The art of DJing has certainly become very popular in the last decade. I would say that the rise of the bedroom DJ was after 2010. And that rise has never stopped because of the increase of readily available DJ hardware and software. If you are just starting out as a DJ or still deciding, then this is the place for you. Here’s how to start DJing now in 2018.
This post may not be a definitive resource on beginning to DJ. I plan on writing as much as possible on this subject. I will, however, spread the topics of beginning to DJ over several posts. For now, let’s look at what you need to get going.
Firstly, Why Should You DJ?
It’s simple, DJ just for fun. If you love music and you are a control freak, then you will love DJing! Being able to cue the next track and perfectly drop a mix Ivan be one of the most exhilarating experiences ever. Continuously repeating this action for a plethora of new music on a regular basis never gets old.
Just looks at the greats out there. John Digweed, Sasha, and Carl Cox. These guys were No. 1 DJs in the world back in the late 90s. This is around the time House Music, Techno, and Trance Music was beginning to take off globally. These guys are still around and are currently playing to sold-out festivals around the world and they are in their 50s!
However, the road to success isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. With the amount of new talent out there, it is becoming increasingly difficult to catch a break as a rising talent. Especially with the availability of so much new and great gear. You can still use this to your advantage and do things differently in the hopes of creating a fresh new take on existing genres.
Whatever path you take in your DJ career, it is important to remember to always try and enjoy yourself and the music. Don’t get too obsessed with the business aspect of DJing as this can remove your passion for music.
So take the time and figure out if DJing is for you. I plan to educate you as much as I can with weekly posts and tutorials here at Jamz House.
What I Started DJing On
Back in 2003, I became obsessed with the Progressive House and Trance Scene. I used to listen to music from the likes of Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren. Around the same time, I also fell in love. Fell in love with House Music. I loved downtempo, lazy, disco beats and quickly started collecting House Music in the form of MP3 and CD.
My first real experience with DJing was around 2003 with an earlier iteration of the Virtual DJ software. I used to create DJ mixes on that software and share them with my friends. Each mix had a theme and some mixes featured music from just a single artist at times. It’s was 2006 when I managed to scrape up some cash to purchase some proper hardware.
I bought a pair of Stanton CDJs (C304) and a matching 3 channel Stanton Mixer (M304). They looked magnificent and they were the greatest piece of kit I have ever seen at that point in my life. The first time I used them was at my girlfriend’s house. I totally sucked the first time I used them. I had no clue what I was doing.
Around this time I relocated to a bigger city and when I had my first apartment. I dedicated a corner of my apartment to my decks. This is where I would put in those valuable hours learning the craft. Back then there were so little resources available to learn about DJing. It took me a good few months to lock into my first proper error-free mix.
It took me another good few months to finally create a flawless one hour DJ mix. I had to find the right tracks as well as spend a lot of time practising each mix on each track. Then I spent the full hour mixing live as I recorded the mix into my old Windows XP PC. All this time and effort, which was truly worth it! Whatever you decide to do in life, it means nothing until you start putting in the effort to become great.
What Do You Need To DJ?
Things have changed so much since the good old days. Most DJs before would have told you to go and buy the real proper Pioneer CDJs. This is because this is the best equipment to have and to learn on. But it is so expensive and most clubs cant even afford new ones. It is best to start from the bottom first and then make your way up as you decide to invest more.
The reason for this is that DJing may not be for everyone. And it’s pointless investing in equipment, just to not use it. I actually bought my Traktor Z1 and Launchpad Mini from people who didn’t want to bother to learn using that kind of gear. DJ controllers, software, and Apps are the way to go right now. They have been tried and tested by the pros and have their approval.
If you do have an iPad, then you can get started with a free app called Pacemaker. This app has always been one of my favourite DJ Mix apps because of its funky UI and “Autopilot” system. Traktor DJ is another paid iOS app I highly recommend. But be warned, it has a bit of a learning curve as it is not a conventional DJ app. I will be reviewing and covering more DJ apps later on.
When it comes to hardware such as DJ Controllers and Headphones, the options are limitless. There are so many entry-level gears out there, it’s easy to get caught up in buying something cheap and unreliable. In my personal experience, Numark Mixtrack Pro controllers are excellent budget controllers that are rugged and packed with features. Great budget headphones are Sennheiser HD202 and HD205 DJ headphones. These deliver solid sound quality at an affordable price. Sennheiser also offers a great warranty.
You obviously need good music
Music is key when DJing. Most commercial music is edited for radio use. This is done in order to make the track shorter for quick play on radio stations. DJs don’t use these tracks. DJs use full extended club versions. Sourcing this type of music depends on the type of genre you want to play.
I love Deep House and I always go to Beatport for music. There are more places like iTunes, Juno Records, and Traxsource. It’s best to collect music from these stores in the best available quality. Preferably 320kbs versions. This will ensure that your mixes sound pristine and polished.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this article on how to start DJing now in 2018. I will definitely write a second part to this shortly and go deeper into the software and hardware choices available for beginners. Hope you have an awesome day.