Is it too late to DJ publically?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is it too late to DJ publically?

    So.... I've been closet mixing seriously for about 5 to 6 years, been into the DJ music scene since the mid 90's, and sell my mixes locally (which have done quite well). Every time I set up and people either hear or buy my stuff, they keep wanting me to do gigs. I've never DJ'd to the public before. However, I am getting some money to update my gear (getting a Numark 4Track, K1 Kontrol, Midi Fighter 3D, Mac Book Pro, using Traktor 2.5 and Ableton Suite 8). I feel great about what I do and have a deep love for music. However, I mostly do things at home, pre set my stuff, and if I make any mistake, can easily re record and edit.

    What I am slightly worried about is if I'm going to invest all this money into my stuff, then I might as well do something with it. What I want to know is how can I take my talent and transition into something that not only will pay me back for what I've spent, but more importantly, allow me to succeed in doing what I love. I'm 41, and I'm kind of self doubting whether I should pursue this or if it's just some mid life crisis thing. It's not as if I expect to be some big name DJ, nor do residency at a big club. I just want to start moving a crowd. Many, many people like my flow and the songs I put together, but I understand there's a lot more to it. I respect the profession enough not to just assume I can jump and be a hit. I'm working constantly to perfect my stuff, pushing my limits, and researching and listening to other DJs (famous and non) to pick up on how to be the best I can be.

    So I need help and advice from you all:


    Is it too late for me to start DJing to the public at my age?

    How best do you play a set without really knowing what you're going to be playing? How do you know what to line up and when to mix it up? Unless you're very familiar with all the songs you're playing and know the lead outs and lead ins, wouldn't it be a crap shoot to figure out when best to start the other song? Or do you use enough effects and loops to make the transitions fit what you're doing?

    Any good tutorials on how to blend different genres and /or BPMs? I'm good at beat matching manually, but without changing up the pitch or throwing off the flow of a mix, how do you go from a certain BPM song to another without interrupting the consistently you've set?

    I am not a pro, so I couldn't afford to buy CDJ2000's and the DJM 900. I LOVE what it does, but my pocket book can't afford it. Is a 4 Track with the other items I use good enough to play quality and legitimate sets or will I be laughed out for not having high end Pioneer stuff?

    Please take the time to go to my site and check out a couple of my mixes (I love Progressive, Dubstep, Techno, etc) and let me know what you think. Keep in mind I currently use an N4 with no additional effects stuff other than what is on it, but you'll get an idea of what I'm trying to do.

    www.mixcloud.com/chris-yakubovsky
    Last edited by XRS; 08-19-2012 at 11:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    Obviously you have the love and the passion. I think you should try it, the worst that can happen is you can fail or end up not liking it.

    Understand that people buying your mixes are buying them because it's you. Out at the club, the average patron isn't there to see you so don't expect everyone to love your work. Just be realistic.
    I hear an 8hz sinewave can make a whole room of dubstep producers simultaneously stroke their beards.


    Even if they havnt got one.

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor Fraktionz's Avatar
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    There's a 49 year old dj who kills it one of the clubs I frequent in my area. Numerous people say all the time it's one of the best places to go for dancing. He's got a residency and he outperforms a lot of the younger djs brought in who have music adhd.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru dope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRS View Post

    How best do you play a set without really knowing what you're going to be playing? How do you know what to line up and when to mix it up?
    Phrasing. All producers respect rules, and everything goes by a multiple of 2 (4, 8,16, 32 etc). If you start at the beginning of a phrase, it's almost like everything will mix itself, because the variations in the 2 tracks will occur at the same time.


    Quote Originally Posted by XRS View Post
    Any good tutorials on how to blend different genres and /or BPMs?
    Delay freeze (delay with 100% feedback, and stopping the track from playing so only the echo is left.)
    Tons of reverb on a vocalish/ambiant part, bring fader down and bring the other track with a filter (HPF or LPF as you wish)
    There are some tuts on youtube.

    Quote Originally Posted by XRS View Post
    will I be laughed out for not having high end Pioneer stuff?
    By the crowd ? Nope. By other DJs or promoters, maybe. That's one of the downsides of controllerism.
    Prove them wrong if their assumtion is not big enough to prevent you from playing.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor Emery's Avatar
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    I think this is what dope was talking about. Dig around on the DJTT blog. before Ean was a superstar he made tonnns of great videos for traktor.
    13" Mbp i7 | TMA-1 | Tech 1200's | RANE TTM-57 | NI Audio 4 | Kontrol S4 | F1 | KrK Rokit 5s


  6. #6
    Tech Guru DarioJ's Avatar
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    I personally think that the RAGE of the scene is on its decline. Maybe its just me, my aging- taste in music and actual years, but when I get the chance to go out to clubs/bars that are known for electronic music I hear a very new and matured groove. A matured sound away from all the bangers just being blasted out the doors. I know that this may differ from place to place, but its feels a bit reassuring that there is a respect for the music over anything else. The people who want to hear what you have to play will not care who you are or what equipment you use. If you can keep the crowd dancing/grooving and you have the passion to do it, I'd say knock the walls down and let the roof come down.

