Digital DJ Tips reader Ben writes: “I am almost through with my senior year of high school and am aspiring to become a DJ. Anyway, I plan on getting a MacBook and Traktor software as well as a couple more parts to make a full DJ set-up. But right now, I only have a controller, some crappy free Virtual DJ software, and an audio set-up I hotwired together using an old stereo system and speakers (which I’m proud of).
However, I have ceased practising because the computer I have is working at full capacity, and as a result it shuts down occasionally. Also, I feel that using software I never plan to use is not a good use of my time. Is it right to feel like I should be doing something to prepare? And if I am right to feel this way, what should I be doing?
Digital DJ Tips says:
I sympathise with your situation, but you’re letting tech get in the way of DJing. DJing is not about gear. It is about playing music to to other people. Three things there: Music, playing it, and other people.
Firstly, a DJ is only as good as his music collection. What’s stopping you spending inordinate amounts of hours building the best music collection you could possibly have? Then playing it. You can play music on anything. One of my best friends DJed for me at my own wedding, using an iPod, a laptop running iTunes, and a small two channel mixer. He rocked it. Use what you have. And finally, other people. Play any parties you can. Play every Friday night for your sister as she’s getting ready to go out. Have a “music night” with your friends where you all do half an hour each. Do a BBQ party on Sundays. Play online. Just play.
Bottom line is, you don’t need to prepare; you need to just get on and do it. Traktor isn’t so different to Virtual DJ, and you already have a controller and soundsystem. If your computer crashes, reboot it or clean it up a bit. Or forget the computer and DJ from a couple of iPods. Music is more important than technique, and Traktor and a MacBook won’t make you a DJ. Passionate DJs would rather play on anything than nothing, so use what you’ve got and start working on the real skills of DJing – great music played in the right order.
(Incidentally, the “free” version of Virtual DJ is exactly the same as the full version except you can’t use a DJ controller with it – and as you don’t have a DJ controller, that shouldn’t worry you at all!)
Are you letting lack of gear stop you progressing in your DJing? Whats the most basic set-up you’ve ever relied upon? Any extra advice to add for Ben? Please share your thoughts in the comments.