I love Djing and can’t stress enough how much it has helped and still helps me when producing my own tracks. You do not necessarily have to play gigs because some of you might not have the opportunity, but even making DJ sets directly on your DAW will help you a lot. Here’s why…
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Test your own songs against other songs in the market and discover possible mixing issues when you play them in a DJ set. When you’re playing a song you love, then your song, and then another one you love right after, you’ll instantly discover possible issues in your song that might have not come to life even when getting feedback. That is because when you play your song among others, anything that sounds slightly ‘off’ will really stand out, and these are issues that you might not notice when listening to your track alone or even when referencing. For example, I tested one of my songs while djing live and discovered that it had too much bass compared to others, but something I didn’t notice when referencing the same tracks I played my songs with. Not only this, but you’ll also be able to detect if you lose energy in your set while playing your song, or maybe if your vocal is too loud or has too much low end in it, etc. All this will help you tremendously when developing your new tracks because you’ll learn to avoid these issues, and also will help your current tracks get better shaped as well. For this to work though, you must test your song among two others that are ‘related’ to it, at least in the same genre.
2. Test your creative and arrangement decisions during a set and you’ll also learn how to better compose and arrange your tracks. When you start djing, especially when you’re playing your own songs, you’ll start to rethink some of your decisions while producing because you’ll want to optimize your songs for your and other DJs’ sets. For example, currently, my extended intros and outros are plain and simple because I had a song, Valhalla, that I had a really crowded intro and outro, but it was SO HARD to mix in and mix out that even I didn’t want to play it. And what happens when it’s hard to mix in and mix out of your track? Nobody, including myself, plays that track because we don’t want to risk making a mistake midway through our set, so I changed what I did for future tracks. In addition, you’ll also notice that if you don’t do certain things like an enticing bassline or have a good enough melody / sound design to hold the crowd to your song, you’ll end up not playing it because you will not want to possibly ruin your set. Therefore, when you start djing and start thinking about your songs with djing in mind, you’ll start shaping your music to what and how you like djing songs, which will actually help your song get more crowd reaction, DJ support and also get more enticing tracks, as it was mentioned by Pete K in his project walkthrough video where he mentioned that his productions are fully optimized for what works on dancefloors.
3. Play your song during gigs or live sets online and this will motivate you to produce even more. The first time you see someone going nuts to your track will be such a motivation boost for you that I can’t even explain in words how much it will help you to make more tracks. It definitely helps a lot more when you see this happening live, but it also works if you’re seeing the comments and reactions of other people when you play your own song and it does really well because you’ll want more of that ego boost from your future tracks. In addition, when you get booked for gigs, you’ll want to bring your A-game to it, so you’ll try your best to produce your best content for that gig, which will help you speed up your process because it will impose a deadline to you and also develop new music as well because you’ll always want to bring new content to gigs. In essence, this will keep you more focused and motivated to develop and produce new tracks, which is a key factor to keep on learning and producing.
4. Maybe the most important point, when you play live shows, guest mixes and even big live online events, it will force you to network with people in the industry and fans, which can open doors for your future tracks and expand your reach. First, when someone loves your set, it’s possible that they will look for your Instagram and follow you, which could be seen as extra reach for your new songs. In addition, when you start looking for gigs, it will make you connect with club owners, other DJs that are playing that night, and many other people involved with the backstage of that night, which can open doors to more gigs or even label signings. For example, my friend, Scorz, normally plays gigs at Ame Club in Brazil, where he personally met a LOT of producers like Armin Van Buuren, who is now not only signing his tracks on Armada, but also personally asked him for remixes on Armada as well. However, it all depends on you making the most out of it when you have the opportunity to meet people that could help you in your career as it’s mainly in your interest to meet them, and not the other way around.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
If you’re not a DJ yet, what can you do to start?
1. Start practicing on your DAW: Learn how to transition from one song to another, but oonly use the effects you’ll have when djing live, which are a three knob EQ, a filter, and volume.
2. Ask around your friends if they know any DJ that could help you: Most likely, you’ll have a friend of a friend that knows how to DJ and can help you understand the equipment. That’s how I met a lot of my friends, for example.
3. Don’t be shy and try to connect with people: You must be willing to connect with others and connect with other people to start djing as it is mainly something that depends on club owners and friends who could you introduce you to club owners for it to happen. You can still DJ at home, but when DJing at clubs is when you’ll take the most benefit from it.