Digital DJ Tips reader Peter writes: “I’m a middle aged man who’s music taste goes from country to rock to metal, to doo-wop, to today’s popular music. But I have never mixed music before and worry that my taste in music will hinder my abilities to properly learn to do so. Do you have any suggestions for a true beginner?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Sure. Don’t sweat the gear – you told me what gear you had in the rest of your letter and it’s fine for now.
First thing you need to do is decide who you want to play to. If you want to play on, say, an internet radio show where you can roam free in your tastes, that’s different to wanting to play every week in a local bar or something. Deciding that will help you hone your musical taste to suit your potential audience. Your musical taste is your starting point; you’ll refine that when you find your audience. That’s what DJs do.
Next, find someone else who is doing something similar to what you want to do. Look on Mixcloud or iTunes podcasts and find someone with a show or regular mix that at least overlaps your tastes. Find two or three people if you can. That’ll show you you’re not mad, or alone, and what you want to do isn’t so out there that it’s impossible! It’ll also give you more music, and some ideas as to how people programme and mix such music.
Finally, a bit of world-worn advice: It’s about music and programming, not mixing. Your job is, put simply, to cut out the gaps. The rest is optional. Get the music right for the audience in front of you and you’re most of the way there. Good luck!
Have you managed to find your niche DJing a strange style or mix of styles? got any advice to offer to Peter? Please share your thoughts in the comments.