More to the Story:
More to the Story: DJ Axcess
By Taylor Harrington 2/16/2021 11:17pm ET
A man who knows exactly how to get a crowd moving, Columbus, Ohio’s Mike Salone, known as DJ Axcess, sat down via Zoom for a fun talk about life as a DJ in a growing city like Columbus and how quarantine has changed the way we celebrate and taught us what is really important in life; connecting with each other.
DJ Axcess has opened for greats such as John Legend, Boyz II Men, and spun alongside Steve Aoki! When stadiums were open, he could be regularly found entertaining the crowds at The Ohio State University Football, Columbus Crew soccer, and The Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games. Mike was such fun to talk to with his positive energy and love for life, and we can’t wait to see where the rest of his story goes.
Thanks so much for being here today Mike! Where are you from?
Yo Taylor, thanks for having me! I’m out of Columbus, Ohio. That’s home. I was raised in Hudson, Ohio, up near Akron. I was born in Jersey, lived there for three years but I don’t really remember much. Here I am now, in Columbus.
How has quarantine and Covid affected all of your DJ work? I know that this year has had to have been just a total shift in how you’re doing the things that you do. What’s that been like?
Honestly, as far as DJs go, I feel like I’ve been kind of lucky. I would say I did 40% of the weddings that I was supposed to do this year. Then looking at the rest of the gigs I was supposed to do, I was able to do almost 10% of them. The 40% of weddings that ended up going through really helped from a financial side, so I really appreciate those couples. A lot of my couples did reschedule so I was lucky in that I only had two cancellations. In 2021 I’ll be seeing all those couples again and get to pick up where I left off. I did a gig on New Years Day and that’s my last event scheduled until I think March or April. I’m used to DJing three to five times a week, so this is gonna be interesting, even more so than last year.
Have you used this time to prep to get back out there?
You know, not really actually. Now that think about it I probably should, but right now I’m just focused on my happiness and my girlfriend’s happiness and making sure that we’re okay. Because that’s everything right? I can’t spread joy to others if I’m not happy myself. So I’ve been trying to keep myself and keep my girlfriend happy. As soon as the world’s ready, I’ll go back to making everybody else’s day brighter and getting people to dance, but until then I’m trying to do that virtually online. Twitch is becoming kind of the place for DJs. I didn’t necessarily love it for DJing, but I am a gaming fan as well so I’ve hopped back over to Twitch to do some gaming, and then I’m focusing all of my music stuff on YouTube. I was already doing that stuff before, but now I’ve had a lot more time to really dive in and understand the platforms and hone my content and go from there. So it’s just pivoting until things get back to normal
How did you get your start in the music industry?
I grew up in the Akron area and then went down to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University and then I never left. That’s where I got my start in the music industry. I was in a scholarship program and we went to a party and I was doing my breakdancing, I say breakdancing but this was pretty beginner stuff, but people thought it was cool at the party, probably cuz I was a little tipsy or whatever, but a girl came up to me and was like, “Hey, would you like to do that and get paid?“I was like, dancing for work? what is this? She tells me I would perform at bar mitzvahs and sweet 16s and stuff like that. I’m gonna get paid and I’m a college dude, so let’s do it. So I got to do a bunch of bar mitzvahs. I was basically starting off as a party entertainer, you know, basically showing kids easy dance moves. I was essentially a paid dancing babysitter, that’s the best way for that job description to roll. Eventually, that parlayed into DJing the bar mitzvahs when they hired DJ didn’t show up.
I fell absolutely in love with DJing. I started doing frat parties and sometimes the frats would rent out a bar, and then the bar owner would say “Hey, we like you. Can you come back?” That led to corporate events and while I was doing the bar mitzvah stuff that led to high schools, and then you know, the next kind of step is weddings.
I wouldn’t call it a big break, but I got hired with The Columbus Crew, which led to stuff with The Blue Jackets, which led to stuff with the Buckeyes, and so-on. In 2019 I was doing Crew games, they’re MLS champions now, so shout out to all my Columbus Crew people!
What is it like to be the DJ during a game day in something as colossal and known across America as The Ohio State University’s Football Stadium? I mean, hello!
On the ego side of things, it’s amazing. I went to Ohio State and I didn’t want to mess this up. I played a lot of what I would call “Ohio-friendly” music. The reason OSU brought in a DJ is that Head Coach Ryan Day realized that a lot of his recruits were going to other stadiums that had DJs, and that was adding to the package, you know? If you’re an 18-year-old kid coming to play football at Ohio State, you probably don’t want to be hearing 60s marching band music.
They brought me in to play something they called player music. I really took to heart that people were not excited about me using some of the band’s time to DJ, so I really tried to play music during that fan space that I think Ohioans would really like.
Where I got my stripes, got my “stamp of approval”, was the Wisconsin game and we were beating them pretty bad. In the fourth quarter, we got to play “Jump Around”, which is typically what they play in their third-quarter stretch, so it’s a very Wisconsin song. That was an amazing moment. So from the ego side of things, it’s great, and from the DJ side of things, I love to see people dance. One of the things I tell my wedding clients is to put their dance floor as close to the DJ booth as possible. Why is that? Well, I have a better feel for what’s going on on the dance floor. I can see better, I can see people reacting, and then they see me reacting to them, and we kind of create a conversation and connect that way.
Before you go, I want to do a couple of spitfire questions with you!
What would your hype or “walkout” song be?
The first one that comes to mind is so cliche, it’s Jock Jams: “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”. I have so many.
If you could DJ any event ever, it doesn’t matter the location, time period, nothing, where would you choose?
Give me a party of all DJs where I’m opening for the headliner, and we’re not on the beach, but we’re overlooking the beach, there’s a pool, and then VIP tables, and something above me where people can look down and see my hands working. I think that would be it.
Hey, as long as I can get an invite, I’ll start manifesting it for you!
I really appreciate it and to everybody out there, be safe and take care of each other.