Do U Ever Feel Really Small?
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Do U Ever Feel Really Small?

    I'm relatively new to this whole DJ thing but i'm coming into some radical/ sumwhat negative realizations. The shows i've done can be counted with 2 hands, the shows ive been paid for, with one hand. I live in a city of about 100,000 in canada and i'm really looking forward to "getting my feet wet" with some producing.
    That said, i am always looking for venues to showcase my talent. It's my belief that my library is riddled with "Bangers", and i can get small house parties and even houseboat parties dancing without using "top 40". I thought i was something special.
    As I dive into these multiple dj forum sights, i'm realizing more and more that it seems like EVERYONE is doing it. I do a show and someone shows me a half-deecent track that took them 3 months to make.. And i wouldnt think of playing it at any of my shows.. Some people chat me up and ask me to come give them lessons cause they dropped 300$ on some little tables and they wanna make it big. And i can't help them. Not that there is a physical barrier, but a moral one (and it doesnt reflect well on myself). As soon as i show this kid what i know, he's just as able to achieve appearences at the same shows im attempting, and have been dropping hour after hour just to attempt to get my foot in.
    Now i'm at the point where the only lessons i can get are through youtube, and forums, the vetty's dont want to help me, and i dont wanna help noobs. But theres just soo many out there, and there are such few venues (most of which are run by people who are sketchy ass glorified drug dealers parading as dj's).

    How and when does a dj reach that top 1% of the bellcurve? (Without becoming a drug dealer)

    I'm in complete support of grassroots production, but it seems like there are such few niches that havent been exploited. D&B, Minimal, Electro.. Seems like its all been done... to the 10th degree

    What even happens to dj's once your known? do u get signed for playing other peoples tracks? Is anyone at that point?

    I'm generally a really positive guy, i even hired on a manager to aid in my hunt of shows, but it just seems like such a cut-throat trade.. I got a demo cd from a dj in vegas and it was ALL top 40... Is it necessary just to PWN top 40 so that u can get paid n F@k all the rest?

    I guess the sum of this really long post is this...
    How do u go from a mediocre dj, to someone who is being paid anything over 200$ a show?

    I kno this is just a huge, random, go-nowhere post.. But what do u guys think?

    Do u feel small sometimes?

  2. #2
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    I believe part of it is building up your value. Granted I started producing random things when I was a junior in High School -not that I was any good. A whole bunch of people here in Texas that come through my store (I'm a supervisor at an electronics store) think they're DJ's and you are completely correct, they're glorified drug dealers that think hitting a drum sample and talking about killing people and drugs is considered music. Now, I'm not here to judge anyone, but to me music is about something much deeper. Now back to the topic at hand, again, build yourself up, and raise your value as a musician and DJ. Read Ean's post on the blog about the EPK if you haven't. It may sound like a dumb idea, but it really does motivate you to take the extra step. You talk about these glorified drug dealers in your town, do you really think they're in it for the music? My oppinion on this matter is that everyone has something to offer, just because you seem to be starting out playing at places, doesn't mean you can't spread out and expand. Just forget about others and focus on what you enjoy. I know I strayed away from the topic, but I completely understand what you're saying. I hope someone else can support me on this, and also give some input on it.
    Live Gear : MacBook Pro 13" & 15" (depends which one I grab), Kontrol S4, Midi-Fighter, Shure SRH750DJ, Dedication.
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  3. #3
    Tech Mentor tauket2's Avatar
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    When i read these posts about dj's stuggling to get good gigs and to get paid i always feel like i sort of cheated to system... my path to the big stage was a relatively easy one.

    First of all, i guess living in a big city like Montreal helps.

    I started off a few years ago by becoming friends with some local rappers who had some degree of success (constantly tour all over the province, have been to france, get paid 1K + every gig, play most major festivals in Montreal and Quebec city during the summer). So i became friends with these guys, starting hanging around with them and chilling backstage at their shows, going out of town with them to party, selling merch once in a while, and before i knew it, theyre regular DJ couldnt come out on the road and i had already planned to go up with them to party so they asked me to fill in for their dj (in case you don't know, dj'ing for rappers is extremely easy in comparison to club dj'ing, no matter what anyone says). The first few times i mixed in front of people i had no goddamn idea what i was doing and i was mostly hitting play/pause and killing the volume at some points to emphasize the rappers' punch lines or to hear the crowd singing along.

