Looking to expand your DJ rig but don’t want to spend the money on a new mixdeck or piece of software? You may not have to look far for your next fun, affordable upgrade. In fact, you may be reading this post on what could become a powerful tool in your next DJ set.
If you haven’t explored what your smartphone or tablet can do for your DJ workflow, you could be missing out on some really helpful tools. Here are the 3 best DJ apps out there to integrate into your existing DJ rig.
Native Instruments Traktor DJ for iOS
Since it was released in 2013, Traktor DJ for iOS has become an important tool for many working DJs. This app essentially takes everything you get in the full software version of Traktor and distills it down into a handy touchscreen version that works on iPhone and iPad (sorry Android users!). This app received rave reviews from virtually every music and tech review site out there upon its release, with many reviewers hailing it as the first ever app to have earned a place in the professional DJ booth. This app could easily go down as one of the best DJ apps of all time.
So what can Traktor DJ for iOS do for you? Possibly the best thing about this app is that it syncs easily with the full software version of Traktor DJ via DropBox, and it also support Core Audio which means you can use it with an audio interface like Traktor Kontrol Z1 or Traktor Skratch A10. So if you’re already a Traktor user, you’ll love this app. And while this app could easily handle a full live eDJing set on its own, many DJs have found that Traktor DJ for iOS works best as an off-stage tool for preparing and testing mixes. And at $9.99 for the iPad version and $1.99 for the iPhone version, this is easily the best pro upgrade you can buy for your DJ rig for under 20 bucks.
Korg’s Kaossilator phrase synthesizer is an innovative tool that can be found in plenty of pro DJ setups today. A few years ago, you would have needed to spend a few hundred dollars to get your hands on a real Kaossilator, but now thanks to iKaossilator for iPhone and iPad, you get access to the same types of features for only $19.99. Sure, this app won’t give you exactly the same as what you’d get with a real Kaossilator, but it does allow you to start using some of the Kaossilator’s key features for a fraction of what you’d pay for the real thing.
If you’ve never experimented with a Kaossilator before, this app can act as a great intro to the device. It can also be a great way to stimulate your creativity and help you come up with new ideas, as it gives you access to tons of loops, synths, basslines and more than can be manipulated on the fly right on your device’s touchscreen.
Native Instruments iMaschine
Similar to the iKaossilator, the iMaschine for iOS app gives you access to the basics of the real Maschine functionality for only a fraction of what you’d pay for the the full hardware device. More than just a music mixing app, the iMaschine works as a portable sampler, sequencer, and audio recording device. And with the new version of iMaschine, you can now get this app on either iPad or iPhone for only $4.99. So for less than the price of a fancy latte, you get your hands on one of the best DJ apps out there.
If you want to explore sampling and sequencing, this app is a good place to start. It interfaces easily with the desktop version of the Maschine software so you can easily integrate it into your existing setup. This app is a great tool for quickly trying out new musical ideas, and you can even use it to capture and manipulate live samples, which could be a very interesting way to encourage more audience participation in your live set.
Whether you want to play a whole DJ set with your iPhone or you simply want to try out a new electronic music creation tool but don’t want to break the bank, there’s really no limit to what you can do with your mobile device these days. These are 3 of the best DJ apps out there today. They may not always give you the same experience as the real thing they’re imitating, but they may be just what you need to expand your creativity or bring a new element to your DJ sets.
What could be better than backpacking around Europe or spending a month on a sunny Caribbean beach? How about paying for it by playing DJ gigs along the way? The good news is, you don’t have to be an EDM superstar to play shows abroad, but it won’t be a walk in the park either. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort, however, you should be able to book your dream vacation and cover some (if not all) of your expenses by learning how to get DJ gigs abroad.
Plan in Advance – WAY in Advance
When you’re planning any kind of trip, it always pays off to plan well in advance, and this is even more true when thinking about how to get DJ gigs abroad. In this case, planning means more than just figuring out where you’re going to sleep every night.
If you want to secure bookings in a foreign country, you’ll have to find some way to become a part of the local scene, and thanks to the Internet, this is a lot easier to do than it used to be. No, you don’t have to “get famous” in whatever country you’re planning on spinning in, but you do have to build relationships with people in the local scene.
Music scenes are pretty similar no matter where you are in the world, and just like at home, the most important part of any foreign music scene usually comes down to who you know. So get on the blogs, the forums, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else you can find online where people in the scene like to hang out. Then start chatting it up with local DJs and promoters; you can’t just show up and expect to play the local club if no one knows who you are. (For tips on booking gigs at home and abroad, check out our video lessons on getting gigs and promoting yourself.)
Play the Foreigner Card
One of the toughest parts of learning how to get DJ gigs abroad is figuring out how to navigate a totally different culture. However, being outsider can also work to your advantage if you learn how to play the foreigner card right.
A lot of promoters like booking foreign DJs because it allows them to promote you as a big act they flew in from overseas. Of course, they won’t actually want to pay for your flight. But if you can cover the costs upfront, then you can hopefully earn enough cash to pay for that flight by playing up the fact that you’re a DJ from another country.
Offer Something in Return
DJs are getting more and more popular these days, so no matter where you are in the world, the competition will most likely be pretty stiff. However, sometimes you can beat the competition by offering the promoter something he wants.
Maybe in exchange for booking you at his club, you can use your connections to offer him a booking for one of his local artists at one of your hometown clubs. Or if the promoter is also a DJ, you could offer to promote his stuff on your blog, on social media, or even at your local record store.
In most cases, promoters care way more about what you can do for them than how good your transitions are or what your remixes sound like.
This should give you some ideas about how to get DJ gigs abroad, and maybe when it comes time to plan your next vacation you’ll be able to offset some of your costs by using the DJ skills you’ve learned. Next time we’ll talk about what to bring with you when you’re planning to play DJ gigs abroad and what to do when you get to your destination.
It’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills before heading out on the road as well, and our online DJ school has more than enough video lessons to help you prepare for any type of gig.