How do I become a DJ? What do I need? Where should I go? These are some frequent questions we hear from our readers. So you wish to be a DJ? You want to make the crowd move to your every whim. You need to be center stage and have all eyes on you. You need to be an artist, but don’t know where to begin. We will not go too much into the details, mostly because this is a very personal journey, but we can help you to get started and provide you a couple of terms you should know and skills you’ll need to learn.
Before we begin, let’s make something clear. This isn’t only a new adventure you’re embarking on, it’s a lifestyle change. According to this site, it doesn’t matter why you want to be a DJ since everyone has their own rationale. It’s a devotion to music that few people are able to understand, let alone match. Becoming a DJ is not for the faint of heart or introverted. It’s putting your soul out there to the world and saying”this is who I am!” , taking the slings and arrows of haters and fakers who believe you’re trash or believe they could do it better than you. You will need to deal with some of the worst kinds of individuals who don’t see you as an artist, but as a tool to make them cash. If you can take all ofthat and still be yourself, you’ll discover a career that’s gratifying, challenging, exciting, and most of all fun.
Getting Started on Becoming a DJ
First things first, what exactly does a DJ actually do? Essentially, you’re the person who plays the music in any venue. That’s as simple as it gets, but there is somuch more. You may specialize in a single, but a great DJ needs to have the ability to work a variety of these disciplines. Should you decide that you only need to be a club DJ, that is fine. Just remember, this is your career. A basketball player that can take, but be unable to play defense, rebound, pass or dribble, is not going to make it on any team. Becoming a DJ is no different. If you can mix different types of music, and you can change your style on the fly, then you may open up as many opportunities available for you as possible. You will also have to be proficient with blending and production software. This will be probably the most challenging part. Get intimate with the software. Learn what tools the software offers, and how they operate — it will help you to get accustomed to breaking down the songs.
You don’t need to use applications if you want to go”old school”. Scratching the old vinyls for their inevitable destruction is an extremely respected form of the artwork, plenty of fun and the toughest to master. It takes a bit of talent and a ton of skill to be a pure scratch DJ, but everyone loves a good one. Software is available to help accelerate your workflow as a digital DJ, but your cool factor may not go quite as high. Being a scratch DJ is also very expensive in both time and money, driving around town searching for the few vinyl stores left is time consuming, but worthwhile.
How to Find DJ Software
You can use a DJ laptop or desktop to control your equipment. Evidently, the desktop is to your home studio and the laptop will make you mobile. Mixing software is the digital side of becoming a DJ. It will let you find the tunes in a visual demonstration, break them down, put two songs together, and mix and match as you like. You may use a library or playlist stored on your computer to add to the mixing so you can seamlessly match beats, EQ, control the gain and Phase. Most software has a hefty instruction manual, be sure to read it and become familiar with the controls. You may need to experiment with some of those controls to find out what they can do and how they do it, but it will be well worth it in the end.
The way the software works is fundamental in description, but in practice can find a bit confusing. The equalizer is truly only a volume control for different sound frequencies, gain control operates by adjusting the amount of each channel, along with the crossfader is just what it sounds like. It fades from one channel to another. Beat matching permits you to adjust two unique songs to play at exactly the same tempo and”phase” them together. All in all, we recommend just going for a specific program (read our best DJ software guide for our selections), particularly the trial version to see how it is. It will take a while to learn and definitely will not be easy, but when you’re ready to master or learn some intricacies of software, you’re already ahead.
Buying the Right DJ Equipment
You may go high-end if you prefer, but the equipment costs can very quickly accumulate. To begin, all you really need is two turntables or CD players, applications (if you want to go electronic), speakers, headphones, and a two channel mixer/controller. That’s the bare bones system you may need merely to get started. Broken needles and mixer hooks will be a constant, and needles are not exactly cheap but the turntables should be purchased new. Records will also make the list if you intend do go analog. If you decide to go digital, you still need turntables and a mixer, however you’ll also need the software and computer to go with it. The software can be cheap or expensive, so in the beginning, you should probably save your budget and find a trial to get started.
