Thinking back a few years ago, I dragged a friend of mine to one of the electronic music festivals in Santa Clara, CA. Having been to raves and such in the early ’90s, I couldn’t help but laugh at the pacifiers and lawn fertilizing masks that had replaced the basic costume of comfortable shoes and a love for music. Although some of the media have overblown the drug culture of this community, I couldn’t help but realize how prevalent it was, and how having dilated pupils was essential to this crowd as having a sense of hearing.
Yossi Goodman of You Know Me Productions didn’t know the scene from way back when, but in the past two years he’s progressed at lighting speed without the pharmaceutical enhancements, going from a newbie club kid to a promoter, resident DJ, teacher and business owner. In the DJ world, that’s unheard of. Having little tolerance for the typical antics and attitudes within this culture, along with a savvy business sense had a lot to do with it.
When Yossi first started putting together parties, he ran into a number of people and DJs that were lacking in professionalism and excelling at egotism, “I didn’t have the confidence to stand up to and deal with some really stupid people – this community of DJs where there are real no principles or ethics, this ‘follow my word not my actions’ type of hypocrisy. They’ll ream you for something that you do, then try to do the same thing to you.”
Yossi believes that with anything, there are is a certain element of politics, but it’s all in the way circumstances and people are handled. And the environment he’s used to, if you don’t follow up your words with actions, there are severe consequences, “When I got into this business of artists that were all talk, it pissed me off. Club owners that would promise something but not deliver, flyer people who get stoned and not go out and do their job, people who would talk shit about me and then still want play for me.” Plus, having to deal with the drug situations didn’t fly with him either, “I’m not opposed to drugs. Just don’t do it at my party ’cause it’s my ass on the line. That’s why I never had trance at my parties either, only house music. But after a while, I just didn’t want to do it anymore.”
Not wanting be discouraged by the status quo, he began networking with other individuals who shared his beliefs, ethics and love for underground music. One of those people was Sante Suffoletta whom he met during one of Yossi’s parties last year. In March of 2002, they partnered to create You Know Me Productions, with a plan to elevate the DJ community into a cooperative scene, working together in a supportive unit versus some of the flaky, back stabbing, competitive antics that has been prevalent for some time.
In addition to his current residency at the Red Room on Tuesdays and the Voodoo Lounge on Mondays, Yossi has been working with Sante to create an in-depth, DJ education course and center, You Know Me Education, where people not only learn spinning techniques, but the business of booking and promoting themselves.
Their training center helps to take the DJ out of the bedroom and into the business of booking themselves and creating their tools of the trade, “Every DJ wants to be putting out a demo. Not every DJ has the ability to do that. Some make tape demos but can’t get booked with that. We will have CD duplication and all the tools and training to do it themselves or they can hire [our people] to do it,” Yossi explains.
Currently they offer beginning and advanced courses. But their program and space is continuing to evolve. In the next few months, they’ll be adding an intermediate course and club membership – bronze, silver, and gold. They’ll also be moving into a new and larger space in Denver that will “offer every tool that a beginning or advanced DJ will need to support each other for success – cut a demo, some office space for designers and music producers, plus use all of our equipment to make a professional press kit and business cards.”
The emphasis of these courses and the foundation for the school lies in awareness – learning how to network at a international level, have a business sense, marketing and promotional tactics, karmic actions, and listening to others who’ve been playing the game for a while. “One thing I always tell our students is don’t talk shit about people. We had our class meet Bad Boy Bill at Rave on the Rocks. When I asked him what he had to say to the kids, the first thing that came out of his mouth was ‘Don’t talk shit.’ It couldn’t have been more perfect,” laughs Yossi.
Other monthly seminars and international speakers include Ty Tek, Wyatt Earp, Darien Waldhoff, Zero Gauge (Basil), Pete Rose from Awareness Marketing on how to market themselves, Nate Sense, and one of the DJs within the You Know Me crew, M.L.E. “I had heard her before at a party, and thought her music was sick. Then I met her at the White Spot at 8th and Broadway and got to know her as one of the sexiest girls inside and out that I know.”
Yossi and Sante have also been networking with other companies that can benefit their students, from getting discounts on DJ equipment from Stanton Electronics, to discounts on music from Casa Del Soul in Denver (next to Vinyl), Twist and Shout, Sweat Records and Barts in Boulder, to free Red Bull.
Ironically, Red Bull has their own music academy going on internationally. If Yossi continues his aggressive path to success, the beverage conglomerate could be taking notes at one of his classes. That’s just one of many items on Yossi’s To Do list, in addition to getting his masters in business at Daniel School of Business. At the Red Bull Academy, ‘they get to learn all day and party all night. If I get to the level at the beginning at February 2003 and do my residency out of state in [San Francisco], then I’m going back to school and all of that. If we have proven track record and are in the black by 4th quarter, and we’re already working with Red Bull, Technics, and others, imagine what we can do with Red Bull Academy. I have no doubt that it’s complete possibly. Then I plan to go to Sydney for 2 weeks, meet a shit load of people, and pass all my business cards.”
Like I said, since he’s gone from zero to 100 in two years, I don’t doubt that anything’s possible. “I have this little plaque that says, ‘What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?’ After moving into my house, that was the first thing that came out of the box. I didn’t put together my dressers so my clothes sat in boxes for a while. But that shit I’m about.”
For info on Yossi & Sante’s Crew, their gig schedules, and the DJ Academy course information, go to www.youknowme.biz.