On the DJ career, music industry, marketing, professional growth, productivity tools, personal journey and life

Rave Podcast 143

The May podcast edition is already available on Soundcloud, YouTube, Spotify playlist, and Patreon. This month’s show is all about deep, hypnotic atmospheric sound, so get ready to be hypnotised!


00:00 Anima Mundi — Mountain Night (Original Mix) On The 5th Day
03:46 Regal — From Other Sounds (Original Mix) Figure
05:39 Enlusion, Slavlotski — Inferno (Original Mix) JOOF Recordings
11:14 Blazej Malinowski — At The End (Original Mix) Inner Tension
16:29 Pico Boulevard — Society (Nomas Remix) Forescape Digital
21:36 Basis Change — Metanoia (Original Mix) Affin
24:37 Sly Faux — Emerald Exchange (Original Mix) Mood
28:31 Kaiser Souzai — Raven LIfe ReDrug (Original Mix) Ballroom Black
33:14 Horizons — Stranded In Meroe (Extended Mix) Landscapes Music
40:08 Alua — Strom (Original Mix) Electronic Architecture
43:49 Alexander Kowalski — They Came At Night (Original Mix) Break New Soil Recordings
47:17 Takaaki Itoh — Receptor (Claudio PRC Remix) KR3 Records
49:41 Conrad Van Orton — Self Obsessed But Charmless (Original Mix) Planet Rhythm Records
51:35 Ryan Clover — Departure (Original Mix) Kneaded Pains
55:07 Cristian Varela — Star Dust (Cristian Varela Remix) Black Codes Experiments
 No comments    36   19 d   Music   Rave Podcast   Techno   Trance

Tribal Village × Dance:Love:Hub

🇬🇧 London, 25 August 2023

I’m excited to be playing in London again and absolutely honoured to be a part of this massive event hosted by Tribal Village × Dance:Love:Hub. The lineup and the venue look amazing, so I can’t wait! Expect some different shades of Trance from me.

📍 Venue:
The Steel Yard
13-16 Allhallows Lane, EC4R 3UE, London

🎫 Tickets:

🔗 Facebook event page:

See you there!

Rave Podcast 142

The April podcast edition is already available on Soundcloud, YouTube, Spotify playlist, and Patreon (where it appears a week before the premiere).

This month we shift gears for pretty uptempo music, from old-school groovy techno and some raw underground trance from Phara, David Moleon, KaioBarssalos, Kay Barton, Omformer, Hypnum, Vaya, Whirloop, and many more. Enjoy!


00:00 Phara — The Fleshy Part Of The Thigh (Original Mix) Phaaar
03:36 Alessandro Grops — Mistrality (Original Mix) Tronic
06:22 David Moleon — Toma Ya (Original Mix) Transfiguration Recordings
10:17 Raffaele Attanasio — Quasar (Original Mix) Mutual Rytm
13:01 Fireground — Recreation (Original Mix) Ilian Tape
15:17 KaioBarssalos — Cold Place (Original Mix) Suara Records
18:18 DJ Maria — Acid Sunrise (Alan Backdrop Remix) Beyond The Galaxy
21:53 Tom Wax — Analog Obsession (Kay Barton Remix) Phuture Wax
25:48 DJ Dextro — Interlink (05AM Mix) Onh.Cet Records
28:03 HyperionOrbit — Sub7 (Original Mix) Union Trance Mission
32:19 Omformer — Mercury (Original Mix) Space Trax
35:51 Hypnum — Distanza (Original Mix) Portal Atemporal
39:49 Malugi — Missing In Action (Original Mix) SNC Recs
43:31 Vaya — Corrosion (Original Mix) Groove Estate
46:34 MRD — Kval (Original Mix) Possession
51:08 Spockninja — The Exile (Original Mix) Groove Estate
53:26 John 00 Fleming — Finding Ganesha (Whirloop Remix) JOOF Recordings
 No comments    93   1 mo   Music   Rave Podcast   Techno   Trance

How I got a Global Talent UK visa: a comprehensive guide and my experience

In March 2023, I got a Global Talent visa and moved to the UK. Surprisingly, not many people seem to know about this type of visa, so I’d like to tell about it and share my experience. You might find this article especially useful if you have been thinking about immigration.

The Bank district in London


The Global Talent visa is for people in science, art, culture and digital technology.

The visa allows you to live and work legally in the UK for up to five years. After this period, you can either extend the visa or apply for permanent residence and, later, if you wish, for citizenship. It also allows you to bring your family – your partner and children – with you.

The visa can cost about £3000 per person if you do all the paperwork yourself without the help of a specialised firm. This is how I did it. Below I will explain in more detail what this amount consists of.

At the end of the process, you will get a Biometric Residence Permit or BRP card, an internal document that you can use to open a bank account, get a tax identification number and do other sorts of things in the country.

It took me five months all the way from “never heard of this type of visa before”, researching and collecting the documents to getting the BRP. I will also write a detailed timeline below.

Difference from a usual work visa

When thinking about a work permit in another country, the first thing that comes to mind is a work visa. In the UK it is called the Skilled Worker visa.

In theory getting a Skilled Worker visa is easier because most of the bureaucracy falls on the employer. So you can apply for a job from abroad, have an interview and get an invitation to work along with your relocation to the UK.

