• Stephen LARROQUE

    Really great article. Thank’s.

  • Michel Walluhn

    Gosh this article is sooo absolutly true…hope i find a way right in the middle like your good friend :)

  • http://www.djspeakersreview.com/ Jiamjeam

    The most boring part of DJing is to learn music theory. It takes some time before going on the stage and get our job done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DJEnFreakque?sk=info DJ EnFreakque

    Now this is why i want to DJ, it makes me happy, no matter a venue. From hip-hop, old skool electro (ex. Newcleus), Hardcore, industrial, etc. As long as the beat can inspire a groove, it all good!!!

  • http://twitter.com/DJHYPHYZ DJ HYPHYZ

    Great article Ean- thanks for a fresh perspective!

  • Big Bank Hank

    Lovely article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/TonyTapout Compton O’Hooligan

    Incredible. Thank you. Well Appreciated!

  • Andromeda

    I love this article so much and it’s so true. I went to DJ at a friends brothers party knowing I would be expected to play brostep (nothing against it, just prefer the english sound) and I played for about an hour and then later on, once everything died down, I began to mix into the more ambient bass and progessive house songs I love and I felt so much better, I was standing there looking a right idiot with this big stupid grin on my face while sharing a room with the guy that just passed out and my friend and i have to tell you, apart from the free steak, it was the best part of the night.

  • Sevim

    Had a very troublesome gig last night. Had to hold the crowd together and ending up playing a strange set that I am not proud of. So thank you for this.

  • Anonymous

    random question, I cant get my ddj t1 controller to work with traktor pro which i just put on my laptop, but it works fine with my original Traktor LE, any suggestions
    ?

  • P K

    Perform? or pander? This is the biggest question I’ve faced since I started almost 15 yrs. ago, Pandering is just too painful now after years of being abused by top 40. People will get what your throwing down if you’re into it. It’s funny how much your attitude comes across, dance (fistpump?) PERFORM! 

  • bedroomdj

    Thanx Ean!

    My Question before was: 
    What’s the difference between a professional and an amateur?
    Some of the answers I got:
    - an amateur does it for fun only, a professional always
    - an amateur learns a song on a piano, a professional learns the piano
    - an amateur makes time for it, the professional has time

    New version of the question:
    What’s the difference between a professional DJ, a bedroom DJ and an artist DJ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.kwebeman Frank Kwebeman

    Superb article and exactly my thoughts about dj’s and work. It should be all about what you like and share it with your audience. DJ-ing may not have gotten me a big share of fans or a lot of money.. On average, i have 1 gig a month, but i can play what i like and what my little share of fans and the rest of the audience obviously seem to like. Very nice and i really love my on the side relaxing thingy: DJ-ing.

  • Chris

    I love music…I love to see other people move with the music i love we connect somehow, i love genres that have nothing in common with each other…but there is always a way to mix them, i love digging for music instead of clicking and then again i click like i dig because i love to discover music each day. All of the stories said here could somehow be mine and then again i m sure 99% percent of you guys smiled when you read these stories because you`ve been there too. Heads up!!! don`t be that geek with the mac stuck to the screen pushing buttons, look to the crowd, people should understand you are djiing you feel what you play let music flow through you. Djing is a two way thing you have to talk and listen to the crowd. Start playing for friends thats how i got started , that set me to the right path…almost as i said i had some failures but there were less than i expected.
    Connect with people , let the rumors about you reach before you show up, be patient.
    First of all be a music listener…the you can dj,dance, sing ,produce, play guitar do whatever you wanna do…remember the rules…there are no rules…

  • Anonymous

    sooo true :D i play what i feel and i love it :D

  • Anonymous

    We were waiting a long time for this! Wednesday’s come and gone… no article yet :(
    “Stay tuned for Wednesday’s article, when we will show you how to beatgrid, juggle songs, and become the next Tiësto all in a single paragraph!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002467873631 Fred Fernandez

    Right On homeboy!

  • Dan

    Haven’t liked a DJTT article as much as this one in a long time =)

  • Nico

    Ok, I realize that I haven’t helped you one bit in the ‘how’ of doing that.

    Here we go: Watch the news. Especially a biased news source that runs contrary to your beliefs. Now, notice not what is being said textually on every subject, but rather how each subject, linked at that precise moment with another one, then another one, creates a narrative. 

    Oh, nothing has been explicitly said, because that wouldn’t do, but when you’re done watching, there has been an overall message delivered. Because we humans are suckers for stories, and when you present someone with disjointed facts that are carefully crafted so as to form a sort of narrative, that narrative is what you will get out of the watching, unconsciously. It is extremely blatant when you look for it, but actually no one notice it until they have been shown it.

    You do the same with music. You tell a story. It’s really easy to tell a story this way with music, and, same thing, nobody will notice it, however full on in their face and obvious you can get. This is where songs with lyrics, catchy songs that everyone know comes in handy. They all do tell a story on their own, good pop songs at least. Now by juxtaposing one song after the other, you create meaning, and people unconscious will hungrily jump on this. Having a narrative also allows you to keep them, everyone wants to know what is the next thing in a story when it is well told.

    Now you have hooked. It’s time to adroitly introduce some confusion. They bought what they listened to had a meaning, but now you are getting ambiguous and really what they thought whatever meaning they could have derived becomes contradicted, or there could be suddenly several interpretations of what has just been said to be inferred from the new development. The logical part of the brain can’t handle that, and the emotional is already well in full on mode, because that’s what music do to people anyway, add alcohol and the very fact that you had been pushing not only for music in and of itself, but meaning tops it off.

