From the Rocky Mountain Outlook:
You never know when your first big break is going to land on the doorstep, but for local DJ (Restrickted) Matt Strickland, it wasn't at the doorstep, it was from the dance floor and DJ booth.
Strickland recently took part in DJing at Calgary's The Neon Run event, where he was able to meet up with Sacramento, California's DJ A-1, who was so impressed with Strickland's set he invited him to tag along on a North American circuit tour with Sound Skills Productions, sending the Canmore DJ to L.A. for a show on Nov. 7.
“I did a show in Calgary a couple of weeks ago, and then I do the show in L.A. and then we have a couple of months off over the holiday season and then we're going to get started again in February,” Strickland said.
The Neon Run is a five-kilometre road race entwined with a music festival filled with performers and music that takes place across North America. Strickland is now one of those performers ready to entertain racing crowds after their runs.
A volunteer position in Calgary for The Neon Run is now going to take Strickland on a North American DJ circuit tour with stops in San Diego, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Indianapolis, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Portland, Seattle Sacramento, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Des Moines with Sound Skills Productions.
“I ended up getting a lot of reviews back and performed on the main stage with a couple of bigger names. DJ A-1 said I should come down to L.A. and I spoke to their tour manager and he said it was no problem to bring me along,” Strickland said on the big break.
Along with The Neon Run event, he also took part over the summer at the Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival.
“Ever since then I've been getting bigger gigs, just from word of mouth and now I'm going to L.A. for Nov. 7,” Strickland said. “The Nov. 7 gig is again part of The Neon Run, and I'm doing the after show, the concert they have after the run is over, and at the after party with one of the clubs down there.”
Starting when he was 13, it's been a nine-year journey for the local DJ, offering his skills at jumptrax entertainment for parties and events. “I started at a camp, I DJ'd a dance at a camp that I attended and I just really enjoyed it and been doing it ever since,” Strickland said.
“It's a huge step and I'm really excited for it. It takes a lot of work, that's for sure, and I'm looking forward to it because the only time I've played outside of Canada was in the Dominican Republic in a club called Coco Bongo – I get to work through the entire North American continent, essentially, so I'm excited and it's going to be pretty different.”