But there are nuances:

  • Not every company or profession qualifies for this visa. The government’s website has register of approved companies and list of professions; if yours is not on these lists, sorry.
  • Not every company, even on the register of approved companies, would want to recruit a foreigner, i.e. you. There may be all sorts of reasons: from the fact that it is trivially more expensive than hiring local specialists to some kind of internal restrictions. That is exactly what happened to me. For the last 12 years, until September 2022, I worked in the Moscow branch of a major international corporation. They have offices almost all over the world, including the UK. When I left Moscow, I hoped to get a job in their London office: after all, 12 years of experience and an impeccable reputation with the company, including letters of recommendation from the very top. It turned out that I was not allowed: the internal regulations did not allow them to hire me for the UK, despite all my merits. In fact, that is why I started exploring other avenues, and to my good fortune, I found out about the Global Talent visa.
  • With a Skilled Worker visa, one becomes tied to an employer. If you want to move to another company, you have to leave the UK and start again. Or if the company does not do well and you are made redundant, you will also have to leave with your things. In general, this visa offers little or no social security. As someone with a family, for me this is the biggest disadvantage.
  • You also have to take an English test, show proof of income and have a certain minimum amount of money in your account.

The Global Talent visa, on the other hand, requires nothing more than proof of your talent and yet allows you to do almost anything. You can work, or you can choose not to work. You can change jobs without restriction. You can start your own business or be a freelancer. You don’t have to demonstrate your English skills or your income.

I am aware of only two restrictions on the Global Talent visa: you cannot work as a doctor or a professional sportsman, and you cannot claim public funds: benefits, allowances, pensions and such. Other than that, you are free to live and work as you wish on this visa.

Preparation and categories

When you read the general description and requirements for the visa, you find wordings like “exceptional talent”, “acknowledged leader”, and all that sort of thing. And in between, they say, “Well, if you have Oscar or Grammy awards, click here”. You read it and think, “Wow, that’s a little too much! I don’t have any of that. Apparently, I don’t fit in. This visa is not for me.”

The most important part of moral preparation: don’t be intimidated or tricked. You don’t have to be a world star at all. If you have any success in your field, that might be enough. In my experience, this visa is not about talent per se but about your willingness to make it, your determination and your ability to fulfil the requirements.

In my experience, the Global Talent visa is not about talent per se, but about the willingness and commitment to make it through

The Global Talent visa comes in two categories: Exceptional Promise (someone who looks promising) and Exceptional Talent (a recognised leader).

The main difference between these categories is that the path from Exceptional Promise to indefinite leave to remain would take at least 5 years, whereas from Exceptional Talent, it would take only 3 years. And Exceptional Talent is also cheaper because you can pay less for insurance (more about below). Anyway, in case it’s not clear, Exceptional Talent is better.

It’s up to you to choose which category you apply for. The important point here is that if you apply for Exceptional Talent and are told that you do not meet their criteria for a recognised leader, you may be given Exceptional Promise. If you apply for Exceptional Promise, you can get Exceptional Promise only. So my advise is to always apply for Exceptional Talent even if you not sure whether your case is strong enough.

Stages and costs

Globally, the visa process consists of two major stages, which are called Stage 1 and Stage 2 in the official documents.

At the first stage, your task is to get approval from the cultural institution. The thing is, at the Ministry of the Interior, where visas are usually issued, officials check all sorts of formalities: border crossings, income, employment, criminal records and so on. And how do they know whether you are a talent in the field of culture and science or not? So first they send you to the relevant organisations, which are better qualified to deal with the matter.

The cultural institution from which you have to get approval depends on your field of work. The whole process is called endorsement, and the institution that issues it is called the endorsing body. This is the most important and the most difficult stage.

The visa costs £623, and this amount has two parts: £456 for the endorsement application and £167 then for the visa application. At the first stage, you will need to pay the first part of this amount, i.e. £456. This is all done online from anywhere in the world. If your endorsement is not approved, you will not get your money back. You can try again by paying the same amount again.

At the second stage, once you receive the endorsement, apply at the visa application centre. This means you physically bring the documents to the specified address. If you are obtaining a visa for the first time rather than renewing a previously granted visa, you must do so while notin the UK. This is already a purely formal step and you are almost 100% likely to be granted a visa.

According to the rules, you can apply from any country where you have permission to stay for 6 months or more. However, I have read cases where people have applied from countries with legal residence less than this period. If this is critical for you, look into this point further. I have not encountered it because applied from Israel.

At this stage, you need to pay the remaining £167 for the visa and, most painfully, £624 for health insurance (Immigration Health Surcharge) for each year per person. For children under 18 the amount is slightly less, £470 per year. And another £55 for a visa centre fee.

Total cost:

Service Promise (5 years) Talent (3 years)
Visa £623 £623
IHS £3120 £1872
Fee £55 £55
Total: £3798 £2550

You do not have to apply for the maximum visa period all at once. You can choose from 1 to 5 years, for example if you can’t afford to pay that much for your insurance all at once. However, you will have to pay £623 for the visa again when you extend it, so making a one-time payment for the whole term is the cheapest option.

Anyway, here’s what it all looks like and how much it costs. And now for the details.

Choosing the field of work

Before you start collecting documents, you need to decide in which area you will be applying. As I wrote above, you will have different endorsing organisations depending on your field, and they have slightly different application requirements and specifics.

