My happy place is the DJ booth. There's no better feeling than being able to control and change the atmosphere in a room, to bring people joy and take them to an elevated place.
I DJ as a hobby because I love it. Every weekend varies. I'm resident DJ at Spy Bar, and I play at Highlife events and cool parties around the city.
My style of music is predominantly feel-good house music. You usually have two types of set. One is a club set, like at Spy Bar or at Highlife Sunday sessions, where the dynamics of the crowd might be different from night to night. On those nights you'll read the crowd as it comes, you'll play with a couple of tracks and see how they respond. If they're responding well you'll go in that direction, if they're not responding well you'll move into another direction.
In the festival sets you'll know what time you're playing and you'll have an idea about the sort of people who'll be there then and what sort of set you're required to play. Those are smoother, progressive sets that are more pre-planned.
You'll start off from a low point and you'll take it up as you go, and the DJ after you will take it up again to another level, so there's more teamwork and understanding between the DJs. We all know each other's reputations and sounds and we work accordingly. As the night progresses, the tempo will elevate.
A lot of thinking and preparation goes into playing a good set, and deciding how you'll transition from another DJ's style to yours. It's like when you're mixing two tracks - the intention is to blend one track with the other without the crowd noticing the change. It's a beautiful thing when you can do that subtly and that's what gets the crowd excited.
I'll spend anything from one to three hours behind the deck at a time. It's exciting to get into the booth, knowing you'll be the guy setting the tempo and playing with everybody's emotions, knowing you've got all of that in your hands.
I get a bit nervous beforehand, but I think that's a good thing - it allows me to be focused and get the job done. You have to know what you're doing, but it's also about feeling it.
That's most important thing: to really feel the beat. If not, you're just there to do a job. My philosophy is if you're not enjoying your job - no matter what it is - you're not a happy person.
For me, there's no better satisfaction than knowing I'm taking the people in front of me to their happy place.
Sikander Gore, alias DJ Alex Q, performs at the Sun & Sound festival on Takapuna Beach Reserve on Saturday, from midday to 11pm. He also plays regularly at Spy Bar on the Viaduct, www.spybar.co.nz, and on George FM on Friday nights. Listen to his music at soundcloud.com/DJAlexQ
- as told to Bronwyn Sell