Dee Jay Silver is the only DJ with a Nashville recording contract. That being said he’s regarded as the top live DJs not only in country music but in music in general. His ability to connect with the audience and give them exactly what they want to hear is what separates him from the rest. As he’s fine tuned his skills he’s expanded his outputs. This past year, while on tour with Brad Paisley, Silver was brought up on back to do a back and forth as a main part of Brad’s set. Additionally he launched a syndicated radio show and podcast called Country Club. The weekly program features Silver mixing some of the hottest songs in country music just the way you want to hear them.
We caught up with Silver and chatted about how he got his start, one crazy night at Fenway Park with Jason Aldean, and much more!
Have you always been interested in music and being a deejay or was that something that was a bit of an afterthought?
I started in college to make some extra cash and then realized that I could do it as a living.
Was it something that you loved right away?
Yeah you did it because you loved it. Money was fifty bucks a night tops, so you didn’t do it for the money. You did it because you couldn’t wait to play and that’s still the way it is today. We’re on our way to St. Louis right now, and with everything happening it that town I can’t wait to play tonight. But when people start doing it for the money you’ll be able to see it at their shows.
For you has it always been country music?
It was very country influenced, but to be a good deejay you have to be able to play everything. I was familiar with country and it was the music I knew, but to this day I still think you should play everything. It blows my mind when a deejay wins deejay of the year and only knows how to play one genre of music.
Yeah understood. When you were graduating college did you have any idea that being a country deejay was possible?
Oh no, at that time country wasn’t cool. If you listened to country you were lonely and lived in a double wide, you know what I mean. So at the time country definitely wasn’t the go to for music, but it always had it’s staples – you know like Alabama, Garth Brooks, and Willie Nelson that you could play everywhere and everyone would sing along. I think that country has really only become the “cool” music for the last three or four years with Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and such. Now it’s good looking people, it’s young people, and definitely party people.
When you’re out on a tour are you playing the same songs every night?
When I’m out with somebody like Jason [Aldean] I usually have a skeleton list of songs that I know will work, but then there’s another filler of a hundred or so songs. So if we go to LA I try play more west coast music like Sublime or Tupac, but if we’re on the east coast I try to put in Bruce Springsteen and people like that. I try to do my homework and play music that the people know.
Yeah I remember when you were up in Boston with Jason at Fenway Park and you played the Dropkick Murphies.
Oh yeah! The police really got on me for that. I played “Sweet Caroline” and the place was shaking and then I played Dropkick Murphies and the cop was flashin’ his light at me to calm the heck down. But that was one of my favorite nights of my entire life. A lot of friends of mine are from outside Boston so I was very familiar with the Boston market.
That moment I remember thinking this may be the loudest the place was all night.
Man, I remember playing that – and it’s one thing to play a song and another thing to play a song for the people because that’s their song. And that’s what I was trying to do – giving them what they paid for. By no means did I do that so I could get a reaction out of the crowd, it was solely for the people.
Do you find it harder to play and really connect with the audience when out on a big tour at a stadium or amphitheater then in a club environment?
You gotta know what you’re walking into. You need to know that these people paid for the headliner they’re not paying for DeeJay Silver. So you gotta play what they want to hear and if they aren’t feeling it get out of it and play something else. My entire job is to warm up and to get the nervous energy out of the people so Jason [Aldean] or [Brad] Paisley or whoever can take the stage and people are full tilt and ready to go.
This past summer you and Brad Paisley did a back and forth type thing as a part of Brad’s set. Is that something that fans can expect to see more of in the future with you and Jason Aldean this coming year? Was that something that was your idea or Brad’s idea?
No, that was Brad’s idea. He wanted to do a whole thing and we kind of fooled around with ideas and it morphed into that. Not to be biased because I was a part of it, but I felt like it was one of the highlights of the show.
Yeah I completely agree.
I’d love to do something like that with Jason. You know every time we get together we don’t do a whole lot of talking – we do a whole lot of drinking. But I’d love to go out there for when he takes his encore and pump things back up.
I almost think that’d be better than the lull and it would keep more people there. I know often times you see people head for the exits even though they know the encore is coming.
Yeah I agree, it’d give them a reason to stick around. I can tell you right now if you’ve spent that much time [at the venue] and you’re so invested in that show and your favorite song is coming up next there’s no reason to leave. The diehards are going to stick around – a lot of people leave because it may be the first time they’ve even seen [an artist] or the first time they’ve ever been to a concert. But I’d love to get out there and show them that the show’s not over.
You gotta go hard no matter if there’s five people or five thousand people – you want to make them leave like ‘I can’t wait to tell my friends.’
After Jason Aldean’s second leg of the Burn It Down Tour wraps up are you headed out on another tour in the summer?
Yeah we’ll be with Jason all summer long. So it’ll definitely be a big summer for us.
So to wrap things up the way we always do – is there any advice you have for people looking to make it in Nashville or in the music industry as a whole?
I tell everyone who says ‘I’m gonna come to Nashville and make it big’ that you have to put in your work before you come. If you come to Nashville on a pipe dream that you’re going to start recording you’re gonna work selling cocktails. You have to understand that it’s not just handed to you. And if you don’t work hard there’s going to be fifty people more talented than you and who will work harder than you that will [have a chance at making it]. You don’t move to Nashville on a pipe dream. I’m not saying you have to move to Nashville to chase the dream, but make sure you have everything you need in life before you really stick your neck out there.
For me I fought moving to Nashville for as long as I could until finally my agent and manager were like you have to move. And I still didn’t want to, but as I look back I realized that I did it on my time and I didn’t go there hoping to become something. I didn’t stop playing nightclubs all over and say well I wanna only do Nashville, I let it come to me.
Well thank you very much for taking some time out of your day to talk to us and good luck tonight down in St. Louis.