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Thread: First Jump from Bedroom DJ to First Gig (tech house/techno)

  1. #1
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    First Jump from Bedroom DJ to First Gig (tech house/techno)

    As a Newbie I totally appreciate all of the great information I've had from the forum so far!! Major source of informaton! Got my decks this year for the first time and I am 100% addicted (also recently upgraded my kit)

    Just wondering when does someone know they are 'ready' for their first gig? Understand it's totally subjective but your thoughts are welcome.

  2. #2
    Member DJ Bobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jambon View Post
    As a Newbie I totally appreciate all of the great information I've had from the forum so far!! Major source of informaton! Got my decks this year for the first time and I am 100% addicted (also recently upgraded my kit)

    Just wondering when does someone know they are 'ready' for their first gig? Understand it's totally subjective but your thoughts are welcome.
    You’re ready when you’re satisfied that you’re capable of providing the entertainment experience your customer desires. I practiced for months before my first gig, but I still made a few mistakes. I think I covered them up enough that the guests probably never noticed.😄 I also practiced how to handle scenarios where things might go wrong (power failures, computer failures, etc.), so I was confident I could handle most any unexpected failure. You get better with every gig, but you have to start with that first one. Good luck.😊

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    Good effort mate! Sounds like you're first gig went well.

    I've recently got myself some xdj's to get my head out of the laptop because I wouldn't be able to rely on it, but I haven't got a clue what to do if there was a power failure in a club lol.

    One thing I am concerned about is being able to mix with all the distractions and just being overwhelmed by the occasion!! I'm practsing like mad but I suppose there isn't really anything I can do to prepare for djing in a club lol. I'd usually be the one on the dance floor after way to many beers hehehe.

    I've only started this year so don't really feel I'm experienced enough yet or my mixing is up to scratch, but if someone gave me the opportunity this weekend I would defo take it!!! Anything in particular I should practise to get me fully prepared???

  4. #4
    Member Hygro's Avatar
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    practice playing in front of people. I played for my friends then some house parties and some tiny internet radio gigs before I did real paying/scene-exposure gigs.

    also try playing with bad accoustics like turn your headphones down and aim your speakers as awkwardly away from you as possible and put in some earplugs turn a nearby tv on loud and see if you can mix. A lot of clubs will feel like that.
    My production tips thread. On my production philosophy, techniques, and concepts
    http://www.djforums.com/forums/showt...roduction-Tips

  5. #5
    yes, I was going to say get a few friends 'round; friends that you would be nervous performing in front of, not the ones who tuck you up in bed when you're drunk!
    and if you feel you had the opportunity right now you'd take it, you know yourself you're ready - like ready to do the driving test.
    Last edited by dlove; 12-02-2018 at 02:30 AM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Hygro View Post
    also try playing with bad accoustics like turn your headphones down and aim your speakers as awkwardly away from you as possible and put in some earplugs turn a nearby tv on loud and see if you can mix. A lot of clubs will feel like that.
    also, do it in the dark with one light blinding you every time you look up

  7. #7
    It sounds like you're doing great and on your way to getting some gigs.

    Make sure you can mix for 1 hour without making any big mistakes. I suggest recording yourself. DJ for 1 hour straight without taking any breaks and record it.

    Later, listen to the recording and take notes on how you would change things.

    It's good that you're waiting until you are ready. Not everybody does and you can get a bad reputation quickly.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    I think if you are wondering if you are ready then you probably are ready.

    Some hard won advice for you -

    * Know your tunes. Go to the night you are supposed to be playing at a couple of times before you play there so you are 100% clear about the music and the crowd. Have a very good idea of what tunes you are going to play before you go and KNOW THESE TUNES INSIDE AND OUT.

    * Planning. Lots of folks say that a good DJ doesn't plan his sets but when you are starting out, not planning things makes you look unprepared and flustered. It also means you take up a minute or so or longer choosing tunes from your box (or lappy) which you should be spending on making sure the mix is spot on. Leaving yourself not enough time between mixes while you mess about choosing tunes and picking them out etc can leave you cornered in terms of mixing and you end up snatching at things, moving it across in the last 20 seconds etc. It puts you on the backfoot and you can get flustered and that will show even if your mixes are ok.

    * Booze/drugs. I like to think of DJing a little like playing pool. One or two or three beers can loosen you up and actually help your playing. More than that will take your edge off and start to eat away at the link between ear and brain and hand. You can still hear everything as if you were sober but your brain is slower in processing what needs to happen. IE: it starts to go out, you hear it but your brain doesn't process that you need to push it back in etc. Bugle/powder/little fellas - a terrible idea when DJing at the best of times and when you are starting out is beyond terrible. Just don't do it, even if you do it at home and get on ok with it, the nerves of your first gig will ruin you if you're under the influence. Have a cup of tea before you go on, stay calm, stay on top of things and don't be afraid to just let the music play. There's no need to hammer the crap out of it with filters and FX unless you are super comfortable - generally it sounds cluttered unless you do it very right so try not to. Keeping it simple means you are less likely to make a big mistake and will build your confidence quicker. Remember there is nothing better than two great tunes mixed properly. Anything else is just noise - literally. Keep it simple!