    Ha. So now they are hooked, and they are bewildered. That’s where you really got them where you want, and where you have to be good. You need to deliver something very generic, so that anyone can now ascribe any meaning they want to it, but pushing in the general direction of change for the better, whatever form that change can take.

    I would love to put on a list of songs to do that, but I’m french and I use french music to do that to my people. And really, it is more a spur of the moment thing than anything else. Extremely easy to do when you got the hang of it.

    All this is heavily derived from the works of Milton Erickson, look him up, he did use this and many other neat tricks, and manage to totally own people only by talking to them, so as to heal them, and it isn’t difficult to transpose it to music when you have understood how it works. Plenty of other of his techniques can also be transposed.

    Yes, it IS manipulation. That’s only a tool, and what you will do with it is up to you. Those techniques are routinely used by very unscrupulous people to help them do their binding, so there is really nothing wrong in trying to use them again for what they were first designed: to help promote change and healthy grow.

    This may probably not be for everyone, also, but that’s how I do it, and it works. It really takes on quite a dimension when you can play all week at the same place, with a lot of the same people coming in, because invariably a lot of interpersonal stories takes place inside, and you can sing to people their very life, make them reflect and influence the whole shebang in new and unexpected direction. Never forget also to adapt to everything that is happening. That’s House music for me, you really are telling the story of the House and helping it unfold, reacting to what happens.

    TL;DR: Learn some Milton Erickson. Now do the same with music.

    • AENSLAED

      Interesting technique! I agree to what you state, definitely this is one good way to explain the labor of the DJ to involve a crowd into the party! Gonna try this myself… thanks

    • lipsknot

      massive respect for knowing who the f milton erickson is….thats right…now go deeper…lol bandler is the king 
      though 

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Black-Channel-Citizen/213257248716225 The black channel citizen

    The idea that anybody would ever become a DJ because it’s a great way to make money is just laughable.  It isn’t.  You may want to consider acting or oil painting while you’re at it.  First of all you have to love it on some level and enjoy what you’re doing.  As for the money, it’ll come when you and the crowd consistently converge on the same space. 

    I currently hold down 2 to 3 nights a week at between 200 and 400 people per night.  I play what I feel works for the particular night and I never stop reading the crowd.  I draw my own lines but I also love hitting the nail on the head with the right track at the right time.  I play what I want withing the structure of what works.  It’s a balance.     

    • bedroomDJ

      DJ as a role model is the new rockstar … who many want to be without knowing how to rock a crowd.

      …which you do, thumbs up for your second paragraph. 

  • Nico

    That article, is of course, right. If you have music in your life, as your life, and you are bumbling l with it like some over used champagne metaphor, then I have one word for you: Go Ahead. Do Your Worst. We need ya.

    Then, there is that other side of deejaying: People. Yup. That is some really dirty looking Fat Ass Girl © you have in front of you, right now, for the night. Every time. 

    You can’t avoid it, you are dealing with people. And you really, really need to understand that you have the very life of those people at your your fingertip, at least for a few hours. Music is bar none the most powerful weapon ever devised to reach into the soul of people. You know it, if you are there, you feel it yourself.

    Now, all talks of musical self righteousness aside, and god knows how those are very much needed in this age of blatant devoyement of what should be the highest, please remember that you have an opportunity to alter the course of people life. 

    Oh yeah, this may seems inconsequential, and just one more alcohol washed night they will forget. It’s not. Well, it’s up to you, at least. If you’re up to the task, and it doesn’t only need a truly genuine love of music, but its full knowledge of how it can make people relate, sweat, laugh and bond, lost themselves in, and maybe at 6am emerge as a changed person, at least one bit. And that would be a lot.

    Never forget people.

    And if you need to play ‘Come on Eileen’ or whatever to get there, so be it.

    • Nico

      Btw, that last line should really be read as: I can totally emphatize with you and the mess you have put yourself in, but now that you are there, it’s up to you to make the best out of it. 

      And if you’re really good, not only will you make a killing, but you will also perhaps manage to turn the tables and teach them a thing or two about themselves while doing it. And you’ll learn also.And that’s fun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justinwooartist Justin Woo

    I dig this. I’ve been burnt out on DJing for a while, but this gives me a bit more fire.

  • Chris Lum

    It’s nice to read this. Really nice affirmation. It wasn’t until I stop trying to please an audience but instead music that brought me joy that my career changed. I’ve been a working dj since 1991. I made that choice early and have never looked back. Thanks for this article. ~ Chris Lum.

  • TStef

    It’s not really that simple in my opinion, Ean. You reached this conclusion after 15 years of experience (commercial & non-) as you said. 15 years is a long time – time in which, willing or not, you get a fan base, be it for your commercial mixing or your personal mixing. And let’s be honest here — you’re able to do what you do because you have an incredible talent. You’re not just mixing music anymore (like in a club), you create it. You became an artist, a title that few DJs have achieved.

    What I’m trying to say is that in this cutthroat industry that DJing has become, it’s gonna be really hard to ‘make it’ if you don’t adapt. I understand that you can become the best dutch house or psy-trance DJ in your city cuz you love these genres but really, how many clubs specialized in those genres are there? So if you want to live from DJing it’s gonna prove a hard task to do so unless the music you love is somewhat commercial, appealing to a larger audience than the 5 psy-trance die-hard fans you have in the community. You might be a happy DJ if you continue mixing it, but you’ll be a hungry DJ as well (not sure after which point hunger trumps happiness).

    And believe me, I’m sick of the crap that’s being played in clubs and on the radio over and over and over again when there is so much good music coming out every day or at least every week. It’s brainwashing taken to the extreme. I’m sure even the people who actually like these commercial tunes are sick of them at some point and change channels just to hear something else.

