Agata Urbanska

How Ewan McVicar Went From Teaching to Chart Topping DJ

Feb 13, 2023

Erin Cobby

4 min read

Being a DJ has always had a certain level of pedagogy associated with it. While DJs will often play bangers that will have the crowd singing along, sometimes they’ll shake things up by teaching their fans about new genres or tracks. For Scottish DJ and producer Ewan McVicar however, this link goes much deeper.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” he says to MistaJam in an interview for Capital Dance. “I went to quite an affluent school when I was younger, but it was only because I was part of a scheme. We lived in a rougher area and my mum used to walk me and my brothers a few miles away so we could go.”

Ewan attributes a lot of his drive to this awareness of what a more comfortable life could look like. It also encouraged him to become a spokesperson for equality (his Instagram bio lists him as a ‘man of the people’), naturally drawing him towards education. “I always felt on the other side when I was around these kids, so I wanted to become a teacher, so I could give everyone the same chance,” he explains.

This idea spurred Ewan on to university, where he set about getting his teaching degree. However, the trappings of the skint student lifestyle soon forced him away from his books in search of a job. He had been dabbling in night promotion since he was 17, so he decided to take up the same role at the local club in his uni town.

One day, it was lashing it down with rain, and Ewan decided that he’d had enough, and he thought to himself: ‘Why am I outside making peanuts when I could be inside playing tunes?’

And that was that. The club’s DJ gave him a miniature metal mixer to practice on, and he set it up alongside PC speakers on his ironing board in his bedroom. Ewan didn’t emerge from his DJ cave for months, and when he was ready, he eventually started running his own club nights. “I really get obsessed with stuff,” he laughs, describing his origin for Tessuti’s Stand Out Stories.

However, it wasn’t just a hatred for the cold that spawned Ewan’s career. “I’ve always loved music,” he says to MistaJam. “Back in the Limewire days, I was always bluetoothing unreleased tunes by Kanye West and DJ Felli Fell. It was just never something I felt I could do myself.”

DJing gradually became more everpresent, and by the time he graduated, his passion for education had ebbed into one for music. He called his mom up after graduating to tell her he didn’t want to be a teacher anymore.

“She threw the absolute kitchen sink at me, mate,” he says, laughing. “She went mental, but she’s now my biggest fan. She always sends me screenshots of how many times my tracks have been Shazammed - she looks at it more than I do!”

However, her initial anger may have been premature, as Ewan hasn’t given up on teaching entirely. “I’d love to do something which unites both passions,” he says. “Maybe set up a music school in my hometown, as nothing much really goes on there like that.”

So, Ewan’s mom may still get to call him Mr. McVicar one day, as it seems that he’s not dead set against trading decks for desks, at least for a little while.

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