Your DJ Success Timeline
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Your DJ Success Timeline

    I got to thinking today that it would be good for myself and others who are starting out to hear from some of you who have been in the game for awhile about what you have accomplished thus far. I'm sure everyone has a great story, but lets try to keep it fairly short. I was thinking something like this:

    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    3. First "real" gig
    4. Favorite/Best gig
    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    8. Best advice?

    If you have anything else relevant please feel free to add that as well. Thanks!
    Last edited by ringworm; 11-13-2010 at 10:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    There's no blueprint, mate. Guys like Carl Cox, Danny Rampling, Pete Tong et all have been DJ'ing for ~30yrs. A lot of them didn't get any recognition until later in their career.

    Jon digweed sent a mix into a club owner and became (literally) an overnight success. James Zabiela is so technical, he just blew everyone away.

    Point is - there's no blueprint. You've just gotta plug away. No-ones gonna give you anything. You've got to make what you want to do secnd nature to you. You have to be able to do it when you're drunk, high, pissed off, depressed, etc...

    Saying that, you've asked some pretty good questions - so I'll answer 'em:

    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    - Bought my first set of turntables and a mixer (budget from Richer Sounds) in 1996.

    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    - First set-up was 2 Limit 2000 Turntables, and a budget 4-channel mixer w/hi-fi amp & speakers.
    - Current HW set-up is 2 Technics 1200's, DDM4000, Dicers, UC-33e, UC-16, Launchpad, U46DJ, Motu Ultralite.
    - Current SW set-up is Ableton Live, DJ Decks (w/Serato Skin) loadsa VSTs.
    3. First "real" gig
    - DJ'd at a Breakbeat night in 2002 in E-Shed, Bristol (Tuesday nights - usually pretty empty)
    4. Favorite/Best gig
    - At the E-Shed when a couple of Breakbeat fans were asking for a bunch of tunes that I happened to have with me. I teased those mother fuckers for ages with the intro from Plump DJ'd - Scram.
    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    - I'm a Project Manager.
    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    - Ableton to produce. Mostly mash-ups, edits, remixes...
    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    - DJ Decks to DJ, Ableton to produce (sometines I DJ w/Ableton). Considering Traktor Scratch Pro for DJ'ing.
    8. Best advice?
    - Learn your gear inside out (that includes software).
    - Practise at EVERY opportunity.
    - Record EVERYTHING you do and listen to it back. Something that you miss when recording can sound amazing when you listen back. You need to be able to remember these instances and re-create them.
    - Write stuff down. Keep records. Don't expect to be able to remember everything.
    - DON'T (and I can't stress this enough!) get into the habit of wanting every piece of new gear!!! Basically, you need 3 things - Knobs, Faders, Buttons. How they are presented to you is not important.
    - Learn Bomes Midi Translator.
    - LEARN BOMES MIDI TRANSLATOR!
    - You have to LOVE the music you are working with. Doesn't matter if it's Hip-Hop, House, or Top 40. You've got to love it. DON'T just jump on the latest genre.
    - Don't think you HAVE to pick one genre and stick with it. ("I'm a house DJ", "I'm a Dubstep DJ"). Do whatever d=feels like fun that day. The skills are all transferable.
    - Disect mixes by your favourite DJ's. Sit down with a pen and a pad, and listen carefully. See what they'r doing. Write it down. How are they transitioning? What effects are they using? How do the EQ? Once you've done this to a few mixes by a few DJ's, you'll have a nice list of techniques that you can pick and choose from to develop your own style from.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru Coldfuzion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    - Don't think you HAVE to pick one genre and stick with it. ("I'm a house DJ", "I'm a Dubstep DJ"). Do whatever d=feels like fun that day. The skills are all transferable.
    - Disect mixes by your favourite DJ's. Sit down with a pen and a pad, and listen carefully. See what they'r doing. Write it down. How are they transitioning? What effects are they using? How do the EQ? Once you've done this to a few mixes by a few DJ's, you'll have a nice list of techniques that you can pick and choose from to develop your own style from.
    +1

    Great fuckin' advice!

  4. #4
    ctrld
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    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    after watching a DJ spin at a bar for at least an hour, he suddenly offered me to take his place (saying "you push here you hear this turntable, you push here you hear the other, this is how you control the speed - that's it"), sat down at the bar and watched me sweat as I didn't even know how all this worked. of course I completely fucked up for the first 15 minutes, but the guy just sat there smiling and didn't come to rescue me. I had to learn fast, and I did...