    Finally, I think that if everything would be a bit more balanced everyone would be happier — DJs AND the audience. Play the anthems popular at the moment but also play stuff that’s a bit more unknown (not necessarily from the deepest underground scene. That’s what the audience wants as well, not hearing the same goddamn tune 20 times per day everyday until you get sick of it physically!

  • enrico

    i have not read across all comments and most probably it has already been said, but i loved to read that article, i have reached the same point you have and become a ‘musical prostitute’. and i’m willing to go back to my roots :)

  • enrico

    i have not read across all comments and most probably it has already been said, but i loved to read that article, i have reached the same point you have and become a ‘musical prostitute’. and i’m willing to go back to my roots :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/sebastian.rattansen Sebastian Rattansen

    good article. sums up a conflict i’ve often thought about but never articulated.

  • Dj killjoy

    Hi my name is steven Paul From Singapore. Kudos for the artical u bloged. reading it just gave me a new zeal in Djing. thanks for the up lifting moment. i also would lke to share you my experience. well i am a hobbiest Dj nothing great have been achived so far, i cover mosetly company events and wedding. these events it self would pose a huge problem for me when i spin. 

    First is the person who ired me. they alwys change their minds and not prompt with their decisions. giving them suggestions would be hopeless as they would have no idea how to start in the first place.

    Wedding functions  are for a fact a great place to spin. but people attending the party here are conservertive so getting them to the dance floor is fairly impossible.

    next is the compay i work for that handles all these events. pratice some an unorterdox style. which is plug and play. so set up time is always cramped up. in that way your pre show set up is alwys in a hurry. 

    so How do i educate my clients and boss on how the music for the night better help me and the crowd overall. 

    FYI just came back from a wedding event and the dance floor empty as hell. but kudos to the uncles and unties who gave support on the dance floor . its always the old fokes who brights up your day.

  • Spirit Center

    I am down with this article. :D

  • Anonymous

    Much truth to this article. In the increasingly competitive DJ scene that we find ourselves  only DJ that truly love the music they are playing and are passionate about it will last. They are the ones that will constantly self-improve and go the extra distance that is needed to stand out. 

    At the end of the day if you aren’t happy, why are you playing music?

    • Audio1

      Many do it for all the wrong reasons.

  • 1000 Cutts

    Good article – I play on http://www.radioactivefm.co.uk every other Monday and play what I want and I love it and am getting more and more people listening..I also play in clubs but relegated to early warm ups or back room/terraces – I would get lynched if I played my particular brand of deep, trippy house in most mainrooms.

  • Dual Citizen

    Great advice! Especially for the many of us who don’t have to rely on music as a source of income, why do it any other way?

  • ConradDangerfield

    This was great, just the sort of encouragement I needed to hear.  Thanks again Ean!

  • http://www.deeflash.com deeflash

    the new golden rule:

    play for others what you would play for you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000531686375 Futureglue Musik

      So I knew this was going to turn biblical at some point.

      I love that sentence though. Cool DJing Tshirt.

  • st.villanus

    This is a voice of DJTT that I enjoy. Thanks for the personal recommendations.

  • Paul Montgomery

    the trick is to create venues and cultures that are interested in exploring a world beyond the top 40. A world that encourages authentic expression in djs, musicians AND the crowd…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.cifre Rob Bamboo Cifre

    Awesome article. I don’t play much, but when i play i am a happy dj. I know its going to upset some people, but when you sell out, to me it seems like your no better then a jukebox, which in this case can be itunes dj or something.

  • Illinoize

    spot on brother

  • http://twitter.com/DJFaintLA Faint L.A.

    Produce your own music. Spin your own music. Repeat. 

  • Rob

    Been a part time DJ since I was 14 (now 36) There is nothing in my collection I dont like. Im a selfish DJ and play what I want to hear and jump up and down to. People come up and ask me to change I tell them to step up and play themselves or buggar off :0)

  • Audio1
  • Djhustleman29

    Welcome to the revolution!! The average person can and will have your music crate and probably more!! Y’all are complaining about playing top 40 dance tracks…I would love to do that…play at a club where everybody want you to play the latest mixtape track that they downloaded yesterday…the will try and hold you accountable for these jams….that’s why I make edits and is creating my own genre…throwing my own parties…

  • Audio1

    In 21 years of Djing, My musical collection spans spectrums. The only reason I am still sane is that I do play what I love and have come up with a balance for the dance floor. Yes. I regularly DJ on commercial radio, which may tie me down to playing the “popular” stuff but on the flipside, There is a lot of pop music that I do thoroughly enjoy.

    I think in this era more than ever before, Being an open-format DJ is very important. Let’s spare the endless back and forth amongst readers, We all have our 1-2 genres that we love more than anything else. Having musical diversity can help you a lot. While I love real hip-hop and drum and bass, I’ve parlayed my gigs to have a lot of variety. Some gigs are Top 40 music, Some are Dubstep/Drumstep/DNB, Some are Electro/House/3Ball/Dutch/Moombahton, Some are 60s/70s/80s/90s (I play at ButterSF, A lot).

    Moral of the Story: You are a human. Music is human in many ways. Don’t sell yourself out trying to chase that dollar bill. Ask yourself what you want out of your DJing career and go from there. I simply want to play good music and make people feel happy.

    p.s. Weed out music from your collection daily. In this day and age of cheap hard drive space, Its really easy to fill hard drives full of tunes you may never ever play. Go thru your crates, Delete duplicates, Listen to music. Ask yourself “Am I really ever going to play this?” That Dutch/Bmore mash up might have sounded fresh in 2010 but sounds real awful now. No need for it to clog up your collection.

