Introduction to DJing
This is the first on a series of posts explaining the fundamentals of DJing. These articles will be aimed toward the beginners wanting to get into DJing.
A DJ or ‘disc jockey’ is someone who plays recorded music for an audience. In a modern context this generally involves playing music for people at a bar, lounge, or club.
First and foremost, a DJ is a music lover. They have in-depth knowledge of many musical genres and have a music collection that they want to share with the world.
The DJ’s purpose is to ALWAYS keep the music playing. Silence or ‘dead air’ is the DJ’s enemy and he or she must keep the music flowing. This is achieved through a continuous process of song selection, mixing in to the current song, and mixing out into the proceeding song. Mixing techniques vary depending on the musical genre, style, and equipment being used. The one thing that is constant is that the DJ must immediately start playing another song that meshes well with the preceding song.
There are several different styles of DJs and different contexts in which a DJ might have to play. Depending on the venue your job may be to get people dancing, provide ambience and atmosphere, fill space between live performers, or provide background music to fit the theme of the night. Within each context there are many different styles that a DJ may take. For example, if you are at a seated cocktail lounge you might not want the latest club bangers full of drops and risers. You may opt for something a bit more subtle like minimal techno, ambient, or indie pop rock. The same is true for the opposite scenario; if you are playing at a large capacity dance club you will need some serious dance tunes to keep the crowd interested.
Knowing where you are, who your audience is, and selecting music appropriately is a basic requirement for any DJ. The very best DJ’s go a step further and can read their audience throughout the night and subtly shift the mood of the music to control the vibe of the entire room.
With the myriad of equipment available today there are many different styles of DJing. The ‘truest’ form (or at least the one that resembles the original style of DJing) is with two turntables and a mixer. There are three main music formats that DJs use; vinyl, CDs, and digital files. Each music medium has it’s own range of equipment and most DJ’s employ a combination of mediums and equipment. For instance, the advent of ‘virtual vinyl’ has allowed DJs to exclusively use digital formats on equipment designed for vinyl records.
With each type of music medium, equipment, and musical style there are several different ways that a DJ can achieve his or her goal. Over the next few articles we will go over more of the basics and expand your knowledge as a new DJ.
Is there anything that you would like us to talk about? Let us know in the comments section!