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So you want to become a DJ? Things to think about…

by / Thursday, 09 February 2012 / Published in General Post, Information

Tito Pulpo - All Back to ours party - Brickhouse - London Oct 2010

There’s been  a lot of talk recently of new upcoming, soon-to-be-discovered “DJ Rockstars” with the announcement that Simon Cowell and Will Smith are teaming up to produce a DJ competition TV show. The “X-Factor” style showdown will set out to scour the Earth and find the new DJing talent of the future.

While the initial thought of this repulses me I can’t help but wonder how the hell they’re gonna play this one out.  There’ll no doubt be a flood of upcoming wannabees jostling for the hotspot of SuperstarDJ-dom under the guise of  wanting to become a DJ.  But do these Super Star DJ wannabees really have what it takes to become a DJ?  Let’s ask a few questions…

I don’t claim to be a professional DJ (current flow of gigs proves that) although I do class myself as a decent DJ.  I’ve graced the DJ booths of many a club and I perform my own regular radio/video show over the internet every week.  I DJ for  joy rather play commercial music outside my preferred genre for money, although I never say no to any financial offerings…and I’m not free :)

Now, as I said, I’m no pro but I do have an good idea of what DJing is all about and there are certain qualities I believe one must possess to be a DJ.  If you want to become a DJ then, before stepping out into the big wide world of musical entertainment, you need to stop and not think about how for the moment…stop and ask yourself a few questions…

1) Why do you want to be a DJ?

If the answer is purely “Fame and Fortune” then (in my honest opinion) forget it now.  You’ll soon get fed up of it when the fame and fortune doesn’t kick into play as soon as you’d like…unless you enter (and of course win) the “Decks Factor”. :)

Ironically, I’d never actually asked myself this question (until writing this).  I actually fell back into DJing when I moved to Spain a few years ago.  I found it extremely difficult (almost impossible) to find anywhere locally that played the music I knew and loved so much.  Having had DJing experience some time ago in the past back in London and always wanting to get back into it, I used this to start up Save Our Soul and this is what relaunched my DJing “career”.

The love for the music and also the channel through which to introduce more people to my favourite genre is what drives me to do what I do.  Music is almost literally my life; in some shape or form I live and breathe it.  I enjoy listening to it, playing it, producing it…I’d have it cooked into my Sunday roast if I could.  I’ll be a DJ, successful or not but the joy of sharing it with others is what drives me to be successful.  I’ve slowly but surely built up a small global following as well as some local success here in Spain on the club scene, but it’s not been easy (AT ALL) and it’s still early days for me in the professional DJing world.

2x Pioneer CDJ2000 with Pioneer DJM2000 mixer - Things I want!

Warning:

Becoming a professional / successful DJ
IS NOT EASY!

Getting ahead in any industry takes A LOT of time, effort and money and becoming a successful / professional DJ is no exception.  You’ll have to get hands on.  Very hands on. Purchasing equipment is a varied cost depending on what equipment you use or what your budget can extend to.  The DJ equipment I use currently is extremely humble and restrictive to say the least but it continues to get the music out there.  Then you have to buy music and then get to know your equipment well to truly entertain your crowd.  I’ve managed to explain this in a few words but believe me, time, money and energy will be your biggest outgoings on your journey to DJ nirvana.

On top of these consuming and  ongoing tasks, you’ll have to get yourself known as a DJ.  Promotion is the word we’re looking for here.  Like any industry you’ll need to advertise the fact that you provide this service.  You’ll have to demonstrate your prowess, promote your image and get yourself known.  This is no easy feat and [once again] with the advancement of technology, there are more DJs out there finding more ways to promote themselves.

Easier access to music that’s more easily (mass) produced which is easier to mix = More DJs  = more competition.  Believe me, promotion takes up A LOT of time, effort and money and you have to work extremely hard to get your talents noticed. Knowing people in the industry always helps so get to know other DJs, promoters, venue owners and check out some DJ agencies that may operate in your area.

So far we have…

  • Purchasing kit – time effort and money – a lot
  • Purchasing music - time effort and money – a lot
  • Promotion - time effort and money – A HELLUVALOT

See a pattern????

Ask any DJ.  It’s bloody hard.  If you have a genuine love for the music (or want for fame and fortune) and none of the above will get in the way of your dream then read on…

2) Can you actually mix?

This may seem like an obvious obstacle if you want to become a DJ.  But read on…

Depending on the type of music you want to play when you DJ, you may or may not need to possess the skills required to mix tracks together in a seamless manner.  If you’re looking to do clubs and electronic is your choice then, once again modern technology has stepped to the aid of the beatless wonders and now with the advent of the “SYNC BUTTON” on digital mixers, mixing nightmares are becoming a thing of the past.

For an idea of the type of Digital Dj equipment is available  with technology check out the latest offering from Pioneer – The new Pioneer DDJ-ERGO-V – Portable DJ mixing console.

Although if you really have no clue on mixing to the point where this technology can’t help you and you still want the dream, then LEARN QUICK.  There are plenty of online courses available (many for free) as well as books, video tutorials and online forums that can point you in the right direction.  You will still need equipment to practice on.

That’s a few points to think about – No doubt I’ll post up more in the near future as they come to me but for now, I hope it’s given you some food for thought…

 

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