Having issues with DJing freestyle & the pressure of recording....
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  1. #1
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    Default Having issues with DJing freestyle & the pressure of recording....

    Hey guys!

    So much awesome content on here so I appreciate all the great feedback this community gives! Learned so much! Just wanted to get your perspectives on something...

    As the title suggests, I'm struggling when the pressure is on and I have to deliver as a freestyle DJ..

    Some background..
    I've been DJing for 3~4 years now, mostly in the bedroom but I've also done several house parties along with having DJed a division 1 men's NCAA basketball game (of which most turned out as pretty successful events). I use Traktor & an S2 and try to DJ all styles however as a genre, I prefer house. In addition to enjoying the music, I can predict the nature of the tracks (predictable progression, 8 bar intro into build, etc). While this may hint toward the answer, the issue comes when I'm trying to go freestyle, without a setlist and play what the vibe seems to demand, as I hear so many people say this is the BEST way to DJ. In addition to this, I'm far more adventurous and seem to have better luck with my freestyle type mixes when the record button is not on and I have a set list of songs to play.

    I know this seems like a simple problem - learn your music! - but I wanted to see if anyone else has worked through this stage of learning the art of DJing and possibly what resources they utilized to learn how to be flexible in mixing... I really like how Traktor color codes the waveforms and I'm getting better at gauging the wave form in addition to learning how to use the phase meter... But I think I'm chiefly looking to see if anyone can suggest resources for bettering my knowledge of freestyle DJing (ideally with examples).

    I'm sorry if this is a commonly asked question, but I wasn't quite sure what to search for!
    Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you guys!

    WUMBO
    Country Roads, Take Me Home.

  2. #2
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    I would think "grouping" your tracks is the next thing to work on. Tracks with the same vibe, groove, or feel. Tracks you will want to play in clumps.

    "do the drums play well together"
    "mixing points"
    "where is this going"
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    as I hear so many people say this is the BEST way to DJ
    There's NO BEST WAY to DJ. The best way is the way that works for you. Fuck anyone that tells you differently. Also - you'll find that (at least some of) these people telling you to "freestyle" actually DO have some kind of system in place, but a lot of them don't admit it (some don't even realise it). Seriously - do whatever works for you. And I repeat - FUCK ANYONE that tells you that your way is wrong.

    seem to have better luck with my freestyle type mixes when the record button is not on
    I hate to say it, but d'uh... We're all better when the pressure is off - but that's the nature of performance. The only way to get round it, is to face it head on. If you're serious about it, the way around it is to hit record EVERY single time you play. Eventually, it won't bother you anymore.

    I really like how Traktor color codes the waveforms and I'm getting better at gauging the wave form in addition to learning how to use the phase meter...
    Ignore 'em both. Past the learning stage (and it seems like you're past the learning stage) you don't need 'em.

    There is ONE method that I use quite a lot. Traktor has a function called "Beats to Cue". Check out these guides - it is a SERIOUSLY useful feature:

    http://djtechtools.com/2013/03/22/be...ntdown-to-cue/
    http://radleymarx.com/blog/digital-d...or-cue-points/

    One thing to remember is a comment on the DJTT article:

    Quote Originally Posted by disposablehandle
    "If you bring the “Bars Per Phase” (located in Preferences>Transport) down to 0 bars (as shown in the video above), the Beats To Cue field will only show Phrases and Beats – no bars"

