What Kind of DJ Do You Want To Be?

How To Be The DJ You Want To Be


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Lately I have been reading a ton of interviews with DJs from all over the world. Typically I stay away from these because most of the time it is just these guys, too cool for school, talking casually as if their success as a DJ was just a matter of luck and talent. But since there seems to be such an interest in what these guys have to say, I figured it couldn’t hurt anything but my schedule to listen in.

Reading several different interviews with DJs such as Anenon and Massimiliano Pagliara it gave me an idea to put forth to you guys out there in DJ Land: what type of DJ do you hope to be and what are you doing to make it happen? I know this isn’t something that you can answer off the cuff, but it is something you should always be thinking about as you solicit for gigs, put out music and interact with other music professionals.

The type of DJ you are will determine your longevity in a field that often favors the young.

Musician First

I think one of the most important things to remember about the DJs who have withstood the test of time is that they are musicians, first and foremost. They don’t simply spin the tracks that are popular today to stay ‘relevant’ or get the high profile bookings; people want to hear them because they rarely know what to expect…and they love it.

If you make your career mostly about the music then you can rest easily knowing that you are being true to yourself. There is nothing wrong with being experimental in your musical creations if you feel that is where you’re headed as a musician. Explore it and figure out a way to make it work for the clubs you work and you can be something your folks never thought you’d be; a working musician.

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Look Forward

If you are taking the position that you are a musician first then you are probably always thinking about the future of music, not just in terms of your career but as an artist. It can be easy to forget about music 5 or 10 years into the future when you are playing gigs every night, living the dream. But you also know in this fickle society in which we live that musical tastes and interest can turn on a dime and what is popular today may not necessarily be popular tomorrow. If you’ve given no thought to this, you could find yourself obsolete in no time flat.

I’ll say this again; explore the music you love. Whether it is a different genre or era, see how you can work it with what’s current for a perfect balance of you as a musician and a DJ.

Ego vs. Confidence

Coming up as a digital DJ I have encountered my fair share of confident DJs and egotistical flesh jukeboxes and I have to say that one of these things is not like the other. As a DJ you should be confident in your ability to create and spin music in a way that pleases your audiences, but that confidence should not spill over into diva requests and mistreatment of club staff and club goers.

Your talent got you the gig so be confident. But no one likes to deal with an egomaniac and here’s a not-so-secret secret; no one likes to hire egomaniacs to play their venues!

Be Well-Traveled

Many of my fellow DJs will disagree with me on this but I think the mark of a truly good DJ is how well-traveled you are. Why? The simple answer is that playing successfully for diverse crowds of people means that you know what people like. The more complicated answer is that traveling the world puts you in touch with music you may have never heard otherwise.

Some will say EDM or techno is EDM or techno everywhere but I find that just isn’t true. It is the little things like instruments and local flavor that can transform what you think of as just dance music. You’ll never know how those small touches will impact your musical instincts until you hear them, and hearing them live where the beat is pulsing through you is a sensation like no other.

If you can’t get a few new stamps on your passport just yet, visit a different region of your own country and see how differently they do things. It will change you as a musician.

Just because you are a DJ, a professional musician, doesn’t mean you can take the casual approach to your future. If you play what is popular because it is popular you will find it difficult to make the transition when the next big thing becomes popular. Staying true and relevant is a balancing act that few DJs can master. I hope you can do it.

I hope I helped you figure out what kind of DJ you want to be and how to get there. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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