Here are what options are available:

Academia or research Science; medicine; engineering; humanities
Arts and culture Combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre or visual arts; architecture; fashion design; film and television
Digital technology Financial technology; gaming; cyber security; artificial intelligence

I applied in the following category: Arts and culture → Combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre or visual arts → Music → performing DJ, music producer, curator, events promoter.

The endorsing body in my field is called Arts Council England. Please note that as I have applied under this category and through this organisation, all my experience is of them only. If you are applying in another field, make sure you look into their requirements.

A full list of requirements as well as the specific disciplines in which to apply in arts and culture is available in the official guide from Arts Council England. Be sure to download and study this document carefully.

A list of eligible disciplines in the field of music. Screenshot from Arts Council England guidelines

Stage 1: Endorsement

To apply for endorsement, you need to provide 13 documents :

3 letters of support from organisations with international professional recognition with whom you have previously worked.

The letters should describe how you met, the things you have done together, your achievements and how they think you can enrich the cultural life of the UK. The latter is particularly important: not what the UK is good for you, but what you can do for it. It is very important here to outline what specific plans you have for the country in the short term.

The first letter must be from a UK organisation. The second letter can be from any international organisation. The third letter can be from either an organisation or an individual who is also a well-respected expert in your field.

All letters should include the company logo, full legal address, date, signature, and brief company information or biography of the author so that it is clear who exactly is recommending you. Only senior executives of companies may sign letters.

A tip: When asking for a letter of recommendation, prepare and send a draft yourself so that the person only has to tweak the details and sign it. That way, you have a much higher chances to the get it.

10 supporting evidence of your professional activities. These documents, in turn, should be in at least two of the three categories:

  • Media recognition: independent reviews, critiques and evaluations of your work in the form of articles on websites or magazines. Interviews are possible but not desirable.
  • International awards: any prizes, or even prize nominations, that showcase the quality of your work.
  • Proof of appearance or any other professional activity for which you are applying.

There should be at least two media coverage. Otherwise, it is up to you to decide on the proportion of these documents, as long as they do not exceed ten in total. For example, you could have three media recognitions, five awards and two appearances. Or whatever else you like.

There should only be one point per document: one performance or one article, for example. Roughly speaking, you cannot name a document “All my performances abroad” and fit all your tours into it. Each document should be no more than two A4 pages long.

Two important restrictions:

  • All evidence must be no more than five years old. Showing an award you received six years ago, unfortunately, is not possible.
  • You can’t use blogs or social media. If the poster of your most important performance is only posted on Facebook, it won’t count as evidence, sadly. Only websites or magazines.

Be prepared that people in the endorsing organisation might google you. Make sure that searching for your name will show some relevant results. The same goes for the companies from which your letters of recommendation will come.

There are no special rules about the layout of the documents – do as you like. There is only one requirement, though: if you show a screenshot of the website as evidence, save the page through the print version so that the date and the link to the source are automatically inserted in the footers.

I can show you one of my documents as an example, there is nothing secret about it:

An example of my document from the proof of appearances category. The page on the right is a screenshot from the website. Note the headers and footers: they are a must

Note that this document lists my stage name and not my real name. This is fine: when you apply, you can give different variations of your first name (transliteration, maiden name and the like) as well as your stage name.

Some may ask: “What if I don’t have an award, a media mention or other necessary document?”. Well, this is the main challenge of the visa! Remember what I wrote in the beginning about determination? Write, seek, communicate, ask. There is no universal recipe here, but I am sure that everything can be solved.

Once all the documents are collected, you can apply for endorsement. You will have to fill in a huge application form and pay the first part of the visa fee. After you have completed all the steps, you will be given a precious email address to which you need to send all the documents. All files in the attachment should not exceed 25 MB in size.

So this is what my final list of 13 documents I sent to Arts Council England looked like, in terms of document ratio:

  • Evidence 1. Media recognition
  • Evidence 2. Media recognition
  • Evidence 3. Media recognition
  • Evidence 4. International award
  • Evidence 5. Proof of appearances
  • Evidence 6. Proof of appearances
  • Evidence 7. Proof of appearances
  • Evidence 8. Proof of appearances
  • Evidence 9. Proof of appearances
  • Evidence 10. Proof of appearances
  • Letter 1 (UK)
  • Letter 2 (USA)
  • Letter 3 (UK)

The whole process of studying the requirements and collecting documents took me just over a month. I suspect that this time varies greatly for everyone: the more real success you have, the easier it is to prepare the documents, and vice versa.

Once the documents have been sent, all you have to do is wait. And I can tell you from experience, it’s quite an emotional time.

I got a decision after three weeks:

“Letter of happiness” indicating the endorsement. The spelling has been preserved. The main body of the message is highlighted in yellow

From this point, the timer starts: endorsement is valid for 3 months. If you do not apply for the second stage within this time, the endorsement expire, and you will have to start again.

Step 2: visa application centre

If you were in the UK as a tourist while applying for stage 1, like it did from London, you now need to leave the country. You must apply for the second stage only outside the country.

The goal at this stage is to make an appointment at the visa application centre, where you then go at the scheduled time and hand in your documents.

Just as in the previous step, you have to fill in a huge form, at the end of which you have to pay for insurance.

