It’s a move that has obviously worked out – in the last six months alone the 41 year-old has played at Blow, Opus One, Bliss Beach Club and Sri Panwa, along with many private functions.
He’s built up a reputation for his style of house music and deejaying skills, particularly in Bangkok where he worked at Bed Supperclub for nine years.
He’s also spent time in Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, China, Cambodia, and, probably the most unlikely place, Myanmar.
He travels to the country roughly once every six months, usually playing in a nightclub in Yangon for around 2,000 clubbers.
“It’s massive and it was all locals, there were about five farang in the place. I like to go to untouched, unspoiled places – people there are up for anything.”
Growing up in San Francisco, Skinner was exposed to big named bands, and regularly went to concerts with his father, Franz, to see the likes of Pink Floyd, The Who, The Police and Prince.
Emanuel says his DJ style is mostly house music, ranging from deep house to soulful house. He also enjoys underground dance, world, reggae and electronica.
“It depends on the setting and the atmosphere. I like smaller places with an intimate vibe. But once a month I love a big club.”
Emanuel also has a small production studio in Phuket, where he produces his own music as well as remixing tracks for other artists.
“Vinyl is my favourite medium,” he says. “The warmth and feel of records. It’s more of an art form, it’s not just pressing buttons.”
Like many other DJs he has an extensive vinyl record collection of around 10,000, of which one third are in Phuket with him.
“The rest are in my Dad’s storage. He’s always saying when are you going to come back and get your music?” Emanuel says with a laugh.
But technology has been part of music’s “natural progression”, he says.
“It’s much easier, and with MP3s and downloading, a lot of the artists don’t mind because it’s getting their name and brand out there.”
Emanuel is also becoming increasingly known for bringing in live music to his sets, often using a percussionist and saxophonist.
And the best part of it all?
“Seeing people at the end of the night covered in sweat. Watching people get really involved in the music, and giving me a handshake at the end of the night.
“It took a lot of sacrifice and free parties to get to where I am now – I never thought I could make a living out of deejaying.”
For more information, visit djemanuel.webs.com