    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    first: two used 1210s, crappy mixer, ridiculous headphones
    then: went through several cd players and mixers, redsound soundbite, kp2, kp3, efx-1000
    now - DJ: two pdx3000s + m44-7s, ecler evo5 + eternal CF, nanopad, lpd8, kp2, kp3, hd25, macbook 13"bk
    now - homestudio/live: apc80, mpd26, mpk49, fireface400, virus TI, maschine, moog etherwave+, beyerdynamic dt-990pro, thinkpad

    3. First "real" gig
    2001, rote flora hamburg. fucking awesome summer night it was. I was scheduled to play for 2-3 hours, then went on to 10am because the people didn't want me to stop.

    4. Favorite/Best gig
    hard to tell... there were a couple gigs where people actually came up to me after I was done and said "thank you for being our DJ". those were definitely the most rewarding nights.

    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    art director (online media).

    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    first a ton of mostly crappy mashups, now livesets, some of which will become tracks when I get around to finishing them.

    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    DJing: traktor scratch pro
    live: ableton live, tons of other software, hardware listed above

    8. Best advice?
    don't ever think you've reached your limit. someone's gonna come around the corner and pwn your ass. never ever stop learning and don't be afraid to experiment, but don't fucking jump on every new overhyped piece of gear. you will find that there are people who can outperform you with a very basic setup. plus, don't get into the game with the goal to earn your living as a DJ - you will most likely fail unless you decide to abandon your own style for the sake of getting more bookings. you will then no longer be an artist, but a fancy jukebox. don't quit your day job.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru
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    I'd agree with everything said up to now, there's no right or wrong way to go abut it, just persevere!


    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    The summer of 1999, me and 2 other friends saved up and bought a pair of decks and a mixer between us for 200. They were shit, but served the purpose for learning. One of my mates lost interest cos he just couldnt grasp the concept of beat matching, then in 2001 i bought my own setup and began recording mixes which properly started my journey.

    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    The very first along with my 2 friends consisted of a 2 channel Soundlab mixer with no eq, as basic as you can get and a pair of Stageline direct drive decks, although they may as well of been belt drive, they didnt have a magnetic brake, but a rubber one!
    When i bought my own first setup i almost went like for like with a Numark DM905 and a pair of Numark TT1520's if i remember correctly. My first mix to ever be broadcast on the radio was recorded on that setup.
    Then after a while i upgraded the mixer to a Kam 3 channel one with 3 band eq and kill switches and got a pair of Stanton STR8-60 turntables. i changed the mixer again to a Numark 3 channel when I got my first set of Technics. Later I added a Soundlab CDJ650 dual cd deck and got lucky on ebay and bought and Ecler Mac 70 mixer for 30 because the seller didnt know what it was...total bargain! I have pic's of that setup somewhere.

    Now, my setup is listed in my sig, so i won't type it out again!lol

    3. First "real" gig
    Was a warm up set in a really dodgy venue in Belfast. Around the same time I was doing under 18's events and stuff too.

    4. Favourite/Best gig
    My debut at Ministry of Sound in London back in April 2009, i felt it was a big achievement for a relatively unknown DJ from Northern Ireland! I played from 3.30am to close. The promotors were great, overall it was a mad experience!

    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    I work for an independent TV production company doing a bit of everything from camera work to sound recording and editing.

    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    I try...I started by using Fruityloops which i thought was great at first but after moving to Ableton Live, found it was actually a piece of shit.

    Before Ableton I also used to export loops from FL and arrange them in Sonic Foundry's Acid (now Sony)

    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    Ableton Live 7, haven't felt the need to upgrade to 8 yet.

    8. Best advice?
    Always be yourself and make sure you get gigs playing the music you want to. I made the mistake of taking gigs purely for the money, playing commercial and top 40 crap, which made it difficult to get gigs playing house. People didnt take me seriously. So i made the decision to stop all the commercial gigs and start from scratch again, which took some time. Ironically now though my Friday night residency in my hometown consists of some commercial stuff thrown into the middle of the night, but its 5mins from my house, lol very handy!
    Traktor Scratch Pro 2.7, MBP 13", iPad 2 & TouchOSC, Reloop NEON, Pioneer DJM750mk2, Mackie d.2, Pioneer CDJ800 x2, Technics SL1210MK2 x2, NI Audio 6 DJ, Dicers,

