the electric slide next to my car? They don’t really like the music I am playing in my car. They are burning calories to get ready for your great dj and a nap.”

JW:

(Jennifer dails her phone)

AA:

“It must be an important call. Have a great day.”

JW:

(Jennifer yells) “Anthony! Wait!”

AA:

“What’s up?”

JW:

“I cancelled my dj. What am I going to do? The wedding is in two weeks and he won’t refund my deposit.”

AA:

“Why did you do that?”

JW:

“I thought it is a dj and they are all the same. He was cheap and until now after talking to you, I know there is a difference.”

“I have never heard you play but I know you are the best dj I can’t afford. But I would rather have no music than compromise as you explained.”

“Do you know anybody who can help me out? It is the most important day of my life. I want it to be perfect and there is still so much to do.”

AA:

“There is one guy I know, but he’s expensive.”

JW:

“We’ve got no more money, but please say it’s you!”

AA:

“I will do it for you and it is for free.”

“You are a nice person and this is your special day. We will laugh when they ask where you got that old dj.”

“And maybe someone will read this and realize the difference like I explained to you.”

“But I will only do it under these terms. When the music is good and we are raising the roof. Don’t blame me when granny is swinging from the chandelier or an uncle who’s had too much to drink slurping from a bridesmaids shoe.”

JW:

“You’ve got it, and I hope people read our interview too. I know I learned a lot.”

“And thank you Anthony. I’m excited to have you as my dj!”

JW:

“What would you do?”

AA:

“I would have put on Frankie Goes to Hollywood ‘Relax’ and watch people have fun.”

JW:

“So we both have two songs and yours is better?”

AA:

“I am not going to say which one is better. I am not here to judge . Go to their place or wonder why mine has people wrapped around the block?”

JW:

“This is making sense. I kind of see how this fits into your career. I have one ticket and which place would I go?”

AA:

“It is kind of like it. He says he’s dj (or software developer) better than me. His ticket is cheaper and you will save money and have a great time.”

“But across the street is packed, the dinner was average at music sucked. For a few more bucks, you would have had a better time.”

JW:

“Anthony it is funny how you boiled this down to a psychology class. Next time I go out, I will spend the extra money rather a night with someone who said they are a dj to. This talk with you showed me there is a difference.”