5 Music Ideas for DJs On The Move

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 14 November, 2017

DJing on the move
What do you do when you’re travelling? Watch dodgy movies and read about women’s perfumes in the seat-back mags, or take the time to get stuck into some serious DJ work in your headphones? Pic: DJ Sound Plane

One of the great things about digital DJing is that you can work on your music anywhere. And one of the most obvious places is when you’re travelling – especially on long-haul flights (as we are today, returning from this year’s NAMM Show).

Why? Well, on most flights there’s still no internet to distract you, for a start. And even better, you’re also cut off from practically everything else that could otherwise make claims on your time. And while I know globetrotting DJs who use this downtime to simply watch film after film, I prefer to get stuck in to some music tasks. Here’s my list of suggestions:

My 5 music ideas for DJs on the move

  1. Work on cue-points and beatgridding. Easy enough stuff to do in your headphones, and saves time you’d otherwise be wasting reading and re-reading catalogues of cheap watches, perfume and overpriced food and drink…
  2. Make mash-ups or re-edits for your DJ sets. Using Mixed In Key Mashup, Ableton Live or your DAW of choice, flight time can be constructively spent coming up with exclusive remixes or re-edits to use in your sets. Nothing like dropping something nobody’s heard before at your gig in another city or country!
  3. Listen to lots of music you wouldn’t normally hear. Travel detaches you from your usual world, so why not uncouple from the music you normally listen to as well, and take the time to listen to something new? I like to grab a load of albums in advance by artists I’m vaguely interested in on Spotify, then hit the “listen offline” feature (obviously, so I don’t need an internet connection on the flight), so I’ve got loads of new stuff to while away the hours on my headphones
  4. Listen to the in-flight radio. Plug your flashy noise-cancelling headphones into the arm of your seat and surf through those in-flight radio channels. You’re bound to find a tune or two, or even a channel, that interests you. Bonus marks if you remember to pack an airline-to-normal headphones adaptor…
  5. Practise your mixing. Whether you work on mixes using your keyboard shortcuts, or whether you travel with your controller, it’s perfectly possible to work on your actual DJ mixes when travelling. I recently sat in a German airport, delayed, rehearsing a complete run-through of mix, using a Novation Twitch and my laptop. I was getting funny looks from some of the businessmen sipping coffee in the departures lounge (it’s hard not to start waving your arms around in breakdowns, even though it’s only you hearing the music on your headphones!) – but that actually added to the fun for me…

PS – Thanks for following our NAMM content…

It’s been great fun reporting from this year’s NAMM for you. We’ll put together a round-up post of a handful of things we’ve not covered yet just as soon as we’re back in the office tomorrow, and then that’ll be it for another year. Next show is Musikmesse in April, where as usual we’ll be on the floor to bring you words, pictures and videos of all the new gear.

What are your tips for enjoying music when travelling? Do you have a favourite bit of gear, pair of headphones, music site, or task you like to do when you’re on a flight or otherwise in transit? Let us know below!

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