Article by Christine Humphry
From Job to Life:
How Rick Sajorda “Flipped” Into a Professional DJ
As any DJ knows, it takes hard work, talent, and passion to succeed as a professional, but it isn’t simply a case of having what it takes, or not. The evolution of a DJ takes time. When Rick Sajorda, now known as DJ Flip, got his start, he had talent, refined by the skills he was taught, and was more than willing to work hard, but he still saw it as just a job—until he actually started working as a DJ. “"After my first year as a DJ, I realized it was becoming more of a passion. I wanted to learn it all.",” Rick says, and in the past decade or so, he’s certainly tried to learn it all.
Rick’s first run-in with being a DJ was at his high school radio station, back in New Jersey, where he was born and raised, though he recently moved to Orlando. Going out over the airwaves is an entirely different experience from keeping the dance floor pumping, but he still got a good grasp of music segues and programming. Rick was also on the board at his college radio station, where he studied while also working as a part time actor. When work slowed down, Rick had to find a new field, that still allowed him to go to school on weekdays. A Help Wanted ad showed him the way, “"I came across an ad that said, ‘Want A Fun Job? Learn to be a DJ and get paid to have fun!’ That caught my attention right away, especially the ‘get paid to have fun’ part.”"
The ad was posted by Mark Klatskin, of Ultrax Disc Jockeys, who met Rick that very same day. After a brief introduction to the DJ art, Rick joined Mark at an actual gig, “After the impressive performance that I've seen at these parties I immediately jumped onboard,” Rick says. He assisted Mark for a few more months, learning the trade, before starting his own gigs, the first of which was a Sweet 16 party.
Rick says, “"During the first year of my DJ experience, it was nothing more than a job on the weekends while I continued to go to school fulltime,” but it quickly became so much more. “After a couple of months I started learning how to beat mix and getting a better understanding of music programming. I also learned how to be a good party MC at weddings and other various private events. Mastering the DJ side of things, however, became my focus.”"
Mixing and scratching quickly became an important part of Rick’s development as a DJ, and he became interested in Club DJing, despite the generally lower paychecks, than for mobile DJs. The musical aspect really appealed to his artistic side, “"My musical background includes playing guitar in rock bands, but since I’ve been a DJ, I watched and learned so many different scratch artists and picked up different techniques and tips which helped developed my style.”"
While Rick’s style is Hip-Hop, it’s not what most people would think, “The art form that I'm conveying as a DJ comes from the Hip Hop culture, but I don't mean that I spin mostly rap music. Hip Hop and Rap are two completely different things.” Instead, Rick plays a variety of music, from various genres, "“I’m like a chef that can take a whole bunch of ingredients and put it in a blender to see what will come out.”"
Even after his intense training as a DJ assistant, Rick constantly seeks to broaden his DJ horizon. Tradeshows and DJ conferences are particularly important, to his
development, giving him an idea of the latest technology, including Music Videos, "I was really impressed at what I've seen at DJ Tradeshows and I knew that was going to be the future of DJing. I guess taking a video editing class in college paid off, because I also started to produce my own video mashups.”"
DJ Battles are also a huge part of Rick’s development. Whether he wins or loses, he still gains valuable experience and recognition. "“The biggest and most important thing was the respect I've attained from competing. It meant more to me to win the audience's approval and admiration than the actual prize.”" Through the competitions, Rick has picked up new techniques and different tricks that come in handy while he'’s doing a live mashup, remixing at a club, or even just playing a wedding. “By adding the styles and techniques of club and scratch DJ's, "I've developed a bigger flare to my sets. I can think like a club DJ, vocally and musically, while staying within the boundaries and limitations of a special event.”"
Currently, Rick lives and works in Orlando, spinning at Top 40 Dance Clubs, with the occasionally 70’s or 80’s gig. Through Electro-Magic Productions, Rick plays at many Universal Studio’s private events and their nightclubs in City Walk. He was resident DJ at The Groove, one of City Walk’s hottest dance clubs. He also has his own company, known as DJ Flip Entertainment. It’s all part of his plan, he says, "“I’m working to eventually build a household name and establish myself as an artist.”"
And, Rick’s skills have booked him some amazing gigs, like Viacom’s Fall Season Premier parties, a Jadakiss after party, and most recently, he opened for Akon at Universal Studios in Orlando. He’'s also shared the stage with talented freestyle artists like Lissette Melendez, Coro, Judy Torres and the Cover Girls. But the fame and fortune isn’t at the root of his passion, it’s “the reaction you get from an audience, whenever you do something off the hook. Whether it’s the way you mixed a song, or the song you’replaying or the way you scratch or whatever clever and witty thing you say on a microphone.”
Indeed, being a DJ is much more than just a job to Rick now, or even his career. For Rick, being a DJ, is practically an ethereal experience. “"Once you’re deep in your set, all you feel is what you’re doing. You don’t think about anything else around and forget where you are physically. In a way, it’s a spiritual thing.”"