    The more awesome music you have in your collection = The happier DJ you will be = The happier your crowd will be. (Results not typical. Please consult a physician before attempting.)

  • Anonymous

    Answer to 
    XISIX;

    I had to smile while reading your comment. From one working DJ to another, “Welcome to the real world of DJing!!”. This real world is much different then the theories (we are the reason every person paid the cover at the door) we learn as bedroom DJs and the sooner you accept it, the better off you will be. There will be a Fat Lady (figuratively speaking) at every gig you do. That’s not negative thinking, just a cold hard fact we deal with in DJing. So, how do we handle this in the real world?

    Here’s what as works for me…right, wrong, or indifferent. There is a mind set you MUST have before you play the first tune. I call it the “old 80/20 rule.
    80% of the people will love what you a playing and will react to it on the dance floor. That is if, you pay close attention to what the crowd is reacting to in general. You must be ready and willing, to change up the music to keep things exciting and fresh all night.
    10% will not understand the concept…the majority rules. They are the ones (your Fat Lady) who think, you are their very own Personal Jukebox. Be professional with them, try to explain why you must stay with the music the 80% is reacting to on the dance floor. If this doesn’t work, let the bouncer or club manager handle it. Continuous heckling is not good for you, or the club.
    The last 10% are the hardest to figure out, but the easiest to deal with. They are the ones who really don’t know why they left their home in the first place. They are just not in the mood to join the party, for whatever the reason. If Jesus Christ himself were spinning the tunes, he may or may not reach these people. Continue to play for the 80%, in hope that they will join in at some point.
    Understanding the “80/20 rule” will keep you calm, cool, collected, and only than will you truly enjoy what you are doing.

    Now that you understand the “80/20 rule”, how do you make it work for you?

    Use the information in the article to pick the Venues and Engagements you are willing to except. A couple of examples;
    I’m not a big fan of Country Music and do not except engagements where I’m required to play that type of music all night. This is not only a service to myself, but a service to the Country fans. There are plenty of DJs who would provide a more exciting evening of music for these people, as they are Country fans themselves.
    I’m also 55 yrs old, but I enjoy today’s dance music more than the music of yesterday. I find it’s more creative and offers more variation than any other type of music. This also means, the general ago group I play for is between 25-40 yrs old. You can imagine the shock in the crowd when their stereotypical image of the 55 yr old DJ is shattered.
    By using this selection process, you will be pretty much guaranteed yourself that 80% of the people will enjoy your music for the night. They are also guaranteed a DJ that is thoroughly enthused about making them happy. Works for everyone involved.

    I hope that this has given you some insight on how to handle the “Fat Lady” and not get so frustrated that you turn your night over to someone else. The best teacher will be experience!! But the right mind set will make the transition from “bedroom” to “real world” much easier.

    Rick Smith
    Sounds Of “PURE ENERGY”

    • XISIX

      Thanks for the advice Rick! Very interesting theory, I will definitely take the 80/20 rule into consideration the next time I get a gig and learn how to handle those “Fat Ladies”! The thing with me is that I’ve wanted to be a dj since I was in school, purely because I loved the trance and house scene of circa 2000 and I dont come from a very well off family, so I had to go to varsity instead of getting 1200s back then! I did electrical engineering so there wasnt much time for anything else besides studying, I tried getting into djing on campus with the local dj club, but I wasnt interested in deep house and they werent interested in teaching me how to mix. So I waited until I finished campus, my first paycheck went to a dj course, my 2nd on 1200s and a borrowed mixer! When I got all my gear I tried doing as many small gigs like birthday parties as I could, the experience was good, there were some “Fat Ladies” to deal with there as well, but I just didnt enjoy myself, I didnt like the music that I HAD to play and towards the end of the night I found myself mixing very sloppily. Last year my house was burgaled, completely cleaned out and my music collection AND backups were gone, so I had to start from scratch, but it was also a way of starting afresh. Today I turn down the birthday parties and weddings, I give it to the people straight, I’m not into that music and I’m not going to be able to deliver the level of service that they would expect and they’d be better off with somebody whos good at that. I’m not looking for gigs anymore, rather I’m focusing on making my mixes much much better, but with the music I love to play, and when they’re at the level I want them to be I’m going to start my website and attract the crowd that I want to play for, and thats all I really want. For me its mainly about enjoying the music and the experience, so If I try to get gigs I will mainly target the one last decent trance club left in South Africa! And if I get to play there, I’ll definitely watch out for those “Fat Ladies”, but I think I’ll be having too much fun to bother about them! Thanks again for the advice, hope I can still be rocking it at 55 like you do :)

    • Audio1

      Rick, You hit it right on the nail with both the 80/20 theory and this…

      “I’m not a big fan of Country Music and do not except engagements where
      I’m required to play that type of music all night. This is not only a
      service to myself, but a service to the Country fans. There are plenty
      of DJs who would provide a more exciting evening of music for these
      people, as they are Country fans themselves.”

      Amen. I am latino and a lot of people assume that I know everything about current latin music, when in reality, I spend most of my time playing hip-hop, top 40 and various forms of EDM. I am not saying that I can’t rock a latin set but for those full nights of strictly latin styles, I would pass that gig on to friends of mine who are more qualified in those genres, like salsa, merengue, bachata, regional mexican, cumbias, etc.

      DJ’s these days are taking way too many gigs they can’t even handle. Its not a good look. Out here, We call it the “Craigslist Syndrome”. Some DJ’s are so desperate, They will take any gig, any genre, even if they don’t know the music they need to play. When you go on a forum and ask people what songs to play in a genre, You probably shouldn’t be playing said gig. Now, If you went out to a night with a DJ friend and learn what to play, That is a different story.

