Home Forums The DJ Booth When Can You Call Yourself a DJ?

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  • #2410121
    Oisin
    Participant

    I’ve been thinking about this recently, When can you officially say “I’m a DJ”. Is it when you first open up Serato/Traktor/Virtual DJ etc.? Is it when you play your first gig? Is it when you’re paid for a gig? Or is it when you’ve had your first DJ fail in front of an audience?

    Some past friends told me that i “wasn’t an actual DJ” because i had been doing it for only a year. (Im at it several years now) but at the time i thought “damn, what if they’re right?” “Can i really say I’m a DJ?

    What are your thoughts on it? When do you guys think you can say that ‘you’re a DJ?’

    It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts!

    #2410141
    Todd Oddity
    Participant

    In my head I break it down like this – it’s when you play in front of people. That’s what DJing is – spinning music for an audience (even if it’s just a few friends in your basement). Before that happens, you’re someone learning to DJ.

    #2410171
    DJ Arleen
    Participant

    I agree with Todd….as soon as you are playing for people with gear and not making major mistakes, you are a DJ! I used to “DJ” before I started officially doing it over a year ago using bits and pieces of equipment, CD Players, an old PA system , my sparkling personality and fast reflexes. When I “retired” from my day job, my friends and DJ mentor from Rumors Productions started giving me the notion that I could really DJ and eventually do it for money. She helped me learn and as soon as I understood the gear and the process, I decided then I WAS a DJ. Now , although I only do 1-2 paid jobs per month, I’m kickin’ it and love it!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by DJ Arleen.
    #2410201
    Alex Moschopoulos
    Participant

    I never worried about it. I usually say you’re a DJ when you get a setup and are serious about learning and crafting yourself as a DJ.

    I honestly hate all this talk of what a “real DJ” is, as it often comes as the means for some to hold back progress.

    #2410391
    Terry_42
    Keymaster

    If you are playing in front of people and you manage to not empty the dancefloor with each tune you play… you are basically a DJ. Now of course there are different levels of DJs:
    – Slaves (do not get paid)
    – Acolytes/padawan (in it to learn)
    – Jedi (mastered the trade but are humble)
    – Sith Apprentice (in it for the money but failing)
    – Sith Lords (only in it for the money and good at it)
    – Mixmaster (has mad skeeeeelz man)
    – Grandmaster (Mixmaster on steroids)
    – Twinkie (DJ fanboy DJ and immitation mime)
    – Muggle (tries to be a DJ but has no idea)
    – Hollywood (fame struck DJ but is a real a-hole)
    – Jedi Master (famous and still humble – very rare breed of DJ)
    – Nomeeee (cannot get ahead and is blaming everyone else and his gear)
    – Junkie (fixed on gear rather than DJing)
    – G.A.S. Junkie (junkie with a lot of money – soon to be broke through gear aquisition syndrome)
    – Jedi Knight (Good DJ – semi famous at least locally – giving his wisdom freely to others)

    Those are some that come to mind 😛

    #2410561
    Marvin The Martian
    Participant

    Hm…So, Im taking my iPad with internet and Spotify Premium, playing in front of people (not even beatmatch or using sync or spotify party playlists), and – bingo! – Im a DJ? Ghm…I gues, you guys will be first ones, who will tell that Im not a true DJ =))
    As I always thought, that a DJ is:
    1)a person who have HUGE collection of records (doesnt matter - Vinyl, CDs, Digital - crowd dont give a damn about the source)
    2)a person who knows EVERYTHING about his collection of records
    3)a person who knows how music is made and created (basic music knowledge)
    4)a person who can play specific songs in a specific order to create continuos music flow, that affects people who are listening to this flow (bad flow is also a flow).
    5)a person who can do the number 4 and scratching (optional)