After the payment, you will be given the opportunity to make an appointment on the visa application centre’s website. When you get to this stage, please note that there are two types of entry: the so-called self-service and assisted service. The difference between the two is that with self-service, you upload your documents online yourself; with assisted service, you bring copies of your documents to the visa centre, where they are scanned and uploaded onto the website for you. I chose the first option because it seemed more convenient to me.

Here are the documents I uploaded online:

  • Scans of all the passports I listed on the application form
  • Endorsement email

I should point out right away that in addition to these documents, you also need tuberculosis certificate, and this is a bit tricky. Only those who have lived in these countries in the last six months need a TB test. It includes Russia but not Israel. And the test can only be done in UK-approved certified clinics. At the time when I made the appointment at the visa centre, there was no such clinic in Israel because Israeli residents do not need this test, so I just physically couldn’t do the test there.

I would say ahead of time that they were not happy with this, and I was told to send them the certificate. And right at the same time, the UK website suddenly listed Israel as one of the certified clinics! Anyway, of course I did the damn test and everything turned out fine, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post now, but it cost me a lot of nerves. So I highly recommend that you take care of that certificate beforehand and get it done wherever you can.

After the appointment, you will also be asked to download a checklist with a list of documents that you will need to bring with you to your appointment. And there is this:

“Visit information, savings, real estate”.... er, what? I was also scared at first, but then I realised: they have a general checklist for all types of visas, including regular tourist visas, so all of the above does not apply to the Global Talent visa. Phew!

In the end, I only needed the first sheet of the printed application form and my passport at the reception at the visa centre.

Bear in mind that your passport will be taken from you while you wait for your visa, which can take up to 8 weeks. If you want to keep your passport with you, you can use the Keep My Passport service for a fee. This service costs an additional £55 and is only available online, before your visit. This service is not available at some visa centres.

Then the procedure is the following: your passport is sent to the Decision Making Centre, a vignette is stamped in it, then they return your passport, and then you can fly to the UK with it.

Exactly 15 days after the visit, I received this email from the Decision Centre:

It sounds very scary, especially those “unfortunately” and “120 working days”. However, if you get this too, don’t be daunted: it’s their standard automated email. Basically, they just apologise for not giving you 15 days to process your application as they would have liked. Another phew!

I got my passport back after 8 weeks and 5 days, delivered by a DHL courier.

Tel Aviv visa centre building

By this time, you should have a BRP waiting for you in the UK at the post office you specified on the application form.

From now on, you are practically a full-fledged UK resident, and a new chapter begins with all the bureaucracy and difficulties of finding accommodation, opening a bank account, and so on. But this is a whole different adventure altogether.


Here’s the final timeline in my case:

13 Oct 2022 First heard about Global Talent visa
28 Oct 2022 Applied for endorsement
22 Dec 2022 Received the endorsement
23 Dec 2022 Applied for the visa
3 Jan 2023 Went to the visa centre
23 Feb 2023 Got an email that I must send a TB certificate
27 Feb 2023 Sent the TB certificate
1 Mar 2023 Got an email my passport had been dispatched for delivery
5 Mar 2023 Received passport with visa stamped on it


As I wrote above, the Global Talent visa also allows you to bring your partner and children with you:

  • husband, wife
  • civil partner
  • unmarried partner
  • children up to 18 years

They get a special status dependants which means that they are directly dependent and tied to your visa. If you decide not to renew your visa and leave the UK, they will also have to leave the country with you. However, they can live and work legally for the duration of the visa, as can the main holder of the talent visa.

Dependents don’t need to get an endorsement, but they will still have to pay the full cost of both the visa and the insurance. The cost is the same as for the main talent: £623 for the visa and £624 a year for the insurance. For children under 18 the insurance is slightly cheaper, £470 a year.

The most unobvious part: the dependants don’t have to wait for the decision on the main talent in order to apply. This is not explicitly written anywhere, and in a way it is even illogical: how can one apply to be dependent on a visa which has not even been approved yet? Well, it turns out you can.

Indefinite leave to remain

For me, the visa is only the beginning of the journey and not the end goal, so I have studied what to do next. I should say though that this part is all theory, so take it with a grain of salt.

After a few years on your visa, you may be able to apply for permanent residence so that you can continue to live in the UK without a time limit and have access to social security benefits. It’s called Indefinite Leave to Remain, or ILR.

For Exceptional Promise category holders, the minimum time to apply is five years, and for Exceptional Talent it’s three years.

However, this is not the case for dependants: dependants can only apply for ILR after five years, even if the main talent has received the Exceptional Talent category and thus can apply after three years.

ILR requirements for Global Talent visa holders. The main point is highlighted in the yellow box

I was very surprised by this rule, and it doesn’t make any sense to me. In practice it means that your dependants will have to pay for all five years of insurance anyway, regardless of your Global Talent visa category.

To get ILR, you need to show that you had income from the professional field for which you got the visa. What exactly the income should be, I have not yet figured out. They say that employment documents, receipts and bank statements for at least three months would be suitable as evidence.

Also among the requirements are to be out of the country for no more than 180 days in a year and to pass language and UK life tests.

Unlike the visa, a permanent residence permit has no time limit, but you can lose it if you leave the UK for more than two years.

The cost of applying for ILR is £2404.


Finally, the final point of this journey is citizenship. You can apply for citizenship after five years of living in the UK, of which at least one year is with ILR. Keep in mind that it is the actual time spent in the country that counts, minus any trips abroad.

