Want a good DJing book to get your nose into this Christmas? Here are 3 tried-and-tested paperbacks that you can confidently add to your wish list.
There is a lot of rubbish out there when it comes to books about DJing, but all of these are classics, and two of them have been recently updated. Get your requests in early and you never know, someone may actually buy you one of these instead of some new socks!
DJing for Dummies
There are no decent books out there about digital DJing – maybe we should write one. I guess things just move too fast, and nobody can really agree definitively on what digital DJing is. That’s possibly why Digital DJ Tips is such a vibrant place.
However, there ARE good books on learning how to DJ, and this is one of them. And luckily, it’s just been republished, and the new version has actually got some information on digital DJing in it. Even better!
This is a practical guide, done in the same style as all the Dummies books (you either like or hate them). If you’re the kind of person who likes to learn in simple steps and with everything laid out for you, I can recommend it. John’s style is encouraging and clear, and he comes from a solidly EDM background.
There’s stuff in here you won’t need, or want, if you’re DJing digitally, but there’s more in here that you WILL want to read and that will be useful to you. It’s aimed squarely at beginners, and goes through lots of stuff that you might be scared to ask about, including things like audio leads and doing your first beat mix. Recommended.
How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records
This book (called “How to DJ Properly” in the UK) was published nearly 8 years ago, but is still pretty much 100% relevant today. Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton also wrote the DJ classic Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey (recommended too), and they run a website called DJ History.
The title of their website will probably give you a clue as to why this book is still relevant today – because a lot of what it contains is “how we got here”-style information. It is humorous, and also very British, and if you’re looking for techniques like in DJing For Dummies you’ll be disappointed, because it is kind of more a philosophical look at what it takes to be a good DJ. It would actually complement DJing for Dummies well.
The advice is interspersed with quotes and sage words of wisdom from big DJs, making it a fun read whether you’re an “armchair DJ” or hell-bent on world domination. (Want to know how to get into a helicopter? It’s here!) Because of its age, though, many of the web links and resources are now dead. Plus it won’t teach you how to “digital DJ” (it barely touches on MP3s).
Don’t let that put you off though because it’s still an absorbing read, and you’ve got Digital DJ Tips to keep you bang up to date with all the web stuff anyway.
Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys and Techniques
One of the big changes over recent years is that DJs are more and more becoming DJ/producers.
With our ever-more-powerful laptops packed with state-of-the-art software, for some it’s a small leap from cutting up and mixing loops and FX, to starting to think about writing your own music for use in your DJ sets.
If you are in any way serious about producing dance music, Rick Snowman’s book is kind of the industry bible. It is like a compendium of how to do it, and having been updated recently (well, within the last 2 years), it is pretty much bang up to date.
Be warned: This isn’t a small book, and it’s also not for casual reading. The name may be a bit misleading: It’s really the “Dance Music Production Manual”, so if in-depth discussions of waveforms and drum programming aren’t likely to do it for you, don’t buy it. But if you want clear, concise and above all useful information on making your own dance music, there’s no better guide.
It’s getting increasingly hard to become a DJ without knowing either how to promote club nights or how to produce music – so if you’re one of those who thinks the latter route is for you, get this book.
Read any good DJing, promoting or music production books recently? What’s on your Christmas list? Let us know!