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​What It's Like Being in a DJ Couple, According to Dani Deahl

All's fair in love and Ableton as the "SMYK" producer discusses how she makes it work with her boyfriend Phives. #relationshipgoals

A lot of people have rules within their relationships: do the dishes, close the damn cabinet doors, don't fart in the kitchen. My husband and I have one that tends to seem weird to other people with more 'normal' lifestyles. If one of us is out partying and coming home past 7AM, send the other a text so there's no worry.

My name is Dani Deahl. I am a producer/DJ married to Phives, another producer/DJ who is part of Chicago's Porn & Chicken crew. We met when he booked me to play the event, we got engaged after less than thirty days, and got married on Cinco de Mayo in Gramaphone Records, the store where we had our first date.


Our unity symbol at the altar was pouring shots of Jameson from the bottle into each other's mouths. Everything about our relationship doesn't make sense when I try to explain it to people who don't know us. On paper, it's crazy. In real life, it works.

Before I met Fei, I was dead set on not being involved with someone who was in nightlife. In fact, I also thought I would never get married. He was different though. We both knew there was an intangible 'something' when we met each other, a gravitas that existed between us, and he told a friend that night at the club "I'm going to marry that girl." It wasn't long after that we began to date and we both abandoned every piece of caution from our brains to delve head first into this thing that was consuming us in the best way possible.

When it came time to propose, we were lying in bed one night, joking about sneaking off to Vegas and getting married. At a certain point in the conversation, we realized neither one of us was really joking. I got up from bed and went to the bathroom where I had a prop tin ring saved from a previous Vegas wedding themed Porn & Chicken. I brought it to Fei, opened my hand and without hesitation, he put it on my hand. There was no bent knee, no 'will you marry me,' no shiny diamond. We sat there in the dark, with a party favor on my ring finger and hugged each other.

It's now been over two years since we got married and things are still the same. We're still madly in love with each other and live by the same rules that any functional relationship would. Even so, there are difficulties.


Finding time for each other is harder than you would think. We work on our music careers during business hours, and then more often than not go out at night. Hitting a club or two might be a date for some couples, but with us, we run into everyone we know and it becomes a group activity, not a Fei and Dani activity.

Time just for the two of us is important, and we have to be creative with how we carve it out. For Christmas last year, I gave Fei a stack of envelopes, one for him to open at the beginning of each month with a hint to a date I had planned for us. January was a theatre date at Steppenwolf in Chicago, February was a monster truck rally.

It works for the same reason any other couple's relationship works. We are mindful of each other's needs. A few days ago our tour crew came home from a block of dates on the road and he had already set up an air mattress in the living room and gotten sheets out. I melted a little when I saw that. If I go to bed early but Fei goes to afterhours, he'll sleep on the couch so he doesn't wake me up when he comes home. Then when I get up, I coax him from the couch to the bed. Secretly, I kind of love when this happens because more often than not he talks in his sleep as I'm waking him up and says stuff like 'I need waffles for the spaceship.'

At the end of the day, it's just about trust, especially given what we do for a living. I mean, Fei is part of a weekly party that is known for being one of the wildest nights here in the city (they don't call it Porn & Chicken for nothing), and I left home for two months with three other people he only sort of knows. It's fine though, because we trust each other's decision making.

If one of us is traveling, we check in with the other person night of the event and before we crash out at the hotel. We think about what the other person would feel is okay when we're out partying or at an afters. That means things like me not going to Harry Potter when we hit Orlando on this tour (because I know Fei wants to go too), or making sure I'm with someone I know who's sober if I'm out partying on the road. It's our norm, the same way many other people's norm is to go to an office every day. Our office just tends to have a lot of loud music, lasers and Jameson.

It's funny that I used to avoid dating people in nightlife because I think that's part of why we work together so well. We understand the insanity of what we do as saneness. Standing on a bar and pouring Fireball into someone's mouth? Sane. 3am studio session with vocalists? Sane. Leaving the other at home while going on a two month tour? My heart hurts…but sane. At the end of the day, a good relationship is dependent on universal concepts, no matter if you're a desk jockey or a disc jockey. #relationshipgoals

Dani Deahl is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter
Phives is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter