Monday, August 4, 2014

Tips on How to Be a DJ

It being my wife’s birthday last weekend, we went to a local club for dancing. While Maui isn’t exactly known for its nightlife, there is an occasional DJ here and there spinning dance music. What with my wife and I usually in bed by 9am (we never really switched over from west coast time after we moved), staying up ‘late’ to go out dancing was a big deal. Like many things in Hawaii when compared to its Mainland counterparts, though, the DJ’ing was an incredible disappointment.
My cat can DJ better than any hobbyist.

But what annoyed me beyond the disappointment was the trend in bad DJ-ing I’ve begun to notice in the past few years. Bad DJ-ing stems in part from the fact that with DJ software, just about anyone can mix and match beats with a little practice. While this aspect of DJ-ing is relatively easy to learn (even I can do it), with DJ-ing in its entirety, it’s the little things that count. Let me explain.
Keep that crowd going.

First, after reading interview after interview with DJ’s, it is apparent that an ability to read the crowd is paramount. While this is often said, it seems that reading a crowd is rarely practiced by DJ’s. Here’s how simple it is: If you’re a DJ and people stop dancing to the next song you’ve started playing, CHANGE THE SONG. It really is that simple. If I’m the one dancing, I really don’t care if it’s a song YOU personally like. There are a lot of songs I like that other people do not. The difference is that I don’t try to force it on them. Second, do not mix in songs with extended lengths of track in which the beat is missing. Most of the time, the EQ (for electronic dance music) is so bass heavy so that the higher frequencies in which the melody resides is no longer distinguishable. How the hell are people supposed to pick up on the time signature if they can’t hear the beat OR the melody? Third, don’t go from an upbeat song directly into a song with a much slower beat. Going from 130 bpm (beats per minute) to 120 bpm is a surefire way to make the crowd lose their groove. In my example, I would throw in a buffer song at 124-126 bpm. It’s worth reminding DJ’s here that (EDM) drops only work between songs of the same or greater tempo. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard an amateur DJ try to use a drop when switching to a song with a lower bpm. Are you kidding me? Finally, assuming the crowd is really pumping, let the goddam song they’re dancing to play through. Don’t switch songs every 30 fucking seconds, working off the assumption that you’re some kind of ninja mix-master. That REALLY pisses me off.

DJ Heavy Grinder = Talented & Hot
I know, I know; if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. Problem is, I’ve got a lot of other shit to do. That said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask DJ’s to follow these few tips. Yeah, I know that DJ-ing is a hobby for most people, but that doesn’t mean you have to suck at it. Thanks.

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