By Sanne Breimer
He is just some “average dude from the midwestern region of the US”, who ended up on the other side of the planet and has been travelling all over South East Asia through music. “It’s kind of a beautiful thing”, he tells from out of Hong Kong where he currently lives.
Josh Dubman, aka DJ Fire Aux, grew up in Appleton, a small town in the state of Wisconsin, “a pretty standard town” as he describes it. He left to Milwaukee to go to university and after moved again to Chicago: “that’s kind of where my whole life essentially came together”. He started writing for a music blog and got to meet a lot of rappers, producers, DJs and artist. Engaging with the music scene like that, it seemed to be a logical next step for him to get more involved in music himself.
Although he’s not able to completely sustain himself (yet) through working in the music industry, he already accomplished more than he intended. “By DJing the size of the clubs and shows I’m doing now, I’m able to travel to different places. I know I would go crazy without doing the things I do. One thing that would take me to the next level is some serious consistency in bookings right now because things do tend to come and go.” He’s inspired by life itself and by other DJs, rappers and producers he’s been following since he started. Some of them he met through the internet. His love of travel and learning about new cultures, coupled with his obsession with rap music are two major factors in his musical selection.
Don’t force it
The reason why he chooses this lifestyle “sounds a bit corny”, he says: “It was after a big break up, I felt empty and music and DJing helped to fill that void. I just wanted to make people dance”. As an entrepreneur, his biggest lesson learned is to not become dependent on anyone. “Support is amazing, but not when it’s the only crutch you have. I personally prefer to rely on solely myself and not any other DJs, promoters, clubs etcetera. Another lesson I have learned is to not force relationships. Sometimes I might think a venue is perfect for a party I want to throw, but the venue manager isn’t on board. In those cases I know I can’t force it, but I just have to regroup and move on.”
Break from music
Recently, he rediscovered his love for publishing about music. This time he focuses on audio with his podcast +Oil: “I’m a narcissist and wanted to listen to myself talk all day”, he explains laughing. “No, it’s actually because my first introduction to the music scene was by blogging. Most music blogs and publications are already very established, so not sure if I could really make a splash in that industry. I listen to a lot of podcasts and thought it would be a great idea to start one to cover things that are going on in Hong Kong.” Being a music guy, he’s more attracted to audio mediums as opposed to visual content. And listening to podcasts enables him to take a break from music: “I listen to podcasts when I’m cooking and cleaning and all of that. It’s like the only way I consume almost all my news and everything.”
Protests in Hongkong
The current political situation in Hong Kong doesn’t leave him unaffected. People are less likely to go out, the clubs have been more dead lately and he understands why. But the music scene in the city still brings people together in these harsh times. Josh: “Just this past weekend a huge community of us were involved in a music festival that was raising money for protest funds. I think it was a great way for some of the kids on the front lines of the protests to blow off some steam and also support the protest in a more peaceful way. I’m a foreigner and I’m still affected, but some of the locals really needed an outlet like this I think. I DJed a set there and also performed with a rap group I work with, so that was a really great event to be a part of.”