    * Mixes. Get your Soundcloud mixes out to everyone and get them to give you an honest appraisal. Try to stay away from giving it to your mates and they will all say it is brilliant even if it isn't and if they aren't DJs they wont really listen to it anyway beyond sticking it on when they are in the shower or something. Feel free to DM me a link, I'll give it a listen and I'll give you an honest appraisal. If you're snatching at things, if there's a key issue or you are a little slow in moving it back in when it shades out etc, a DJ will be able to tell you.

    * Secret Weapons. Have a couple of bangers in your back pocket. I have a few tunes that have never and will never leave my box/laptop/USB cards. These are the aces up your sleeve. You don't talk about them, you don't put them in your Soundcloud mixes and you keep them for when you absolutely need them. You may find the energy on your dancefloor waning and the last two vocal tunes you dropped didn't help, you aren't sure what they want and you need to bang something in to get everyone smiling - get them smiling and they commit to you, they commit to you and they dance. Sounds simple but that is what you are aiming for. Its hard when you are doing the warm up but if you get people dancing the promoter will love you. Ideally your secret weapon tune or tunes will be something lesser known, something with a big hook in it, and something that is a little left field - a bit unexpected. It should go without saying that you know this tune inside and out and can mix it into more or less anything. I have a load for different types of music I play. A good example is when I am playing a techy house set, as I am doing 50% of the time these days, I love dropping the Rex The Dog mix of Photographic by Depeche Mode in. It goes into a techno set as well. Its great because it is sort of familiar but most people don't know it, even DJs. It has this driving, soaring synth hook that feels really atmospheric and electro. It also has these amazing, almost trance style breakdowns that sound great on your home system but are a totally different animal in a club. It is a monster of a tune and everyone smiles and claps and it drags them back to commit to you. It screams at them not to ignore you. I sometimes sample the breakdown of Push The Button by The Chemical Brothers into a hard techno set for the same effect - it is a brief moment of euphoria amongst the hypnotic beats and it demands their attention. It is important to have tunes like this in your pocket if you need them. Nothing wrong with venturing a little off piste if you know your tunes.

    * Monitors. Try to get a feel for the set up before you go on. There's nothing worse than having a mixing style in your front room, ie: one headphone on, one off, good monitors pointing at you and headphones mix 100% in cue, then you get to the venue and the monitors are rubbish, you cant hear anything and you have no idea whether what sounds good in your cans is sounding good in the venue... Then you have to put both headphones on and turn the cue right up... it really can screw things up. Trust me. It is good to practice being able to mix using your normal style and also just in your headphones with no monitors etc. Its a good skill to have. Unfortunately in your front room or bedroom it is hard to tell much of a difference unless you live in a castle or have a million watt sound system but it is a good skill to be able to have anyway.


    * As DLOVE says, practicing at home in the pitch darkness using only the lights from your gear is a good idea too. You'd be surprised the things that can slip through in the darkness. Worst one is if you use the upfaders like I do, in pitch darkness you cant tell exactly where they are. Lose track of what is in and what isn't and you might end up cueing up a record with the fader up without you knowing and you wont know as you're listening to it in your headphones. Simple mistake but man can that sound horrible if you don't see it in the darkness. I saw a guy on Youtube who put phosphorescent paint on the tips of his upfaders on his mixer - looked a bit silly but is a really really good idea.


    * Gear. Know what you are going to be playing on. If you have DDJ system at home and are going to be playing on CDJ2000s and a DJM900 then the interface should make sense to you but you had better know how their gear links up to your Traktor or Serato etc. Don't assume there will be a soundie there to help you. Very often there isn't and you will have exactly two minutes to get everything up and running when the last guy brings his last tune in. Don't assume there will be a plug socket for your laptop either. Often there is but it will involve you taking one of the leads out. Knowing which one you can and which one you CANNOT is not a game of Russian Roulette you want to be playing on your debut. My advice is get there early before the club opens, arrange to have a twenty minute soundcheck with the owner/promoter so you know what you are dealing with. It also looks/sounds professional and the owner/promoter will respect that - the guy is doing this for a living and you are just another guy who is doing it for a laugh so a bit of professionalism always helps. It'll also give you time to say hi to the bar staff etc which is of huge benefit later, if you need them to bring you a cup of tea behind the decks.


    * USB. Following on from my bit about gear, I recommend taking your tunes on a backup USB as well so that if your laptop dies or there's an issue with the digital deck you are using, you can use the house CDJs etc. Always have a backup!

    * House parties. Do a couple of houseparties first. Get your name out there, get people clicking on your Soundcloud and you'd be surprised what happens. Next thing you know you'll be getting booked to do other people's houseparties and so on. You'll be a much easier sell to any promoter if you have even the tiniest buzz around you. This is a buzz you need to create.


