1. How to use this book
Think of this book as a car manual for DJing. We made it tough so you can wedge it open next to your decks. Beginners should work through step by step – you’ll soon be mixing up a storm; if you can already mix, dip into the advanced chapters and master something new.
Hold on champ. There’s no fat paycheck just for finishing this book. While big-league DJs do very well, thank you, there’s more and more competition and fewer and fewer gigs at a basic level. Most DJs have to work it to the bone and live and breathe music before they get a sniff of green.
But hold on, I think you might have something special ”
Ever played music for a group of people?
a) Turn it down. I’m watching TV.
b) My disco CD rocked it at the end of that kegger.
c) Listen to this Dutch import. It’s amazing.
Sex comes close, but few things match the thrill of sharing music. Remember how you changed the atmosphere completely? How excited were you when they got into that old Q-Tip track (and how crushed were you when they didn’t like your Meters album)? DJing is just playing records in your crib but on a bigger scale.
Do you play an Instrument?
a) All the way to Carnegie Hall.
b) Smoke on the Water.
c) Just me and my Walkman.
DJing is about listening. Any musical training helps you to listen better. You’ll get a feel for how rhythm works, an ear for melody and harmony. If you’ve ever played an instrument, whether a drum kit in the garage or a cornet in the school band, you’ll have picked up skills that will be useful for DJing. And great news – in our book, even listening to a Walkman counts as musical training.
Do you own any music?
a) My vinyl collection has its own apartment.
b) A few CDs and (shhh “) lots of downloads.
c) My Sesame Street CD is scratched now.
DJing is about having the best music and showing it off to people. Do you regularly shop for music? Download tracks? Swap CDs with friends? If you don’t own any music at all, have a look at the gardening books on the next shelf.
Do you go clubbing?
a) I’m racquetball king at the country club.
b) Only to score girls/guys/drugs.
c) The nightlife is my life, son.
Let’s go out. Provided you’re old enough to get in, dance clubs are an essential part of your DJ schooling. You get to see how the atmosphere builds; how a good DJ chooses records to get things moving and keep them there; how a bad DJ bores people or does things in the wrong place ” Get your coat on.
Do you dance?
a) Like a Nureyev ninja on ice.
b) Like an arthritic water buffalo.
c) Sorry, I’m not trashed enough yet.
Dancing is your end product. You better know what it feels like. As a DJ, you have to understand what makes people want to get up and move and what makes them run screaming back to the bar. A DJ who never dances is like a vegetarian rancher – it’s all too theoretical.
Got any friends who are DJs?
a) DJ Premier is my uncle.
b) My homey has some Technics.
c) I love Howard Stern.
DJ friends are great. You can test-drive their decks before you buy your own, they give you tips on hot tunes, they get you drinks tickets in clubs, and you can watch and learn from all their career mistakes. So stay close: carry their box, hang out in the booth, watch what they do ” then stab them in the back and steal their gigs.