Scruff’s Top 5

Rest is one of the most important things you can do as a DJ, along with eating healthy and exercising. When you are constantly interrupting your body’s natural sleep cycle, having the proper amount of nutrients can mean the difference between energy and a total crash. I try to eat as healthy as I can, I can say that exercising is my weakness though. Lots of people think that if you aren’t “overweight” you are healthy, that is far from the truth. Stretching your muscles and getting adequate amounts of sleep are just as vital to your health. I’m not a health guru but I do care about my fellow man, I know that i’m not the only one that struggles. I just want to encourage you to start if you haven’t, and continue if you have.

This past weekend I was feeling under the weather, I don’t think is was due to my eating habits though. This flu bug and other viruses that have been floating around finally got to me and I was forced to medicate and rest up. That doesn’t mean that the weekend wasn’t productive though. I started to work on a new production, it’s going rather slow as I had expected, but i’m going to continually push towards my goal of having original materials added to my sets. On top of working on a song, I did a live feed on Facebook, as well as work on my set for the upcoming gig at 415 in Omaha on the 23rd. I’ll be keeping everyone up to date with my travels, I have a few shows coming up across the midwest. It’s such an honor to be able to play at so many different venues, and get invited back. This just goes to show that no matter what you do, time put in will reap the reward of progression. I’m no a very patient person at times so I always wish that I was further ahead in the game, but deep down I know that i’m at the appropriate speed I was meant to be at, and I will continue to see results as time goes on. 

  1. Cream (Pax Remix) – K.A.M.A.
  2. Work For Me – Hasse de Moor & Horny Dave
  3. Night Walks – Dirty South 
  4. Brouha – Yvan Genkins
  5. Amber Alert – Bot, Sage Armstrong

Scruff’s Top 5

It’s always fun to play tracks that you feel the most comfortable with, it makes the way you control the dance floor that much more fun. Not only could you mess around with the memories from the past, word play, decade, genre etc, but at the end of the day you now have the control and can have fun. The main goal of a DJ is of course the client’s satisfaction, but you have to remember to enjoy what you do. Even though this is a job, it doesn’t necessarily have to feel like one. My event this past weekend definitely felt like a party, the dance floor was packed the whole evening and the atmosphere was amazing.

This week I had DJ Danger on for Sheldon’s Dance Experiment, it’s been a while since he had been on the show and I’ve always enjoyed a little Moomba. I look forward to each episode, it’s become not only a part of my weekly routine; but it’s helping me move forward in my journey.Though, I must say that I need to work harder on my music theory studying, after being sick of a few weeks I haven’t had the motivation. I can’t use that as an excuse, the work must go on. I honestly enjoy the things I have been learning, it’s amazing how simple it is right now. I know things will get a bit difficult later on, i’m up for the challenge. My goal remains the same, I want to start the writing process by the end of this year. Meaning, I would like to have an original in my arsenal. I want to grow in this area because it opens up the market for better shows down the line.

Saturday I was in Alton, IA for their adult prom celebration. After Doing Sheldon’s adult prom I was anxious to see what their’s would be like. The event was held at the local clubhouse, they had a meal to eat, and voting for King and Queen. There were around 120 people attendees for the meal and a few more for the dance. We had a blast, I played all the hits from the 80’s on up with a few classics from the 70’s and 60’s. This was one of those nights where you do no wrong. I played pop, country, rock n roll, and hip hop throughout the night. I’m sure by the end a lot of the couples either relived their prom night, or they got the one they should’ve gotten back in high school. Nothing but smiles, that was all I needed.


