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Trance Forum  Forum  DJing - Basic DJing tips (that may not be obvious)
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Basic DJing tips (that may not be obvious)

mudpeople
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  113
Posts :  1785
Posted : Apr 5, 2011 12:53:31
Just wanted to share a few tips for those just starting out djing, that Ive learned over the years. Sorry if this is a repeat topic or something (dont remember one like it but feel free to merge it). Tips that arent necessarily obvious, or that werent for me.

If youre using CDs, DONT PLAY ORIGINALS out. It took like 40 hrs solid copying with a 2.6g Celeron lappy back in 06 to copy my cds, but it was SO worth it. The originals have lived in a master binder since and have maybe seen the inside of a player 5 times since then. The savings on stress and care in handling them at parties has been worth it. Also its good if you have the space to rip them, I rip to WAV for added assurance, but .iso or .cda wont lose anything.

If playing a gig in another country, its good to be aware of laws regarding foreign workers. If you're being paid, you are required to get a work visa in many places. So keep that in mind. No one told me this before I went to Vancouver (live in US) to play a gig and see friends, and I spent 2 hrs talking to the border policeman (who looked exactly like Kumar from Harold & Kumar) who threatened to send me back to the US, ban me for life from ever entering Canada, and confiscating my cds and headphones (this was before I copied them and the main reason that I did).

Don't worry, everyone gets nervous, I get nervous every time. Then when its time, I start the set and before I know it its over. The dancers are just there to have a good time, mostly, and dont care so much if you mess up. Smile and give em all a 'c'est la vie' look, wave your hand in the air, act like you intended it, whatever. The only ones who may sniff at the mistake are other djs, and trust me, theyve all made mistakes onstage too. How many top billed acts have you seen that 2-shoes-in-a-dryer'ed more than 1 blend? I know Ive seen more than i can count on one hand do that, Goa Gil not included (and shouldnt be). Just have fun, and the dancers will too.

Which brings another tip- HAVE FUN onstage. Nothing IMO is more of a downer than seeing a DJ who looks bored as hell. I personally refused to be a dj if it wasnt fun, and the fun of it is what has kept me at it. I know when a DJ grins that grin that says 'Yeeeeeeah' when i myself on teh dancefloor am thinking the same thing, its just that much more fun, especially when you both share eye contact as well and know that they know that you know that their work up there is hitting the right spot.

Keep in mind that even with .02% pitch control, its very rare that the sync of the 2 cd tracks is 100% exact due to subtle bpm differences, how big the difference in bpm btwn the 2 tracks is, and other technical crap. So its often necessary to nudge the sync back together. I thnk it sounds best when i let the track im mixing out be the master and the mixing-in track be the one i nudge, but thats me.

If you slow down or speed up above 2.1% there is going to be noticable pitch change, unless you use the Master Tempo (on Pioneers), which will freeze the pitch no matter how slow or fast the playback. Some people dont like to use this option though, its up to you, personally I like to.

Find out from the promoter what sort of cdjs and mixer theyre using, and research them online. Sometimes they use giant ancient Geminis with 100 unlit buttons with tiny white labels on silver plastic, sometimes they use Numark all-in-one boxes with only a master EQ and horrible cueing. Sometimes they use mixers with no option to turn off the crossfader. (I use volume faders, cuz i realized that on my djm 300 teh xfade and vol fades are teh same size, so using vol faders gives twice the accuracy, but last party I played i didnt think to look and the xfade was all teh way to one side, then I went to transition... and played a dead channel for a few seconds )


Just some things I thought might be good to share that I had to find out for myself.

If anyone else has any tips like these this is the place
          .
rich
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  103
Posts :  2184
Posted : Apr 13, 2011 09:34
Good topic and pointers mud.

Keep your cds clean! Especially if you're playing an outdoor with dust blowing everywhere. And whatever you do, don't eat greasy food when handling your cds! I popped in a disk (first disk, first track of my set) and it wouldn't play. The sound guy fiddled with everything he could till he took the CD out, inspected it and found it covered in greasy finger prints. So embarrassing and dumb.

Know the music you bring. Really know it. And not just know it, love it. If you have a gig coming up, start listening to the music you'll bring. Get familiar. Listen to them on the drive out to the gig. Each of those tracks could be the perfect gem that fits right in place at the right time. It's up to you to know them well enough to have that insight and feeling. Care about what you're selecting. It'll give you that smile that's infectious.
Each track carries with it a certain energy, a momentum. When you know your music, you can let that energy flow from one track to the next, making your set seem alive.

At home, practice as much as you can. Play around. Get your two tracks beat matched and start playing with the EQs of both tracks. Get the kick and hihat on one to play with the mid of the other, then switch it up. Keep them beat matched the whole time. Practice with progressive, it's fun and forgiving and makes you feel like you're on coke lol.




mudpeople
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  113
Posts :  1785
Posted : Apr 13, 2011 18:40
lol @ on coke

I think i spent a good 2/3ds of my first yr mixing standing in front of a mixer...

