Whether you are a new DJ just starting out, or a rising DJ looking to take your game to the next level, in order to become the best you need to understand how the best think. It always helps to learn from the experience of those that came before you – learn from their mistakes and their triumphs! Hopefully their insight can guide you in your professional journey with fewer “bumps in the road.” Below are some tips, insight and advice from a random set of veteran DJ’s.
Paul van Dyk
“When I started, DJ’s weren’t in the media, electronic music wasn’t in the sales charts, and a DJ was the freak in the corner that provided the music while other people had fun. So to do it, you must have been a freak and a music lover. And I still am: this is still the engine which drives me” – Paul van Dyk.
It’s important to learn how to DJ for the right reasons. It’s all about the music – it’s not about impressing your friends, getting the girls or becoming rich and famous. If you are becoming a DJ for the right reasons, then everything else will fall into place.
Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook)
“A good DJ is always looking at the crowd, seeing what they’re like, seeing whether it’s working; communicating with them. Smiling at them. And a bad DJ is always looking down at what they’re doing all the time and just doing their thing that they practiced in their bedroom…”- Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook).
True that! It’s very important to read the dance floor and understand what the crowd wants. It’s not all about mixing, it’s about understanding what the dance floor wants and giving it to them. You need to have the skill, knowledge and most importantly the confidence to communicate and interact with the dance floor. We have all seen those DJ’s that act like they would rather be anywhere than playing that current set, no excitement, no connection, just plain blah…So lame – it sucks the energy and fun right out of the room!
“People think my career started when I sent that tape to Renaissance. I’d actually been working hard for seven years before I got to that point. I was putting on parties and booking DJ’s around me to get my name on the flyer. I knew I had to do it for myself. I knew no one was going to come knocking on my door. I knew it was up to me.” – John Digweed.
The music business is a business that waits for no one! You can’t just sit back and think things are going to happen for you, you need to get your hands dirty, pound the pavement, and be prepared to do whatever it takes and make it happen for yourself!
Little Louie Vega
“I just want to say to all those people out there who want to get involved in DJing to educate yourselves. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Go for yours. There is always more to learn.” – Louie Vega.
Remember what our grade school teachers always used to say – “Knowledge is power!” At the time I hated that phrase, and that’s because I didn’t really know what it meant, or how it related to me. Well turns out that damn little cheesy phrase is true (and applicable to many aspects of life)! Leave no stone unturned and learn all that you can. Knowledge and education is power, never think that you know everything, there is always more to learn. Become a sponge and absorb as much as possible. Do whatever it takes, it can only help you, not hurt you.
Readers, share your thoughts: What advice or insight do you have to share for rising DJ’s (whether it be your own or something you heard from other people in the music biz), what have you seen or experienced as success in your or other people’s journey’s?
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