    * Be nice. I cant state this enough. If you rock up in sunglasses with an entourage, ten minutes before you're supposed to go on and don't take the time to say hello to everyone, have a little dance to the guy/girl on before you, you wont be invited back. Simple as that. Likewise if you are professional, arrive early, don't demand bottles of booze or bags of gear, take time to introduce yourself, go to a little soundcheck before the club opens and are happy, smiley and help with moving chairs/tables, collecting glasses, even flyering outside for the promoter etc then you will be, even if you are very nervous and make a few mistakes. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as my mum says.

  9. #9
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    Everyone thanks so much for the replies! The information is so helpful and has made me think of stuff I hadn't considered before!

    Loads of pointers but i'll address a few!

    I'm going to the venue Friday! Also a friend in work knows the dj/promoter of this night and I'm trying to arrange a mix with them both at home. So he should be able to guage my progress.

    My headphones are fecked to be fair because I stood on them lol so mixing with those is a pain. Ill get the tv on and try and mix in darkness to make things as hard as possible.

    I've done one house party and loved it!!! I did have to check the bpms once but this was a first in months (I was distracted by a weird drum beat and some dude talking to me when I was trying to mix) lol

    My biggest obstacle I think is mental. When I had my ddj 1000 I couldn't mix for shit on my mates xdj rx That was about 3 months ago. Since then I purchased a djm 850 mixer and xdj 1000s and overcome a few obstacles. But I haven't mixed on my mates since and it's eating away at me, If I ever get a gig that will always be in the back of my mind!

    PerryCombover- again thanks for the info! I'll get a mix recorded and message you!! Will be in the next week or so if that's cool.

    What do you guys think of the benifits of a 3rd deck? I can't help but think it's going to really speed up and tighten up my mixing?

  10. #10
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    No worries dude - just fire it over when you're ready.

    Re a third deck, no need right now. Just concentrate on your beat-matching. I know DJ gear is an addiction (I know this all too well lol) but sometimes we buy stuff we aren't ready for as it helps confidence and it looks cool. In reality a third deck isn't really necessary these days unless you are Jaguar Skills or EZ lol

    I have a pair of CDJ2000s and a DB4 mixer. If I ever need anything above that I also have a DDJ-RX running into the third channel on my mixer, so I can seamlessly use CDs, USBs and also Rekordbox off the RX if I need to. Realistically it hardly gets used, mainly because I prefer the CDJ interface and have everything on 128GB USB sticks so there's plenty of room for everything. I've got a pair of Audio-Technica LP120 decks that go into the middle two channels as well if I want to play vinyl. Again, very rarely but its nice to have.

    I have just bought a DJS1000 sampler which I use almost as a third deck, or where a third deck would have fitted in previously.

    My thinking was that I only ever really used a third deck (I did have three CDJ2000s at one point) for samples and the really creative stuff, which the DJs1000 does far far better than anything else I've used.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndwys8O9ugk

    It really is a quantum leap forward for what we do as it demands you have your ducks in a row technically in terms of the tunes you are mixing, so you can devote your time and creativity behind the decks to layering different sounds and loops over the top.

    Reason I mention this is I have always thought I needed three decks and found that the third CDJ was almost never used. I have an RX and a pair of vinyl decks but these are purely so I can play anything I want, whenever I want and don't add anything to what I have already. I always thought I needed three or even four decks as to be honest I saw Carl Cox play with three and four and thought it looked cool. All the clubs Ive played at have/had three or four decks installed so I assumed I needed them.

    My advice is get your beat matching on point, try not to overthink it and don't worry about what you may need later. If you are still at the stage of playing parties and looking at getting your first gig then trust me you don't need a third deck and if you had one it would be an unhelpful distraction from the things you cannot afford to fcuk up at this stage. I cant emphasise this enough - a third deck will not speed up or tighten up your mixing. Its just a third deck. The only thing that will improve your mixing is you, your decks and a lot of hours and late nights. There isn't any way round that I'm afraid.

    Later on when you have regular gigs and want to add more creativity or flair, maybe look at a third deck but be clear on the reasons you want one. If its because it looks cool and makes you look like Carl Cox (lol don't laugh - I did exactly this!~) then by all means go for it if you want to. If its because you want to add something you don't already have and take your technical abilities to the next level then look at a DJS1000 or similar. There are loads of samplers out there that do the same thing, the DJS is just easier to use and more intuitive for Pioneer guys like you (and me lol).


    I promise you, once you've had those loops going, all perfectly synched into your main mix, and you are chopping it back and forth, getting a bit dirty and nuts out with the pads etc you'll see what I mean. Your beatmatching needs to be ***king great to make it sound perfect but it really will take you to the next level. But concentrate on the two decks for now would be my advice.

    As an aside - DJ tech is an addiction and seriously there are few things in life I love more than upgrading my gear etc. I have a better set up in my living room than any club I've ever played at - ever. There are some pics in the "Post pics on your setup" thread on here. There have been a lot of expensive mistakes in my purchasing over the years, and a few superb decisions that have helped me become a better DJ.

    Only advice I can give you is nobody ever became a worse DJ by spending more time on the kit they already have.

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