Digital DJ Tips reader Andrea Chow writes: “I’m new to the DJ world and recently got hired by a DJ company as a DJ assistant. We mainly do weddings and my boss lets me DJ for a bit during the reception.
“We use his laptop to DJ on, but none of his tracks have any cues and he doesn’t care about song BPM or key. My question is how to mix in these situations? We don’t use effects, loops samples or even cues to blend tracks, so I wonder if I’m DJing at all. I want to advance as a DJ on my own but I feel frustrated and confused.”
Digital DJ Tips says:
There are a couple of things here Andrea. The first one is that DJing a wedding is not the same as club DJing. Many wedding DJs do not even bother beatmixing at all, and it actually often causes hostility from the audience when you’re trying to use club-style tricks, for instance using remixes and adventurous beatmixes. At the end of the day, people just want to hear the music that they know and love to celebrate the wedding of the couple.
That said, things are changing. Nowadays, the base level of technical expertise expected of the DJ is rising, and that’s something your boss possibly could do well to take note of. However, as an employee and as a beginner, you’re not going to be the person to make him see this. So my advice is to do what you have to do at work, and then spend your spare time learning the type of DJing that you want to learn, be that harmonic mixing, using loops and EQ and so on.
When you start to feel like some of your skills might be appropriate for one of your weddings, maybe you can subtly try to include them as you do your job, bearing in mind that mobile / wedding DJing really is about the songs, not the DJ. Who knows, maybe your boss will start noticing the little tricks you’re introducing, and ask to learn more.
One thing is certain though: playing pre-recorded music to a dancefloor is always DJing, whether that is done in a very simple mobile DJ style, or it’s advanced turntablism – if it involves pre-recorded music and someone standing there playing it, that’s a form of DJing, no doubt!
Do you have any advice you’d want to share with our reader? Have you been in situations where mixing was discouraged and you were just asked to “play the songs”? Let us know below.