Last time we talked about house music on the blog, we discussed the basic philosophy behind house music, as well as some of the basic techniques you’ll need to get started. Now that you’re in the right headspace and you’ve been working on essential techniques like beatmatching, we can explore some more advanced house DJ tricks that incorporate elements like EQ, looping, and effects.
EQ Your Fade Ins / Fade Outs
Once you’ve got your basic slow transitions mastered, you can start playing with EQ settings to make your transitions sound even better. Rather than simply fading from one track to the next, try slowly turning down the bass EQ on your first deck while you bring in the bass EQ on your second deck. This will make it sound like one bassline in slowly dropping out while the other comes in. This is the most common way to use EQ for house transitions, but of course you can experiment with using EQ in different ways as well. Try bringing down the high end on one deck while you bring up the high end on the second deck, or mix it up and roll down the low end on one deck while you crank the high end on the other.
Use Loops to Extend Your Transitions
To become a good house DJ, you’ll need to develop a solid understanding how to incorporate loops into your set. Need some help understanding how looping works? We’ve got a lesson series on looping right here at our online DJ school.
Once you’ve got the basics of looping down, you can use loops for all sorts of things in a house set, including extended transitions. The basis of this technique is simply to loop the last four, eight, or even sixteen bars of a track to create an extended outro while you bring in the next track. This is especially useful in house music sets where you might want to keep a groove going for longer than anticipated, depending on the mood out on the dancefloor. This also helps you create those long, slow transitions that house music fans love.
Use Loops and Effects to Create Interesting Fills
Another great way to use loops for house music is to keep a loop or series of loops running in the background throughout your set. A good loop could be anything from an interesting drum pattern to a cool vocal sample. Keep the loop running at a low volume, or even mute it altogether, and then bring it in at strategic points to create interesting fills. For bonus points, experiment with different effects to make your loop fills even more ear-catching. Add a gate to create a stutter effect, use some reverb to add depth, or use some delay to make your fills sound totally huge.
Master the Loop Roll
One of the most classic house DJ tricks is the loop roll. This is when you loop the last eight bars of a song, then cut that down to two bars, then cut that down again and again and again until you’re only looping a tiny section, creating a chopped up, stuttering sound. Then, when the timing is right, you release the loop and bring the full track back in. This usually happens right before the chorus, but it can be used in other sections as well. You’ve probably heard this technique used a lot not only in house DJ sets, but also in a lot of pop songs. For this reason, you should make sure not to use this technique too much, as people tend to get tired of it pretty quickly. Consider yourself warned.
That should give you plenty of house DJ tricks to practice for now. Next time we revisit the subject of how to DJ house music we’ll wrap up this series with some tips on how to pick the right songs to create a great house DJ set.