  1. Xamena – Danny Howard 
  2. Swagon – Detlef feat. Ossey James
  3. Hard (AC Slater Remix) – Breakage feat. Newman Generals
  4. Ross Mt. Park (Vinculum Remix) – Close Encounters 
  5. Mercury – Franky Rizardo 

Scruff’s Top 5

Balancing the way you promote yourself as a DJ can be quite difficult at times. All of my fellow DJ’s can agree that until you make it to a certain point, cash flow is very scarce in the DJ world. Not only do you have to fight with business owners for fair pay, but you also have your competition. I have been blessed to have many producers and DJ’s in my life that share the same idea as I. We promote each other’s events, and book each other for shows. This is the way it should be done, friendly competition to elevate potential, build fanbase, and the scene for all. This post is going to be what I consider a guide to elevating your  music scene. I am definitely no expert, but I can say that the things that I suggest will help. 

Networking – This is one of the most valuable things I have learned in the music industry. What you know can take you far, who you know can put you in the position to show what you know to others. Most of my shows are in the Omaha area, that’s a trek for me at times but know that I travel because the city has been very good to me. All of my friends in the area are striving to do the same thing that I am and are succeeding in opening up the market for all. The way I stay connected is thru social media, and support. If I can’t make the show personally, I share it as if I were on the bill. This may seem strange, in truth it shows loyalty and commitment to the scene, not just yourself. I won’t make it on every event, but I do know that the people putting on the events work just as hard as I do to gain exposure. If I can help with that exposure I will, their  sound and fanbase might not be the same as mine, yet a successful event ensures that expansion is an opportunity waiting to be seized. Supporting your friends is a must, before any big time artist got their big break, they were small town, bedroom artists, hungry, just needing someone to show some encouragement, remember that when someone asks you to come to their event.

Payout – We have all heard the saying “It takes money, to make money”. This is a very true statement, the more you invest the more likely of success. That doesn’t mean that you won’t take a loss before you make the gain that you want. Putting on events, showcases, exhibits, etc. may cost you hundreds or thousands depending on the scale. Sometimes you make that back, sometimes you don’t. Each experience should be taken as a lesson regardless. In my experience, showing artist appreciation goes a lot further than just a paycheck. An artist is more likely to come and work with you again if you treat them well, even if the show wasn’t a complete success. This entails paying a fair price, taking into consideration of travel, food, lodging, and time can all factor in when someone performs. You will see more stage presence from your artist when they know at the end of the night not only was the contract fulfilled, but they were treated like the most important person in the world. Word of mouth can either ruin or build your journey, make sure you have a positive impact on your scene no matter what it is. 

Community – It doesn’t matter if you play an instrument, paint, promote, service, or spectate. The scene is a scene because of the people. Treat each other like family, you never want to burn bridges. Make all feel welcome, you never know what someone can offer to the table. As humans we all want to feel loved, and in the music scene a lot of times that’s where most feel the love they can’t get anywhere else. Embrace, share, smile, and give all that you can to build. There is strength in numbers, the numbers grow when a good thing is formed. Be that good thing in your community, not only can you change the life of someone else, grow in size, create an environment, but you will feel complete knowing that you spread a little light on the world. 

  1. Jealousy – Disciples 
  2. Shine Good – Garmiani
  3. No Love (Kova Remix) – Volac 
  4. I’m Not Her (Hook – N – Sling Remix) – Clara Mae 
  5. Satisfy – Mercer

Scruff’s Top 5

There is nothing else I would rather do in life. Being a DJ is nothing but a rush and a lot of fun, yet there are pros and cons to everything; interacting with other DJ’s, fans, creating music and atmosphere’s are some of the pros. Though every DJ’s experience is different we can all agree on the one con that we can’t control: sleep deprivation. This weekend I had a ball, I got the chance to play music and secure my income with more wedding events. The only thing missing was sleep, it’s not like I didn’t want any, I just wasn’t awarded much due to the schedule. 

