Thursday, 21 July 2011

What makes a good Dj according to Dubspot.

What makes a great DJ? There is no single answer to this question. At Dubspot, we want to help you figure out and achieve what great DJing means to you. The goal of our DJ program is to make that choice as well-informed as possible. The journey will be extremely rewarding. We can’t wait to take it with you! In the meantime, here are some tips from our talented instructors to get you started.

1. Thorough preparation is very valuable, especially with the constant barrage of new music DJs must face on a daily basis. I generally won’t play a track in a live set until I’ve: Beat Gridded it, Run it through Mixed In Key, Marked every key section of the song with Cue Points, Set strategic loops on cool parts and vocal phrases, Written appropriate notes in the comments field of my browser, and Organized it into all the appropriate playlists. This way even if a song is brand new, I can play it as if I’ve known it for years. - DJ Shiftee

2. If you are a warm up DJ don’t play banging stuff. Warm up the crowd properly. Nothing will get you not invited back worse than coming on to an empty room and playing every banging hit track. It won’t work and you will piss off the promoter and the people playing afterward. Feel it out and warm up to a peak. The party will go well and people will want to book you again. - Matt Shadetek

DJ Endo, Dubspot Instructor and Native Instrument DJ Product Specialist

3. Check out the latest evolution of DJ Technology with Traktor’s new Sample Decks. While it’s possible to drop your own loops and one shots into Traktor’s sample decks and play them in perfect sync with what your DJing, I find it most intriguing that you can actually create your OWN samples, grabbing the favorite parts of all of your tracks and building your own library of samples made out of tracks that you own.DJ Endo

4. There are 2 kinds of DJ’s – Ones who take requests and ones who don’t. Be the latter. Also: Practice without headphones and you can master beat matching. - Raz Mesiani / Badawi

DJ Shiftee, in action!

5. If the DJ booth is visible to the crowd, you are performing whether you like it or not. Visibly acting like you are enjoying/engaged with what youare doing goes a long way. Energy is contagious. - DJ Shiftee

6. Always be prepared. Even if the spot claims to guarantee turntables, CDJs, controllers, slip mats, needles, and or built in interfaces… BRING YOUR OWN! You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised at the venue. Also – always bring a line in cable. If everything is just plain wrong at the gig but you still have to play something… that line in will plug to your laptop, ipod or phone. That will be your gig saver. - Mike Rivera / OneMic

7. When blending tracks together, lower/cut the bass on one of the tracks to create room for the other track. If you cut the bass on the track you’re blending into, the vocals & other mid-range sounds will still be audible (but you’ll be hearing them with the old baseline!). if there’s vocals on the old track, consider lowering the mids to save sonic space for the new vocals. Alternately – if you cut the bass on the track you’re leaving, it creates a smoother transition to the new track because the heaviest elements of the old song will be gone drawing attention & emphasis to the new track. - Sean Clements

8. Develop a knowledge of tempo, especially if you play music within a wide range of genres. If you’re a digital DJ, make sure all your music is tagged with the accurate BPM. Even when you’re just doing recreational listening, make sure the BPM column in your iTunes (or other music library program) is visible, and make a mental note of the BPM of the song as you’re hearing it. You can go through each song and manually add the BPM, or use a program like Mixed in Key to analyze batches of music identifying BPM and key of songs (for harmonic mixing). If you’re using vinyl, use mailing labels or masking tape to make notes about BPM and breaks on the album sleeves of songs. - Martin Perna

9. Know your tunes. Develop your musical memory by playing tunes over and over, until you can sing them in your head. If you can hum the tune when you look at the album cover, it’s yours. - JP Solis

10. When you are performing live and find yourself confused in a mix – turn your headphones and monitor down to re-gain control of your ears (and the mix.) Your ears fatigue from high volume levels and you need to give them a break to perform well. Often when DJs feel “lost” in the mix it’s a matter of the headphones or monitor (or both) being too loud. Make a habit of turning down your headphones and monitor between mixes to give your ears a chance to bounce back and work properly. - Michael Walsh

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