Once you have completed the procedure, you will receive a blue passport with the royal crest on it, which serves both as an internal BRP replacement document and as an external one for travelling abroad.

The UK supports dual citizenship. But what about three citizenships and whether it would cause any problems, I’m not sure yet.

The cost of applying for citizenship is £1330 for an adult and £1012 for a child. If a child is born in the UK while both parents already have an indefinite leave to remain, they are automatically granted citizenship.


I hope this post will help someone or at least provide information to make an informed decision. Thank you for reading.

If you have any questions during your Global Talent application process, feel free to post in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Taking this opportunity, I want to thank everyone who supported me during that time, which was (and frankly, still is) the toughest period in my life ever. I wouldn’t be able to make it without your help.

Good luck!

 5 comments    752   2 mo   Emigration   I am   Life   United Kingdom

Rave Podcast 141

The March podcast edition is already available on Soundcloud, YouTube, Spotify playlist, and Patreon (where it appears a week before the premiere).

Enjoy this month’s selection with deep trance tunes blended with dark and pounding tech-house grooves. Music from Jamie Baggotts, Elias Erium, Hollen, Harvey McKay, Sasha Carassi, Alberto Ruiz, Jordan Gill, RNX, Second Sine, and more.


00:00 Jamie Baggotts — Found (Original Mix) Forescape Digital
05:54 Optimuss — Barbados (Extended Mix) Toolroom Trax
10:00 Blake Walker — The Highlands (Elias Erium Remix) Forescape Digital
14:04 Hollen — Kalypso (Original Mix) Deeperfect
18:01 Harvey McKay — Borderline (Original Mix) Break New Soil Recordings
20:02 Gayle San — Bad Bitch (Sasha Carassi Remix) GSR
22:50 Division One — Try To Live (Original Mix) Forescape Digital
27:09 Anthony Castaldo — Black Queen (Alberto Ruiz Remix) Stickrecordings
30:12 Jordan Gill, Orgymu5ik — Qalea (Original Mix) JOOF Recordings
35:01 Armystrial — No Limit (Axel Karakasis Remix) DSR Digital
37:34 Alberto Ruiz, Oscar Aguilera — Infernal Posion (Original Mix) Bitten
41:22 RNX — Molecules (Original Mix) Pure Trance
44:25 Slow-Down — Layang Layang (F-Act Remix) Limeroads
48:29 Second Sine — The Dream (Original Mix) Phenomena
52:17 Rick Pier O Neil — Substance (Original Mix) Forescape Digital
55:35 Keistep — Unfeeling (Original Mix) Uxoa Dutxa Elite
 No comments    73   2 mo   Music   Rave Podcast   Tech House   Trance

My decision-making process behind curation at Beatport

One of the things I do now as a music curator at Beatport is to feature releases on the store. Every week I listen to thousands of tracks (literally) and decide whether to feature each or not. And since featuring placements are very limited, I have to decide thoroughly.

If you think about it, that’s thousands of micro-decisions to make every week. I started to analyse what are some common patterns in my decision-making process, and I thought to share my observations with you.

Here are four things that I pay attention to:

Production. I use production as a broad term to describe the overall quality of sound design, arrangement, mixdown and all other nuances that form how a track sounds. Sometimes a track has some decent musical ideas, but how does it sound? Would it be played well in a DJ mix? Would it hold up on a big sound system in a club? Since the electronic dance music genres I deal with are predominantly made for the dancefloors and play a big role in the DJ culture, these questions are essential. In 2016 I published a post where I gave my insights into what I think is the criteria of professional productions, and it’s still relevant.

Novelty. To me, novelty is something that makes a track stand out. Let’s say there are hundred amazing-sounding tracks in terms of production, how would you choose just one among them? It doesn’t have to be something entirely new per se, but there must be something to it, some idea, a musical or any other cleverly-made part.

Trends. Genres always blend, evolve and emerge. I love noticing such changes, and I believe it’s a part of my job to reflect those changes as an answer to the community’s needs. But oftentimes, finding future trends means actually going against the current trend. As a curator, I’m trying to be proactive, and sometimes I highlight tracks that are odd. Tracks that are different from what is called music standards of a particular genre. I’m trying to be open-minded and willing to embrace experiments, and who knows, maybe a track that sounds weird today will become the next big thing.

Diversity. I think diversity in a broad sense makes the global phenomenon of electronic music so interesting, so I’m trying to reflect the communities we serve, including people and music from all different genders and backgrounds. This is how the music culture evolves, and I’m doing my best to nurture it.

What else would you like to know regarding my work at Beatport? Leave your comments below.

 No comments    343   3 mo   Beatport   Behind the scenes

Three new Psy-Trance sub-genres on Beatport

I’m happy to report that we’ve added new Psy-Trance sub-genres on Beatport:

Psy-Trance as a whole is very diverse, and obviously, there is much more to it. As the author of the Psytrance Guide, I know this very well.

So while these sub-genres won’t cover the whole variety (and I’m sure some people will complain), I believe this is a good change that provides better opportunities for all DJs, labels, and artists.

 No comments    104   3 mo   Beatport

The main purpose of a DJ

What does a DJ actually do? What is the main purpose of a DJ? And what tools does a DJ use to achieve that task?

Let me share my thoughts.