Friday I started my weekend off at TraynRek University in Arnold’s Park. It was the winter games celebration up there and the people were out and about ready to dance. The night started to get busy around 1130 and from then on out it was go time. I played a mix of the 90’s and early 2000’s for peak time, I realized by the end of the night I had to up my library with more top 40 originals, not remixes. My demographic in that area would prefer to hear the original version, just means I have to be creative in other ways: cut’s, baby scratching, etc. The night ended and  made it home by 3, this was very crucial since I had to be up at 6 am for Saturday’s festivities.

6 am came way too fast, I even hit the snooze button once, but I had to get up and be in Sioux City by 8. Dustin, Lee and I packed up the van and headed south, we were ready to showcase our talents to the incoming couples and hopefully book some events. After set up and a large cup of coffee, I was wired and ready to get the day started. I was surprised with the Bridal Fair, it was quite intimate considering it was in Sioux City. The were quite a few engaged couples we talked to and seemed interested in what we had to offer, i’m really looking forward to the next couple of weeks. After the bridal show we went to La Juanitas for my weekend fav goat burrito, Dustin and Lee wanted chic fill A so we stopped there as well. I ate lunch and passed out for a nap once getting back to sheldon, I had to travel back up to the lakes area for night two of the winter games celebration.

By the time I made it to TraynRek the place was already packed. I started the night off with some today’s EDM favorites : Galantis, Steve Aoki, and The Swedish House Mafia. From there I worked in some funky tunes and a James Brown Classic, the crowd was digging the eclectic style. By the end of the night I had played a lil bit of everything, from hip hop to pop and reggae, the dance floor stayed full and my job was complete. After packing up and the slow ride home (due to snow), it was about 4 am and I was ready to crash. My sunday was uneventful, I rested and that’s about it.

As I stated before, there is nothing else I would rather do, but if there was a way of getting some more sleep I would surely like it.

  1. Good Old Days – Macklemore
  2. Soul Power – James Brown
  3. Do Re Mi – Blackbear
  4. Go (Rex The Dog Remix) – Moby
  5. Ooh Tune (Danny Howard Remix) – Shadow Child



Scruff’s Top 5

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to showcase my talents for the students of Des Moines East public school. The children were being rewarded for their hard work with a dance party, something that I may know a thing or two about. Three different sessions 45 mins a piece, and lots of energized youth ready to boogie. I’m used to doing school events, the typical no foul language and sexual innuendo themed music, no hardcore gangster messages etc. This was different though, all the kids were between kindergarten and the fifth grade. Playing for a crowd that young poses a lil difficulty. Yes rule of thumb for most DJ’s is if the song is on the radio it’s most likely good for schools. My personal opinion is that cuts down the list for most age groups, but when you are that young, digging deeper to make things that much more clean is where the art is. Song selections included: the chicken dance, hokey pokey, happy, and juju. I might not think of myself as a role model or leader when I step up to the decks, but the love that I received from those kids at the end of the day was def an eye opener. Before leaving school grounds I was rushed with hundreds of thank you pictures and cards, some even stated that the kids wanted to become DJ’s and wanted to do what I did. That makes me melt, I love the enthusiasm and ambition that children have.

My other weekly duties were performed before I left for Des Moines. I had Dustin Cleland on the radio show for my guest mix. He is one of the founders of a DJ crew in Des Moines called The Booty Movement. I can say that the name of the crew explains all, these guys wanna keep you moving and grooving on the dance floor. They have a plenty of experience and host an annual event called: Bump & Grub, I look forward to hearing more from those guys. I feel so incredibly blessed by the opportunities that I have received in 2018 thus far. If I can give anyone advice worth listening to it’s this: Stay Hungry, Stay Humble.

