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We’re all online in one way or another.  It’s definitely a necessity for anyone working in a creative field of business; including DJs.  You probably already have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but are you maximizing your time on them?

We’ve compiled some general knowledge and tips about getting started with your digital identity.  This may seem like common knowledge to some, but implementing it all in a cohesive manner can sometimes be tricky.

Things you need to start your profiles:
- profile picture
- some sort of ‘logo’
- a number of remixes/mixes/mixtapes
- album art for every mix/remix
- one sentence about you and/or your style
Strengths: You can post a variety of different media that is easily viewed by a large extended network.

Weaknesses: If you have separate personal and persona pages, keeping active without burning out or spamming your network can be difficult.

Tip: Use this as your central hub for everything you do online.  FB’s capacity for conversations as well as media (audio, video, photos, etc.) make it a great place to collect everything related to you.

Strengths: Arguably the best medium to have conversations with your network.

Weaknesses: While being one of the best at connecting people, can oddly also be one of the most un-personal mediums to put yourself on if not done correctly.

Tip: Use twitter the same way you would text or chat with someone.  Sure, you can post links to your stuff, but use this as a platform to give your DJ persona a voice.

Strengths: High quality audio streams that integrate very well with other platforms.

Weaknesses: The tiered account system has upload time limits, so unless you want to pay it doesn’t really work for uploading multiple hour-long mixes.

Tip: To avoid running into your time limit create teaser mixes of your longer DJ sets and/or mixtapes.  Post a link to wherever the full length mix can be streamed or downloaded.

Strengths: You can upload as many hours of mixes as you want, all for free.  Also can tag and timestamp your mixes with buy links for the artists.

Weaknesses: Not as widespread among non-DJs/producers as some other platforms.  Player doesn’t integrate with other sites very well.

Tip: You can use your Mixcloud account as your ‘reel’ to solicit to new promoters and clubs.  Make mixes across different genres and tag everything properly so that people know what they’re going to be listening to.

Strengths: HUGE user-base, excellent social features, and great integration with almost every site on the web.

Weaknesses: Since it is so big, cutting through all of the noise can require a bit more work than some other sites.

Tip: Create videos from your mixes and remixes using After Effects, iMovie, or whatever video editing software you have.  Even though the audio is the primary concern, give people something to look at on the screen.  There are many tutorials on YouTube about how to do this…

Google +
Strengths: It integrates perfectly with all other Google products.

Weaknesses: Everyone spends their time on FB and Twitter, not G+.

Tip: Use this in a similar capacity to FB, but focus on it as a tool for SEO.  Use as many links as possible to your other sites.  This means posting YouTube videos, FB photos, Cloudcasts, everything.  The more links you can make the better.

General Tips:
- Try to use the same email account to set up all of your social media profiles.
- Make posting a daily habit.  You should say something on at least one of your profiles every day.
- Respond to all comments and direct messages from fans.
- Use similar, if not the same, photos and logos across all profiles to create a clear brand.

If you want to learn more about DJing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School.

This week I thought I would do something a bit different, here’s a 10 track sampler of some of my favorite club appropriate disco house. I love disco house because it’s something to throw into a peak time set but also sets the mood great as some opening tracks.

1. AnyWay – DuckSauce

2. Can’t Get Enough – Lissat & Voltaxx, Vanessa Ekpenyong, Marc Fisher

3. Bruk It Down – DCUP Remix

4. What’s My Name – DJ Kue 2013 Remix

5. Savin My Lovin – Solidisco

6. Walking on a Dream – Treasure Fingers Remix

7. Want you to know – Sonny Fodra

8. You Take Me Higher – RogerSeventyTwo

9. Dare Me(StupidDisco) – Junior Jack ft. Shena

10. Dancing Love – DJ Kue

If you want to learn more about DJ’ing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin Academy.

A well chopped sample is the backbone of many hip hop and dance songs. For most producers the days of recording a few seconds of audio from vinyl to tape are long gone, but the principles behind it remain virtually unchanged. And while digging for source material may have largely shifted from record stores to blogs, the number of quality remixers producing music has never been greater.