      Good stuff my friend.

  • The Frankenmuppet

    I couldn’t agree more!!!  I DJ because I love the music, not because I think I’m going to make a killing doing it.  When I’m looking for new track’s, I won’t play anything that doesn’t get at least 4 out of 5 in my mind, because I play the music I want to hear… and that energy shows on stage.  

    When I’m bouncing around and having a good time on stage, the crowd in turn sees my enjoyment and joins in on the fun!!! I don’t care if I make thousands of dollars playing a show, I’m more than happy to play for a few drink tickets and entrance for a few friends…  I do it cause I love it :)

  • Macmiata

    I think a good party is a bit of everything.  bit of jukebox to see what gets thing going you didn’t expect, a bit of what the dj really likes to play, a bit of compromising to the dancefloor…  And maybe almost everybody walks home happy.

  • Rick

    Answer to 
    XISIX;

    I had to smile while reading your comment. From one working DJ to another, “Welcome to the real world of DJing!!”. This real world is much different then the theories (we are the reason every person paid the cover at the door) we learn as bedroom DJs and the sooner you accept it, the better off you will be. There will be a Fat Lady (figuratively speaking) at every gig you do. That’s not negative thinking, just a cold hard fact we deal with in DJing. So, how do we handle this in the real world?Here’s what as works for me…right, wrong, or indifferent. There is a mind set you MUST have before you play the first tune. I call it the “old 80/20 rule. 80% of the people will love what you a playing and will react to it on the dance floor. That is if, you pay close attention to what the crowd is reacting to in general. You must be ready and willing, to change up the music to keep things exciting and fresh all night. 10% will not understand the concept…the majority rules. They are the ones (your Fat Lady) who think, you are their very own Personal Jukebox. Be professional with them, try to explain why you must stay with the music the 80% is reacting to on the dance floor. If this doesn’t work, let the bouncer or club manager handle it. Continuous heckling is not good for you, or the club. The last 10% are the hardest to figure out, but the easiest to deal with. They are the ones who really don’t know why they left their home in the first place. They are just not in the mood to join the party, for whatever the reason. If Jesus Christ himself were spinning the tunes, he may or may not reach these people. Continue to play for the 80%, in hope that they will join in at some point. Understanding the “80/20 rule” will keep you calm, cool, collected, and only than will you truly enjoy what you are doing.Now that you understand the “80/20 rule”, how do you make it work for you?Use the information in the article to pick the Venues and Engagements you are willing to except. A couple of examples;I’m not a big fan of Country Music and do not except engagements where I’m required to play that type of music all night. This is not only a service to myself, but a service to the Country fans. There are plenty of DJs who would provide a more exciting evening of music for these people, as they are Country fans themselves.I’m also 55 yrs old, but I enjoy today’s dance music more than the music of yesterday. I find it’s more creative and offers more variation than any other type of music. This also means, the general ago group I play for is between 25-40 yrs old. You can imagine the shock in the crowd when their stereotypical image of the 55 yr old DJ is shattered.By using this selection process, you will be pretty much guaranteed yourself that 80% of the people will enjoy your music for the night. They are also guaranteed a DJ that is thoroughly enthused about making them happy. Works for everyone involved.I hope that this has given you some insight on how to handle the “Fat Lady” and not get so frustrated that you turn your night over to someone else. The best teacher will be experience!! But the right mind set will make the transition from “bedroom” to “real world” much easier.Rick SmithSounds Of “PURE ENERGY” 

  • http://www.invasivespeciesradio.blogspot.com/ Jasonmd2020

    I actually had this conversation with myself and just decided to do an eclectic podcast of whatever I want, and as a chance to pimp my own and my friends’ musical projects, genres and danceability be damned. Host on Mixcloud for free and let my FB & Twitter people know when it’s up. Just have fun dammit.

  • http://twitter.com/WooDzMuzik Anthony Woodruffe

    Virtually all my gigs are private events and there is an expectation that the DJ will take requests. If you don’t take them then there’s also a good chance people will complain. As at lot of my events are at the same venue, if the complaints come in then the establishment will probably stop booking and referring me.
    That doesn’t mean I spend the whole night playing the Jukebox role but I do bow to virtually all requests. What I do however is have a collection of timeless tracks that ignites the emotions of a certain type of crowd. Rock, pop, disco, soul, etc. It’s songs that I really like and believe that for others who also like that genre it’s the best songs they’ve heard in a long time.
    Basically I play for all of us so hopefully we all go home at the end of the night thinking. Boy; was that a great party!

  • Aidan Rane

    Great Article.  I actully quit DJing for 3 yrs…just said EFF the whole thing because every where I played, if it wasn’t pop-y bubble gum crap with no soul or the latest rap track, ppl would bitch n moan to management.  Management would give in and come make me change to som meaning less dribble to impress the double-d’s in his face.  I grew tired and quit the whole scene, not even listening to any house music for most of the duration. 

    Then, a few months ago, I got the itch to get back in the booth and bang out some house.  So after doing some research, I bought new gear, and am now back on the road to musical mental recovery.  Now, I refuse to play any gig that I would dread the audience’s expectations. 

    This article hit the nail on the head for me.  I have a great paying job and don’t need to just settle.  Thanks for the Article @DJTechTools:twitter

  • Greenblow

    Just feel compelled to approve of this article. Big up.