  1. Those Nights – Dustycloud
  2. Chemistry (Phlegmatic Dogs Remix) – Rico Tubbs
  3. Unusual Weapon – Scotty Does Know, Warung
  4. Kung Fu Style – Ray Foxx
  5. Turbo – Benson, Hood Rich  

Scruff’s Top 5

This week was awesome, I had the opportunity to showcase my talents for another bridal show, meet up with a rising hip hop duo, and a winter formal to close off the weekend. 2018 is starting off proper, and we are only a couple days into the new year. I have to admit staying humble can sometimes be a burden, not that I want to showboat or act out of character, but when you have been doing something for a while confidence and arrogance ride a fine line close to each other. I’ve been on the radio for over 2 years now, the DJ company has been gaining more attention over the past few months, we’ve added another guy to the crew, I mean that’s something to be proud of; I just don’t want to get big headed. I know that I was raised to use manners and integrity, as I gain more exposure I want to continue to use those virtues. I don’t know if i’m afraid to lose sight of those things or what, it’s just something that’s been on my mind recently. As I continue to grow and become a better entertainer, and businessman, I hope to gain the knowledge needed to help someone else who might be starting out as an entrepreneur.

Friday night I went down to Sioux City to meet up with D.A.D. (Dope Ass Dudes). These guys have been gaining some exposure in the area due to their lyrics about being parents and the struggles that they face trying to raise kids. We (S&E) want to do a hip hop show with them sometime this summer. As you know Lee is a hip hop artist, and we want to expose some of his talents, so hooking him up with those rising stars would be an awesome opportunity. DAD had a lot of useful information to offer about being older in the scene and how to continue to reach an audience while trends shift. I felt really comfortable talking to those guys, down to earth and ready to perform at any moment, stay connected to find out more about the upcoming collaboration.

Saturday morning Lee and I were in Orange City for their bridal show. We were asked to be their showcase DJ’s and provide all music throughout the event. This is our second year doing this, and I must say I still get nervous each time. It’s not that I don’t know what to play, not only am I providing background tunes, but i’m advertising myself for bookings as well. Juggling the two tasks can be an obstacle at times, talking to couples while keeping the jams rocking, but it’s one that I enjoy. Later that night I traveled to Lake Park for their Winter Formal, this would be my 3rd or 4th year playing this event. The kids had fun, and I got a workout in dancing behind the decks. I truly love my life and enjoy rocking those funky beats, whenever I hit play I honestly feel that this is what I was called to do in my lifetime.

  1. Bang Them Walls – Bad Boy Bill, Gettoblaster, Benjamin Paper
  2. Focked Up – Tim Baresko 
  3. El Agua Clara – Angelo Ruis 
  4. Baro Rhythm (Little Enzo Remix) – Nico Mendez, The Lang Brothers 
  5. Sasha – Pale Reich


Scruff’s Top 5

2018 is off to a good start, change is coming and I am embracing it. I had my first show of the year this past Saturday in Cedar Rapids at Just Jules. This was the second time within the last 6 months I had been asked to play at this venue. The show was live streamed and the crowd enjoyed what I had played. Earlier in the day I was at the Sioux Center Bridal Show, talking to newly engaged couples, and networking with other venders that catered to weddings. I will say over the course of my musical journey I have noticed that networking will elevate your career just as fast if not faster than just relying on your ability to get booked. The two things work hand in hand, supporting other people in your field will not only put you in a place where you are connecting with like minded individuals, but it will give you the opportunity to gain some exposure. I’m not talking sales pitch, but when you are surrounded by people who are striving for the same goals, you tend to find someone you connect with, resulting in numerous potential opportunities. The brides to be were all excited to hear from the S&E guys, one couple booked us on they spot. It’s so rewarding when you find the client, the right partner, the right fit for your character. I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks as the brides start to call in. It is truly a joy and honor to be a part of the day that you will never forget.

