DJing

I have no plans whatsoever to ever be a DJ. I completely understand that if I buy DJ equipment it will 100% become a bowling ball. Just another hobby that doesn’t get practiced. That shit would sit in the corner after day 1, and then I’d eventually sell it when I move, just like every other wannabe DJ.

However, I’ve been listening/watching lots of DJs lately of all shapes and sizes. Being a nerd, I’ve always been very curious as to how to use DJ decks. How do they work? What do all those buttons do? How do you throw a party if you literally have two turntables and a microphone? How do do it without making a fool of yourself?

So I went to YouTube and watch videos just for fun to try and learn. Most DJs trying to teach were awful and didn’t help. Many were able to teach something, but were still vague, left out details, or weren’t specific enough to really give me the feeling I had a complete understanding. Then I found this guy.

This guy should charge money for this. Club Ready DJ School is absolutely the best. After watching these videos I feel like if I was forced to DJ at a club, I would still fail, but not completely. If I concentrated and remembered what he said, maybe I could do it. But really, terrific teacher. I want to make teaching videos this good, only for board games and computers and the stuff that I am good at.

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Honestly, I don’t think you would. You’d be shocked at how many club DJs aren’t that great. Hell, if you can coherently string 15 minutes worth of songs together, maybe throw in a few experimental crossfades to remind people you’re not just hitting play on a playlist, and just do that without making too many glaring mistakes or Jarring smash-cuts, you’re already ahead of easily half the club DJs I’ve seen.

Sure, there’s some absolutely stonking club DJs out there, like, say, Mashed N Kutcher, but honestly I think with a bit of practice, you could do it well enough to at least match a lot of rank-and-file club DJs out there.

Still not doing it though. A DJ controller will not be laid to rest next to my unbuilt Gunpla. Let it go to someone who will actually use it.

I am slightly annoyed nobody makes a DJ equipment model kit, because that would have been funny as hell.

I learned to do it offline in middle school with dubbing decks and was decent at it by high school. I did gig work for house parties (we’re talking like $50 to roll in with tape decks and play music at someone’s high school graduation).

I learned how to do live beatmixing from Tex at RIT. I was OK at it, and I hid a lot of my bad matching with smashes and interstitials.

But honestly, toward the end I started pre-making mixes and just playing them while standing at the console. Complete cheating.

Work smarter not harder. Hell, the duo I mentioned above do that, to a degree - they use the stage gear to make additions and add stuff, or mix between songs, but they will pre-record stuff for show use, which they can then mix and play over the top if they wish. And there’s definitely DJs out there who pre-record, and then just mime out doing it live for particularly complex tracks and mixes, or even just because they’re lazy. You can see it come across the sound desk sometimes, depending on which channels their gear is hooked up to. When you’re getting nothing from the gear in front of them, but signal from their laptop, it’s pretty fucking obvious.

I burned CDs that had 70-minute canned mixes. Each CD had a particular vibe. Based on how the crowd was reacting, I’d mix between these CDs and/or swap them.

Seems like regardless of if you put in the work at an event or beforehand, DJing is 70% knowing what songs exist and go together, 20% performance/interaction and like 10% technical mixing ability.