  • Alexander Pelham-Webb

    Not only is the concept great, this is one of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen on this website. I sopped it up in 2 minutes flat, and it felt like ten minutes. What’s more is that I will without a doubt read it again. Bravo

  • Tay740

    Oh ean you such a hipie, but we love you and your philosophy XD

  • Seven

    Great post Ean. This is the exact reason I started DJing a few months ago, and plan to practice for months/years, just so I can one day go to house parties and small clubs and share some amazing music I’ve found with the people there.

    Thanks for all the great articles – this has been my go to site to learn the craft of DJing and your hard work and thoughtfulness really shows.

  • http://twitter.com/santiagoparamo Santiago Páramo

    Very true and wise! I enjoyed reading this. Thanks Ean.

  • Joar Nilsen

    Great article, Ean! Very inspiring!

  • mPyre

    This article went straight to my heart.  On New Years I was asked to do a house party and agreed, but the music they wanted was totally not my style…top 40/remixes commercial house etc.  It was alright but i just could not get into my groove and felt like i was nothing but a glorified jukebox.  Needless to say everyone had a great time except me.  Last Saturday night I was asked to do a house party for a 20 year old Birthday.  I was given the okay to spin all the stuff that i love…which is mostly Complextro.  I had the time of my life…and EVERYONE was loving the music…The police were called because we were too loud and the police even asked where i DJ’ed so they could come catch a show because they loved my music so much.

    After Saturday night i really thought to myself NEVER am i going to take a gig that does not fit my style.  I am by no means a pro DJ(DJ for a living) so i think playing what you love and really enjoy totally outweights the money aspect.  For all the future DJs out there all i can say is Do what you love and everything else will fall into place!

  • http://twitter.com/Jew_Barrymore Jew Barrymore

    For real. I was making $1000 a week cold hard tax-free cash just playing two nights of cheesy pop tracks… but I eventually quit… the experience almost killed my soul. Many friends begged me to do it for the cash, and i tried, Oh lord knows I tried… but I’m not the type of guy to sell out like that. Wish I could but couldn’t. 

    *EDIT: Just read a comment below about how you DJ for crowds… and I remember I used to say to other DJs in the circuit “They didn’t come here to see you, so play what they wanna hear. Until people pay to see you play, that’s when you can play your own music” – but during this time of preaching these words, I had realized I was becoming a bitter DJ. And you know what happens to bitter DJs who stick around for the cash… they spend it on coke and whores to ease the pain. Sounds like fun… but it aint, kid. it aint.

  • Taintedsun649

    I really needed this article, guys, thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rglassman1 Ryan Glassman

    I can’t tell you how glad I was when I read the recipe for being a happy DJ and found that I already do all of that.  I’m bookmarking this article.  So well written, such a beautiful philosophy.  I LOVE DJing, and nobody can take that from me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Francis/726367250 Nick Francis

    Well said, Ean.  Sharing music that you love with others is the bottom line.

  • Gerry

    Thanks for the write Ean
    I have DJ’d for a living 16 years now and have also recently come to this same conclusion. I believe my parents told me years ago “find what it is you LIKE to do and pursue a career doing that” Ther realm of DJing is extensive. My tastes have changed too. It doesn’t take much to remember when I started DJing as a hobby 22 years ago and loved every minute of it because I was DJing for me essentially and my closer friends who had similar tastes in music. Work is work but if you DJ long enough following what you said YES you will be happier later. I am going for it.

  • Linz

    Finally. So many sites tell new djs to sell out and play tracks they don’t like “if you want to be a dj success”. And then in the next sentence talk about their specific music scene not being commercially viable.
    Of course they’re not viable. There’s a new generation of djs growing up being told not to play the music they love. I find it sad.
    If you want to make money go find a job. If you wanna dj do it cause you love it.
    This article is a breath of fresh air.

    • Supadj

      “Do it because you love it”. 25 yrs of a few house party’s some descent unergrounds and a hole lot of garage mixes. I’m still doing it. Why? Because I LOVE IT!!!!!

  • Rdej47

    This is perfect timing for this article.

    I recently got a spot at one of the newest clubs where i’m from and i’m having second thoughts. I’ve got an opening spot and the manager just doesn’t get the concept of the opener. He wants me to be playing electro and not ease people in with some funk, disco, house etc. And to be honest even when i’m playing the current “bangers” they just don’t resonate with me. It feels soulless and physically I can feel it. When i’m in my zone DJing, I feel light as a feather, playing the same top 40/electro remix garbage weighs me down big time. Thanks for the article Ean.

  • THFT

    This is where I’ve been right from the start. In love with the music.

  • http://www.thankphat.com/ Will_d

    I agree with Fatlimey and many others on this article. Been a DJ for the last 6 Years and always played what i’ve enjoyed. All the tunes that are in my music folders are personal bangers and i’d happily play them 1000x each and still then happily play them 1000x more. If people come down to a night they don’t really know what to expect, but they will hear the passion of the tunes that I and my fellow DJs enjoy. Not some radio top 40 poppy chart stuffs that we’re going to hate playing and the crowd will pick up on that fact. Producers produce what they want to make, DJs play what they want to play, NOT what the crowd think they want to hear, without DJs there would be No enlightenment to the producers for the crowd. You get me ! Peace

  • Avazquez721

    Great article. I just had a conversation with a young lady that listened to one of my mixes and tOld me she felt like falling asleep. She wanted to hear “old school” Chicago House, which I have been playing for years. I told her that I simply have grown tired of playing it and I am digging the newer house sounds that are being put out and that’s what I enjoy playing. I ENJOY playing.

  • Meow

    This is the truf right hur.

    I got majorly burnt out playing stuff others wanted. Once i switched back to playing what i want i got less and smaller gigs but was overall much more happy and the quality showed in my mix.

