Photo by Gregory wong / Unsplash

One Saturday morning, a nightclub promoter received a demo tape in the mail. It didn't seem unusual at first.

After all, he ran one of the most popular parties in the country, so there was no end of DJs trying to get booked.

Listening to all the demos was a challenge for a couple of reasons. First, as they were DJ mixtapes they were always at least an hour long. Second, it was 1992. These demos were recorded on cassette tapes. No quick scrolling or playlists available.

That morning’s mixtape came from a complete unknown. All it had written on it was 'DJ JD’ and a phone number.

As the promoter listened, he could quickly tell the tape was good, but it was only on Side B he knew he’d found something truly special. The blend between the first two tracks was extraordinary (if you’ve ever tried to mix vinyl records in time and in key you’ll know what I mean).

But this moment only came 55 minutes into a 90 minute tape. He’d had to listen to all of Side A to get there.

The promoter called DJ JD and booked him to play, but on one proviso: he had to perform under his real name. ‘DJ JD’ felt generic; it could have been any old DJ playing the illegal raves of the time. This gig was different.

It’s safe to say the promoter’s hunch was a good one.

30 years later, John Digweed remains one of the world’s most talented, popular, and respected DJs.

Why does this matter? A couple of reasons:

First, publishing under your own name has its advantages.

Second - and more importantly - it’s worth remembering the magic moments hardly ever show up right away. Whether we’re developing a project, identifying the talent of others, or even looking at our careers as a whole - it may not be until Side B that something special appears.

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