Hi, I’m Edward de Souza. Graduate of 2020, and soon to be Melbourne based art student. I recently put my summer holidays to good use where I worked in the Logistics and Music departments at Nightlife Music. During my time here, I gained many qualifications, including professional unboxer, official sticker putter-on-erer and gained first-hand experience of what it takes to be a Nightlifer.
Part 1: Logistics
I first worked at Nightlife in 2016-17, and the technology is nothing like I remembered. Back then, my role was to help manufacture the hardware that our music and software would be loaded onto. While the job is relatively similar, the technology I was manufacturing was nothing alike. The older model PC towers that I was so familiar with had been replaced by more compact and sleek media player boxes. This may seem straightforward to an outsider, but I was inspired by how the Nightlife team is continually adapting to the unstable and ever-changing technology industry, producing their best possible products, always looking for ways to innovate and improve.
Here is me at age 2 ‘DJing‘ on an even older Nightlife system.
Typically, I would spend my morning sourcing all the parts for the required build, spending hours unboxing – puzzling over the difference between waste, e-waste, comingle, and clear plastic. Just in case you didn’t know – recycling appropriately is a huge part of a Nightlifer’s life, but that’s a story for another day! When it came to the actual manufacturing process, every little aspect had to be perfect. The cables required an exact balance between taut and slack, specific screws in specific sections, all serial numbers scanned and recorded, and most importantly nothing rattling during the world-renowned shake test.
The hardest part, however, was the stickers…
Here I was in my element with the team utilising my artistic skillset to get Nightlife’s branding perfectly applied to each box. I became an expert at ever so slowly peeling the sticker off the page, lining it up at just the right spot, and just the right angle. I was rather proud of my work, but often a 10th of a millimetre difference on one side would result in Nightlife Quality Assurance kicking in. Which normally sounded like, “You’ve cooked it bruv”.
Fortunately, I got pretty good at getting it done and was able to contribute to the team’s daily production run average of 32 systems. Even though it’s COVID-times and Nightlife is down 55% of staff, they’ve done a lot to optimise their production line, automating many older and manual processes and more than doubling their daily production capacity.
Part 2: Music
The next stage of my Nightlife experience was working in the Music Department. I was finally going up in the world… actually just up one flight of stairs. There was no window seat for me yet, but the change in scenery was nice. I arrived in Music and was given some playlists to check and once again QA.
Each song in each list had to go through selection criteria of not being too fast, or too slow, with no room for any polarising acapella sections or wacky guitar solos. Basically, nothing that would make someone in a public performance space say, “Who on earth is on Aux right now”.
I didn’t realise until it became part of my job, that every song on the system has been carefully watched and handpicked by the Nightlife Music team… and I definitely didn’t have a smug smirk creep across my face when I realised that I got to watch music video clips all day! The smirk didn’t last long. Previewing music didn’t always include my normal music preferences of Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Doggy Dogg, rather a backlog list of 1500+ soul songs.
Here’s some of what I’m listening to at the moment:
So, what’s next for me?
With my newfound qualifications, I feel like I can take on anything the world throws at me. Stickers bring it on, obscure last century soul music maybe not so much. Currently, I’m going through requests from Nightlife clients for songs to be added to their system. My current favourite is a request for 20+ TikTok songs, and I regret to inform them that I will not be adding ‘I G B*tch*s’ by A2M.
In all seriousness, I am really enjoying my time here at Nightlife. It has been interesting to learn the ins and outs of an all Australian business, a great insight into working life and the importance of detail. It’s been great to be a part of such an amazing team!
At the end of the holidays, I will be starting a Bachelor of Visual Art in Melbourne.
Here’s a piece I recently completed. It’s all about the power crowdDJ gives to… well the crowd: