Congratulations! As you step onto that all-powerful spot behind the DJ decks for the first time, it seems your hard work has finally paid off. But no matter how wonderful you make it out to be, the big, black emptiness in the middle of the dance floor has to give you somewhat of a clue that something’s not right.
You’re probably not among those people we’re about to mention, but there are plenty of wannabe DJs out there who truly think pressing the play button is what gets people to dance. Newsflash, they are lunatics. So here are 5 tips on how to be a great DJ…
Learn The Art Of Mixing
This might be stating the obvious, but you should be taking matters into your own hands. No matter how easy it seems to let a machine do the mixing for you, it will never be able to compare to the skills of a professional DJ. It lacks character, personal taste, and it is just all-around lazy. At least show the crowd you are doing everything in your power to make it a night to remember. No one’s interested in seeing a robot play. Unless your act is called Daft Punk, that is.
Read The Crowd And Anticipate What They Want To Hear
This is what it means to be a good DJ. Anyone can play records they want to hear themselves, but the real challenge is to keep the crowd excited throughout your entire live set. This doesn’t mean that you should only play crowd favorites or track requests though. Add your own personal taste and style to the mix and you’ll soon find that a lot of people will love you for it.
Look, we get it. You want every piece of your extensive music collection instantly available to you, just so you won’t be lacking that one tune that would’ve been a perfect fit at a specific moment. But you don’t have to drag along a million TBs’ worth of music. That would just leave you with too many options and you might lose track of what to play altogether.
Instead, you should try to think ahead. Think about what type of party you’ll be playing at and what type of people will be there. Knowing that should make it clear to you what style of music fits best and you can select tracks based on that beforehand. There’s always room for a bit of improvisation. Just don’t stray too far from the main sound, or it will seem like a bit of everything instead of one cohesive, kick-ass live set.
Ensure smooth transitions
Yes. This seems to be another one of those overly obvious tips you could’ve thought of all by yourself. While that may be true, the point we’re trying to make here goes way beyond the basic principle of seamless mixing. It is not just about making sure the kick drum of track one hits simultaneous with the kick drum of track two.
Ensuring smooth transitions is even more exceptionally difficult, if not impossible to mix these tracks subtly. Choose your tracks wisely and build up towards a certain style of music if it differs too much from the leading sound in your set. You might get away with one or two major changes in style and pace if you are really, really good, but let’s start off with the less advanced stuff, alright?
Feel Good And Be Happy
And last, but not least… Don’t be one of those DJs who always looks like he’s hit rock bottom. This might seem like a strange piece of advice to hand out, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of feeling good (or the detrimental effects of being a sad f*** on stage).
The thing is that music is about emotion. And when the emotion of music doesn’t correspond with the mood of the person playing it, the true power of music won’t reach the crowd in front of you. Open your arms when an epic breakdown hits, pump your fist in the air when the humongous bass pounds through the speakers, and swing along with the grooves of that rhythmically astounding song.
You are the leader of the music you play, the commander of an entire legion of kick-ass records. And that makes you the one to lead the charge, as everyone will be looking at you to give them what they want. Feel good, be happy, and let your passion for music infect the audience. Both you and the people at the party will be having the time of their lives if you do. And isn’t that what being a DJ is all about?