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How to choose music for DJing – Part 2

Posted By — January 9, 2014

In this post I want to focus on what music to use when you’re DJing for a prime time spot. I also want to talk about moving on from an opener, and how the mood should change from one DJ to the next.

Playing peak time involves a lot more than just playing all the latest and greatest hits. First of all, you want to make your set memorable; just because you’re playing a packed room doesn’t mean you can just play anything you want – you still want to make your tracks count.

Taking Over from the Opener

The transition from opener to prime time DJ is important as it dictates the mood of the evening.

Normally a good opener will build the energy in the room and get people dancing while still leaving a lot of space for the headliner to build upon. Once the opener is done, it’s your job to play something that pushes the vibe up a notch. Take for example a song like this:

This song can be mixed in at the break, and it gives you that heavy rolling bass on the drop that can really kick on the energy. This is the kind of thing you want [...]


How To DJ Like Tiesto: What’s The Secrets To His Success?

Posted By — January 4, 2014

How To DJ Like Tiesto

By now you may have heard of DJ Tiesto. This Dutch-born DJ rose to popularity in the early 2000s, and in 2012 was declared the highest-earning DJ in the world by Forbes Magazine with a yearly income of $22 million.

Before making it big, however, Tiesto a.k.a. Tijs Michiel Verwest had been DJing in his hometown of Breda for many years before making his big break overseas. In the early days of his career, Tiesto gained notoriety for playing six-hour long sets on weekends at a small club in his hometown.

In the mid 1990s, Tiesto was discovered by a Dutch record executive and signed to the Rotterdam-based label Basic Beat Recordings. Through Basic Beat he began to gain popularity throughout the Netherlands, releasing a series of mixtapes and touring relentlessly. In 1999, Tiesto became a resident DJ at the Gatecrasher, one of the largest clubs in England. He also kept releasing his own music, and soon obtained a record deal with the U.S. label Nettwerk. Following this came collaborations with big-name artists like Moby, David Bowie, Busta Rhymes, and Sarah McLaghlan. From there, Tiesto’s career had nowhere to go but up, and now, thanks to his continued [...]


Professional DJ Equipment Setups – Which is right for you?

Posted By — December 12, 2013

I’ve heard a lot of new DJs ask questions about which DJ gear is the “best.” My response is always to say that different equipment combinations cater to different kinds of DJs; one setup might fit a certain style better, and you can also easily mix and match gear setups to find what works best for your personal style and musical taste. For example, many DJs use a large controller with turntables, while others use laptops with CDJs even though they are very powerful without. To give you a better idea of what the predominant setups are, and to help you figure out which might be better for you, I’ll discuss the “big three” DJ equipment setups and my experience with each.

Turntables, Battle Mixer and DVS (Serato or Traktor)

Who uses these kinds of setups?

This type of setup caters to DJs who favour more turntablism and quick mixing, and want a bit more flexibility in playing their music. You’ll see lots of hip hop DJs, open format DJs and battle DJs lean towards this set up.


What’s so great about it?

The primary advantage is quick mixing and flexibility. You’ll normally see some kind of Rane mixer although it’s not unusual to see a [...]


Will EDM be the Biggest Thing to Happen to the Music Industry in 2014?

Posted By — December 10, 2013

How To Be An EDM DJ

It happens with every great music genre. Eventually, a sound that’s been bubbling up in the underground for years makes its way into the mainstream. That’s what happened with hip-hop in the 1990s, that’s what happened with jazz in the 1920s, and that’s what’s happening with EDM (Electronic Dance Music) right now.

In the festival and stadium scenes, where rock and pop music once dominated, EDM is now taking over. Sometimes this is in collaboration with rock or pop artists (like Deadmau5 performing with the Foo Fighters at the 2012 Grammys), and sometimes EDM dominates completely on its own.

So why is EDM “the next big thing,” and what does that mean for those who want to learn how to be and EDM DJ?

Many explanations have been given for the growth of EDM into a mainstream phenomenon, but the bottom line is that right now huge numbers of people are buying EDM music, going to EDM shows, and embracing EDM culture. Major companies have taken notice – recently entertainment giant SFX bought Beatport for $50 million. Reigning music superstars have taken notice too – Metallica now cites Skrillex as a major influence on their sound, and more [...]


How Does He Do It? Watch This Deaf DJ Rip It Up

Posted By — December 4, 2013

DJ Robbie Wilde may be deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from making great music. In fact, Wilde (who also goes by the name “That Deaf DJ”) has made a successful career as a DJ, playing to huge crowds at big events like the Sundance Film Festival and the Consumer Electronics Show.

But how does he do it? Wilde has been 90% deaf since age 7, so instead of hearing mixes like most of us do, he uses special technology that allows him to see and feel how the music sounds.

Watch the video to get a taste of how he does it.


Here’s another cool video of Wilde in a commercial for HP using Emulator DJ and Traktor Pro.

This deaf DJ may or may not also be the inspiration for the 2004 film “It’s All Gone Pete Tong,” where Paul Kaye plays a fictitious DJ named Frankie Wilde who also happens to go deaf.

While Robbie Wilde may have a cool story to help him out, the bottom line is that he’s not just a deaf DJ; he’s a deaf DJ who makes great music. If you want to make it big like Robbie Wilde, the key is to focus on the [...]


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