There is a range of different tools you can use to create your samples when working with digital audio. Akai’s MPC line has been a staple for hip hop producers for years and Native Instruments’ Maschine has quickly become a new favorite. For the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on using Ableton Live.

Since Live is a DAW you are not confined to any one piece of hardware. You can use any combination of the mouse and MIDI controllers to do all of your chopping and slicing.

Before you start chopping any samples you need to find your source material. The style of this source material will depend largely on the genre of music you’re going to be making. Many classic hip hop songs are based on samples from old funk and soul records (especially James Brown).

Click here for a list of some of the most heavily sampled artists of all time.

Once the song is chosen, you will need to warp it. Warping will lock the song to a beat grid and allow you to play it at any tempo in sync with other clips and songs. Live will often do this automatically for you, but if the automatic warping doesn’t work perfectly, you will need to find the first beat, place a warp marker, command click and set 1.1.1 on that warp marker. Then command click again and warp it using one of the warp commands.

To select your sample, start off by listening to the song and identifying where different parts of the song begin and end. Depending on the genre of the song, you might be able to visually see these parts in the waveform.

The next step will be to create new clips for every song section that you want to isolate. You can do this by selecting the clip and pressing ‘command-D’ to duplicate the clip as many times as you need.

Within each clip you will now want to move the start marker and loop bracket over the section you want to play. You can do this by simply dragging them where you want them, or typing in the location in the sample box. You can then turn on the loop bracket and adjust it to the length of the section. Most dance music will have sections that are 4, 8, 16, or 32 bars in length.

Apart from the different song structures that you will have in each individual clip, you should try to find any parts of the song that have isolated instrument parts. These parts can often be found in intros, outros, and breaks and are very useful as chopped samples. Not every song will have isolated parts, and the type and length of them will vary significantly. Some might only be 2 beats long, but if you can find them and isolate them you can use them in creative ways.

Things to look for are drum breaks (without other instruments), small solo vocal parts, and any instrumental parts that are free from a lot of background music.

When using these types of samples you will need to add more layers to make it sound like a proper remix, so putting these isolated clips in new tracks is definitely a good idea. If they are in their own track, you will be able to play them at the same time as any other clips from the song or other clips that you want to blend in.

You can create a new track by pressing ‘command-T’. You can then copy clips by copying and pasting, or by holding the option key then dragging and dropping the clip in the new track. You can also rename them to make it clear what the clip is. Depending on what type of clip it is, you might want to have the loop turned on or off. For drum loops and any other repeating patterns you will want to keep the loop on. But for vocals and short melodic clips you might want to turn it off so that the clip only plays once when you trigger it.

All of this is a great way to start learning how to chop samples. However, one of the great things about Live is that you don’t necessarily have to go through all of these steps. Live has a built in feature called ‘slice to MIDI’ which will automatically take any chunk of audio and chop it into equal sized samples in it’s own MIDI instrument. You can select the grid that it chops at (i.e. 1/8 note, 1 bar, transients, etc.) as well as a range of built in effects you can process the audio with. A new MIDI track will automatically be created and you can play the samples with any MIDI controller. This way, you can spend more time playing the samples like an instrument rather than scanning full tracks and tweaking start points.

Note: since you are using MIDI, the audio will be chopped into a maximum of 127 samples.

This is one of many ways that you can chop up samples in Ableton Live. The Simpler and Sampler instruments are also great tools for creating your own samples, but they will take more space than this article to explain.

Try using a combination of these two techniques on your next remix and see how they can work together!

If you want to learn more about DJing with Ableton you should check out our online DJ School here at Spin Academy.

About Spin Academy

Spin Academy is an online DJ and music producing school. At Spin Academy our goal is to give you the necessary skills to unleash your true musical creativity, and carrier potential. We have a huge library of high quality up to date video tutorials featuring some of the most successful DJ’s and music producers in the world.

Questions? Give us a shout at support@spin-academy.com

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