Features April 4, 2018

Your Shot founder Steve Pillemer on the competition’s longevity and the “disappointing demise” of Sydney’s nightlife

Your Shot founder Steve Pillemer on the competition’s longevity and the “disappointing demise” of Sydney’s nightlife
Image: Your Shot Facebook

Your Shot DJ competition returns for 2018, with the official launch party taking place last week to kick off the search for Australia’s next superstar DJ.

The initiative has helped more than 6,000 aspiring DJs including Tigerlily and J-Trick realise their dreams in the Australian music industry – and with 10,000 registrants and 700 contestants last year, the competition is set for its biggest year yet in 2018.

Your Shot founder Steve Pillemer spoke to TMN about the vision he had for the competition when it started back in 2010, as well as to what he attributes Your Shot’s longevity and success and why it’s important to be releasing quality DJs into clubs – especially in Sydney’s deteriorating nightlife environment.

Your Shot has risen above the many other DJ competitions that have come and gone over the years, and established itself as a legacy event. To what do you owe the success of the competition and brand?

It’s hard to say, there have been many! Ultimately though, I believe it’s a combination of two things that have been greatest contributors to Your Shot’s success over the years.

Firstly, the sheer energy, drive and determination of our 6,000+ entrants and alumni, who have followed their dreams, had success and shared the experience with others.

Secondly, there are no barriers to enter Your Shot – absolutely anyone regardless of experience or exposure to DJ equipment can enter Your Shot and receive thorough training. As a result, we have attracted more registrants every year, and over 10,000 aspiring DJs in 2017 alone.

Tell us about your vision when you started the competition.

I would be lying if I said the vision was really well thought through… it wasn’t. I thought if we could train 30-40 aspiring DJ’s and throw a party off the back of their progress, it would be a success.

It’s safe to say that back in 2010, no one we approached seemed to think it would work or that Australians wanted to become DJ’s, let alone grow in the way it has today.

You’ve been putting DJs into residencies around Australia, and specifically in Sydney – during years when night-time economy have been suffering. What’s your take on Sydney’s nightlife at the moment, and how important do you think it is to be releasing quality, well-trained DJs into this environment?

It’s been incredibly disappointing to witness the demise of the Sydney nightlife scene – at the hands of local and state government – over the years.

When Your Shot started you would find Your Shot contestants DJing all over Kings Cross, Darling Harbour, North Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs.

The nightlife scene was effectively a launching pad for many young, aspiring DJs to get their foot through the door, to learn the skills, to study others, make connections, network and effectively begin the journey.

Now when you look at the nightlife scene it’s clear that those opportunities are few and far between.

Releasing quality, well-trained DJs into this environment is still incredibly important, but all DJs have to start somewhere. No DJs are ever guaranteed spots in clubs, they have to work and prove they have the skills in order to get booked.

What’s sad these days is that there are so many young, skilled DJ’s not getting booked as a result of tighter restrictions and the effect it has on a clubs ability to book talent.


Registration for You Shot 2018 is now open, head to the official website for full details here.

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