    Its not the size of your following but how well tailored it is to what you play. You can advertise like a madman all over and get 1000 people in there but if only 10 of it are gonna comeback than you just wasted a whole lot of energy.

  • XISIX

    I bought my 1200s and Traktor in 2007 after waiting about 5 years to “be a dj” and since then I tried to get to play in a club for the first time. I finally got to play for a club event organized for a friend. I like trance and classic house, they told me to play the latest commercial house tracks. So I did, without compromising the style I like too much, I picked commercial stuff as well as some new stuff that nobody heard on the radio but sounded really great. I had an opening and a closing session. The opening went good, the closing session was constantly interrupted by a fat obnoxious girl demanding RnB. I’m a guy, it was the first time ever in my life that I wanted to punch a girl in the face. Eventually I just quit and asked the resident dj to take over. After that night, I just could not bring myself to play in another commercial club and replay songs from the radio that just didnt do it for me.

    The content of this article is spot on what I’ve been thinking for the past while. I’ve got a “normal” job that pays well and pays for my equipment and music purchases. The music I like has become a genre for a minority of people in my country, but I still love it way too much to give in to the newer generation’s needs. So this article echoes exactly what I’ve felt. I’m actually developing my own website where I’ll play mixes I love with every song making me feel awsome. If I can just get one person to enjoy the music on my site, I can be the dj I want to be, and would have accomplished what I set out to do as a dj from the beginning and will be thoroughly satisfied.

    • isaac Ho

      Whats the website bro?  i’d be interested in hearing some tracks=]

    • DJ Arctic

      Dude, same here! Except I’m 15 and can’t really get a job…. but I have my laptop, a copy of Djay and tracks I love, and that’s good enough for me! I too am developing a web show where I play the stuff I like, and I love every second of it! BTW, if anyone want’s to check out the show, ask by replying to this comment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Livewyr3 Justin Turner

      Dude, if a fat, annoying girl is heckling you during your set, don’t get off the stage, that means she won. Instead, stop the song (if you have a spinback this adds extra effect), grab the mic, look directly at her, and ask her if she would like to take over your job. Then when the crowd’s on your side, resume your track and pull off a few effect tricks before mixing in another song.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/I2R6CAWCKX6HW4R7FICVMQPADE Lucy

    Dont tell the DJ what’s to play.
    best iphone games

  • revolver

    Great read! Inspiring and great to read what most of us had hoped was how you felt. Sights like digital DJ tips should take a note of this, one article says it all.

  • Buster

    amazing article – as of lately i’ve had the privilege to play at a club where i can play music love and the crowd love to hear as well making such a difference to my personal life and self confidence :)

  • Tony

    I would rather play music I love but if the choice is playing music I love to a handful of people or average pop chart stuff to 500 people I will choose the 500.
    Also music sounds different in different environment for instance what sounds good at home or in the car may not sound as good in the club

    • TCMuc

      Complete opposite here…

      I would rather play 1.000 songs i like to only 1 person (me…) than play just one song i don’t like to 1.000.

       

      • Tony

        Then as you said you can do that at home but we are talking about djing to a crowd here and you wont get paid to play to an empty room on a regular basis.

  • Nico

    While I do fully agree with everything said, I’m just living through an example where this kind of thinking is completely wrong: When you have a residency or when you are a club owner.

    My buddy has been called by a club a few weeks ago. They were desperate, because the money isn’t flowing anymore, the patrons have left and they are on the verge of closing. That club has been there for 20 years. 

    They had been told that he was effective at bringing people back in and making them have fun (i.e: to make people buy drinks at the bar. Never forget that a club is in the business of selling alcohol). He definitively is capable of all of it.

    Ok, when you want to do that you have to play to the lowest common denominator. Top 40 tracks. Old favorites. Anything that is effective at having people dance and drink and having a good time, so they tell their friends and in no time you have the ball rolling again. Which allows you to get money, save some, continue to pay the people that work here, and keep the club open.

    You do that for a while, and progressively you can get back to more musical integrity if that is what you want.

    The club owners are music lovers. They have great tastes (not my cup of tea at all, but I can recognize good music when I hear it).  Unfortunately the music they love just isn’t popular anymore. They want to continue doing what they love. My friend has completely ripped quite a few weekends since he is there. Unfortunately, the owners are pressing him since the very first night to play the very music that has made the club tank. Friday, he told them that saturday was the last night he would play there.

    Now, in a few weeks/months, that club will close. The owners will be able to share the music they love at their apartment with a few friends. The awesome concerts (that I was working at as a sound engineer) they were putting out before club night will no longer be able to take place. The people working there will be out of a job. That is just selfish to everyone involved and especially to the workers and artists.

    TL;DR: If you are working as a resident, sometimes you have to throw your musical integrity out of the window and just make the damn place run until better days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000259195806 Chris Galea

    i love this concept, music is for your passion <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulbernacki Paul Bernacki

    Fuck this shit I just want the Tiesto paragraph! XD *-)

    I needed this, will go great for my college interview for creative media studies in Radio. It’s my philosophy in a nutshell.

  • Djdrkshdw

    Nice.. like this kinda stuff.

  • Cybertrash

    This is one of the best articles in a while, and it resonates with me. Although I’m but a simple bedroom DJ, I haven’t really been to keen on the thought of having to play Brostep on Dubstep nights, just to appease an audience who just wants to hear Skrillex (I personally *really* like older-sounding, deeper Dubstep, like Kryptic Minds etc). I have thought about doing a webcast instead, and concentrate more on finding people with the same taste in music, that I can share the stuff I like with.

