Meet the Goworkers: Boris the DJ

Boris, also known as Borisnotthedj, has been a promoter, throwing dance music events, since 2013. Originally from California, Boris flew over to East coast, living in New York City and New Jersey before finally settling down in Ridgewood, Brooklyn.

Q: How did you get into promoting?

Boris: When I was 17, I got a job handing out flyers. I used to go out all the time, every week, and I was making a little bit of money with it. I met a guy who was sort big in [the promoting world] and I started working directly for him, initially doing menial tasks and over time got more responsibilities.

Q: Do you have any specific experiences that made you want to do promoting?

Boris: [The] first party I did on my own was really, really good. It was at an amazing venue at the South Street Seaport. Right on the water. All stars aligned. I made a lot of money. [David Blaine came]… I think after that moment I was always chasing that feeling of ‘This. How I feel right now after this. That’s happiness to me. That’s what I want. That’s what I’m going to do. Nothing will make me feel better than that.’… I think expectation has a lot to do with happiness. If I come into an event and I’m thinking that I’m going to make X amount of money, and even if that’s a lot of money, if I make it and I was expecting to make it, I’m not jumping for joy. If I go into an event like ‘Oh my god, it’s going to suck’ and then next thing you know I make a couple bucks… I’ll be like “Oh wow, that’s great!” So I think perspective is important.

Q: What motivates you to do what you do?

Boris: I think because I’ve been doing it for so long, since I was a kid, I feel like anybody can be good at anything they do if they do it a lot. You don’t need to be talented. I just think repetition and any person with average intelligence can interpret patterns. If you have the data to interpret those over many years, you’re just going to get better at what you do.

Q: Are you passionate about your work?

Boris: I like what I do. It’s not a job to me. When I go home from [Prosper Gowork], I still do what I’m doing here.

Q: What skills are required to do what you do?

Boris: Persistence and getting back up. Not getting discouraged if something does poorly or doesn’t go your way because oftentimes in the industry you’re judged by your last event. So if you had a really good party two months ago and your next one sucks, people just remember the one that sucks. You have to let it not discourage you. Keep doing stuff and take risks, super big calculated ones. But know when is the point to say ‘Okay I’m going to do this because I have to do this. Because it’s what’s going to separate me.’

Q: Do you encounter any challenges in your work?

Boris: All the time. Everyday. I could have a show and it could be an excellent show, but there could be three competing events on the same day. Whatever I paid for that show… the value is not the same [anymore] because I have competitors that are doing the shows same day [and] targeting a similar demographic so they take people away from me. Sometimes a lot of this is knowing in advance what’s happening on that day so you can plan accordingly. I try to get as much information as I can. There are many clubs in New York. There’s 10 places that could possibly take people away from my events so I have to find out what’s going on everywhere before I lock in something. And sometimes if the artist that I want is just available on that day and it’s all I can do, then it’s all I can do. It’s tough.

Q: What kind of work goes into planning these events?

Boris: The most important part [of planning] is getting the show and booking the artist. Let’s say I reach out to an agent. I say ‘Hey, I want to book your artist.’ [They say] ‘what is the date? What’s the venue?’ I have to find the venue, [and] I have to present it to them. They have to be okay with it. Sometimes the venue gets closed when you confirm something and then you have to find something last minute… And then when you get the show, you have to promote it. You have to make sure that everybody knows about it. You have to present it in a way that’s going to sell the most tickets for you. That includes the creative work, videos. For me, personally, artwork is really important… Let’s be real. If I had Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden, I don’t know if it would matter how I’m presenting it… But some of the names that I have are smaller names. If people aren’t familiar [with them], I have to sell it in a way that at least makes people want to look at the flyer… On Facebook and Instagram, how many things do you see pop up on your feed a day that you’re just like ‘whatever’? So I’m trying to get people’s attention with that.

Q: Do you have any tips or advice interested in pursuing a similar career?

Boris: Make sure you really want to do it before you do. Just make sure because this is hard and know that there’s a lot of competition. If you’re okay with that and you don’t care, then do it… That’s what I would’ve wanted somebody to tell me if I was in your shoes and I wanted to do what I’m doing.

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