    It will actually show BARS and beats - which is great and exactly as it should be!! it is supremely difficult to think in multiples of 4 bar phrases, at least for people with musical background.
    Keep at it mate. AND I REPEAT - FUCK ANYONE that tells you that your way is wrong.
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  4. #4
    Tech Mentor Chael's Avatar
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    As keithace stated, grouping tracks is a great thing to have at hand, make mini playlists of 3-5 tracks you know well and that work together, its even better if you can mix them in any order and they all still work. This way you have mini sets you can turn to at anytime, create ones that build up, wind down, stay with a constant groove or build up to a particular track you like to play often. If you build enough of them it can take off some of the pressure once your on stage. One thing I find really works is listening to the drums in tracks and labelling them, think about where they sit in the mix - are they prominent at the front or do all the other elements stand out abit more? are they soft, hard or punchy? do they have more low end or some high end material layered in? Eventually you can create good sized playlists where you know the tracks work, if it sounds right to you odds are it sounds good to everyone else. A lot of people only see a DJ pressing buttons and moving faders, there is a lot of prep work that happens in the build up to a gig - im not saying play completely planned sets but some planning and a well organised music library can take the pressure off and stop you flapping when you are searching for the next track to play. Make it as easy as you can for yourself and you will become a lot more relaxed.

  5. #5
    Moderator keithace's Avatar
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    knowing and having your own "sound" helps tremendously. Your purchases and likes are closer together. Your focus becomes tighter on the tracks you play.


    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    There's NO BEST WAY to DJ. The best way is the way that works for you. Fuck anyone that tells you differently. AND I REPEAT - FUCK ANYONE that tells you that your way is wrong.
    easy man easy we are usually a supportive group
    Last edited by keithace; 08-24-2016 at 10:37 AM.
    Weapons, not food, not homes, not shoes
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  6. #6

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    I guess you're referring to open-format.

    I think you should not concentrate on the technical aspects and more on programming/ song selection.

    Try to get as much info on what the crowd will be like. Country, hip- hop, EDM, etc.

    And when you're at the gig, read read read the crowd.

    Versatility is important too.

    I DJed a wedding and bride was insisting she was a huge country fan and wanted a lot of country music.

    Once the dance floor was going I could read that the crowd wanted the good old staples. Forcing country music to please the bride would have killed the party.

    Learn to DJ the crowd. I would try to hang out with a seasoned and proven open-format DJ for a few gigs. Tell them you will help them set up and breakdown their equipment in exchange for watching and learning some tips

    You will fast track your knowledge and experience that way.

    [EDIT]

    I misunderstood your post.

    I always DJ "freestyle" but some DJs prefer more preparation.

    I think it's just personal preference.

    Whatever works for you.

    The audience only cares about what's coming out of the speakers.
    Last edited by loverocket; 08-28-2016 at 10:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    My little advice, djing freestyle doesn't mean any preparation at all, don't confuse that. Ussually I organize my music following two parameters: moment of the night (warm up/main) and genre (House, Techouse, etc), and then I can freestyle but with those "guides". In an ideal situation, you are going to know in advance what kind of music is supossed to work for that particular club/party/audience, but if you dont, this way of organize your music allows you to move through your library efficiently.
    In combination whith that, in traktor you can use the stars and coments in the browser, for example I used to use the stars to indicate how "intense" a track is, lets say 5 is for massive bombs (just a few in all my library), 4 is for really intense moments, 3 regular main and so on, and in the comment section you can write down anything to describe the track in your own words.
    So, It's obviously better to perfectly know your music, but by doing this you may not remember the names of all your tracks but still be consistent in your mixing. And if you do remember all your tracks names It's still better to have an ordered library, It gives you the liberty to freestyle but in a specific group of tracks that you know are ok for that moment.
    Hope this helps, cheers.
    Last edited by jjjjuan; 08-29-2016 at 09:27 AM.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor Stephen Nawlins's Avatar
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    First Advice: A Request does not have to be the next Song Played...when I get a Request I think about what transitional Song(s) I could Play to get there without killing the actuel Groove (well Killing it totally can also be a tool but maybe not to be used toom many times in the same Set)

    Second Advice: As there is Music getting released every day this is something you will have to struggle with every day of your DJ-Carreeer. I always have my phone with Shazaam (or analog App) with me and always have a Notebook and a pen... A Song I never heard before or I never thought about could cross my way anytime...So recognizing it with the App and directly making a Note with which of the Songs I regulary Play it would match.

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