Some people think that the main task of a DJ is to play music. But a computer can also play tracks one by one: just throw in a playlist of hundreds of tracks, and that’s it!

Others say that the main task of a DJ is to mix the tracks, i.e. to play music in a continuous mix. But you can put on a pre-made mix, and that’s it! Another problem is that if one thinks that a DJ’s main job is to mix tracks, it’s easy to fall into the trap of misconceptions: for example, that a DJ who plays vinyl records is better than a DJ who plays with a controller, which is of course simply not true.

However, in fact, playing music and mixing tracks are just tools to achieve a goal, but not a purpose on their own. Moreover, mixing is one of the easiest skills in DJing, frankly.

What, then, is the main task of a DJ?

The main purpose of a DJ is to make people feel good on the dance floor. Of course, the definition of ‘good’ varies depending on the type of DJ set, the event’s format and other factors. In some cases, it might be a sense of novelty, new tracks and an interesting musical experience. In other cases, it might be nostalgia for an artist’s old favourite tunes. And sometimes, it’s good when soft music is playing in the background. There are many situations, but essentially it all comes down to this: whether people feel good on the dancefloor or not.

A good DJ focuses on the audience in front of him and decides in a given moment which track will work best for that particular crowd and situation. Play a Top-1 track from the charts, which will make everyone put their hands up in the air in bliss? Or give people something new, unexplored? To raise the energy levels? Or, on the contrary, slow it down a little to give people a break? It’s impossible to predict in advance, so they say that a good DJ “feels” the dancefloor.

The main purpose of a DJ is to make people feel good on the dance floor

When you look at the DJ’s task from this point of view, all these endless online debates on the coolness of this or that equipment and effects become unimportant.

But does it mean a DJ must play for the crowd only? What about personal enjoyment, you may ask? How about “playing for yourself”? The best thing is when the event and the type of crowd align with a DJ’s music, with what a DJ likes and wants to play. This gives a lot of musical freedom to a DJ and the ability to cultivate a fan base. But such perfect circumstances may not happen 100% of the time, especially for new DJs, you have to be honest about it and be prepared for that.

If “to make people feel good on the dance floor” is the main purpose of a DJ, then the main tool to achieve it is the following: to play the right track at the right time. And for this, a DJ should understand what is expected of him at a particular event, cultivate his musical taste, keep his music collection fresh, know how to build sets, read the crowd and much more. And it’s surely not the same as just ‘playing music’.

 No comments    199   3 mo   DJing

Fixed deadlines, flexed scopes

In the recent episode of The Rework Podcast titled Your Estimates Suck, David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried, the co-founders of 37signals, discussed an exciting technique that allows their company to be productive. 37signals is a software development company, so the discussion was related to that topic, but I think you can use this approach in many other areas in general.

So the premise is that people are terrible at estimating how long it takes to complete a particular task if it includes any novelty. If you make something cookie-cutter for the tenth time, you might be somewhat decent in your estimations but still not perfect. And if the process includes any form of creativity, making something new that you haven’t done before, then your estimates surely suck, as the podcast episode title suggests. And that’s okay; it’s just how our brains naturally work.

In practice, in many companies, it works like that. Let’s say someone wants to make a website. Some person, a project manager or a developer, usually gives their estimate: “It will take us six weeks to build it”, for example. By the 4th week, the team realised they hadn’t done even a half because certain features took them longer than expected. So after negotiating with the client, which took another week, they decided to postpone the launch for a month to give the team more time. Then the same happens again and again, and eventually, the demoralised team built a product that no longer reflects the client’s needs. On top of that, the company or the client had to pay for this much more than initially estimated because time is money.

I had experience working as a project manager in software development, so I know for a fact that my made-up example above is a pretty accurate illustration of what often happens in the industry.

So how is David’s and Jason’s approach different? First, it starts with acknowledging that estimates are no better than guessing, and guesses are not a reliable source for planning weeks, months, and especially years ahead. Second, they fix the timeframe and the deadline and never change them. And third, they ship the product on time no matter what, even when the resulting product isn’t quite what was planned. Instead of delivering a set-in-stone product that would take an unknown amount of time to make, they set the deadline in stone and ship what they believe is the best version of that product possible to make during that timeframe. With this approach, they basically say, “let’s spend an X amount of time to solve this problem, and once X is passed, we are done”.

Sounds controversial, right?

The key here is that you cannot sacrifice quality. Things you deliver must be good. What you can discuss and possibly cut, though, is the scope. Going back to that website example, using this approach, they would ship it after six weeks, but probably with fewer features. And having fewer features is not necessarily a bad thing. What’s important is that the company or the client would have an actual, good working product exactly when they wanted, even though the product might be slightly different. And that alone sometimes is enough to start generating profit or making decisions on further iterations based on real-life user interaction with your product rather than theorycrafting for months while your product is stuck in a never-ending “work in progress”.

I believe that this mindset of fixed deadline rather than the scope might be helpful outside of software development in things like marketing, personal projects, or even music production.

I’ve been hosting my monthly music podcast for more than a decade, and you know how often I would like to have just a little bit more time to find some new tracks to include in the show? Every time, pretty much! Luckily, I have a fixed deadline, so I keep delivering new episodes every month, even though each episode usually isn’t as ideal as I would like it to be. I’m sure I wouldn’t make nearly as many episodes if I’d kept polishing each one until perfection.

