CJC Photography

Music Spotlight: DJ Rhyot (Garrett Finn)

Music Spotlight: DJ Rhyot (Garrett Finn)

My name is Rhyot, born Garrett Finn, 22 years old. I’m an electronic dance music DJ and aspiring producer from New Hampshire. I will be graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a major in Communication and a minor in Theatre. I spend tons of time in my dorm as an RA (my amazing residents come out almost every time I play)… and I’m a student pilot!

1) What first got you interested in becoming a DJ and how has your passion grown?

I have always enjoyed music, but for a long time I was too busy with sports to even consider getting my hands dirty. I picked up a cheap, five-piece drum kit when I was a sophomore in high school and started learning about the actual structures of basic rhythms and beats. After a few years of tooling around, I was covering some of my favorite bands (not well) while my younger brother, Danny, played guitar (he’s going pro… watch out for him). It wasn’t until a few years ago that I randomly asked for a VERY basic DJ controller for a Christmas gift – the Numark Total Control LE. I was really starting to get into electronic (beyond Basshunter, Daft Punk, Tiësto, and Deadmau5) around my sophomore year in college. Since then, wow, this thing has taken off. After a few big investments, the selling of my drums for gear, the creation of Rhyot as my alias and my brand, and hours upon hours of having worked with music, this has kind of become my life. I want to do this forever.

2) What hurdles have you overcome to reach towards your goals?

Time and money have been two big obstacles. The amount of time I should be investing to become better than I am at any given point is undefined; there is no such thing as ‘practicing too-much.’ In the beginning, this was crucial… I went from not knowing how to mix to playing up to three nights per week for hundreds of people in about two years. I also spent time learning how to use photoshop so I could produce promotional posters, built an online community of followers across many platforms of social media, networked around the northeast and even with foreign producers, and observed other DJs. Money is hardly an obstacle I need to explain… gear is expensive, software and music are expensive, promo materials are expensive. I should just make a Kickstarter or something, I don’t know… haha.

3) Tips for those looking to become a DJ?

Tips… hmm. Well, from square one… read about the genre and subgenres, listen to the music, and build an understanding for the structure of music. No, Levels is not a dubstep band, and ‘deadmowfive’ isn’t “JUST LIKE” ‘Skillerex.’ Learn about the music you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it. Next up, grab some free software to practice with and learn with; a popular choice is VirtualDJ. You should probably also find a really inexpensive controller of some kind to get accustomed to (these will be your training wheels). Grab original mixes and club mixes that have intros and outros to mix with, and learn the basics of phrasing, EQ-ing. One thing that kills me that many DJs don’t seem to understand is that a set shouldn’t be drop after drop after drop for an hour or two; give your crowd a breather and let anticipation build for the next climax. Nearly every track incorporates a breakdown between the high energy phrases (“drops” if you must) of the composition – they’re important.

4) What do you like to do for fun?

Aside from anything music related, like anyone, I love spending time with my family and friends, and meeting new people. When I’m around home I like to get out and snowboard with some buddies during the winter, and swim in this one tucked away brook during the summer. I mean, fishing’s fun, I love travelling around (Oh, Europe, you’re awesome.). I fly when I can afford it… but sometimes, I can’t lie, I just like to sit in and game with a few friends. We have some pretty sweet crap in Minecraft, haha.

5) Favorite physical features?

This is a fun one. I don’t know if this is asking about my own features or my favorites of others, and maybe that’s the point, so here comes both: I very much like being a tall, slim guy. I have very little desire to be as jacked as Tiësto, but having that height is cool. I’m not a toothpick though, so I guess my tone is something I like as well… you can see there’s more than bone on my frame. When it comes to women, I’m not so sure I have a specific ‘type,’ but I generally like many of the same things other guys do: a tall, fit girl with pretty eyes, a cute smile, and a nice butt will likely get my attention, but it’s pointless if you’re no fun or we clash interests. Obviously, there’s more to a girl than her looks here, haha.

6) In one word, how would you describe yourself?

ESFP. Google it.

7) Favorite motto?

Don’t take life too seriously; You’ll never get out alive.

8) Tell me something that most people don’t know about you?

Umm, I used to hunt all the time as a kid with my dad. I stopped going out in junior high, but I’ve brought five deer home, the first of which I got in fourth grade. Those skills stay with you though. There aren’t many people who are capable of feeding themselves; find me another guy who has posed for fashion photography and can say the same thing! We’re definitely in the few! (Thanks, Dad. Haha…)

9) Who inspires you?

Oh hell, I don’t know. I mean, Joel Zimmerman (Deadmau5) has had a pretty large impact on me. For a long time I’ve been following this guy, studying the progression he has made from being like, 14 with a keyboard to 32 with everything under the sun that can be used to make cool noises. He’s such an incredible producer, and has done better than anyone else I can immediately name who has built a brand for himself. I try to extract so much from his interviews and streams and, I’d like to think I can keep working and find my own sound. It’s hard to just jump into Ableton, or Logic, and learn how to use a million new things at once, practice all the time with sound engineering, be unique, and teach yourself almost every step of the way while having a normal life outside of that all. We’re going back to that whole time as an obstacle idea, but in this case, let’s combine that with a feeling that there’s an overwhelming amount of knowledge I’ve got to somehow learn. Hey, Joel, or Aero, or Zedd, or Wolfgang… if you guys ever need an apprentice-thing, hit me up – the cell’s on.

10) What can’t you live without?

You, Chris. Haha, no, but actually, I couldn’t live without optimism. If I grew up knowing that my life was to inevitably result in being a boring, average, working settler like many people out there, I don’t know what I would do. If I was told by a back-from-the-future version of myself that no matter what I did with my life, I would live a safe, 9-to-5, average, have-kids-then-die life, I would probably uninstall myself. I need that window of opportunity, those goals, dreams, and  aspirations. During an interview with Sonny Moore (Skrillex) someone mentioned that his way to becoming successful was just never doing anything he didn’t want to do. That might come off as sounding like he was just another rebellious kid who lacked motivation to do ‘grown-up things,’ but that’s really not the case. This is the one time I’ll ever seriously say YOLO. It’s true, though. I don’t want to take my degree and get a boring job in some office somewhere because I could never be satisfied with myself. My optimism keeps me moving, and gives me a reason to live.

11) Any final last thoughts for the CJC Photography readers?

Just, thank you. I’m super-fortunate to even be sitting here and doing this interview. I’ am extremely grateful for having as much support as I do from the people around me, from the people I’ve met over the past few years, and all of the people who I haven’t met who still help to keep this whole thing afloat. Keep reading and supporting CJC: there are some good things happening here! Thank you! =D

Thanks Rhyot for not only sharing your dreams and aspirations but providing such motivational words as well. Check out Rhoyt on Facebook!

– CJC Photography

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