If you’re thinking about trying your luck as a DJ, here’s a little guide that might come in handy. I was asked to try and somehow link my experience as a DJ back to advertising and while I thought it would be difficult, writing this made me realize there’s definitely some interchangeable skills. Whether it’s about understanding the content you’re working with or making sure you know your audience, there are quite a few similarities. But nobody’s bothered about that, being a DJ is cool so just read on.
- Like music
Before you can be a DJ, you have to actually like music. If you’re the type of person that spends more time taking selfies or telling people about your “cheeky Nando’s” than actually listening to music, do yourself and everybody else a favour – DO NOT BECOME DJ.
- Know your music
Better than having the latest all-singing, all-dancing, all-lighty-up-and-flashy DJ equipment is to simply know your music. While you may look like the captain of the USS Enterprise behind your controller, it’s likely your set will have less charisma than Spock with a cold.
- Get some gear
Once you know your music, get some gear. The type of gear you get will depend largely on how fat your pockets are, but also the type of music you’re likely to play. If you’re into hip-hop, go for turntables. House, buy CDJs. EDM, just get the controller with the most lights within your budget.
- Have patience
Learning how to mix or even play two records that work well in sequence requires knowledge and skill. Knowing your fader from your filter, your funk from your folk will come with practice. Just stick at it and you’ll be smashing it in no time. Unless you play EDM, in which case DO NOT BECOME A DJ.
- Get a gig
De La Soul once prophesised, “Everybody wants to be a DJ”. They were right and that means getting a gig is easier said than done – unless you play EDM, in which case you just need a sleeve, a fruity pair of Nike Air Huaraches and ideally a couple of shuffling female mates. For the rest of us, it takes talent and effort. Social media channels and music sharing sites allow you share your music and skills, but moreover, attend the events you want to play at and meet the promoters.
- Know your audience and environment
Just like any form of communication you need to understand who you’re communicating to and the environment your doing it in. Yes it’s good to be versatile with your style, but that One Direction jam probably isn’t going to hype an audience expecting a Skrillex number. When you’ve got your gig, keep your head up, don’t hide behind your laptop and be aware of your environment.
- Don’t plan your set
Unless you’re expected to perform a specific repertoire, don’t plan your set. Not only will you have the flexibility to mix things up if your performance is going down like a stale cream cracker, you’ll also challenge and enjoy yourself more.
- Don’t be homophobic
Despite the fact you shouldn’t be homophobic anyway, don’t be a homophobic DJ. Two words: Ten Walls.
- Have fun
Smile and people smile back. Just as it goes for life, it goes for DJ-ing. Being in control of the music gives you power. If you’re enjoying yourself, it’ll rub off hugely on your audience.
By Ben Sharpley – senior business manager