I think this paradigm of “fixed deadlines but flexed scopes” might be especially useful and act as a self-protective mechanism for creative work where it’s so tempting to keep working until a so-called “perfection” (which sometimes means infinite). And as they say, done is better than perfect.

 No comments    115   3 mo   37signals   Productivity

Productivity system that helps me to achieve goals

How to do things that matter

I like productivity apps: to-dos, calendars, notes, timers, and things like that of all kinds. I like being organised and that feeling of satisfaction by completing a task (which is probably just a dopamine release, but whatever).

But what is productivity, exactly? What does it mean to be productive? If I tick ten to-do’s a day, am I productive? And what about other things that I want to do but don’t do? The usual excuse is, “I don’t have time for that”, so does it mean I need to improve my time management?

I started asking myself these questions about a year ago, and eventually, they led me to the whole system that I’m going to share today.


One day, I remember completing yet another dozen tasks, but strangely enough, I felt it didn’t really move me anywhere. All of those tasks that I ticked every day were repetitive little tasks that helped to maintain where I am but didn’t contribute to moving the needle for me.

At the same time, ironically, I always felt behind and thought I could have done more. For example, I could release more music, but I had an excuse that I didn’t have time and felt bad about it.

So, on the one hand, I didn’t feel any progress despite completing many tasks. On the other hand, I felt guilt and anxiety for not doing things I could’ve done. That’s where I was in the middle of 2020 or so.

After that, I started to think about it: “Okay, I’m stuck like a hamster in the wheel and don’t move anywhere. Hm, but where exactly do I want to go in the first place?”.

That made me think even deeper, or rather higher if you think about it as zooming out from the ground level, and I asked myself what my goals are. Literally, my goals in life. “What do I want?” – that simple question became game-changing.

Now let me explain to you the key concepts of this approach, and then I’ll give some tips on how to turn it into a doable system that you can copy and use for yourself.


The first important thing is to write down your goals. You can use a pen and paper, or any note-taking app like Apple Notes, Google Docs, Bear, Notion, or whatever. I use Craft, but again, it doesn’t matter.

To find out what your goals are, you need to ask yourself what do I want”. Asking this question seems obvious on paper, and yet we constantly get so busy and induced with information and distractions that we rarely ask ourselves any questions of that kind. For this reason, you may struggle to answer this question initially, and that’s okay, give yourself some time.

A goal can be anything. Spending a vacation in Barcelona can be a goal. Writing a sci-fi novel can be a goal. Releasing an album. Launching a course. Buying a house. Anything you want.

When writing down goals, you need to be very specific. And there is also a very tricky difference between focusing on the input versus the output.

For example, “have at least one gig a month” sounds like a nice goal for a starting DJ, right? The problem is a gig is an output, the result, and generally speaking, we have no or very little control over the outputs. You see, to get a gig, someone needs to book you to make it happen. And how do you know for certain whether someone will or will not book you? Well, you don’t!

Another and probably more common example of goals focused on the outputs could be “get 5 kg of lean mass” or “lose 5 kg of weight”. And although such numbers are very specific which is supposed to be a good thing, you don’t have direct control over them. Furthermore, not meeting those numbers can lead to disappointment and frustration. Instead, I’d suggest writing this as “Make a habit of exercising three times a week”, which is much more tangible and within your control.

Here’s something interesting. If you think about the example above, “Make a habit of exercising three times a week” doesn’t look like a goal unless exercising itself is your goal. I would say, for most people, exercising is probably a way to get healthier and feel more attractive. So in this case, “Get healthier and feel more attractive” might be the real goal, and exercising three times a week is just one of the many ways of achieving this goal. Be honest with yourself.


If you are lucky enough and know what you want, then the answer to the question why do I want this” is your value. For example, someone may say “I want to work remotely”, and that’s the goal. But why? The answer might be, “Because I value the freedom to work from anywhere I want”, and so in that case “the freedom” is the value for that person.

But sometimes it’s less obvious. Since we live in a monetary world, many things are tight to money or the possibilities it can provide, whether we like it or not. For example, oftentimes a person might see their job as a way of paying the bills, but not the actual thing they enjoy doing. So to eliminate money from the equation, I find the following thought experiment useful.

Imagine that you’ve got one million dollars. Or that you have an almost infinite amount of money, so you never need to worry about them again. Or that society is free from money and everyone does whatever they want. You can play around with the exact scenario of this thought experiment that feels best for you, but the main question is, what would you do then? How would you spend your resources, time and energy? What would change for you?

I’ll give you my example. At some point, I supposed that I run my advice series as one of the ways to contribute to increasing my income. Although the advice series is completely free, the idea was that when I share some helpful information, people start to see my expertise and the value I provide, so it helps to spread the word about my name, and eventually that influence leads to more business opportunities and hence more income. If you shorten the path, it can be expressed like “I run the advice series → I get more income”. And as a matter of fact, this blog does indeed give me an extra indirect income, as some people I worked with explicitly said that they wanted to do some business with me because of my writings, which only supported my initial belief.

However, after having that thought experiment I described above, I realised nothing would change for me. I would still run this blog and the advice series even if I had all money in the world. As it turns out, my motivation for doing that wasn’t financial at all. And that shift of perspective changed everything for me.