  6. #6
    Tech Wizard
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    Thanks for the all info and advice guys, much appreciated.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru
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    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    - I was 14 years (1990 Yikes!) old and saw my cousins mixing for the first time.
    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    - First Setup :2 Gemini XBL-10 Crappy turnatbles and a Gemini Mixer
    - Current: A few 1200's and an S4 on it's way. I've had it all...CDJ's, VCI's, Rane Mixers I have really owned a ton of gear.
    3. First "real" gig
    - Opening up for Little Louie Vega at Vinyl prior to that I played at NYC's original Limelight and Palladium.
    4. Favorite/Best gig
    - Residency Saturday Nights at Set Miami and Playing the main room at Mansion Miami. Ooh also...I played Opening night at Stereo Montreal.
    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    - Computer Nerd
    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    - I started to try and get better gigs...I owned a full Pro Tools TDM production studio running a Apple G3 LOL.
    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    - Logic, Ableton, Pro Tools
    8. Best advice?
    - Do it until it's not fun anymore. I took 2 years off once and when I came back I was better than ever.
    :: Kontrol Z2 :: :: Technics 1200 :: :: Pioneer DJM 250 :: Kontrol X1 MkII :: :: Maschine :: :: Kontrol S4 ::

  8. #8
    Banhammerized theory28's Avatar
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    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    listening to dj marksi's (chicago) mixes since like the age of 3

    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    1st set up:
    controller- Numark total control
    sound card- numark dj i/o
    headphones- denon hp 1000
    traktor LE

    upgrades:
    traktor pro- i was using le for a year. it was getting me mad. pro was 50% and i got a discount for having le, so i jumped on it

    novation dicers- won a contest. going to use them for brat juggling/ making decks c/d sample decks

    3. First "real" gig
    a....kindercare......

    4. Favorite/Best gig
    .....the kindercare was my only one.....

    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    nothing. high school

    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    no. but i kinda want to. but i lack inspiration. i do like making mashups though

    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    i use traktor pro for the mashups

    8. Best advice?
    go ahead and sound like crap when you first start. really, record yourself. then acknowledge your mistakes, and improve. dont be cocky about it.
    Become a Fan, And View My Latest Mixes | DJTT Chatroom (FB)
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    If the pack of lions are in sync then they're not real lions so it doesn't count.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru
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    1. When/How you became involved in the scene as a whole?
    There used to be this place in San Diego called the DisCafe where you could listen to and buy cds along with a coffee or mocha or whatever. A friend of mine just handed me a cd and said "listen". I couldn't believe what I was hearing - I was hooked on the sound instantly. Turns out it was the Orbital brown album, I think it was 1994. Outdoor raves were pretty big in SoCal at the time, I started going to them just to get my fix of that sound. One thing led to another and...

    2. Your first set up and current set up (if you have upgraded and why)
    First set up was a pair of Vestax PDT-5000s (the old school ones you never see with the vu style pitch needle display), and a crappy Gemini mixer with a 7 second 12-bit sampler button. I hammered the s#!t out of that thing. Later on, a Rane 56 and on from there.

    My current set-up is a Macbook, using the APC40, VCI-100 SE and/or Midi Fighters. Upgrading was a gradual thing, I guess it's still happening, but I'm definitely not a gear whore.

    3. First "real" gig
    Simple dance party at a friend's art gallery after hours.

    4. Favorite/Best gig
    A memorable party in a beautiful California redwood forest just before sunrise.

    5. Other form of work you do besides DJing
    Field biology, project management (environmental regulation) for the Feds.

    6. Do you produce? If so how did you start? If not why?
    Yep. Just kinda got into it naturally because of a fascination with electronic music, and sound in general. I was a traditional musician before I got into electronics too, so I guess it's just a natural progression.

    7. Which program(s) do you use to DJ/produce?
    DJing: TPro + Ableton, Bomes MT. Producing: Ableton, various Native Instruments stuff, VSTs...
    also the occasional field recordings, hardware, and real instruments.

    8. Best advice?
    Do it for the love of music. Practice. Enjoy yourself. Don't limit yourself to one genre, seriously. And above all, if nobody likes what you're playing, don't be hardheaded, just change it up. You and the crowd will both have a better time.
    MacBook 2.4GHz, 6GB, Traktor Pro, Ableton Live, Bomes MT, Audio Kontrol 1, Vestax VCI-100 SE Custom, M-Audio Axiom 25, Akai APC40, NI Maschine, 2x Midi Fighters (c/o DJ TechTools - Thanks!!)

    Mixcloud DJ Sets

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zac Kyoti View Post
    8. Best advice?
    Do it for the love of music. Practice. Enjoy yourself. Don't limit yourself to one genre, seriously. And above all, if nobody likes what you're playing, don't be hardheaded, just change it up. You and the crowd will both have a better time.
    Truer words never spoken it seems like alot of the "DJs" out there think that the most underground track trumps the obvious need the crowd has to enjoy the music. Just because nobody but you and 5 or 6 other people have heard it doesn't mean that it makes you more of a DJ to play it.

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