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  1. #1

    Default I'm New at Djing, I need heeeeelp

    I'm completely stumped at the whole concept of crowd control and what it is that I have to play for the right time. I know how to beat match and I'm very fond of scratching. Although, I want to take my craft to the next level and play for crowds. Unfortunately I'm often ambivalent about what it is that I want to play. I don't know where to start.. I'm a hip hop DJ by the way.. but I enjoy a wide variety of everything else.

    ..any advice?

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor DJSigma's Avatar
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    I'd say there's 3 aspects to it: -

    1. Know your music - not just the music you own, but the genre(s) you're into in general.

    2. Know the venue/crowd - unless you're putting on your own night and trying to attract certain kinds of people to you, you need to know what the particular bar/club is like, who goes there etc.

    3. Knowing what to play and when - part of it is in the preparation, i.e. doing 1 and 2 and making sure you have a good range of music. Also, it depends what time you're DJing, whether you're warming up for someone else etc., but assuming you're doing the whole evening yourself, what I used to do is start off with more chilled out stuff, while saving the big tunes - current big hits, current tracks I think are great that are not so well known, as well as the big classics - until later on. The club I used to DJ at locally was open until 2AM, so I would start cranking things up a bit about 11:30PM once the place starts to fill up and people have had a few drinks to loosen up, but what you don't want to do is drop all of your big tunes too early in the evening.

    If you've never played to a crowd before, you have to use a little instinct. If a tune gets you hyped, then it's probably gonna get the crowd hyped too and you'll know the current big tunes (or you should do) so you've got some guaranteed "hits" there to save for prime time. You sometimes have to test the waters until you find a tune that works, then you can build on that and play similar tunes, but you don't want to stick to the same formula all night. For example, I used to do a "proper" hip-hop night (i.e. not just playing current top 40 crap), so I'd also throw in some old school breaks/funk as there's a crossover between that and hip-hop and it would always go down well.
    Last edited by DJSigma; 11-01-2012 at 04:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard Terpit's Avatar
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    Dont fiddle with the volume is something id recommend, might be an obvious one but ive seen djs getting grief from the sound guys + club owners for cranking it up as they please
    Quote Originally Posted by djproben View Post
    Yeah I really regret getting 1200s; they're obsolete.
    --said no one ever

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor liam1895's Avatar
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    Use your instinct. Know the venue as people turning up their generally are looking for the same sound. Don't be a nervous wreck either, just hit out like your having fun. Also read the crowd and see what they are liking and arnt giving you a base.

    Don't hit all your bangers out in the first 15 minutes either.

    Basically Sigma summed it all up haha...

    Ohhh and remember you cant please everyone so don't get angry with yourself if your not getting it right.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DJSigma View Post
    I'd say there's 3 aspects to it: -

    1. Know your music - not just the music you own, but the genre(s) you're into in general.

    2. Know the venue/crowd - unless you're putting on your own night and trying to attract certain kinds of people to you, you need to know what the particular bar/club is like, who goes there etc.

    3. Knowing what to play and when - part of it is in the preparation, i.e. doing 1 and 2 and making sure you have a good range of music. Also, it depends what time you're DJing, whether you're warming up for someone else etc., but assuming you're doing the whole evening yourself, what I used to do is start off with more chilled out stuff, while saving the big tunes - current big hits, current tracks I think are great that are not so well known, as well as the big classics - until later on. The club I used to DJ at locally was open until 2AM, so I would start cranking things up a bit about 11:30PM once the place starts to fill up and people have had a few drinks to loosen up, but what you don't want to do is drop all of your big tunes too early in the evening.

