DJ Shumi, 19, from Kuta shared her day with The Bali Times
I wanted to be part of the nightlife.
I wake up late, usually around 1pm, have lunch, watch TV and spend some time with my family. If I have to work in the afternoon, I get ready and pack all the CDs I need for the session. Most days, I work in a surf shop called Surfer Girl in the afternoon, but this just a bit of extra work, as my main priority is mixing in nightclubs.
If I have to work in the afternoon, I come straight back home afterwards to have dinner and spend time with my family, especially my older brother, but I only really get the chance to see him when I’m not working at night. When I know I have to work at night, I don’t really have enough time to get back home, so I just hang out with friends and wait for midnight to roll around.
In the afternoons when I’m not working, I prepare what I’m going to play, so when I have spare time at home, I download music, choose songs and, most importantly, make sure the CD works, because if not there is no music. I prefer not to think about the way people would react if I came without music!
I played in Embargo, The Wave, Café Wayang and Double Six, and most of the time, I have to play commercial music or people won’ dance. If I have a new song, they often don’t like it, and I have to mix famous songs with the new ones. Sometimes there is also another DJ with me, like at Embargo. I play for five minutes, and then he plays. Maybe it’s to prevent the people from getting bored.
I select music I know people want to hear, not what I would like to play. For example, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after 12, I play at Embargo, which is great because it’s one of the main nightclubs in Kuta. But people come to the second stage of the club to hear electro, or house. I don’t want them to be disappointed, so that’s what I play, even though I like trance better.
I play live music. Mistakes are not allowed when I’m working. I have to mix the CD for each night, and I have to do it properly, or the music won’t sound good. A DJ’s work is to make songs meld into each other, which I could do at home, and just arrive at work with a prepared CD, but that wouldn’t be DJing! I play two CDs at a time, mixing one with the other to make them flow together.
Ever since I was really young, I have loved being up during the night. When I was old enough, I started clubbing. I found I wanted to be part of the nightlife, but also to be productive, so this job is perfect for me. On my 17th birthday, I enrolled in a DJing school for a two-month course. There are a lot of DJing schools in Bali, but the quality is not so good; they just teach you the basics. To go further, you have to be self motivated.
When I finished the course, everything happened very fast. I started playing in a lot of different places, in Bali and away, and went to an audition at Embargo, where they really liked me an offered me a job. I had to choose a DJ name, because nobody uses their real one, and as my friends used to call me cumi, which means squid in Indonesian, I just took the word, twisted it and it became Shumi.
Now I think I’m starting to be quite a well-known DJ in Bali, and when people come to Embargo just to see me, because they like what I do, I feel extremely proud. My family and my boyfriend are very proud and supportive of me, but everything has happened so fast I still doubt how good I am.
My work as a DJ is getting better and better and I meet a lot of people in my job, so it’s really satisfying. I’ve been working as a DJ for two years because I really like it, and also because I earn good money. But I know entertainment jobs don’t last forever, so I’m starting university in September, because what I’d really like to do is be a lawyer, and most of all, I would like to study abroad.
Most nights I finish playing at 4am, and go to another club, or just have breakfast if there are no good events on, and then go back home with my boyfriend, who picks me up.