Help!! My skills and collection can't keep up with my shifting interest.
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  1. #1
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    Default Help!! My skills and collection can't keep up with my shifting interest.

    So, I'm looking for some good advice and/or stories from people who've been in the same position.

    I've been DJing for about a year and a half now. My music taste has naturally matured in that time, but I keep hitting a really awkward place: as soon as I start learning the appropriate mixing techniques for a series of genres/moods, I find something totally different that I want to immerse myself in. This means I'm constantly chasing my tail, building up a robust collection of music, getting to know it, then losing interest and wanting to build a different collection and learn the relevant techniques.

    Case in point: my collection has become packed full of melodic techno and prog house. After 6 months or so of mixing with this kind of music, my technique was improving - though far from perfected. After seeing Amnesia Scanner and Lotic recently, I've only wanted to listen to/play rugged, difficult, experimental things, which naturally demand the appropriate skills and collection to match. These are totally different mixing styles. So I'm back at square one, and I have little interest in playing from my bigger collection.

    My ability to focus and improve one set of skills is being hampered by this constant change of direction. Any advice much welcomed.

  2. #2
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    I often find myself dealing with the same thing. Vibe changes, styles change etc.

    From my experience, just start practicing the new style that you want to focus on and upload mixes. Out here in the Nor*cal scene, there seems to be an expectation that DJ's are versatile. Some choose to focus on a genre while others play to the party at hand. For instance I know tech house DJ's who will play dubstep for certain clubs depending on the situation, and House DJ's who always have a top40 mix ready to go.

    Just use your attention span to your advantage and keep building that collection!

  3. #3
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    Just keep absorbing the new mixing skills, and eventually you'll start to instinctively understand what needs to be done with new genres. Use the tools available to you, like watching live streams of well known genre DJs.
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  4. #4
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    Like others said, just keep developing your skills; most mixing skills are really not genre-dependent. And it's quite possible that the melodic techno you were playing before didn't feel challenging enough; I think you'll find that with the music you're getting into now that you'll develop a more versatile set of skills. I've always mixed very eclectically myself - I went through periods of funk and reggae, hip-hop and downtempo, but also had a few years of playing nothing but tech and acid house. Then (still a long time ago) I discovered drum n bass, which I played nonstop for a couple years, then swing house and tribal house became my obsessions, and then I did like 2 years of dubstep/heavy bass... My music tastes have changed constantly over the years and I don't mind it at all. The drawback is of course dropping a style before you feel like you're completely nailing it, but the tradeoff is exposure to a LOT more music and ideas. I understand about the collection though, it gets expensive so it's not a bad idea to have another day job. And you can't really sell it if you collect digital music; I mostly do vinyl so if I truly get bored of a particular style (it happens), I can at least recover some of my investment.

    It also becomes a question about marketing though; prog house and experimental techno are really different markets obviously. If you want to play out a lot there are real advantages to sticking with a particular niche.
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
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    I've been DJing for nearly 30 years and have moved through all kinds of music. Ultimately, it'll help you be more versatile and play to the situation. It also comes in quite handy when you get/have to play a 12 hour set and can move fairly seamlessly between various genres.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by djyounginfinity View Post
    I often find myself dealing with the same thing. Vibe changes, styles change etc.

    From my experience, just start practicing the new style that you want to focus on and upload mixes. Out here in the Nor*cal scene, there seems to be an expectation that DJ's are versatile. Some choose to focus on a genre while others play to the party at hand. For instance I know tech house DJ's who will play dubstep for certain clubs depending on the situation, and House DJ's who always have a top40 mix ready to go.

    Just use your attention span to your advantage and keep building that collection!
    Thanks for the encouragement. I hope it can be an advantage. For one, I simply need to practice more (obvs), but I hope it does materialise into a more exciting approach overall. It's comes down to curation and limitation doesn't it? i.e. realising that trying to play everything that really excites you right now isn't the correct approach. Sounds obvious, but so hard when you're head over heels for tracks that just aren't going to work.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for this. Really encouraging that this is not an isolated 'issue'. I always looks at DJs like Michael Mayer and think "Why can't I just get really bloody good at one thing like him!" but the most exciting nights for me are the one that have a more eclectic journey.

    You're probably right about the un-challenging nature of melodic techno. Some of the techniques really do require a lot of focus and patience (not my strong point), but it usually seems to lack spontaneity. There can be truly lovely moments, but rarely exciting ones.

    Niche is an interesting one too. It's still early days for me (i.e. not playing out in public), so I'm still learning where the happy, comfortable niche is. Like the place I always come back to regardless of my whims.

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