“He was just like you killed it, you couldn’t
have done it any better.”

Sam Abbaticola finds a musical passion with his father

By Daniel McAlister, 9/21/16

Samuel Abbatticola in Montclair, NJ

My dad was a DJ since 85. He’s been doing it for over thirty years. In sixth grade I started working with him as a DJ, and basically what I would do is help him load the equipment, set it up. I felt like I had his trust, because I would pick out songs and he’d say that’s a good pick.

Back then we used CDs. I would help him lay out the CDs, he would ask me for a song and I’d shuffle and give it to him. Or if he’d say, “I’m gonna play this song next, try and think of a song to play after that.”

I’d start laying out CDs and tell him here’s what I think and he would tell me what he thinks in response. We’d just debate back in forth and that’s how I learned to have a taste of music, what to play and when, how to read a crowd. I learned a lot from just watching how my Dad operated.

My freshman year of high school we were doing Millburn High school’s junior prom. Prior to that, my dad said, “do some homework this week, look at what songs you think are popular. Anything you want just start downloading onto the laptop.”

He was really busy talking to clients, so he wanted me to take care of the music. That was really the first kind of responsibility I was given besides just setting up for the event. This was the first time I was given pre-event work. Having to go through the music, seeing what’s popular in all different kinds of genre.

The day of the gig we show up and my Dad was like, “it’s on you tonight.” Prior to that, I had DJ’d a little bit, I mean I knew how to mix, I practiced in the garage plenty of times. This was the first one where he was like, “this is a young crowd, you know the music, you’re now in high school. You got this.” I was extremely nervous, and extremely excited at the same time. And the party started and I killed It, I mean it was awesome.

I excited his expectations. I had people coming up to me, seniors and juniors in high school, and I was a little freshman, [hearing] this was awesome. They had a great time. They loved the music. To me, it just really made me understand how important it is to my life, and how much I love every aspect of preparing for a party. All the pre-work that goes into downloading music, setting it up so you’re ready to play it. I mean, it takes hours and hours but it’s more of a love than it is work.

What really sets this as an important day in my life, that I always look back at, was that this was the first time in my life that my dad actually trusted me. The best part of the night was when everyone left, he was just like, “you killed it. You couldn’t have done it any better.” Any compliment like that… there’s no monetary value on that. It makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.

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