    So anyways this happened a few more times and i eventually developped a true liking for djing and became the go-to guy when their DJ was unavailable and eventually got my own gear and became their DJ for shows out of town and now i'm on their label and spin for most artists on their label and get paid decently too.

    Now, because these guys are already somewhat known, it was super easy to build up a portfolio and use the namedrop technique (i played for so and so, so and so, and these guys too!!!) Being associated to someone big is golden! Like the guys before me said, it's important to build up your value and naming prominent artists that are associated to you is like giving a potential employer a past work experience... Anyways, another DJ on the label took me out to play some solo gigs with him a few times, i got to meet alot of people, got to spin for some slightly more underground rappers who gave me full DJ sets before and after their sets rap sets (my first real club djing experiences were in front of hundreds of people) and eventually started getting my own gigs in clubs and even did a few festivals. I don't have a residency yet and don't think i really want one, as i put most of my musical efforts into my singer/songwritter career but i am thinking of securing a semi-permanent spot in a club or two next summer (pays more than the singer/songwritter gigs )

    Long story, i know, but the point is, if you don't know how to get noticed all you need to do is become friend with people who already are established. The veteran dj's dont want to help you? fine! don't ask for any help, just hang around and slowly get acquainted with them until they ask you to mix while they go to the bathroom and thats how you'll get your start.

    I know i've had it really easy and maybe you won't be able to replicate the circumstances i've fallen into, but hey, dont begin asking yourself what you're doing wrong, just ask yourself what you could be doing different.

    TL;DR: Become friends with established DJs, club managers, bar owners, local rappers and they will open doosr for you.

    -chris-
    p.s. please take everything i've said with a grain of salt. also understand that i realize how easy i've had it and that i am probably the least pretentious dj in the world. I'm the guy who's dream it is to become a rockstar and who ended up dj'ing instead... I still wish i would become a rockstar :P
    Last edited by tauket2; 12-03-2010 at 12:02 AM.
    CHRIS Rice aka DJ-X
    http://www.iamdjx.com

    Traktor Scratch Pro 2, Denon MC6000, Numark TT200, Midi Fighter

  4. #4
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    Be original, be yourself! If you think you have great taste in music be bold. Don't be scared to be daring, dig deep for those records nobody knows, play everything, play the stuff that you feel, play the stuff that moves you, don't be constricted by genres.

    As long as you have your integrity and that love of music burning deep inside your soul who cares if you aint the next big thing yet? Don't conform to the idea of musical genres, and please don't be elitist, sharing music and rocking parties is supposed to be fun! The idea of 'Exploiting a musical niche' is a good way of painting yourself into a corner and viewing music as a cash/fame cow ripe for milking.

    It seems to be a self perpetuating cycle. Why not give the youngsters some tips? Just because no one will gave you a leg up? Working hard, making connections, helping people and being enthusiastic is the best way to build a solid rep as a great DJ.

    Practicing and digging for records is the work part, playing out is the fun part!

    As long as people are dancing and you're having fun, life is good.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by bern View Post
    be original, be yourself! If you think you have great taste in music be bold. Don't be scared to be daring, dig deep for those records nobody knows, play everything, play the stuff that you feel, play the stuff that moves you, don't be constricted by genres.

    As long as you have your integrity and that love of music burning deep inside your soul who cares if you aint the next big thing yet? Don't conform to the idea of musical genres, and please don't be elitist, sharing music and rocking parties is supposed to be fun! The idea of 'exploiting a musical niche' is a good way of painting yourself into a corner and viewing music as a cash/fame cow ripe for milking.

    It seems to be a self perpetuating cycle. Why not give the youngsters some tips? Just because no one will gave you a leg up? Working hard, making connections, helping people and being enthusiastic is the best way to build a solid rep as a great dj.

    Practicing and digging for records is the work part, playing out is the fun part!

    As long as people are dancing and you're having fun, life is good.
    + over nine thousand

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor tauket2's Avatar
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    To add to what I and everyone else said, be ready to have a rock solid branding plan the second you get your first serious gig.