    If you've never played to a crowd before, you have to use a little instinct. If a tune gets you hyped, then it's probably gonna get the crowd hyped too and you'll know the current big tunes (or you should do) so you've got some guaranteed "hits" there to save for prime time. You sometimes have to test the waters until you find a tune that works, then you can build on that and play similar tunes, but you don't want to stick to the same formula all night. For example, I used to do a "proper" hip-hop night (i.e. not just playing current top 40 crap), so I'd also throw in some old school breaks/funk as there's a crossover between that and hip-hop and it would always go down well.
    Thank you so much for the advice! ALL OF YOU GUYS!
    I was also wondering. When you say know your music; Do you have entire albums in your crates? or singles? I get overwhelmed with how much music I have. Do you suggest I delete all the stuff I'm not familiar with?

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor DJSigma's Avatar
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    I don't DJ live any more but when I did I used vinyl, so the bulk of my music was singles and I had the odd album in there (mostly compilations).

    My advice to you would be this: -

    1. Filter out all the crap in your collection and try and go for "all killer, no filler". If you're a digital DJ you don't have to delete any files unless you really want to, but do a good job of sorting your music so that you can separate the good from the mediocre.

    2. Get to know your music as well as you reasonably can. Having tons of music that you've never listened to on your hard drive isn't a great deal of use.

    3. Properly tag and sort your music to make it easier for you when you're DJing.

    And when you get requests, don't feel obliged to try and fill them all. You're not a human jukebox. There are good and bad requests, so if someone requests something that you've played half an hour earlier, or they request a song that really doesn't fit in with the night/gig, then say no, but be cool about it. I used to just lie and say I didn't have a particular song.

    Oh yeah, and general tips: -

    Don't sell yourself short, as in, don't agree to do an 8 hour gig where you have to take all of your equipment for $50, lol. Try and find out what other DJs charge in your area and charge around that, or slightly lower as you're new to it.

    Be professional. Have a drink or two if you like, but don't get hammered. Leave the booth in good order when you're done.

    If you can bring a bunch of friends with you, it'll give you some moral support and increase the crowd, which is especially useful if it's a small place or you're DJing on a night that isn't usually that busy.

    Get to know people in the local scene - other DJs, promoters and bar/club owners. Networking is a big part of DJing and while some DJs have big egos, many are happy to help n00bs get a shot (as long as they're not being shady and trying to undercut them/take their job). Get a web presence too - social networks, perhaps your own website, some mixes on SoundCloud etc. and get some business cards made up with your contact details on them. Also, you can make a good promo mix and give it out to local bars/clubs along with your business card in order to try and get work.
    Last edited by DJSigma; 11-01-2012 at 06:39 AM.

  7. #7
    Tech Wizard Vermilion's Avatar
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    You need to go through your collection listening to the stuff you're not familiar with and remove anything that you think twice about. Be ruthless, you only want the best tunes in your collection and only you can decide what you're really feeling. After that it's just a matter of listening to what's left, experimenting with matching tracks up with other tracks, when to start bringing it in, what transitions work, etc. Make sure you keep your collection small enough, frequent rotation of tunes, remove (or make a playlist for) ones you're not playing any more.

    The worst part about all this is doing it the first time. Once you've got a system in place it's easy to keep a tightly organised collection as long as you keep at it.

  8. #8
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    I use playlists, sorting songs by mood/energy/genre. This way, I can search up a song should I need to, but 99% of the songs I play come from my playlists. Example folder names I use include

    Warmup/House
    Warmup/Hip Hop
    Warmup/Downtempo
    Girls on dancefloor
    Pop40E
    Pop/House
    Singalong anthems
    Underground/Dirty
    Favorites

    the list goes on
    soundcloud.com/dayvue
    dayvue.wix.com/dayvue
    facebook.com/dayvue

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor Timbo21's Avatar
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    Before I had a go I had listened to countless mix tapes from my favourite DJ's and been on the dance floor for several years.

    Tony Humphries used to be THE MAN for U.S. House. He had a great way of alternating flavours, and after a big floor filler would start building it up again, but in a way that didn't lose energy. Dropping a big vocal track at the right time, etc.

  10. #10
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    Do you go to clubs a lot? The type of clubs you are trying to spin at? If not, start. Have fun, but pay a little attention. Start w/ that, and after that experience will show you the rest of the way

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