Neil Kinder is a 74-year-old Australian-based DJ.
He's always loved music but didn't start DJing until he was in his 70s
Kinder says he and his wife go to nightclubs all the time.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Neil Kinder, a 74-year-old DJ. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I became interested in music as soon as I could hear it. I remember hearing my father playing jazz at night while I was in my bedroom. He never played a musical instrument and couldn't read music, but he loved listening to it.
I went to my first live concert when I was about 12 years old. When I became a teenager, my music tastes evolved. I had a jazz phase, then enjoyed rock 'n' roll, disco, and so on.
Strangely enough, I never thought about becoming a DJ until much later in life. That was so far off the radar. My wife Christine and I started our business, Kinder Australia Pty Ltd (a supplier of mechanical conveyor parts), in 1985. It was just after we got married. We were full of new adventures, new opportunities, new life.
I started DJing early in the pandemic
When we all went into lockdown in 2020, I thought, "What's everyone going to do? Play scrabble? Get out the cards?" I set up this local group through Facebook with all the people I knew who I figured were also going to be into music. I started to put together a two-hour set on Spotify and picked out all these tunes. That became really popular.
When things opened up, we went to see a fair bit of live music. Then, I started to connect socially with some of the people who were doing live podcasts during the early pandemic.
There's a place in the heart of Melbourne called The Music Room. One of the guys who was a DJ there said, "Neil, put these headphones on." I could hear what he was playing, but I could also feel the joy that it was providing to the people in the room. At the time, I was probably after a new challenge that was going to give me some pleasure.
When I bought my first deck, it was very, very basic. I had a number of connections in the industry, and one of those connections showed me how to get cracking with it.
Two weeks after I bought the deck, I put myself out there and offered to play at a 40th birthday party. It went really well. Everyone loved it.
After a big break, I started getting a ton of gigs
But my first real break, where things really kicked off for me, was when I asked to play at Nightingale Bros, a local apple orchard. It was a huge opening that gave me a massive amount of confidence, and I started to upgrade all of my equipment. The other real break was getting a website and getting a name, "DJ Beauy," after the suburb in Melbourne where I live, Beaumaris.
When I got the website, one of the biggest wineries in Australia — Brown Brothers — got in touch and asked if I could play at an event to celebrate the weekend of the King's birthday. Now, that was exciting! I said yes, and it went off really well.
With that out of the way, all of a sudden, I had credibility. The next gig that came up was Sam Miranda, another local winery. The whole place went off. It could have been such a conservative event, and I changed it into a party.
I love to see people dance and enjoy themselves. That's the prize. You create the atmosphere. You bring the joy. It's like bringing the sunshine out.
It's true that age is just a number
I just turned 74. I know everyone says this, whether they believe it or not, but age is just a number. Just because you're of a certain age, it doesn't mean it prohibits you from doing stuff.
My wife and I go to a lot of nightclubs. The amount of people who are fascinated by us is quite incredible. People look at us and think, "Hang on a second, this guy's older than my parents." They say, "You are so inspirational, I want to be like you. I don't want to get old."
They see us as an example of where your life can go, what you can be like.
You don't have to sit at home sucking hard candies and doing crochet. You can go to nightclubs. You can have fun. I can dance the pants off anyone; I can clock up 20,000 steps in a night, just like that.
If I look back at this time last year, I can't believe where I've gone in 12 months. It is quite incredible, the number of places that I've played at. Goodness knows where it will go in the future still.
What I do know is that if I do something, I will drive it until the end. If I'm passionate about it, I'll probably push it as far as I can go, as long as I'm having fun.
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