    What does that mean? it means force your name (or alias) into people's heads. Look at my avatar. I walked into a decal-sticker shop with that logo once i had settled on it, gave the guy 50 bucks and told him to make me as many of those red X's as possible, of all different sizes. There's now one on my laptop, one on one side of my headphones, one of each of my flight cases, one on my car window, one on my guitar, all of my mix cd's are just burned cd-r's with a thick black X marked on it with a sharpie off to one side. And finally i have a few different audio drops that say DJ-X (but you gotta be careful with those). Trust me, when i play a gig, whether it be a solo gig, with another dj, or playing for some rappers, everyone in the room leaves knowing my name and THAT has helped me get gigs or just made people find me easily on the net by typing dj-x into google or facebook.

    so yeah, building a brand for yourself is pretty important if you want to get gigs.
    CHRIS Rice aka DJ-X
    http://www.iamdjx.com

    Traktor Scratch Pro 2, Denon MC6000, Numark TT200, Midi Fighter

  7. #7

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    To the people i go to college with me know me (which is like 250 people) . Ive been paid in free beer. except for the fact im a 6'2" Rugby player i feel small as a dj
    Quote Originally Posted by ctrld View Post
    confession time: I clicked on this thread only because my dirty mind made a connection between "6 analogues and 14 digitals" and "2 girls 1 cup".
    Setup: VAI-40, Nanokey2, APC20, Ableton, (Shit ton of VST), TP2, DN SC2000, LPD8 (RIP) MF3D (with custom Mapping FX for ableton for Turnado and Artillary2 (ill release it when its been perfected.) PM me if interested in the mapping or helping me with it.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor kidcolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sepdanger View Post

    I'm in complete support of grassroots production, but it seems like there are such few niches that havent been exploited. D&B, Minimal, Electro.. Seems like its all been done... to the 10th degree
    Well, i think, whats really cool is if you can play a mix of all. But im not talking EDM here, but rather mix EDM with top40 and old 80s 90s Songs and hiphop etc, just like a whole party banger set.

    Ive once seen a dj playing a set like this, never had heard of him before, he was barely known at all, but he got the whole party go all nuts.

    i later talked to him and he told me that this had been his first gig and that hed been practicing in his bedroom for a year or sth.

    Now hes booked to almost every event in our city ( 100000ish,too ) and has a resedency at a local club. Only 2 1/2 months after his first gig.

    Now he even got booked for a set in a quite known club in the next bigger city.

    What im trying to say is, if you want to be in the 1% ( which is so unrealistic considering how many ppl dj :P:P ) youve got to give the people something special, something that makes you not just 'Electro Dj #217' but rather 'Dj Sepdanger - the guy that gets the party on'.

  9. #9

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    you gotta stand out. preferably with your music. do something no one else has done. it helps if that thing is something dear to your musical heart. be true and let your style flow into everything you make. make people remember your sound (for the right reasons).
    soundcloud.com/hpntk / soundcloud.com/freakstep
    freakstep.com / thefreakbeat.com
    me on beatport / me on djtunes
    Quote Originally Posted by JesterNZDJ
    My solution: Pay some one to whack them so you don't have any competition

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor michaeldunne109's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bern View Post
    Be original, be yourself! If you think you have great taste in music be bold. Don't be scared to be daring, dig deep for those records nobody knows, play everything, play the stuff that you feel, play the stuff that moves you, don't be constricted by genres.

    As long as you have your integrity and that love of music burning deep inside your soul who cares if you aint the next big thing yet? Don't conform to the idea of musical genres, and please don't be elitist, sharing music and rocking parties is supposed to be fun! The idea of 'Exploiting a musical niche' is a good way of painting yourself into a corner and viewing music as a cash/fame cow ripe for milking.

    It seems to be a self perpetuating cycle. Why not give the youngsters some tips? Just because no one will gave you a leg up? Working hard, making connections, helping people and being enthusiastic is the best way to build a solid rep as a great DJ.

    Practicing and digging for records is the work part, playing out is the fun part!

    As long as people are dancing and you're having fun, life is good.
    Sticking to one genre is boring as fawk so +1
    I play everything Indie/ Rock/ HipHop/ Cheese/ Electro/ Dubstep and anything that sounds good

    Tsp 1.7/ Tsp 2/ Sony vaio Win 7 4gb Ram / Macbook Pro 13 inch (Main machine) /vci 100 se/ mixdeck/ audio 8/ technics rph headphones/ Custom xBox Controller/ Akai Lpd8

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