Published on September 23rd, 2019 | by Ramona Sarac0
The story of DJ Modee – how to turn your huge passion into a lifestyle, if you work hard and just follow your heart
More than 20 years ago, when he was just a teenager, DJ Modee got a gift from his father – a walkman with an audio tape that he played over and over, until the sound couldn’t be heard properly. It was the moment when he fell in love with music – huge love of a lifetime. Many things changed, ever since. He started making electronic music, played the main character in a movie, had a band, released musical albums and had songs in radio charts. He reinvented himself over and over again, became a famous DJ and a musical producer. Started going to the biggest festivals, in Romania. And, this year, he became part of a very special project – special guest in an electro-symphonic concert, on the stage of Magyar Opera from Cluj Napoca. The boy with the walkman, from more than 20 years ago, mixed surrounded by more than 70 instrumentalists, in front of almost 1.000 people, in a sold out show. It wasn’t easy at all – he had a lot of other jobs, many years, in parallel with music, to be able to follow his dream – but never gave up. And he is so lucky – he loves what he is doing so much that he still feels, after more than 20 years, the same strong, pure emotion at every meeting with his wonderful audience.
Modi Levente (40 years old), known as DJ Modee, is well known today among clubbers and electronic music lovers. He has a name, fans, many projects, had songs on radio charts and mixes at the biggest festivals in Romania. But he worked hard until he got here. He fell, rose, tried again and again, never gave up and never lost trust. Today, he feels every day lucky and blessed – to do what he loves with the same passion and emotion as at his very beginning.
The boy with a walkman
He can’t say he loved music until he was 14 – maybe because his father listened to music all the time and, for him, seemed too much at one point. But everything changed when he turned 14 years old and got a walkman from his father. “I rolled the first audio tape until I couldn’t hear it very well – and that’s how I feel in love with music”, he says.
In 1997, he rented a synthesizer from Rodion Rosca, the first musician who starting making electronic music in Romania. “I started to press – I had no idea what it was about, I graduated an electro-technic high school”, he remembers, laughing. He learnt the musical notes and ranges all by himself, without musical studies but with a lot of hard work.
The first band
Then he met a guy, Gasparik Zsolt, who just finished the musical high school, and thought about doing something together. He had a studio, a computer, two speakers, some equipment and some experience – and a lot of dreams. “The band was called X-treme, we started doing dance music”, Levi remembers. And it was that moment he’ll never forget – with the first song on a CD, they knocked at a local radio’s door. In less than a month, the song was the first in radio’s chart.
“We started producing electronic music more. We were so proud we had a band, that we walked in town with our stage costumes”, Levi says.
In 2001, they changed the lady who was the singer and the name of the band, also. Fluo, the new band, had 3 albums released and number one hits in Romania and Budapest, Hungary. “In parallel, I started producing music for others, also, I made 10-12 albums for different singers or bands”, Levi says.
In 2000-2001, he was also the main character in a three part movie where the action took place in his neighborhood.
In 2007, the lady who was the singer left the country. The boys continued in a formula of two until 2010, when they stopped, after 11 years together.
DJ and musical producer
Levi went on with musical production and also kept on working as a DJ, in clubs and pubs from Cluj Napoca, his native town. Many would say it’s tiring, but he loves what he is doing so much that he never felt his work like that. “After 14 years I can’t say it affected me or that I’m a different person. It’s tiring, but what’s not tiring if you work?” he says.
Beyond this. he also starting collaborating with the local studio of the national Romanian radio, as a musical producer and radio imaging expert.
Back on the stage. On the opera scene
In 2013, he had another beautiful meeting. An old client looked for him, and made him a big surprise. 11 years earlier, the boy who was staying in front of him, Hunor, asked him to make a song for him. He told him he couldn’t – his voice was changing then – and asked him to come back after he turns 14. He did not, but he came back when he was 25, to ask Levi if he wants to make some music together.
It was the beginning of Massive Fluo – a duo DJ formula in which they attend now all the big specialized festivals in Romania. They also collaborate with a lady who is a singer – Iris Green, and things work more than fine.
And, this year, he became part of a very special project – special guest in an electro-symphonic concert, on the stage of Magyar Opera from Cluj Napoca. The boy with the Walkman, from more than 20 years ago, mixed surrounded by more than 70 instrumentalists, in front of almost 1.000 people, in a sold out show. “It’s a wonderful experience – to put music with the orchestra with you – it’s extraordinary, am emotion that leaves you breathless”, he says. The show was such a success that others followed in other cities, and they received invitations to play it abroad also, in Holland and Norway.
Lucky and blessed
Looking back, now, after 20 years of hard work, Levi feels lucky and blessed. Many years, he had different jobs in parallel with music, just to be able to go on with his passion. He washed cars, distributed newspapers, was a seller in supermarket, fixed printers and set up surveillance cameras. He never complained and never gave up.
He feels lucky and blessed for everything he has – a beautiful family, a loving wife and a new born child, and a job which is actually a passion of a lifetime. And beautiful memories, from every meeting with his audience. After all these years, he still has emotions before every performance – there isn’t any routine, and that’s so beautiful.
“I don’t know how all these years had passed, I have towards music exactly the same feeling I had when I first put the audio tape in my walkman. Before every show I have emotions. First of all I have to be good enough for myself, only this way you can be good for your audience. Shows are different, every audience is different, there’s no routine, you can’t go with a playlist already done. Every show is a challenge, that audience will never repeat, you have to learn to identify your audience and adapt, not to learn a playlist”, he says.
Emotional moments? At every show, actually. Like that one when he stopped the players at the end of a show and the whole audience started singing – No Modee, no partyyyy. Or when a little girl, 6 years old, came to him and told him – I know you, mum and dad have your picture on the wall. And so many more.
“I’m lucky to earn my living doing something I just love. But it wasn’t easy. You need a lot of courage and family’s support is essential. And yes, if you truly want something, you certainly can.”, he adds.
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