Getting into DJing? It’s definitely one of the coolest professions on the planet. Whether you’re hoping for a career in DJing or just want to have some fun on the weekends, you’ll need to get to grips with the basics. So here are the starter tips that are going to help you find and build your audience.
Before you hit play, pull the track fader down. Every time. For the rest of your life.
Keep the meters in the blue. If you ain’t redlining, you have a better shot at headlining.
Gain and trim are the same thing.
If the floor is empty, don’t keep playing loud bangers. Adapt.
Plan your set in threes. Three tracks that match a feel at a time.
Know your audience. Identify them by their age, what they’re wearing and how much the event cost them.
If they’re sober, play the stuff that makes them tipsy. If they’re tipsy, play the stuff that makes them sloppy. If they’re sloppy, mission accomplished.
Keep an open mind. You don’t need to crossfade every track and most audiences aren’t technical purists. They’re just there for a good time.
Practice at home during the day.
Keep a positive attitude without being too full of yourself and your position. It’s about the music.
Your time slot determines what you’re going to play. Know how to pace the energy during the night.
Keep your EQs neutral and centered.
Beatmatching is a useful skill, but collecting and playing good music is a much better one.
Don’t overdo effects. Definitely less than 10 times an hour.
Bring a backup of your set. At the very least, have a 60 minute mix on your phone in case of laptop failure.
Don’t tolerate rudeness from your audience. Get to know an enforcer (bouncer, venue owner) before you start. Don’t be afraid to threaten drunk idiots with eviction.
Play instruments, if you dare. Nothing better than a little keyboard solo or some percussion over a nice groove.
Fail fast. Don’t think too much about your next couple of tracks. Make quick decisions. Be wrong a lot. Learn from it.
DJs who think auto-sync is the devil are threatened by their own lack of ability.
Most of the time, you’re not doing anything. That’s fine. You’re paid by the hour. Learn to bob your head well.
Make eye contact with your audience. Let them know you also love it. Don’t let them feel you’re just there for the money.
It’s really rewarding when you start making something out of your DJing. It might be a solid reputation or cold hard cash, but one thing is for sure: it takes time. So give yourself a head start and head over to one of the awesome courses at DJ Courses Online.
John Bartmann is a music producer and DJ.