In 2000, Skillz dropped an album for the legendary indie hip-hop label, Rawkus Records. The project featured the likes of Missy Elliot and CeeLo. By that time, Skillz had also been working as a ghostwriter, penning tracks for stars like Diddy and Will Smith.
Portable Phone Charger
“This is a must-have whenever I travel. It’s a no-brainer.”
Backup Hard Drive
“I have a drive that I back up with Carbon Copy Cloner so if I ever have a computer problem I can plug the drive into any computer and still play a set. And not only will I have all my music on the computer I’m playing with, but it will also look exactly like mine.”
“I’m old school in this manner: sometimes I actually like to write things down that come to me. I could put them in my notes on my phone, but there’s just something about seeing them in my actual handwriting. It’s everything from mix ideas, transitions, bookings, and things I have planned.”
“I like to capture moments and not be intrusive at the same time. The GoPro HERO3+ has never let me down for pictures and video.”
“They just work for me. They’re lighter, and they fit in my bag better than the 12 inches. They also stand up to normal wear and tear. I love them.”
Related: A-Trak: Must-Have Items in My DJ Bag
A-Trak is one of the busiest DJs on the planet. From performing live and producing music to running his Fool’s Gold label, Days Off festival, and Goldie Awards, the Montreal native puts in a lot of miles. Given all of his experience, which includes serving as Kanye West‘s DJ in the mid-2000s, A-Trak has become an authority in the DJ community. People from around the world pay heed to his advice and opinions on the art of DJing, DJ technology, etc.
“This is my greatest discovery in recent years. I always want to have every imaginable cord or adaptor with me on the road. I’ve had so many emergencies. You’re overseas, and you suddenly need to boot one laptop in Target Mode from your other laptop. Or you forgot that your backup drive uses a different kind of port than what your new laptop has. Or you somehow need to use an ethernet jack. You need all these emergency cords, but how do you actually pack them? This Grid-It thing is the most zen-like order that I’ve ever had with my cords and adaptors.”
Comme Des Garçons Travel Wallet
“This Comme Des Garçons wallet has been my travel companion for a long time. It’s where I keep my frequent flier cards and any random reward program cards, and I can stick my passport in it when I don’t need it. I can even keep a few foreign currencies in it too. None of this needs to be in your regular wallet.”
“Airplanes are your skin’s worst enemy. Keeping up a few little habits can make a world of difference. No one wants to be told ‘you look tired,’ or feel their own skin turn into leather. I like this mist because hey, who doesn’t like Tibetan ginseng?”
“I used to carry the classic blue Shure needle case, but it’s kind of big. Then we made this smaller Fool’s Gold case with Stokyo. It’s way more portable. I also love how it has a little compartment where you can keep spare styli.”
The Bag Within the Bag
“I always carry-on, I’d say 98% percent of the time. It’s extremely rare that I check something in. So the bag I travel with is bigger, but that doesn’t mean I’ll bring that to my gigs. That’s where you need a bag within your bag. Going to gigs with only a tote bag has changed my life.”
The Chainsmokers at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas on Feb. 3, 2017. (Source: Facebook)
The Chainsmokers have been on fire since their 2014 breakout hit, “#Selfie.” Along with releasing follow-up hits like “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Closer,” and “Something Just Like This,” the duo has been touring the world and holding down a residency at Las Vegas’ XS Nightclub. With all their globetrotting, it’s safe to say the ‘smokers know a thing or two about traveling.
Check out their must-have travel items below.
“It’s the amazing sampling gadget we have been using in a lot of our songs. It’s super small and convenient to travel with.”
“Do we even really need to explain? You got the new iPhone update your sh#t is dying instantly.”
“This is sort of self-explanatory, but man we got like 10,000 of these. The trick is to go for the memory foam.”
“Nothing is worse than getting to another country and not having the right power adapter.”
Kittens / Instagram
As a member of A-Trak‘s influential Fool’s Gold family, Los Angeles DJ/producer Kittens stays busy rocking parties around the world. She is also a member of Athletixx, an LA collective that includes Hoodboi, Falcons, and Promnite.
