Being passionate about music is the core principle behind the success of any DJ, producer, or musician. Some people may be under the impression that the DJ just stands on deck and matches a couple of beats and that’s it. That’s far from the truth. A DJ is like a guru of the music he is mixing and its different styles. While it’s easy to imagine yourself as the DJ when you’re listening to a playlist you’ve done, it’s an entirely different story when you’re mixing the tracks. If you’re sure that being a DJ is the perfect fit for you, then you need to take a step back and look at the big picture to make as much progress as possible. From DJs mixing psytrance in Burning Man to DJs putting on an old-school vinyl turntable performance, the common aspect between them all is their passion towards music genres they love. We’ll provide you with the ultimate guide that can help fast-track your path to being a DJ.
The main element of DJing revolves around combining two or more songs to create a coherent mix. Finding the right moment to transition into another track is the skill that you’ll have to hone to become a good DJ. You’ll want to see the hidden details in the music that will help your ear distinguish the most minute differences and features. This will help you mix your music without interruption to your flow. While it’s ok to treat some of your mixes as a secret diary, you should fight the initial hesitancy to share your music with the world.
Style and Genre
If you already are adamant about mixing a certain genre, you can skip this part. If you’re still trying to figure out which genre you enjoy mixing the most, you’ll need to do some heavy research and listening. You can, of course, be inspired by your favorite DJ but that doesn’t mean copying them. DJing is an artistic and competitive field where uniqueness is valued in high regard. To the untrained eye, DJing may seem easy, but it’s far from it. A professional and skillful DJ would make the mix so smoothly that you’d think it’s all one song. Just like a swan beats its legs quickly under the water surface; it still looks static and elegant when you see it above water.
This is the most popular setup for DJs as it’s the most convenient one. A laptop, mixing software, and a DJ controller are all you need to start sequencing and mixing tracks. You can always look at DJ equipment reviews to help you decide on the best option for your budget. You won’t need to carry around extra equipment like turntables and records if you go with a beginner-friendly setup. Your hard drive can easily store thousands of tracks that you can use at any given moment. This is usually the best beginner-friendly way to start getting your hands dirty in DJing. You’ll probably want to add an audio interface as soon as possible, which converts audio to the right format before it’s sent to the mixer.
Headphones are your greatest ally whether you’re playing in your home, a festival, or backyard. Investing in high-quality DJ headphones is a very important step in your path to becoming a DJ. The main role of these headphones will be in helping you mix and cue tracks easily. Note that DJ headphones are different from commercial and studio headphones. DJ headphones are equipped to handle the frequencies that would be heard in a club. A good pair of DJ headphones can isolate the noise around you so you could focus on cueing and mixing your tracks.
A true DJ never stops learning and improving themselves. As a beginner, you’ll notice that there are a lot of courses online that can walk you through almost any controller, audio interface, and DAW you decide to use. You must collect information that you can depend on later to facilitate your growth as a DJ. While a lot of beginner DJs focus on getting the most expensive equipment, it’s much better if you focus on learning the basics as efficiently as possible before you go on a DJ shopping spree.
It might be a bit overwhelming at first when you finally decide that you want to learn all about DJing. That’s quite normal and everything will gradually start becoming easier and more comprehensive. You’ll want to find the right balance between the technical capabilities and the music itself to be able to grow as a DJ.