DJ 530

The DJ Next Door

Grant Hedrick says yes, you can be a Genius and a rock star at the same time

Grant Hedrick has the distinct privilege of clocking out of his day job and subsequently jumping behind the decks of numerous venues Downtown, at music festival afterparties in Detroit, and sometimes even on a yacht sailing through Europe. Known simply as 530 (as in the Northern California area code), Hedrick manages to effectively balance being a professional DJ while working 40 hours a week as a sales expert at Apple. Grant regularly plays The Griffin, but also books other prominent local affairs such as Techno Taco Tuesday and, most recently, delivered a set at Momentus Entertainment’s SoundYard at Place on 7th.

Hedrick’s mother was a radio DJ in San Francisco when he was growing up, so the music business was something he became acquainted with from a young age. He played drums as a child, as well as participating in sports, and even though the latter ended up becoming his priority in college, Hedrick returned to music by going to electronic events in L.A., namely Nocturnal Wonderland in 2007. “I had never been to anything like that before, or had ever seen that many people at one place for a musical event,” he says. “I remember seeing Carl Cox and Sharam from Deep Dish, along with drum ’n’ bass favorite Sub Focus, and I was hooked!” This passion led to Hedrick purchasing a friend’s CDJs and a mixer so that he could learn the craft himself.

DJ 530Zach McKee

DJ 530

When it comes to developing skills, Hedrick is frank about experiential learning. “You can watch tutorials all day,” he says, “but I personally don’t learn that way. It may get you started and push you along, but it’s absolutely vital to be in front of [your CDJs] and actually do it yourself.” After so many years spent compiling a library of songs that represent his taste, Hedrick is now able to comfortably play on the fly at his gigs. He is always digging for fresh material, using his gym time to listen to new mixes, taking screenshots of the time stamps and then uncovering the songs via Shazam or 1001Tracklists.com.

There has been plenty of talk lately about the health of a DJ, considering that prominent artists such as Carl Cox and Avicii have spoken out about it. Working both long days and nights himself, Hedrick understands the importance of mental and physical stamina. “Let’s be honest, partying is a part of the DJ lifestyle,” he says. “[But] you have to pick and choose when those nights will be.”

When it comes to the future, Hedrick acknowledges that “anyone in their right mind” would say that the next step for him would be nonstop touring. He notes a significant pitfall in doing this, though: “It’s very hard to break in, and if you give everything up and it doesn’t work out, it’s hard to imagine where you might be,” he says. Considering how, in his current lifestyle, Hedrick has already done what many DJs strive for, which is a healthy balance of stability at his day job and adventurous moonlighting, he wouldn’t be in the wrong for wanting to keep things just the way they are.

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