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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Guest Article on DJ'ing by Acomply

This week's article is a guest article by a friend of mine, Mitch, his alias when DJing is Acomply. He has been DJing for quite some time and is heavily involved with Extended Play who put on the fortnightly Liquid Lounge event at the Flying Scotsman here in Perth, showcasing local Drum and Bass. Mitch has a keen interest in DJing and has of late gravitated towards 140 and deep dub sounds. Below you can find his latest mix and a link to his Soundcloud.

Thank you Niwun for allowing me to write this article. I shall be discussing my take on some components of what makes a DJ. There are many differentiations within our own personal opinions of this subject, here is mine.

Firstly, I'd like to say that the primary and most important factor of achieving a good DJ mix should always be the track selection. Within this element, you normally find 2 main types of DJ personalities. These are something like what follows. Number one takes it upon themselves to choose what "they" think sounds good rather than go with the crowd, hype or what others are saying. This DJ creates and gains an appreciation for their unique, individual, eclectic style, but in doing so takes an inherent risk. Number two is a DJ that mixes tunes that are safe, that is to say they turn to charts, or to music that’s visible at the time and that they know will be popular. This type of DJ crafts their mixes to appeal to a wider variety of people.

We should note at this point that these two viewpoints are not mutually exclusive, and it comes down to the age old question that a DJ has to ask himself or herself, on the one hand do I play music that people like or on the other hand do I stick to my style regardless? At what point along this gradient do I want to sit? When cultivating a mix you will never be able to please all listeners, but it’s important to find an effective compromise. You want to play something that you enjoy, allowing you to take pride in what you are doing. Having said that, you don’t want to alienate a crowd and clear the room or the promoter simply won’t book you again and your career as a DJ will be over in a hurry.

Integrating dubplates or unreleased tunes can add extra flair to your mix, and will surely draw support from the producers that provided you with the material in question. Don’t disregard any promos or such that you receive, and even if they are a little outside of what you normally play it could be worthwile doing so if the producer has a fan base of their own and can share your mix.

I have found within my experience (4 years), that unless you can scratch like DJ Craze or mix on 3 decks, then skillset can be disregarded fairly easily. The further up the chain you go, the more politics and popularity come into play. It boils down to factors such as your marketability and how much revenue you cangenerate, how many people you can get through the door, and let’s not forget social media. Increasingly a strong presence on social media is a big drawcard to promoters as you can help push their event and generate more sales While social media is important, it's also important for your own sake to not let social media affect you too much, not only does social media have the ability to affect your track selection and the like but it can also make you compare your success to that of other which can be a pretty negatice thing at times.

In saying the above, I feel the most valuable thing about being a DJ is staying true to yourself, and sometimes spending too much time considering such issues as we've discussed can cause a loss of enjoyment in what you are doing. You will always be your own biggest critic, how can other people appreciate what you’re doing if you don't appreciate it yourself? Try and find the positives in what you are doing, and don't get carried away with overthinking track selection, marketing and so on. In the end as long as you’re content and happy with what you are acheiving then you’re not doing a bad job :-)

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