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So, I heard you want to be a DJ

First things first:

It’s not a secret nowadays that DJing is one of the most sought after careers. As a matter of fact with people like Borgore who post Instagram pics with the almighty Kylie Jenner saying he’s her daddy and then charges $50.000 for a regular show, or Steve Aoki who was charging anywhere between $50.000 to $75.000 for a show according to some 2014 studies, the DJ scene became incredibly over-saturated with young artists aspiring to be the next Martin Garrix.

Well, the sad truth is that the DJ-ing movement isn’t nearly as easy as the big names make it look, nor is the trip from bedroom DJ to Ultra Festival Headliner.

- First, there is a lot of musical knowledge to acquire. Beats and bars don’t study themselves!

~ I might be able to help you with that later in this article ~

- Second, you need a solid music collection on the go, and an impressively extensive knowledge about every average Joe who was ever a musician in order to get to the spicy underground gold.

Beatport is a good source for your music

- Ok, now let’s suppose you studied hard, you know how it works and you have 1Tb of music on your brand new MacBook Pro. Go get yourself some equipment! Any local DJ store will help you with that, as a matter of fact my first DJ equipment was the Pioneer DDJ SB which was on sale at a local Supermarket. (THAT SATURATED)

Thomann, for example is the world's biggest online store and it's specialized on audio equipment!

- Got it so far? Ok. Time for recap: You have your knowledge, you have your MacBook, console, headphones, speakers, you have your music and your Spotify looks like you are more indie than an independent student movie. What’s next? Start practicing that beat-matching! Trust me, write “Throw rocks here” on a wall in NYC and put a DJ on the same street holding a sign that says “ I use SYNC” and the DJ will get more rocks. That’s just how it works; our legends didn’t even have a screen to give them a bpm, it was all by ear, so train to get to a level where you can beatmatch on a laptop that doesn’t face you or a CDJ with black tape over the bpm section.

A good start is loading the same Deep House track on both decks at completely different BPM’s and beat matching until you hear a flanger effect over one track. Deep house is a very clean genre to manage drum wise and it’s specifically easy to track your beats and bars as the drum arrangement tends to be very basic and rhythmic.

DJ TLM made a pretty good video tutorial on how to get started. Click here to watch it.

- Now that you can actually DJ two tracks together, it’s time to hit Ibiza. Wrong. This is where it starts. Mind you, the process I listed above might differ in time for each individual. For me it was approximately 4 years.

Of course, in the course of 4 years I played some gigs, friend’s parties mostly where nobody paid me, and in all honesty I wouldn’t have paid myself. I was getting drunk, my crowd reading skills were shit and nobody was dancing.

Everyone finds themselves in that position, so there’s nothing to worry about there. Well, I mean, there most certainly is, but the solution to this problem is good ol’ training and perseverance. You can’t be born with professionalism.

Safe to say, this is only the beginning and we haven’t even covered 1% of it in years of work. What’s next? Figure out if you REALLY are ready to give up hours on end of music research, If you are dedicated enough to spend every day training, recording, so on and so forth, and most importantly, if you are cut for never actually seeing a club or festival as a place of leisure but more as a project that could use your touch. If the all honest answer to any of the questions above is no, then don’t worry; You can still enjoy DJing as a hobby, but I am sorry to tell you, there is no Martin Garrix material in you. The upside of this is usually people who get into the DJ world, even as a hobby, are very creative, and the content that needs to be created is limitless. So keep going and revel in making something out of nothing.

Now that we got the distinction out of the way, let’s list some of the things that we will cover over the next couple of weeks:

  • How to find the right equipment for the job

  • How to network in this area & how to protect the market

  • How to improve your DJing skills and your crowd reading

  • The difference between club Dj’s and Superstars

  • Where to find research sources on the domain

I hope this article helped you figure out where you’re standing in the regard of working in this field. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Thank you and see you next time!

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