Favorite DJ Programs

Africanchap Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

In terms of formally laid out tutorials that take you through every aspect of becoming a deep house and electronic music DJ, what would you recommend and why?


  • Nico_NI
    Nico_NI Administrator Posts: 1,124 admin

    Learning to play vinyl would make you understand a lot of the mixing principles. Once you've mastered that, playing on digital will be a piece of cake 🍰

    Youtube is a great resource for learning anything.

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,573 Expert

    Learning to play vinyl would make you understand a lot of the mixing principles. Once you've mastered that, playing on digital will be a piece of cake

    Indeed.... if you have the income to afford Vinyl. Hard to master something when you have to invest a hell of a lot in an obsolete format to practice.

    In terms of formally laid out tutorials that take you through every aspect of becoming a deep house and electronic music DJ, what would you recommend and why?

    Don't expect to sit and watch a series of tutorials on "how to be a DJ" and instantly know what you will need to actually be a success. Being a "DJ" is probably one of the easiest things on the planet to do, it is literally playing music one after another. Being a "Good DJ" you can only really learn with time as it is only 10% skill and 90% knowing your gear/crowd/music. LTDR would be forget all tutorials as a starter and get straight into discovering what things do and how things work through hours and hours of experimentation.

    As someone who could only dream of having money to afford decks back in the 80's as a kid and watching the likes of Run D.M.C, Herbie Hancock, Beastie Boys and all that good 80/90's rap and hip hop and wanting to get into turntablism I personally went the rout of the Numark CDX (when I could eventually justify the debt)... Prior to this I was using CDs and tapes with self-built mixers and PA systems built from old stereos and amps I fixed. Not a program. No one used software for DJing, there was no such thing as MP3 back when I got a start in the 90s.

    I still have 1 of these machines and occasionally still use it, I was mostly interested in scratch effects with it so would use it to practice along with my CDJs but being able to manipulate a physical spinning record with all the small tricks you can do which you kind of cant with a static jog, let alone just using software teaches you a lot about how to properly beat match and play by ear, key match by ear and how to get grooves to sit. Plus it's fun to "work" with.

    I did use actual turntables and records for a while when I was living with a mate who owned decks in a share house and loved it, but realised it would be a huge money pit and in no way would I want to lug around crates of records to gigs, let alone deal with the finnicky nature of a physical play arm on a record in a dodgy environment.

    This was all before Youtube mind you, hell it was before the internet so learning was literally getting in and doing it. My first DJ gig was when I was 14 years old (in 1996) using a home made DJ "mixer" I built out of old stereo parts housed in a fishing tackle box (it was just 4 channel sliders and mic input, no xfade), borrowed speakers and stereos I chained together at my small towns new years party at the park. That is where I learned the lesson of reading the crowd as there was a large range of people. That is where I also learned how things go wrong. I did the gig for free, like most gigs I did to start, because I loved it and wanted to get better. That is a great way to learn, get basic gear and do free gigs wherever you can.

    Now I use a Numark NS7III and Serato DJ because it still offers that same moving platter feel like the CDX and gives me that fun hands on feeling, but being 7" platters it's a bit more portable tho I still way prefer the feel of a full sized 12" record. Reason I use Serato is simply because this is what comes with the controller, the software itself does not matter as they are almost all the same, it's how you work with the music.

    I'd say in my experience (mostly open air parties and events like weddings and parties, not a club DJ) learning skills such as how to read the crowd, knowing your music and being able to "predict" based on the age of the guests what music to play, the crowds energy, knowing things like when to put on the dancefloor draw cards, singalongs, and wind down tracks to make things gel correct are just as important as technical skills...

    Remember these days ESPECIALLY when talking about house/club DJs and dance music, there is almost no perceived skill since we all know "just hit the sync button" and then cross fade. Been years since I was impressed by a DJs actual skill and showmanship when all I ever see is the top of his head as he stares mindlessly at a scrolling waveform on his controller. Too many DJs are completely detached from the environment they are in. They have focused on the technicalities of trying to beat match, reading the key numbers, trying to be tricky with mixing in loops and stems and such that they never even bother to even read the crowd and just focus on their playlist.

    If a DJ cannot deviate from their practiced playlist to adapt at all (especially to throw in some requests), IMO they are no DJ, they are just a jukebox. Get to know a wide range of music, too many will limit themselves to only playing House, or DnB, or HipHop and sometimes making a transition from one genre to the next occasionally can be an unexpected surprise for the crowd.

    If you are using software, tag and organise your music, create your playlists but never be afraid to get on and wing it. Practice looking up from your gear, doing things by feel and listening instead of sight. Actually attend clubs and events and watch the DJ do their thing. See if they are actually working with the crowd or just burying themselves in checking their emails. Look at how popular DJs work and what may be making them stand out from the rest.

    Lastly, just have fun. If you want to get into DJing for fame or money then prepare for major disappointment. If you love to play music (that others enjoy, not just you), if you like to be part of what makes a good night and you find it enjoyable to do then it will just start to become natural. The crowd will let you know how you are doing if you pay attention to them.

  • olafmol
    olafmol Member Posts: 134 Pro

    ^ + 1. I know great djs with very limited technical skills, don’t even BeatMix but know their music very well and can “program” the right music at the right time for the crowd on the dancefloor. I know very technical DJ’s that can mix flawlessly and throw on thousands of esoteric fx, but clear the dancefloor within 3 records.

    So learn your music, build your own unique collection to craft your personal sound. Beat mixing is easy, if you have a sense of rhythm and can count to 4 you can learn this within an hour.

    To learn the technicalities just download any Dj software and use it using a keyboard. Or a cheap Dj controller. Again, beat mixing is easy and overrated, focus on programming the right tracks in the right order, build up energy and atmosphere, shift up and down, make room for breaks to control the energy, and then build up again. This is the really hard part that you need to feel and work on for hours and hours.

  • Sunborn
    Sunborn NKS User Library Mod Posts: 2,314 mod

    That is extremely correct and 100% "to the point"!

    Music, above all is feeling, thus:

    • If you don't have a sense of "flow", then you shouldn't Djing, no matter how good technical skills you may have! ....go make some pizza instead! 😉
    • On the contrary, if you do have a sense of "flow", you should Djing, even if your technical skills are limited!

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