After that discovery, I went through all activities and things I do (or don’t do) and asked myself why. Sometimes it took me several layers of “why’s” to get to the real answers. For example, “I do A. Why? To get B. Why?”. That articulation of why is crucial, and I’ve learned so many things about myself. For example, I realised that I didn’t produce music due to a so-called lack of time but simply because I couldn’t answer the question “why”. It was a revelation.

So write down your values next to your goals or somewhere. These are the things that are important to you, your motivation. And they are usually very basic, like health, influence, fame, curiosity, et cetera. Again, be honest with yourself and make sure to understand why you want (or don’t want) certain things, as this understanding is crucial.

Projects and tasks

Once you know what and why do you want to achieve, it’s time to ask yourself how am I going to achieve this”. This is where projects come into place.

A project is an action that requires more than a single step to complete. It’s a group of step-by-step to-do’s that ultimately will help you to achieve a particular goal. Some complex (usually long-term) goals may have several projects; others may have just one.

For example, “Plan a trip to Barcelona” is a project because it involves more than one step. These steps might include: decide on the exact dates, purchase flight tickets, book a hotel, plan the itinerary, research local sights to visit, pack a suitcase, etc. All of those little individual steps I call tasks, or to-dos.

To keep track of your projects, I highly suggest using some form of task manager. Again, it can be a pen and paper, an app, or whatever. I have another article on how I use a to-do list to manage my tasks and projects, so I won’t go over the details here.

Quarterly planning

This system of setting your goals, understanding your values, and executing them with actionable projects works great, at least for me. But life isn’t static; our priorities, conditions, and desires change. I use quarterly planning to reflect those changes, and the name suggests how often I do it.

Quarterly planning is a 1-on-1 meeting where I check in with myself. To make this process fun and enjoyable, I usually go to a new place such as a café where I can sit with my laptop and a cup of tea for about an hour or two without distractions.

During this process, I do the following:

  • Reflect on the last quarter’s results: write shortly about what I’ve been working on, what I’ve succeeded and failed at, and how I feel.
  • Mark previous goals completed if I have any.
  • Set new goals for the next quarter, making sure those goals align with my values and articulate why I want to achieve them. Sometimes I might have dozens of goals, but trying to achieve them all simultaneously would be not realistic. During this planning, I pick up just some of them, typically from one to three, and set them as a priority for the next quarter.
  • Identify actionable projects for these goals for the next quarter and add them to the task manager as a list of specific things to do.

I find this process essential for the piece of mind and clear vision. After that, I know exactly what to do and how things I do every day actually move me towards my goals. Just knowing this brings so much calm and clarity.

Do you remember at the beginning of the article I said that I felt guilty for not doing things I could’ve done? This priority system treats exactly this symptom. By saying “the next quarter I’m going to work on A, B, and C”, I also say to myself “I’m not going to work on D, E, F, and everything else”, which is a huge deal. Compare “I don’t do X because I don’t have time for it” and “I don’t do it because I have consciously chosen to do other things that are more meaningful to me now”, that difference is a big quality shift in the attitude.

To me, doing this planning every three months turned out to be the sweet spot. One and two months seem too short for many of my projects, whereas four, five, and more months seem way too far in the future.

Weekly reviews

While quarterly planning gives a strategic birds-eye view, weekly reviews help me to stay on track on a more tactical level.

During this review, I do the following:

  • Check calendar events for the upcoming week to evaluate how much time I can spend on my tasks on each day.
  • Figure out what I should focus on next week. One of the reasons I love my task manager, Things 3, is because I can set not only deadlines for the tasks but also the day I’m planning to start working on a given task. So I usually pick some important tasks from my projects and decide when I’m going to work on them.
  • Set deadlines and reminders for important tasks to ensure I didn’t miss anything.
  • Move to “Someday” tasks I won’t be doing in the coming weeks. This is again something about my particular task manager app, Things 3, but basically this “Someday” feature hides all tasks that I don’t need right now, so I always have only relevant to-dos in front of me.
  • Remove tasks that are no longer relevant or outdated, which should be self-explanatory.

Basically, this whole process is a quick clean up where I make sure that all action steps for my goals are reflected in my task manager appropriately. Unlike quarter planning which usually takes 1-2 hours as I think about my life goals, weekly reviews take about 20 minutes. I usually do them on Sundays to feel ready for the week ahead, so on Monday morning I wake up with a list of to-dos waiting for me, and I know that these tasks have meaning and contribute to my goals.

Doing quarterly planning at The Moon And Maybe. London, October 2022


There was probably a lot of information to digest, so let me quickly summarise:

  1. Being productive means doing things that matter to you, your goals. It’s not about quantity but rather direction and consistency.
  2. Write down your goals. Things you want in your life, no matter how big or small. Take your time.
  3. Think about why you want to achieve those goals, that will be your values. Write them down too. The answers might surprise you.
  4. Identify actionable projects for your goals, or the steps that would move you towards them.
  5. Transfer those projects and to-dos to a task manager.
  6. Check in with yourself and set priority goals every quarter to stay calm and focused.
  7. Clean up the task manager weekly to stay on track.


Last but not least, I would like to give credit to Peter Akkies. Although I’ve read many of these ideas in various articles and books, his work inspired and “clicked” with me the most.

I hope my humble article will help someone, just like Peter’s helped me.

 1 comment    147   3 mo   I am   Productivity
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