Veck, aka Joey Vecchione, grew up as an athlete with a flair for rock and roll. After hearing Avicii for the first time as a college baseball player, he picked up his first DJ controller and hasn't looked back.
“I became my own little jukebox,” says Veck. As a kid, Veck and his Dad cruised left-lane style on the way to little league games with classic rock choruses blistering the speakers. AC/DC, Journey, and Boston anthems shook the car’s frame almost as vigorously as the vocals shouted by the father-son duo. “I had a special bond with my Dad outside of baseball,” says Veck. “Trips to and from the field we were always blasting rock and roll. That’s when I really started to appreciate music.”
Veck, known as Joey Vecchione, and “Joey” or “Veck” to his friends and family, dedicated his younger years to baseball. After thousands of rides to the diamond and back, he earned a scholarship to play ball at the University of Richmond. Lifting, conditioning, practicing, and playing comprised the heartbeat of a forty plus hour per week college baseball schedule. One dark, freshman year morning, Veck scrambled from the dorm to the locker room to make a 6am team lifting session. The seniors routinely blasted Alesso, Swedish House Mafia, and other edm pump-ups to jolt awake the team’s still half asleep psyches. Freshly released and a most powerful wake-up call, ‘Levels’ by Avicii was the jam of choice that morning. The layered synths lifted the souls of thirty ball players, building to a peak gracefully washed away by an Etta James vocal sample. “Ohhh, sometimes I get a good feeling, yeah!” As a group of guys rode the adrenaline into the weight room with the song already fading from their minds, Veck clung to the electronic masterpiece as fuel for something greater.
Less than a week later, Veck bought his first DJ controller, a Numark Mixtrack. He started with live mix sessions, making mashups on the fly without any added software. “It’s way more difficult in a DJ software rather than mixing properly with production software,” he says. Veck soon adopted Fruity Loops (FL) Studio, the same workstation used by Avicii.
Not long after, he tested his skills for the first time at an apartment party. Cables ran from the kitchen speakers to a makeshift desk Veck set up to support his DJ board, a contraption comprised of two large wooden chairs with the seat cushions removed. Nerves settled in, but the familiar faces smiling and dancing guided him into a free-flowing zone. “Before I play, I get harmless butterflies like before a baseball game - a fearless excitement,” says Veck. “As soon as you realize people are enjoying it you settle into a comfort zone.”
While balancing a college baseball schedule, Veck routinely played campus parties and downtown events the next four years in Richmond. Missing two years of baseball from injuries and Tommy-John surgery, Veck enrolled in grad school at Rollins College and carried on his athletic and music career. In the heart of Orlando, he DJed local hangouts four to five nights a week. “Getting to a spot, setting up, first one there last one out... most people don’t understand what kind of control that entails,” says Veck. “You’re in charge of every note that goes through the venue’s sound system for five hours straight.”
While the crowd gyrates to the current beat, the DJ’s mind must focus on the next song. After a seamless transition, the track pulsating through the club buys time to line up the tune on deck. “That next minute or so you have to scroll through and match the current song to one with a similar key or style, or make the decision to take the flow in an entirely new direction,” says Veck. “I think about the next song while the current one is playing before any manipulation or transitional efforts are applied.” A screw-up can turn a smooth set into a trainwreck, but Veck doesn’t dwell on the possibility. “I’m never scared to make a mistake.”
Outside of playing sets, Veck produces his own originals and official remixes. “Sometimes the perfect idea will come to me from the beginning, in my head, then I hum the melody into my phone,” he says. Other times, Veck fiddles on the keyboard and forms the skeleton of a track before the building begins. “I used to just throw a lot of layers together and the sonic quality wasn’t as good,” he says. “Now, I don’t incorporate unnecessary elements that clog things up in the final stages.”
His latest official remix, ‘Rob Hazen-Electric Love (Veck Remix)’ came alive through a friendship on social media. Veck and Hazen met through direct message and stayed in contact. Hazen released ‘Electric Love’ through his own label, who then gave Veck the rights to make an official remix. Veck already had multiple unofficial remixes under his belt with significant streams, but the ‘official’ title allows the artist to drop the remix with label backing on all streaming platforms. “An official remix opens more doors and leaves more lanes available for promotion,” he says.
Now graduated and working full-time outside of Djing, Veck looks to monetize his skills and carve a path in the music industry. Before any heavy hitters invest, he needs the numbers to prove potential. “Labels are far from the priority at this point… one has to prove themselves to be a stream and revenue-generating machine before the ‘big boys’ (record labels) get involved.” Listening to popular tracks boosts Veck’s confidence in grabbing listeners’ attention. “I hear other stuff out there and know I can compete.”
For Veck, DJing provides a goal to embrace outside of the office. Rather than look forward to a weekend of leisure, Veck maximizes his free time tweaking music to perfection. “It’s something dangling in front of me that keeps me working non-stop.” he says. “I use my own energy as a gauge, working as long as I can until I have to shut down. I can’t tell you the last time I was bored because I always have work to do with music.”
In the next few months, Veck has nothing but official remixes and originals coming out. Currently collabing with vocalists across the nation, Veck will turn it up a notch this fall. As the pressure mounts to break into a packed industry, he lasers in on the quality of each project. “I want to be known as someone who commits to putting out only my best work… not churning out tracks solely for the sake of mass content.” says Veck. “I have the most respect for artists who only release material once they finally believe they can’t make it any better.”
Listen to Ed-Sheeran - Shape of You (Veck Remix) here: