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A rising DJ talks the reality of balancing a music career

Sell sneakers by day and DJ by night

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When a creative person “makes it” people tend to gloss over the early years of how they got there. It’s easier to ignore the years of juggling jobs, studying, and playing gigs, and just focus on their newfound success. But it’s those early days of doing whatever it takes to make your creative dreams a reality that are often when the hardest work is done. Jesse Morath knows that better than anyone—because he’s doing it right now. While he spends his days working at Hype DC he spends the rest of his time working on his rising career as a DJ, producer, label rep, and vintage clothes reseller. We made Jesse take a break for a few minutes in order to tell us what it’s like balancing everything he has going on.

You seem like one of the busiest people ever, just how many different creative projects do you have going?

So Commacomma is my first, and main creative project. I use this alias to release deep house/house music to the world, and also when I DJ in bigger clubs or electronic music events!

Theifdude became my next creative project about a year ago when I flew down to Sydney & Melbourne to do a bunch of hip-hop shows and battles, I decided I needed to create a new alias specifically for hip-hop and trap, thus the birth of Theifdude. I’ve been teaching with Today’s Future Sound for the past two and half years or so, which is a non-profit organisation from Oakland, California, that uses hip-hop as an educational tool and seeks to inspire creativity from a young age. Teaching kids the history of hip-hop, its importance, as well as the production has been an incredible experience and I totally encourage any musician to get out and inspire the little ones.

Then there’s 98 Records, a music platform a couple of good friends and myself started around a year ago. It was born from 98 Collections, which we used to promote good music, film, and art. 98 Records was created to give a bunch of really talented musicians and artists the opportunities they deserved, to release music, to play shows, and to spread their music around Australia.

But you also do some interesting stuff outside of music, right?

As well as all this, I also run my own vintage clothing label called Grandpa’s Attire. I source the best vintage designer and sports brand clothing from around the world and sell it both online and at markets around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Were you always in to music? 

I started making music when I was about 17, but I didn’t start really getting into it until around 2014/15 when I was in school at Music Industry College in Brisbane.

I got into making music while I was DJing a bunch of high school parties while I lived in Canberra. I always had a huge love for electronic music and hip-hop, so I started messing around in FL Studio. I got to a point where I just wasn’t learning enough and I wanted to do more with music, so I ditched Canberra and moved to Brisbane in Year 11 to attend Music Industry College. From the moment I started at that school, my motivation and inspiration went to a new level, so I’d say that’s when I properly started getting into it.

What’s the music scene like in Brisbane these days?

The music scene in Brisbane is actually becoming much bigger and better. It hasn’t caught up to Melbourne and Sydney yet, although I’m starting to see a lot of talented artists pop out of Brisbane. There are heaps of awesome shows these days. Bigsound is also just around the corner, which always attracts a bunch of musicians, DJs, and labels that are looking for new talent.

Didn’t it just get lockout laws, is that having an effect on gigs etc?

Our lockout laws are nowhere near as harsh as Sydney’s, thank God for that. Its 3am here, which isn’t too bad because a lot of shows and gigs are over by that time, but I’m sure it does have a negative effect on the clubs and bars that are open over the weekend.

How do you find balancing creativity with everyday requirements of life, like having a regular job?

It goes both ways for me. As a student I have to dedicate a lot of my time and effort into study and working on assignments. So it’s difficult to work on my own creative projects since most of my time is taken up by uni. Although as soon as I get on holidays, I’m able to work all day at Hype DC then come home and smash out heaps of music.

Is it hard being a young creative that’s just starting out, trying to make it happen?

It is difficult, because you’re fighting with so many other talented artists that are trying to do what you’re doing. There’s always artists that are going to be better than yourself—you’ve just got to state your point of difference and stay relevant. Staying relevant in the creative industries is another difficult part of it all; it creates a lot of pressure.

Jesse wears the adidas Originals EQT Support 93/17 available from Hype DC.

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