Becoming a DJ without any prior experience is definitely not impossible. Like learning an instrument however, it’s going to require your dedication, time of practice, and willingness to learn new things. When you are a DJ, you are incorporating your musical ideas while adapting to your live environment, like your audience. Stereotypically, DJs are the front and center of many nightclubs or festivals, but you can also play at various events including weddings. This profession is not just about making cool beats and scratching over songs, as it’s more about being reactive and empathetic with your audience. DJs can also play competitively against other DJs or they can perform as part of a band, playing samples or crazy sound effects. Typically you would see this in genres such as techno or D&B.
The birth of the DJ came out of a somewhat rebellious side of music making. Even though the growth of DJ culture was largely shaped by early hip hop DJs, the roots of DJing go way back. During the early 1970s, Jamaica and New York City were two places that pioneered the techniques of audio manipulation using turntables and various mixing equipment. Djs would produce new sounds by cutting back and forth between two copies of the same record. This now has evolved into what we now know as turntablism.
A DJ (or disk jockey) is an individual who plays recorded music for a live audience. There are various types of DJs, specializing in specific genres, events, and techniques. Here are some of the common type of DJs:
Club Dj: Club Djs typically perform in nightclubs, bars, and dance venues. Their setlists could consist of more popular music to underground music. The job of a club DJ is usually to maintain the momentum of the dance floor; keeping the crowd dancing and energized for their night. They also have a deep knowledge of genres including house, techno, EDM, hip hop, or pop music.
Radio DJ: The concept of DJing was born out of the radio. Radio Djs host shows on radio stations where they play music, interview guests, or provide commentary. They usually cater to specific genres including rock, pop, and jazz.
Mobile DJ: Mobile DJs perform in private events including weddings, parties, corporate events, or school dances. They usually perform with their own equipment and have a diverse collection of music. Mobile DJs need to know how to work around their audience and how to adapt to their live environment.
Turntablist: Some people go see a DJ purely for their technical skill or their reputation for what they can do behind the desk. Turntablists are technically proficient with using the turntable and vinyl records as instruments. They primarily focus on techniques such as scratching, beat juggling, and manipulating vinyl records to create intricate rhythms.
Remix DJs: Remix DJs create remixes or reimagined versions of existing songs. What they do is take an original song and add their own creative flare to it such as rearranged elements, effects, or new rhythms. Most often, you will see many remix DJs release their material online or collaborate with other artists and record labels.
Touring DJs: Touring DJs travel and perform at different venues and events around the world. Many touring DJs will often have a following or a notable name within the music industry. You will see touring DJs have residencies in clubs, perform at festivals, or tour with well-known artists.
As you can see, DJs perform in a variety of different settings and responsibilities ever since its birth from the early 70s. Here are some things to get you started in your DJing journey.
Select the Music You Want to Play: If you are going to become a DJ, knowing what music you are going to play is crucial to your development. Collect music of various genres that you enjoy and want to perform. When selecting music, try to consider factors such as the venue, the audience you are playing for, and the desired atmosphere of the environment around you.
Acquire Any Necessary Equipment: In order to get started, you need to get some basic DJing equipment such as a controller, headphones, and a computer with some sort of DJ software. Try to consider your budget before buying any equipment. If you don’t want to spend too much money, then do some research on the more affordable equipment that’s in the market.
Familiarize With Your Software: If you are using software such as Serato DJ, Traktor, or Virtual DJ, try to experiment with the individual features and learn how to beatmatch, cue, loop, and apply effects. Learning these programs can help you gain a better understanding of mixing and manipulating the music you are working with.
Practice Your Mixing Skills: Dedicate some time to practice your DJ skills. You can start out with beat matching two different songs together, creating cool transitions between them. Try to focus on refining your transitions, learning how to EQ volume levels, and developing your own DJ style.
Record and Share Your Mixes: Once you feel comfortable with executing your abilities, start recording your own DJ mixes and share them online with your friends. Soundcloud and Mixcloud can be great platforms to present your skills and get feedback from other listeners. Try to promote your mixes with these platforms and engage with a community that has the same passion as you.
Seek Performance Opportunities: Performing is the most important part of being a DJ. You can start by playing in small gatherings, house parties, and local events to gain experience of performing in front of an audience. Approach local venues and bars to get any potential gigging opportunities as a DJ. It’s important to start out small and gain experience as a beginning DJ, then you can build your reputation over time.
Keep Being Motivated to Learn: Like any musical ability, DJing is an ongoing learning process where you are going to make a lot of mistakes and have many successes. Keep up with the current trends, technology, and techniques that are being discussed within the DJ community. There are many ways you can engage with the DJ community, such as attending DJ conferences, reading industry publications, or interacting with other DJs to expand your knowledge.
Developing your skills as a DJ takes a lot of time and practice in order to build up your following. If you want to establish an audience, you need to make sure to set up any goals and take action to obtain them. DJing should also be a fun process where you can learn many new musical skills that can help your creativity as a DJ.
Fadr allows you to extract the instruments, vocals, midi, and chords from any song, then use AI to create great remixes and mashups instantly. And best of all, its largely free for life, with a couple pro features saved for the premium subscription. Use the Stems Page to start uploading songs, and the Remix Page to try AI remixes!
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Sources: [We Are Cross Fadr] (https://wearecrossfader.co.uk/blog/learn-to-dj-the-complete-beginners-guide/)