Ever wondered what it’s like to be the Deputy Editor at one of the best dance music mags on the planet? For the third installment of our ‘The People Behind the Scene’ feature we chat with Erin Sharoni and find out all about her awesome working life…it’s a good ‘un!! Read on…
What is the role of a Deputy Editor?
Write. Edit. Rinse. Repeat. More specifically: I report to the Editor, Sarah Polonsky — one of my favorite people on the planet. We vet pitches, listen to and look for great music and stories, assign features, write plenty ourselves, edit content, and put together a damn fine magazine every single month. Ta-da!
Tell us about your typical day?
Wake up. Hit snooze three times and curse poor bedtime choices. Roll over. Look at phone. Find 103473562462 emails because everyone east of the Atlantic has been awake for 5-8 hours longer than you have. Shower. Walk dog. Eye emails warily again. Make coffee. Drink 3 cups. Continue to curse poor bedtime choices. Stop cursing when you open a promo from some unknown Berliner that delights your senses. Realize that in addition to a full-time day job, you have three features to write, two Skype artist interviews waiting, and an entire magazine to sub-edit. In 72 hours. Anxiously consume more coffee. Send 500 emails. Curse Apple’s shit autocorrect. Replay the Berliner’s techno promo and shuffle in desk chair. Disregard dog’s skeptical glance. Repeat.
How did you get your job?
Well, that’s quite a story. But here’s the shortest version: In a time not so long ago not so far away, I was a sports television presenter. My obsession with Arsenal FC is only surpassed by my obsession with the New York Rangers. Through this team allegiance, I met a number of like-minded New Yorkers who also worked in media, one of whom is a man called Chaim Haas. Chaim’s cousin, Andrew Rauner, is the Photo Director for DJ Mag USA. Chaim heard through Andrew that the editor of the magazine was looking for a new writer, and he knew that in addition to TV presenting, I wielded the mighty pen. He also knew of my lifelong love affair with dance music and the fact that I was a DJ. Cha-ching.
So, Chaim introduced me to one of the universe’s most dazzling life forms – Sarah Polonsky, editor of DJ Mag USA. I sent Sarah a few writing samples, along with what was probably some sarcastic, late-night appraisal of the state of our world, and quickly realized she was a long lost sister. Not literally. But we do share the same middle name.
Anyway, enter another character: Justin Kleinfeld, PR man for Tiësto, NERVO, Oakenfold, Digweed, Loco Dice and others. Justin is also a diehard NY Rangers fan and I knew him through that. His clients, the NERVO twins, were slated to be on the cover of DJ Mag USA and the story needed a writer. Justin suggested me. Sarah, bless her foresight, agreed. And thus, my very first assignment was born — a cover story for NERVO. No pressure.
You don’t need details to figure out the rest: everyone read happily ever after and a few issues worth of writing later, I accepted one of the most awesome positions I’ve ever held. Fuck a glass slipper. Take techno and a pen.
What’s the best part of your job?
The music! The story! The people! Okay, let’s break it down.
The Music: Much as we might moan over email inboxes that look like nuclear explosions, most of that mess is because we’re fortunate enough to be bombarded with piles of unreleased music in which there are absolute gems to be discovered. Including gems from genres I’d never think I would enjoy. Plus, getting to call late-night raving “work” isn’t too bad.
The Story: I’ve always been a storyteller. As a visual artist; as a writer; as an actor; as a musician. The best art tells a story in a way that makes people feel something. In a way that moves them enough to want more. That’s a challenge and it’s also a wonderful journey.
The People: Getting to connect with so many incredible souls from across the world — artists, managers, publicists, agents, A&R, promoters, other writers — is priceless. Nothing can describe my deep appreciation for that. And I’m a word-woman, so that’s saying something.
And the worst…?
Deadline deadline deadline deadline deadline [breathes], deadline deadline deadline.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
That’s nearly impossible to answer and now you’re going to make me abandon my normal sarcasm and get soft. Fine. I’d say this job itself has been a highlight of my lifelong journey through music.
Music has been a part of my life since I was a toddler surrounded by shelves of vinyl in our living room. All of my fondest memories revolve around music – jazz clubs with my dad growing up in NYC, concerts with my mom, Middle Eastern songs with my grandparents; playing clarinet and later in college, singing opera; DJing and dancing my way through the late ‘90s at warehouse raves when they were ACTUALLY in warehouses and we wore horrible pants.
Dance music is everything to me. To be in a position to share the best of it with the world is a gift. I’m so appreciative.
Any tips for aspiring editors/writers?
See my answer to “Qualifications”. But honestly, the only tip that really matters is this: You have to be in love with what you’re doing. Like relationships, there are moments of discontent but if it’s real love, you can always come back to the core of what makes you care about it in the first place. That holds true for any endeavor in life. Don’t love it? Don’t do it.
Be a damn fine writer. Be passionate. Be critical. Be willing to “kill your babies” (thank Stephen King’s On Writing for that one). Know the music, know the scene. Keep an open mind, always. Even when it’s commercial. And don’t confuse “your” for “you’re” or “then” for “than” or succumb to the ultimate sin, “would of” for “would’ve.”
Oh dear. Word count is at 1,009. I’ve written too much, haven’t I? SO MUCH FOR EDITING.
– We enjoyed reading every 1,009 of them! Thanks so much Erin.
Check out Erin being a babe and schmoozing with the stars below (from top to bottom):
with Carl Cox & DJ Mag USA Editor Sarah Polonsky at EDC Vegas
being a dancing queen
arrival at the Berlin airport to play my first gig in Germany
with Danny Daze at Ushuaïa Ibiza
with Mark Knight in Miami
with NERVO at SLS Las Vegas
with MJC in Miami
with David Beckham because let’s face it, this is the highlight of my decade