Jonas Orbiting poses some questions to Michal Zietara of the brilliant Zietara, DJ-Trolley Pitstop Station.
Michal, you’re the founder and operator of the Facebook page Zietara’s DJ-Trolley Pitstop Station, with which you seem to fulfill every travelling DJ´s dream: a workshop for DJ trolleys. How did you come up with the idea?
Haha, ‘the dream’ sounds good. As a lot of it was born out of necessity. I’ve been playing records myself for more than 10 years. After uncountable broken record trolley’s, uncountable e-mails and phone calls with UDG, Numark and Magma, I came to the conclusion that it can’t go on like this. How is it possible that there aren’t any spare parts, let alone spare rolls for the trolleys? At least UDG offers the whole chassis with the rolls. So far so good – but firstly who has the matching tools to rivet? And secondly: why should one obstruct those scrappy rolls again?
Some years ago I got so annoyed with it all, I began to burn CD’s for my gigs and my girlfriend donated me a CD wallet. But DJ’ing with CD’s bored me after a few months, so I began to travel with my old school aluminum record case. But this wasn’t the solution to the problem either. Something had to happen. I contacted a professional skate shop in Berlin, in which various sizes of rolls are sold.
Luckily UDG offers two different versions of their trolley: a bolted and a riveted one (hex bolt). The hex bolt version makes things easier. The riveted one drove me crazy. To replace the wheels, you have to saw the rivets, and find the fitting screws afterwards. Unfortunately there is still the first generation of UDG trolleys out there, with no skate-wheel fits. Inline skate-rolls are standardized, while UDG has its own standards. Which means: the wheels are broken; you have to buy a new Trolley. Stupid capitalism.
But finally I could change the wheels and my first trolley was saved. White inline skate wheels on a black UDG trolley, looks ace! By the way, changing the wheels isn’t witchcraft although some skilled craftsmanship could be helpful.
You’re living in Berlin, a city with a vital scene for electronic music, with plenty of clubs, record stores and quite a market for vinyl. Do you have a solid customer group for your Pitstop?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a ‘solid customer group’. It’s simple, if I repair people’s trolleys they are sorted for the time being.
For instance, I’m on the road with my new wheels for four years now. It takes a bit of necessary care for sure. Removal from time to time, cleaning and oiling. But apart from that they run perfectly. I’ll offer a kind of inspection – similar to the one your car might get – new oil for the wheels after a hard winter with salted streets or a ‘cleaning customer service’ after the dusty open air season.
After I repair the trolleys of friends they spread the word and my page on Facebook does the rest. Also I handed flyers out to some local record shops. That does the job for now. For me it’s more a hobby and of course a support for my DJ colleagues who suffer from the same problems with their own trolleys.
I’ve got a damaged trolley at home, what are the next steps to get it fixed?
I don’t have a lead time right now. The rush on my services still is quite manageable. Writing via Facebook is the easiest way right now. My doctor’s case with tools is always ready for rolling patients.
Indeed I had a customer with a MAGMA trolley some time ago, which I could take care of. But there are different versions of those, too. Sadly I’m stretched to my limits with the standardized Inline skate wheels. I always ask for a picture of the damaged trolleys, to make some remote diagnostics. And for sure, there would be plenty of different colors for the wheels, but my trademark are wheels in white. Plain, and a cool contrast to the black bags.
As said before, I’ll offer a wheel-checkup: cleaning and oil change – roll till eternity!
Did one of the producers of the trolleys contact you so far to make a licensing deal?
The thought came to my mind: what could be? I´m on the edge of my seat!
What are your future plans with the Pitstop? Do you want to make a living out of it?
Making a living out of it – no way. I just love to potter around. It’s great fun. At the same time, I can do other DJ’s a great favour and kick capitalism’s ass in some way.