DJing is about balancing new music and classics, originality with formula, technical skill and passion. Being able to make these decisions on the fly is the reason to seek out and gain your experience hours. Along the way, it’s worth remembering some of the basic principles that got you into the game to begin with. Let’s take a look at a few things to remember while DJing.
Change up the style
You only ever get older and more experienced. Nobody gets to go back. But would you really want to? Would you really want to be fossilized in a moment, playing the same 200 tracks forever? The real charm of career DJing is discovering new music and being able to share it with new people. Your audience might not be young forever, but hopefully they’re open-minded enough to be receptive to new musical styles. The take-home here? Try new things. Fail fast. Learn from your experience and find the people that matter
Meet them halfway
If you’ve been DJing for longer than a couple of years, you’ll have noticed how tastes have changed. It’s a constant, one-way evolution with the occasional throwback. DJs who make a career out of their work understand one thing very clearly. You’re there to play the music that your audience wants to hear, and the audience is constantly changing. So whether you want to meet the needs of the industry directly or embark on the more difficult path of finding and growing that audience is up to you. But if you’re doing it for any kind of financial incentive, it’s a matter of meeting the audience at least halfway. DJs who get upset when people make requests during their favorite song tend to miss that point. So, as basic as it sounds, you need to find the material that is in demand while you grow your own audience.
Remember their needs
This isn’t about you. This isn’t about charting on Beatport or beating out the tech house flavor of the month with insane production and social climbing. It’s about the audience you seek to serve. If your aim is anything other than to collect and share good, distinctive music with a small group of people who can’t live without it - in other words, people who would miss you if you weren’t there - then you’re on the slow and ultimately dissatisfying path to generic averageness. You need to make heads turn and hearts burn with enthusiasm for what you’re offering. This is what your audience wants. This is your job as a DJ. Show them what good music is. It’s risky saying ‘I know you’ve probably never heard West African mbira groove music, but trust me, this is good’. Do it anyway. Stand out. Be brave.
Being able to DJ is a skill on its way to becoming also a passion. But before you create your moment in the sun, you need the technical ability behind operating the hardware and software. Learning to DJ is actually just as fun as DJing itself. Check out some of the epic courses offered by DJ Courses Online and take your DJing to the next level.
John Bartmann is a music producer and DJ.