When she’s not DJing or working on music, Kittens hosts a series of non-profit DJ workshops for women (all proceeds donated to local women’s shelters). Her in-depth musical knowledge enables her to engage all kinds of crowds, from exclusive Hollywood hip-hop parties to cutting-edge dance and electronic events. She is currently on tour with RL Grime.
Check out her must-have travel items below.
“If I’ve learned anything from DJing over the years, it’s that equipment can and will break, no matter how prepared or fancy the venue is. So having simple things to swap out in case of an emergency is helpful. I always have the following: a couple of USBs (some with music and rekordbox loaded, others with the Serato timecode); an RCA to RCA cord (I can’t tell you how many times there’s been some odd sound issue that ended up being a faulty RCA cord); a USB-A male to -B male a.k.a. printer cable a.k.a. the cable that connects the Serato box to your computer (this is one of those cords that you won’t easily find laying around at a club and a very important one to have in perfect working condition. Always carry a backup).”
“It gets hot on stages and in booths nine out of 10 times. I like having a little fan for emergency cooldown use and also because it makes me feel like a sassy bitch.”
“Like I said before, it gets hot up there. Stay fresh, everyone.”
Gum and Listerine Strips
“No fan wants to meet you after you play and smell whiskey while you speak.”
“I have a tiny bag within my DJ bag that has hair ties, hair pins, concealer, chapstick, a small hairbrush, face powder, and eyeliner. Sometimes your perfectly made-up face and hair can get messed up during a sweaty, jumping around performance. If you want to make sure you look halfway cute in photos with fans or while you’re hanging out after your set, you gotta be prepared to do a little touch-up.”
If you’re a subscriber to DJcity’s record pool, chances are you’ve seen KidCutUp‘s bootlegs, edits, and remixes. The Wisconsin native’s tracks regularly make it on DJcity’s Top 50 chart and have been supported by everyone from Diplo and DJ Khaled to Vice and Z-Trip. Now based in Los Angeles, CutUp currently holds it down at The Dime and Harlowe Bar on Mondays and Thursdays, respectively. He also gigs a lot in the Midwest. Last weekend, he opened up for Pink at Milwaukee’s Summerfest in front of a 25,000-strong crowd.
Check out his must-have travel items below.
1/8″ to RCA Cable
“You never know when you’ll have to plug in your phone for a laptop switchover or because of a sound issue. And if a venue has all the wrong gear, I can DJ a set off my phone if necessary. I never want to be unable to rock!”
Backstage Pass Lanyard
“Sometimes you get a laminated pass that’s just loose. Other times you need to look official without explaining to every security guy that you are official. Having a stack of passes around your neck can help.”
“I carry a small light with a hook and magnet on it to attach to it things or position it in the booth. Being able to see the knobs and faders on the mixer is essential especially if the lights in the booth are moving around as much as they are on the dance floor.”
Backup Hard Drive or Flash Drive
“If my laptop goes down, I can plug in my backup drive into any available computer and make the show happen. If you don’t play the show, you don’t get the money. Don’t let that happen to you!”
Kid Conrad is a veteran open-format DJ based in Las Vegas. When he’s not holding it down in spots like 1 OAK and Rehab, Conrad can be rocking clubs in San Diego and San Francisco like Parq and Infusion. Below are five must-have items that he always carries in his DJ bag.
“This is a book of lyrics from the lead singer of the English indie rock band, Bloc Party. I was, and still am, a die-hard Bloc Party fan and like to read their lyrics when I’m on the road.”
“Milk thistle has been a close companion of mine for some time now. It’s a must-have for drinkers.”
Promo CDs and Stickers
“I have these in case someone asks! I always like to have something to give out at my gigs.”
“Hair ties are crucial when your hair is as long as mine.”
My Aunt’s Obituary
“My aunt always pushed me and had faith in me. I’m not the most religious guy, but I have to keep her with me at all times especially when I travel. I feel like she keeps me safe.”
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