Speakers are not going to be a huge problem early on, so it’s okay to find cheap ones when you’re just learning your skills. They will be the frame the people today view your artwork through, so eventually you’ll want to find a good pair. Your DJ headphones ought to be the over-ear style. It’s ideal to get used to this style early because when you operate a gig, the noise of the crowd, the music and people trying to talk to you while you work will be competing for your attention. You want to have the ability to block out that noise and concentrate on your mixing. After all, this will be your job. The controller will be your very best friend and should likewise be purchased new if possible. Our beginners DJ equipment guide may be of use here, as it goes into a lot more depth for equipment specifically for starting DJ’s.
How to Learn to Work Your DJ Equipment
The multitude of buttons, switches, sliders and dials can be somewhat intimidating at first but once you get an understanding of what they give you, they will become like your paint brushes. Getting started with DJ’ing is all about optimizing your abilities and in order to do that, you’ve got to be comfortable with the controls. Let’s begin with the controller. An all-in-one DJ controller (read that guide for some good beginner selections) is probably among the easiest on the market, although they can vary from about $100 to above $3500. A DJ controller and a vinyl deck are pretty much the same as far as how they function, the difference being that the vinyl deck actually uses records. You don’t need a $3500 controller off the bat, or probably. With a couple of hundred dollars you can get all you will need to get started mixing and recording songs. Nowadays, newer controllers come with a LAN connection that will let you connect to multiple devices simultaneously, which combines with software to permit you to access loops you have created, share music between the devices and sync them up. Slip mode lets you scratch or loop sound over another song and the jog dial (or wheel) will let you scratch and scrub the music.
On to the mixer, a DJ mixer is like an air traffic control. It’s responsible for taking in all ofthe inputs and directing the sound through the equalizer. You also don’t need a computer to run a CDJ mixer, which will come in handy if you decide to be a booth DJ. The downside is they are expensive though, about $1000. It controls the volume and sound frequency levels for each device and passes that sound out to the speakers. All mixers have two stations, but a club mixer has several. Each channel has a frequency control and fader that are ultimately controlled by a master output that controls everything. The headphones are how you sync and prepare another track before you extend the crowd in greatness. Since only you can hear this output, it will provide you some time to troubleshoot, locate your next recording and make sure everything is all set.
Ideas for How to Be a DJ
Go out and observe other DJ’s work. Most don’t mind and some will answer questions if they know you’re serious about the lifestyle. See how they use the equipment, change the pace and interact with the crowd. Watch their technique, each DJ has different controls and different ways they control them. Do not pull your phone out and try to picture them though. It’s a business, and having someone film you at work then place that movie up on their website so that they can make money is a significant issue. Frequent the clubs that play the songs you love first.
As your skills develop over time you may go to other clubs that play other songs you like so that you can diversify your options and make yourself more employable. Mingle with the crowd and get a feel for the atmosphere, pace of the songs and music they like. Becoming a DJ means that you put on plenty of hats. Manager, promoter, technical advisor, social media manager, logistics manager and artist are merely some of the jobs you’ll have. Being ready when you meet a promoter is quite important. It’s a job interview, and you need to put your best foot forward.
Be confident and ready to over deliver. The crowd is your canvas, your oxygen. It’s the reason you are there. Know your audience before your initial recording is synced up. They are already on your corner and they’ll be your support. Be in the life, show your face in the club. Promoters want to know that you are into their club and you appreciate their audience.
Concluding Tips for Beginning to Be a DJ
How to become a DJ is a difficult question to ask and is an arduous journey. It will be full of disappointing rejection and elating chances. We say chance because in the end, that is really all you require. Getting lucky is also a part of that. With so many DJ’s competing for only a few gigs, it’s an uphill climb. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Create a presence on social media and develop a following. Interact with them and allow them to get to know your personality and style. It’s a wonderful place to start.
If you work hard and develop your skills, you will enable your talent to really shine. Be genuine. You don’t need to need to maintain a facade for your whole career. People can usually spot a faker when they see one. Being yourself is the easiest way to live, and people gravitate towards the actual.