Back in the day, the idea of putting your hands on a vinyl record was practically sacrilegious. But early DJs like Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Grand Wizard Theodore pioneered the techniques we now take for granted and got party crowds moving with their artistry. Mixing, scratching, and punch phrasing are the skills of the DJ, and you can learn to get started if you want to participate in disc-jockey culture. Learn what equipment and basic skills you'll need to develop, as well as how to build your fanbase and experience into a potential career.
1- Gathering Equipment
Start with the basics:
Being a DJ requires you to do a lot more than just play songs. Learning to structure a set, mix on the fly, and get a crowd moving all starts with your deck. Later on, you can invest in bigger speakers, a monitor, a MIDI controller, an audio interface, mics, and various plug-ins, depending on your ambitions for playing out, but a bare-bones basic DJ setup needs to include the following:
• 2 CD/USB players or 2 turntables (or more, optionally)
• 2-channel mixer
• Headphones & Speakers
• Mixing software (optional only for digital/laptop djs)
2- Decide to go analog or digital
Traditional DJ set-ups nowadays revolve around CDJ players from Pioneer or Denondj systems or direct-drive turntables for playing vinyl records, but it's increasingly common to use straight-digital set-ups with laptops for playing DJ sets as well. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but are perfectly effective for playing gigs and becoming a DJ.
• Analog set-ups will allow you to DJ in the most traditional way, learning the skills the way they were pioneered: mixing, scratching a stylus against vinyl. This will require you to collect a sizable collection of vinyl records to play, which can be somewhat expensive.
• Digital set-ups allow you to be extremely mobile, and the learning curve will be much smaller when you're working with a digital set-up. Learning to beat-match and transition, for example, will be much easier with a BPM counter and a software system.
3- Consider a mixing software package
Serato Scratch, Traktor or Rekordbox DJ are great programs that can read any format of music and select songs through a computer program interface. Pioneer, Denondj and Numark also offer various products you may want to eventually look into.
• These programs will enable you to access a library of MP3s on your hard drive to compliment your vinyl and CD selections. These programs provide color effects and live looping and scratching capability, real-time control and video option.
4- Be economical
Don't invest in top-euros equipment right away. Most of your money should be spent on turntables/Desks and a mixer. Forget the other stuff for now. And spend wisely, Try to get a quality second hand equipment to start with.
• If you're serious about being a DJ, odds are you're aware of a few in your area. Hit them up for advice or for a tutorial on their system! If they're half as passionate as you are, they'll love to give you a minute of their time, explaining their ways. Consider to have professional dj courses to save time and learn faster.
5- Don’t forget your DJ Setup
To be able to get ready with your mixes and promote yourself in the social media. The best practice is to record demos, playlists at home and upload them into www.soundcloud.com or www.mixcloud.com to showcase themselves through internet. Your dj setup will also allow you to have some regular training.
6- Know what you need for gigs
If you plan to play for a venue that already has a DJ setup, you might only need your music on USB sticks or a laptop with music mixing software. If you plan to play in private venues, you'll probably need to provide your own equipment and the sound system as well. Scope out what you need and what you don't for your particular mission.
7- Build a big collection of music
You know what else you need? Music. And you don't want crappy, third-rate mp3 download versions of those songs either. To be a legit DJ, you'll at least eventually have to pay for the music you get. For now, work with what you have, but know that it will be an expense later on in the game. You need to be a music expert. Hit up your friends and consult djs playlists in their websites or blogs. Check them out in the digital stores such, beatport.com, traxsource.com, junodownloads.com, trackitdown.com etc... and follow up the labels and artists that are charted in their playlists. Also have a look at YouTube channels of different record labels and your favorites artists that are doing your music style.
There are others options for the passionate djs such "The DJ pools":
"A music pool or DJ pool is a regionalized and centralized method of music distribution that allows DJs to receive promotional music to play in nightclubs. The music industry sends its newest releases to the pool of DJs; in exchange, the pool provides feedback on each release as well as exposure in their clubs.”
Let's have a quick summary of each – Feel free to click on the links to visit the websites:
ZipDJ: a pool with over 1,000 major record labels behind it, unlimited downloads, 320Kbps MP3s, batch downloading, with a wide variety of music genres.
DJCity: one of the most recognizable pools online, unlimited downloads, 320Kbps MP3s, sells vinyl and gear, with a focus on the mainstream.
Late Night Record Pool: a smaller name online with a focus on hip-hop and open format DJs, mostly 320Kbps MP3s, unlimited downloads, and an impressive back catalogue from years of operation.
Digital DJ Pool: home of the $1 trial membership, mainstream music focus, unlimited downloads, and one of the lowest prices in the market.
Where can I get more education on DJing?
Skilz DJ Academy offers two options:
- Local training at the school facilities: the Skilz Master Program is the most complete and extensive collection of courses offered at the Academy. (Get started djing from Scratch to the Advanced Level)
This masterclass course is dedicated to anyone wanting to learn how to DJ with NO LAPTOP, USB ONLY. Be ready to DJing in the club, or just pick up a new hobby, I will teach you in class the fundamentals of beatmatching, mixing, and blending etc... No matter your musical tastes or background, I will give you the skills you need to start DJing today!
Picture Source : wikihow