How to Get to the "Next Level" (Read before asking)
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor djmetalgear's Avatar
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    Default How to Get to the "Next Level" (Read before asking)

    Hey,

    Every week we get a "how do I get to the next level" thread from bedroom DJing to out live. I thought I'd share how I reached a level of "success", where I'm at today. Not every one has and will go this route, but yea, feel free to share your own "roads to success".

    NOTE: While alot of this advice can apply to all clubs/bars... this should mainly be considered for the bedroom DJ trying to get out and DJ live... and his or her best chance is by getting a gig at a top40 bar. It just is what it is, since theres so many of them, theres alot of spots for DJs. (Euro DJs, save your criticism about the music scene in America... we know it sucks, get over it lol).

    A little info: I'm a 24 year old DJ in Philadelphia. I've DJed in numerous clubs and bars ranging from top 40 clubs to prog house/trance clubs, and trap/dubstep warehouse parties (my favs). I started DJing (if you want to call it that) in highschool, by bringing my laptop to my friends basement parties and just opening two YouTube tabs and playings songs and fading in and out of each page hahah. People still loved it though, which made me come to realize what is most important...

    Song Selection- It didn't matter how well I mixed songs (considering it was youtube, it was impossible to mix well), but the selection of the song choices were important. It didn't matter if you train wrecked, or even if you let some dead air for a second or two play out before your next song started... the song selection was key.

    Connections- Don't even bother posting/asking what you need to do if you haven't even gotten mixed with your local scene. Being in Philadelphia, I'm lucky theres a bar pretty much on every block of center city... but for people on smaller/remote areas, it could be tough to break in. Frequent the bars you want to play at, and take in the scene. Almost all of my gigs have come from me being a regular at a bar, and going early or on a slow night and asking the bartender or manager about who is in charge of booking the DJs. A Face to Face connection is MUCH stronger than an e-mail or Facebook message.

    Skills- Believe it or not... this might be one of the LEAST important things. Now I'm not saying you can be absolute shit, but like I said above, song selection is probably 75-80% of the battle to DJing most clubs (in America that deal with Top 40 and "house"). I couldnt count how many bars I've been to where the DJ is atrocious, but people don't care or even notice because theyre there slugging down their drinks to get drunk... not to critique you on your beatmatching skills. In most clubs like this, like I said, the song selection gets you the job, not how awesome it was that you 1/2 time mixed a 70bpm dubstep song from a 140bpm house track. They also don't care that you practice a 5 min routing of beat juggling. In reality, most top 40 punters would be annoyed at you.
    Just learn how to beatmatch and fade A to B and get tempos right and you'll be fine.

    Gear- I started out with just my laptop and VDJ lol. Moved onto a Numark Mixtrack Pro because I thought I would be laughed at in the club. In reality, no one cares what youre using. Thats a myth created by really skilled DJ with awesome gear who are sad their losing their jobs to kids who can beatmatch and mix from A to B. I went from the Numark Mixtrack after 3 months and got an Traktor S4 because I was djing another bigger club where I thought theyd judge me on my Mixtrack, and in reality, they didn't care either Just get what you're comfortable with.

    Network- You GOTTA be active on social media. Twitter/facebook/soundcloud/instagram/anything. You have to show that you have some presence and friends and not make it completely obvious you've only DJed in your bedroom or basement. Before most bars or clubs hire a DJ, they DEF check out that DJs facebook and google his name just to see what theyre getting into. If you're not active, then you're nonexistent.

    Mixes- there are tons of services you can use, but I use Mixcloud and Soundcloud. My passion is Trap/Dubstep but I DJ for a living DJing top 40 clubs and hip hop as well. Make a soundcloud displaying your range. I have 4 mixes each 25 minutes long, that I mix a certian genre. Basically a "Rap" mix, "House" mix, and what not. Don't make your mixes more than an hour... bar managers usually dont have time to sit around for over an hour and listen to you mix top 40s.

    and finally...

    TAKE ALL GIGS- This advice is for someone who wants to break out of their bedroom and into the scene. You think every DJ who plays top 40s/house in clubs actually ENJOYS all the songs they play? Im lucky that Im open minded and enjoy all kinds of music from Zedd to Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, and even some Bruno Mars. Fk it, I dont care. But what I'm trying to say is that you don't know who will be attending the bar you're DJing at. I've gotten so many gigs from DJing other places, where a bar manager will walk in and say "hey man, Im the manager at XYZ club, you should come by."

    If all else fails, you could also go the route I took.... I was a barback at the first bar I ever DJed at. The DJ quit the same day he was scheduled, and they needed someone that night, so I told them I DJed and I was set to play that night. Have been DJing there every Saturday sine haha.

    I'm sure theres plenty of other good advice, but thats the most I could rattle off the top of my head. I'd love to hear others.
    Last edited by djmetalgear; 05-05-2013 at 12:27 PM.
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  2. #2
    Tech Mentor djmetalgear's Avatar
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    Im not trying to shamelessly promote, but here's an example of what I mean by beatmatching and simple mixing of top 40.



    Mods- if you dont find this in the rules of the forum, then my bad, u can delete it, just thought itd be useful.
    I'm a fan of all things art. Music, film, photography, acting, dancing. Expression is powerful.
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  3. #3

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    you make too much sense.

  4. #4
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    I would change the "take all gigs" section to....

    Take all gigs until you learn who not to take gigs from.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor djmetalgear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donstone View Post
    I would change the "take all gigs" section to....

    Take all gigs until you learn who not to take gigs from.
    yes yes def. I'll edit that. I just meant, don't be picky. When your a bedroom DJ, your not good enough to pass down top 40 clubs.
    I'm a fan of all things art. Music, film, photography, acting, dancing. Expression is powerful.
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  6. #6

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    Good stuff, man.

  7. #7
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    metalgear,

    you are evil.

  8. #8
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    The whole topic is cool, and i'm not hating but...

    Quote Originally Posted by djmetalgear View Post
    Just learn how to beatmatch and fade A to B and get tempos right and you'll be fine.
    You can't use sync?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoveBeat View Post
    The whole topic is cool, and i'm not hating but...



    You can't use sync?
    Absolutely. But do you ever want to be in the position where you say "I can't take this job because I don't know how to actually mix without my laptop"
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo View Post
    Absolutely. But do you ever want to be in the position where you say "I can't take this job because I don't know how to actually mix without my laptop"
    Soo... in order to get big, you should learn to beatmatch? I haven't understood you well

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