    GL to you sir!
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    Everything else is _________

  7. #7
    Tech Guru squidot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRS View Post
    So.... I've been closet mixing seriously for about 5 to 6 years, been into the DJ music scene since the mid 90's, and sell my mixes locally (which have done quite well). Every time I set up and people either hear or buy my stuff, they keep wanting me to do gigs. I've never DJ'd to the public before.
    how are you selling your mixes if you aren't performing? do you just go out and play the prerecorded cd and then just sell it? i will say i don't agree with your choice to sell your mixes as i would imagine you aren't obtaining permission from the artists. this is complete copyright infringement, albeit on a small scale. you will probably never get caught, but keep that in mind. even giving them away for free is becoming a bit of a grey area with soundcloud taking down mixes at artists requests.

    as far as your age is concerned i thinks it's fairly irrelevant if you can play a good show. the older you look the more odd glances you may get so you just have to be comfortable with that. that may even be a good promotional tool since you will stand out among the 20 somethings that are normally doing this. as long as the music is good and flowing, i think you'll be alright.
    tsp 2.5 | vci-400 ege | mfspectra | kontrol x1s | rokit 8s (ferrari grey) | krk 10 sub | audio 8
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  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=squidot;519924]how are you selling your mixes if you aren't performing? do you just go out and play the prerecorded cd and then just sell it? i will say i don't agree with your choice to sell your mixes as i would imagine you aren't obtaining permission from the artists. this is complete copyright infringement, albeit on a small scale. you will probably never get caught, but keep that in mind. even giving them away for free is becoming a bit of a grey area with soundcloud taking down mixes at artists requests.

    Actually I do have mechanical rights, state tax ID, and city seller permit. I sell them for $5 ($2 profit). It's very low scale, but I always believe in doing things legit. Some labels haven't replied but I've sent an email to the copyright.gov site as kind of a compulsory rights agreement thing. I keep all receipts as well. But I know that Djing at a venue I would not be held liable for royalties since that is the owner's responsibility.

    I mix the stuff at home and then burn CDs
    Last edited by XRS; 08-19-2012 at 08:45 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you all for the advice / support. Like I said, I'm not trying to go out and be some big club DJ. But I want to be able to put a solid yet flexible set together for people. Very good information about understanding how a crowd may react, how to transition better, understanding the flow of a set, etc. I really don't intend to be a wedding DJ playing all types of genres. Most of the people who are looking to hire me are into the dance scene. Of course I'll be moving through trance, house, minimal, dubstep, techno, hardstyle, progressive, etc, but wouldn't see myself flipping into country, line dancing, etc. Again, this would be a part time thing, but I am big on putting up a great show. Still hoping for any other ideas and thoughts on everything, but I know it could be a matter of just going out and trying. Start small groups, maybe friend's parties where I'm not under any expectations, then move on. I guess I'm just nervous about popping $5000 into this and never pushing out of my comfort zone. Hell, a Mac Book Pro Retina is going to cost me close to $3000 with all the stuff added! :-6 I'll check back soon for more replies, but will take to heart all of your comments. Thx!

  10. #10
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    Just get out there and do it. Don't over think. I am in no way trying to knock you or discourage you from getting out there in front of a crowd but this is what separates the "real" DJ from the bedroom DJ that has like you said been, "closet mixing for 5-6 years". Live Djing is different than playing a track over and over again and meticulously deciding what effects you are going to use and where you will bring in the next track and exactly setting the EQ, and the tempo and when all is said and done, you don't like it, just erase and do it over. The best thing for you to do is to practice mixing and record the mix, even if you mess up, keep going, then listen back to what you did. You will see that a lot of your mistakes don't really sound as bad as you thought, though the result is different from what you set out to do, it still works. You will also get a more fulfilled feeling when you do something totally on the fly that sounds sick, whether it be beatmatching or a loop or an effect, you will get an even bigger "high" than you have gotten now from preprogramming mixes. You have to feeeel the music. As said above, its all about phrasing. 99% of the time, the music is symmetric meaning there is a 2 or 4 bar phrase, 16 bar verse, etc. So its very easy to mix in and out. Use loops and effects to mix in and out as well, just keep practicing and it will all click. Its never too late to play in front of a crowd.

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