Review: DJ-kirja by Iina Esko & Matti Nives (eng. The DJ Book)


Disclaimer: This book has, unfortunately, not been translated into English. Thus all the excerpts here have been translated by yours truly.

DJs, record collectors, clubbing. Photographs, interviews, articles. This book introduces a group of Finnish disc jockeys and highlights some of the trends in the Finnish clubbing culture. A voice is given to both beginners as well as professionals with long and thriving careers. This book contains many stories, and in the heart of each of them is music.

A while ago I got an email from an author, asking me if I would be interested in reviewing a book that he had produced together with a team of writers. It was a non-fiction book about DJs and their local music scene here in Finland, published with the help of crowdfunding and already at its second print run. Granted, I knew nothing of the topic nor could remember visiting a club just to hear the DJ playing, I was intrigued by this offer. And the more I researched the book, the more my interest grew and thus I was happy to receive the book for review. 

DJ-kirja (eng. The DJ Book) is divided into three parts: First are a couple articles that explain some of the key moments in the history of DJ culture, the technological development as well as some of the pioneers in the Finnish DJ culture. The second part consists of personal interviews with DJs from all kinds of backgrounds, music tastes and ages, giving an insight on what the music scene is today. The third and final part showcases club flyers and is essentially a conversation between different people about the graphics as well as format of flyers and their function. I think the division was well-executed as the first part gave a lot of information to someone unfamiliar with the terminology, and also formed some connections to the interviewed artists. The interviews themselves were illustrated with beautiful photographs taken by Iina Esko and together the text and the photos created a deep sense of intimacy. The stories had ups and downs, funny anecdotes and of course a lot of references to different music genres which had me scribbling notes to myself to check out all these new names.

I’ve read shamefully little non-fiction this year – no, scratch that – I generally read shamefully little non-fiction. However, The DJ Book was such a pleasure to read, and so well put together, that I feel inspired to try out more non-fiction. I’ve recently seen a lot of recommendations of artist biographies, especially Patti Smith’s Just Kids. Aside from reading more non-fiction, this book has truly encouraged me to look out for a DJ gig to see it in action. To inspire that is no easy feat for a book! I definitely recommend this book to all music lovers, for it offers insights that are not genre specific as well as a ton of music recommendations.

26/10 UPDATE: On the Helsinki Book Fair, DJ-kirja was awarded the Best Indie Book Award 2014.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


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