I not ashamed to admit when I have slacked off, and I have definitely slacked the past few days. I’m staying consistent with my push ups and stretches, yet I wake up at 5 then go back to bed. I will make the excuse in my head that due to the long weekend on the road I didn’t have the motivation to get up. That’s not going to be the excuse tomorrow though. I encourage anyone trying to make a better of themselves, it’s not easy and expect to fail at times. Keep on getting up and trying again, one day it will stick and you won’t realize it but you’ll be doing what you want to accomplish on a consistent level for change. I will get up tomorrow at 5 am and stretch, drink some water, read, shower, eat a healthy breakfast learn a thing or two and get ready for work. It may seem like a lot to try and keep up with but honestly it’s not. These are the things that I want out of life for me, not for my job, or my mom, but me. This is what I have to do in order to do the things that I want to do in life, I just have to keep reminding myself that I won’t always hate getting up at 5, I will embrace it and look forward to it as time progresses, not because 5 am isn’t early in the morning, but because when I get up at 5 everything that I am doing will make me a more well balanced person in my opinion. In the long run it will make me happier, it will make me feel more accomplished, it will make the days that much brighter, because for the first time I am putting a more positive, healthier, and effective me in the front of my priority list.

  1. Mental – Wax Motif & Ricci
  2. 1998 (Ewan Jansen Remix) – Taras Van De Voorde
  3. Cold Heart – Dusky 
  4. Play – Gene Farris, Riva Starr, Dennis Cruz 
  5. Chunks – Odd Mob

Scruff’s Top 5

Happy New Year to all of you out there in the internet land. This is the first blog of 2018, i’m excited to be starting another year, another chapter in life, a start of a continuation of a musical journey. The past year has been amazing,i’ve had the privilege of traveling to various states to play music with some very talented people. To me that’s mind blowing, I mean I opened up a show for Manic Focus in 2017, played my first music festival, first masquerade, multiple shows in Omaha, Des Moines and Sioux City. The biggest accomplishment for me was taking the step to make DJing my full time job. I am truly a blessed person to be in this situation and opportunity. 2018 isn’t going to be the year that I miraculously become the next biggest thing since the fidget spinner, but it is the year that I do things with intention. Working on production, marketing myself as a brand, becoming the DJ/Business owner that I know I can be. These things take time and work, this is the year that I continue on that path, continue on my journey into becoming a better me. I will fail, I will succeed, I know it won’t come overnight and I know I can do it. This is chapter 2018: The life and times of Donnel aka Dj Scruff, and the journey to greatness. I look forward to meeting new people, experiencing new things, seeing new places, and giving a damn about my well being and happiness. I am so ready for this year, I hope you all are as well.

  1. Bring The Funk Back ( The Cube Guys Remix) – Leandro Da Silva, La Ros
  2. Blazin ( Marc Spence Remix ) – Airwolf, Sophiegrophy
  3. Poppin – Skapes 
  4. It’s Here – Solardo 
  5. Road Trips (VIP) – Kyle Watson

Scruff’s Top 5

Merry Christmas to all of you guys out there who read this blog of mine. I’m very grateful for you all, giving me an opportunity to share my journey with you. This christmas i’ll be hanging out with the Thomas family. It’s become kind of a tradition, one that I definitely look forward to. We eat a good meal, open presents, and enjoy each other’s company. That’s the real reason for the holidays in my opinion. Making memories and sharing smiles can make the coldest days warm, and poorest days feel rich. I hope that all of you out there can enjoy the same on this day.

This past week I had a birthday party in Omaha. We partied from 8pm – 6am nonstop music from all genres in the electronic scene. I was fortunate enough to play from 10-11 and from about 430 am to 6am. Both time sets gave me the opportunity to play some tracks that I had never played before live, and to help prepare for my upcoming gig in Cedar Rapids. I’ve learned that preparing can make or break the night, I hate prepping for a set to be honest. I enjoy going out and playing whatever comes to mind, just relying on reading the dance floor. In some situations that’s fine, but when you are being paid to put on a show, prepping becomes a part of putting on that successful show. That being said over the next 10 days i’ll be prepping my set for Cedar Rapids. That includes listening to tracks adding and subtracting them from my playlist, setting cue points, and hours of practice. Though it seems tedious, I know that when I step off that stage I would have given that crowd my all, and that is a feeling that you can’t replace.