Then spent 2/3ds the second year learning all the things that I did wrong the first year...

Then 2/3ds of the third, well I spent that one rocking out and becoming deeply and intimately involved with my cd collection.

I soooo agree abotu loving it, cuz, I know that if I wanted to get paid I could play club house, or dubstep, but that sounds like it would be awful. Id rather never get booked if getting booked means playing the most average mediocre music because it sways the most hips.

An addendum to that practice tip; Dont feel that cuz you play a certain track all the time that there isnt a new and different way to mix it. In all the time ive spent mixing the same cds, I still havent heard the same thing twice (not counting the onboard fx of the cdj100 which i thoght were soooo coooool).

Its also totally not necessary to conastantly have new stuff. FOr one, new stuff is unfamiliar and that usually means mistakes happen, and also if u wait long enough your old cds will be out of print and desirable. Then rather than marketing yourself based on NEW stuff, you can base it on CLASSICS           .
Shiranui
IsraTrance Full Member
Started Topics :  116
Posts :  1219
Posted : Apr 15, 2011 07:06
master tempo sounds fine on tonal sounds but destroys drums.

If you are really concerned about the keys of your tracks matching perfectly, then pull them into ableton (or another DAW) and manually stretch them all to the same BPM. A DAW will do a much better job of timestretching than CDJs will (since it doesn't have to do it on the fly).

Login
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  65
Posts :  1704
Posted : Apr 15, 2011 18:41
Have your cd wallet well organized, with info sheets for each cd on its hold bin.

Keeping 2 copies of each cd is a good idea.           "The dedication to repetition the search for nirvana in a single held tone or an endlessly cycling rhythm is one of electronic music's noblest gestures."
Shiranui
IsraTrance Full Member
Started Topics :  116
Posts :  1219
Posted : Apr 18, 2011 17:40
Don't just burn entire albums unless you like and will play out ALL of those tracks.

Two way easier ways to organize your music:

A. One track per CD. Burn multiple copies of the same track on a CD until it's full so if track 1 is scratched track 2 or 3 or 4 will still play. Many of the pros do this but it means you will take up a lot of space (and a lot of CDs) for not so many tracks.

B. Make your own "compilations" of similar-styled tracks and burn two copies of each (so you can mix between two tracks on the same CD). Number your CDs if you do this and make little inserts.

The gigantic CD wallets are great...if you have space to open one up at the DJ table. If you can get by with a smaller one, then life is a lot easier as they are easier to carry around, stash, and work with.
Shiranui
IsraTrance Full Member
Started Topics :  116
Posts :  1219
Posted : Apr 18, 2011 17:43
I've tried to figure out a way of doing things that results in the least number of CDs thrown in the trash, but I give up. CD DJing is wasteful

I haven't tried erasing and rewriting CDs, but even if that works... what do you do about the label? Does marker wash off without damaging the CD?
Chemogen
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  166
Posts :  712
Posted : Apr 20, 2011 12:16
Quote:



A. One track per CD. Burn multiple copies of the same track on a CD until it's full so if track 1 is scratched track 2 or 3 or 4 will still play. Many of the pros do this but it means you will take up a lot of space (and a lot of CDs) for not so many tracks.




I dont think its necessary to be that cautious. For an hour DJ set, I'll burn 20 tracks over 2 CDS (10 each) and just make a copy of each CD. Then I just choose an hours worth on the fly.

I wrote a blog post with some tips for the beginner Psy DJ, you can check it out here.

http://twilightindustries.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/what-to-expect-when-you-start-djing-psy/
daio


Started Topics :  7
Posts :  338
Posted : Apr 22, 2011 03:13
knowing tracks well is indeed imortant yes!
just to avoid cd ripping i just purchased timecode setup,helps me in selection to...and as for learning in crap equipment so you can play everywhere yes,but from the moment i purchased a&h mixer i believe i started mixing !
mudpeople
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  113
Posts :  1785
Posted : Apr 23, 2011 11:05
mmmmm allen and heeeeeath [/homer]

I personally feel that being able to use whatever is provided at the gig and still mix a decent set is important, if only cuz one cant really demand certain gear (no matter how much better the mix sounds), and in a way, being able to play a good smooth flowing mix without major hiccups on 10 yr old gear takes more skill.... Technical skill. Artistic suffers.           .
Shiranui
IsraTrance Full Member
Started Topics :  116
Posts :  1219
Posted : Apr 26, 2011 18:23
You can always offer bring your own gear if the gear they are providing is worse...

I've djed at parties where the mixer was horrible and I was mad at myself for not offering to bring my DJM-600 just to make my life easier...
Trance Forum  Forum  DJing - Basic DJing tips (that may not be obvious)
 
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