Over To You: How Can I Deal With Controller Hate?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 9 November, 2017


DJ controller hate
Do you get people hating on you for DJing in public with a controller? Does it ever get you down? How do you deal with it?

Digital DJ Tips reader Doug writes: “I first started DJing eight months ago and I’m already one of the busiest DJs in my town. I did your DJ course which was great, I like your ‘no bullshit’ approach. Anyway, I’m getting a lot of hate from other DJs who don’t use controllers. Funny thing is, they still use Serato! Even though non-DJs really like the way I play different music to all the other DJs, the comments I’m getting from other DJs are getting me down. It’s not stopping me progressing (I am also now a VDJ, helped again by the articles on it I read here), but I guess I’m telling you all this because I need a little boost!”

Digital DJ Tips say:

“Is it real DJing?”, “I like your DJ toy…”, “Isn’t that cheating?”, “You’re just pushing buttons, aren’t you?” These are just some of the barbs aimed at controller DJs. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last, Doug. It sounds to me like you’re a likeable, ambitious, hard-working guy, or you wouldn’t have managed to get loads of work so quickly, and so there’s probably a bit of jealousy going on there too. If these guys are all manually beatmatching on Serato digital vinyl systems, and you roll up with a controller, a sync button, and a box of well-chosen tunes and start getting “their” bookings, you can see why they might kick off.

To me, as long as you’re not coming across like the “finished article” (after eight months, you’re still a beginner, albeit seemingly quite a successful one), and as long as you’re open-minded to music, DJ techniques and gear (you also told me in your letter that you just bought our mixtape course, so it looks like you are), I’d say you should try to ignore it and concentrate on your own game.

It’s only if you’re one of these fame-hunting non-DJs who work out how to hit sync and make the Beatport Top 100 sound passable that I would say you have something to worry about. Sometimes, these foolish people think that’s all there is to DJing, and that quite rightly can upset those who know better. It doesn’t sound like you are, though, so keep smiling and keep pleasing the crowds! That’s what’s getting you your bookings and success. One thing about dancefloors is that they really don’t care what flavour of DJ system, or what flavour of digital system, the DJ is using to play the music to them. So stay humble, keep learning, and don’t let it worry you.

Have you experienced haters similar to this? Do you even see what they might get upset? Please share your views, and advice on how you’ve dealt with “controller hate”, in the comments below.

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