    I allways thought (and i still do), that the first one and the second one in this list – are the most important things for DJs, But now, with all these Spotify-like services and mobile apps growth, anyone, who pay 7 euros per month, can use a quite massive music collection not just in a specific genre – in ALL GENRES.
    Ive started from playing latin music (salsa, bachata, chacha, later – kizomba,ghetto zouk) in front of the crowd, on social dance events.To play that kind of music for that kind of crowd, i dont need any technical skills (beatmatching or sctratching etc). all i need is a collection of a good music and to play that music in a specific order to make people dance. Am I a DJ? Well, if its all about “playing in front of people”, I gues, I am. But can I ask a payment for that kind of DJing? Dont know...Im not doing anything except selecting a song and pressing play button. Can ipad+spotify replace me? Yes! Will it be better or not? Nobody knows. iPad cannot “feel the crowd”, but I`m also just a human and I will make some mistakes…So, am I a DJ? =)

    Same goes to wedding events. I can select whatever i want, but people will come and ask for a Britney Spears and im kinda have to play Britney, cause theyre paying me for playing music that they want to dance to. And they even can be unhappy if you`ll play some remix or will mix “Hit me baby one more time” with other song. So, whats my job as a DJ in this case? Im not selecting, Im just hit play button….

    So, as for me, a good DJ is a person who can create a flow, which make people reacting positively to that flow (not necessary dancing), using multiple music genres and using (or not using) some technical skills and equipment.

    #2410581
    Dj vitico BL
    Participant

    The other day in a chat room someone was talking about techno producer “villalobos” to which a very popular Dj replied who is that? the argument turned into “you are not a real dj if you dont know villalobos” it was meme worthy haha yeah so basically if you dont know villalobos like he is not on your contacts list you are not a real dj, if you call villalobos house and his mom has to be all like “may i ask whos calling” instead of already knowing its you and putting villalobos on then you are not a real dj just turn in your dj card and retire …hahah sorry I had to share that story I always think of that whenever someone mentions what is a real dj

    But for real to answer your question its basically whenever you want to call yourself a dj there is no standard achievement to legitimize yourself other than just actually dj’ing

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Dj vitico BL.
    #2410731
    DJ Vintage
    Moderator

    1)a person who have HUGE collection of records (doesnt matter – Vinyl, CDs, Digital – crowd dont give a damn about the source)

    NOT true. We are strong advocates here of having as compact a collection as possible. Phil Morse has an active collection of 500-600 tracks for example. Also, while the crowd might not care, tracks in your collection needs to be highest quality and properly prepped. Two things that don’t go well together with Spotify. Not to mention that it’s illegal to DJ with Spotify.

    2)a person who knows EVERYTHING about his collection of records

    Now this is true. Another reason to have a compact collection, otherwise this is just not possible.

    3)a person who knows how music is made and created (basic music knowledge)

    Not necessarily. I am no musician and need the Camelot wheel to do harmonic mixing. But I have been DJ-ing, with some succes, since 1977.

    4)a person who can play specific songs in a specific order to create continuos music flow, that affects people who are listening to this flow (bad flow is also a flow).

    As we always claim, the number one skill a DJ must have is “Knowing what must come next”, so yes, very true point.

    5)a person who can do the number 4 and scratching (optional)

    Not even optional. It’s a particular group of DJ’s who scratch, which can subdivided in two groups: scratch-DJ’s who’s art it is to -duh- scratch and DJ’s that will use scratching a few times a night as a transition or show tool.

    If you take away the internet/spotify part, then yes, somebody showing up to a party with his smartphone (let’s go one beyond an iPad), his splitter connector, his phone earbuds and rocks an impromptu party is most definitely a DJ.

    The gear has absolutely nothing to do with it. Sure, if you are a mobile DJ you want to have good gear, it’s what your customers expect and you should aspire to. But if you can rock the party regardless of what gear you have at your disposal, then you are a DJ in my eyes.

    #2411441
    DJ Tucker
    Participant

    I mean, you gotta attempt to have nice transitions, even if you’re just dropping on the 1. Lately there’s an outbreak of producers mixing Boiler Room sets and they don’t even pretend to follow any of the rules of basic song structure. It’s maddening.

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