DJ’s have always played an important role in the music game. From legendary DJs like Kool Herc to millennial DJs such as Metro Boomin, disc jockeys have changed and evolved the way in which we enjoy music. Toronto DJ, Summer Knocks is proving he can compete in the big leagues, mixing tunes at some of the biggest events in the city. Find out how he recognized the entrepreneurial opportunities that come with being a millennial DJ!
A Little Bit About Summer Knocks…
I was born in the US and raised in Toronto, Canada. I’ve been influenced musically by many different cultures and genres. My DJ journey began in 2012 while attending & completing university in Waterloo, Ontario at Wilfred Laurier University. I played at house parties and campus events that quickly progressed to the biggest club venues and concerts in the Tri-City: Kitchener- Waterloo – Cambridge area.
With experiences and events in multiple music genres, I eventually returned to the GTA (General Toronto Area) where I began working with event companies such as the Comeback Kids ( Ink Ent – 2014/2015.) , Maple Leafs Sports Ent. (Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC – 2016) , whilst visiting every Ontario University to spin at their local pubs and student union events.
My online mixes and club/event appearances garnered me enough rapport to allow me to work with big name artists such as : Daniel Caesar , Travis Scott, Ye Ali, Desiigner & Lethal Bizzle just to name a few. Ive also been fortunate enough to work with hometown and international DJ’s such as : Skratch Bastid, Lissa Monet, OG Chase B & Cale Granton. I’ve also been featured on the radio through Vibe 105.5’s show the A-Team as I completed a guest mix in 2017.
Between 2015-2017, I had the opportunity to be the Official DJ for Mississauga, Canada rapper John River and was apart of the Let’s Save Group, led by John River himself. Due to this partnership, I’ve been able to travel around Canada and the United States, performing with John River at festivals & concerts. This partnership has also created relationships and opportunities within the music & events industry for me.
When Summer Knocks Realized This Was More Than a Hobby…
The moment I opened up for Travis Scott during Canada Music Week in 2014 I realized that I actually could do this and if I took it seriously the sky would be my only limit. Following that I registered myself as a business and since then Ive been able to sustain and grow at a comfortable rate, not only in DJing but as a business as well.
Greatest Achievement as a DJ…
I think Summer Knocks’s greatest achievement thus far goes outside of just playing music. I think being an individual who can create a brand, a following and a reputation is probably my biggest achievement. Everybody tries but not everybody is successful at it, I mean I’m only 5 years in and I feel like I’ve done a great job so far, so the next 5 years have me really excited to see where I end up and what I end up doing with my time and abilities.
Most Challenging Part of Being a Millennial Entrepreneur…
Time: time is very valuable and when you’re young you don’t realize how valuable it is until its almost too late. Times best friend is money and once again you don’t realize how valuable it is until you don’t have any or its too late. Mentally understanding and creating a plan for your time and money is probably the biggest change I’ve made in trying to overcomes these challenges . Plans change and sometimes they aren’t even executed but at least making one is a start to changing how you go about overcoming this challenge. Its all just a mindset, once you change your approach to any challenges that come your way and somehow put a positive spin on it , the outcome most of the time will be a win-win.
Summer Knock’s Musical Style…
I would describe it as ‘Open Format’. I’ve had experiences playing music from deep house at concerts to weekly Friday country bar gigs. Living in a city like Waterloo, Ontario forces you to get out of the ‘urban’ mentality and really explore other genres and musical tastes. I’m very thankful for the time spent in Waterloo as its helped me to have a greater love for music and all its genres and sub genres. At the end of the day I really do love my hip-hop/ R&B, Afrobeats and dancehall.
Top Five Songs to Keep on Repeat at a 2018 Summer Party…
I’m going to go genre hopping just to make sure everybody is satisfied ….
- Omunye – Distruction Boyz
- God’s Plan – Drake
- Fast Wine – Machel Montano
- Fever – Vybz Kartel
- X – J balvin & Nicky Jam
Cool Events or Projects Coming Up For Summer Knocks…
I don’t want to say much about it , but I am starting to step into the world of production and remixes …. Ill be working with another DJ colleague but its going to take some time. Im excited to feel vulnerable and learn new things about a world that is so foreign but still so relatively close to DJing.
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