My week was great in regards to getting back on track. I woke up at 5 every morning (except Friday) and drank a tall glass of water, stretched, did my push ups, showered, and cleaned my bathroom all before 6. That felt amazing to be honest, I don’t think I stop to think about that small accomplishment enough. I just started my day on the right foot, I can now build off of that and get more done. I know it may not seem like much, but for me it an improvement from sleeping in and not utilizing my time appropriately. This upcoming week I plan on structuring my mornings off with certain tasks. Each day will be a different task that will ultimately help in my long term goal of playing my own original tracks in my sets within the next 5 years. Some days i’ll just be reading and researching, other days will include exercises that incorporate the things that I have read. I will also include the usual music shopping, blog writing, online store upkeep, email answering, and of course personal reflection. Adding things to your schedule might require more time but it is manageable, especially if you plan on things taking awhile and spreading them out so that you can have positive results; not just frustration.

The online store is up now, I have merchandise for purchase. I hope that people will buy and help support the movement financially. In a day where penny pinching is at an all time high, I appreciate it when people invest in my life, advertise my brand, and help spread the word about scruff. I’ll be working towards a new line of merchandise for the spring. Stay tuned for updates, sales, and discounts. For now you can purchase a hat, hoodie, and a t-shirt online. I’ll post the link on the bottom of the blog, check it out when you get the chance.

  1.  Strobe light – Solardo
  2. The Sermon – Tchami & Malaa 
  3. Taj – BLR & Rave & Craze 
  4. About Your – Jacob Plant Feat. Maxine 
  5. Not Afraid – Tobtok Feat. Lonestate 


Scruff’s Top 5

This past weekend I had an impromptu set at the 415, my plans changed at the last minute and I was able to join Ron Gotti for his birthday party. It was the first time we played as a duo in Omaha. Our motto is “If it fits, it ships” and I promise you we played to that very style. From house to tech to techno we packed our 1.5 hour set with some awesome tunes and made the place explode. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy playing at the 415. This place specifically caters to the electronic scene, if you walk in that’s what you are going to hear all night. So the people that usually stick around really enjoy what they hear and want to be in that environment. By the end of the night the venue was at max capacity and all the artists walked out with smiles on their faces. 

Saturday I worked on my upcoming sets, I have two shows coming up and I want to make sure that I bring my best to the table. One of the shows will be in Omaha and the second show will be in Cedar Rapids. This will be my second time playing at Just Jules, the first time was fun, I look forward to the return and the chance to show another part of Iowa that house music can really make you groove. The lineup is different, the talent on the bill is going to crush it. I’m just happy to be a part of the rodeo. 

As time goes on working harder, and smarter are the two main things on my mind. I mentioned before about organizing my life to optimize my time, that in itself will be huge in moving forward. My mornings start off with some stretches and push ups to get the body moving. Afterwards a shower to completely wake up, then tasks that complete small goals. Sometimes that is answering emails or promotion on my social media accounts. Sometimes that just reading a book, expanding my vocabulary, and keeping my mind sharp. Most times though those tasks will be early morning music shopping, or working on production. This road isn’t an instant one. You will get side tracked at times, but if you have things in place to keep you moving forward, and utilize them every chance you get, you will succeed. That’s not just about djing, that holds true in your everyday life. My struggle is laziness, I can look in the mirror and say that’s one of my problems. Now that I know this, its my job, priority, and goal to defeat the laziness and push as hard as I can. My morning routine is just something to help with that process. It’s not the 100% cure to my struggles, but its my healthy daily dose for eventually removing it from my life.

  1. Moggy – Chris Lorenzo
  2. Let You Down (Dom Dolla Remix) – Peking Duk feat. Icona Pop
  3. LOL – Gene Farris, Green Velvet 
  4. Jungle (Hotfire Remix) – Noizu
  5. No Love – Volac