    Now when are you going to show us how to beatgrid (or build awesome MIDI controllers)? :p

    • Owen

      My advice to you would be to find the acceptable side of Brostep and take the gigs. There is allot of really good stuff still out there with allot of energy and SUB BASS but it is getting harder and harder to find quality tunes in the sea of midrange wobbles and tinnitus. You will be happy playing those gigs and you will get the chance to play some deep stuff from time to time and maybe teach the kids a thing or two while your at it. Plus if it will only open the door to more and more gigs where you will get to play what you want to play

  • Luisreyesdj

    Great article !!! I love it because I can relate to it.

  • sidetrakd

    Great article!! There are so many daily deciding to be dj’s for all the wrong reasons and this article may be a good read for anyone that is wondering “is it for me”
    The reality is it takes a lot of time, dedication and work to be successful. The only thing that will keep you going strong after a few years is good music passion and a love for what you do. Thats my personal experience. …  “hippie feel good kumbaya $h%† ” I laughed very loudly(7am in a hotel reception gets some odd looks)

  • AENSLAED

    Indeed there’s no formula for musical bliss.

    It has to come down to your main goals through DJing.

    What about money? Getting money by DJing is always going to be a chore. I think one great thing to remember is that you have to focus on a target audience and space to engage that audience. Getting specialized might make money harder to come by, but definitely will give you a fulfilling experience. If you are willing to make a sacrifice to separate from what you love to play and do your best to adjust to a crowd in order to stay on the spotlight and earn your needed amount of bucks, it will require focus and determination as well, lots of sacrifice too.

    Reality is that the gear, technique, music and exposure related to DJing becomes more accessible as days go by, and numbers of people wanting to DJ are going to increase, while your chances to be the next internationally recognized superstar DJ decrease. Avoiding being a clone or a disposable DJ and becoming more a musical identity seems to be the way to go…

    • Nico

      Yup. My point was simply that compromising a bit to make money come in, and at the same time being able to at last partially keep making what you love and believe in is way better that not compromising, and not being able to do what you love at all.

      This kind of conundrum is way less bothersome if you are not dedicated to a particular place.

    • Rkramer

      Great response

  • http://www.djnightlife.com DJ NightLife

    Keep in mind you do not DJ for yourself, you DJ for the crowd. If you can’t have fun playing a track you don’t like you’re not doing the right job. My 2 cents.

    • marrrrk.

      … Or you are AT the wrong job.

      “If DJing is just a creative and fun way to make money, then who cares –
      play whatever the club owner wants. If you want to truly love every
      minute of the journey however, and be a really happy DJ,  it might be
      prudent to stay true to yourself and your passion – whatever that form
      may be.”

      Ean is speaking from the artist side of DJing as opposed to the money making side of it. Some of us (myself included) do this because we love a particular style of music. Though I can easily play Top 40 tunes at a gig that I can’t stand, I can relate to being unhappy as a DJ because now I would be a jukebox. I choose not to take those jobs. If you stick to your guns if you are an artistic DJ, and play what you are passionate about, your followers will follow YOU instead of being just another nameless DJ at just another club/bar/wedding. The gigs will be fewer and far between, the money may be less, but you will be guaranteed more fun and satisfaction pushing the sound you love.

      Easy money or happiness? You can combine both if you play your cards right.

    • http://twitter.com/binaryfx binaryfx

      While I agree with this statement to a point, I think you are missing a very important point. If you do not love what you are playing then you will be nothing more than a radio or jukebox. DJs were the first people to play tracks in public when I grew up. Radio was so far behind it was ridiculous. These DJs looked at their roles as purveyors of anything that was new or hot. Times have changed and anyone has instant access to a plethora of music. But that does not make the DJ the all access request hour, not by any stretch. While you are there for the crowd, your job is to give them enough of what they want while educating them on the stuff that you like. If you are only playing to the crowd you are nothing more than any on air personality or pandora/spotify/last.fm/(insert newest I can be a DJ internet site).

      Just my $0.02

    • http://twitter.com/koningwoning Eric Woning

      You can have fun playing good tracks and less fun playing bad tracks.

      And DJ-ing is just like playing any other instrument: if you are doing it for the crowd, you will never really like what you are doing and  thereby not succeed.
      The good DJ is the DJ that can get the crowd to go along with their vibe and who feeds off the vibe in the club.
      It works both ways… if you are not in the equasion you are doing somthing wrong

    • Dub

      Spoken like a true wedding DJ – haha! :)

      • http://www.djnightlife.com DJ NightLife

        Spoken like someone who makes his passion as a living unlike 98% of the people on this site.

        • mPyre

          Actually WRONG!…Music is my passion…that doesnt mean i am passionate about all music…Someone who LOVES rock music is going to be a better DJ than someone who LOVES house music and vice versa…You just sound like a bitter dude…imo

    • Dub

      Spoken like a true wedding DJ – haha! :)

  • http://danceisafeeling.com Danny Dance

    Superb article, and equally applicable to music production. Thanks for sharing.Will tweet. -Danny http://twitter.com/dannydance

  • DonmecZ

    This is a really good article! Thank you for this.

    I was just finishing writting a piano piece over custom made “dubby” drums when I took a break to read this article and it gave me so much inspiration.
    Thanks a whole crapload!

    Peace :D

    • Anonymous

      Status Report:

        I had today off so I just spent all night Blazing Bowl after Bowl of that sweet “hippie feel good kumbaya $h%†”  (lolz) and working on sequencing and automating… It’s sounding deadly!

      Thanks for the inspiration Ean!!!

  • Anonymous

    I have said many times – buy less music, buy better music.

    Do not put a track in your basket until you are absolutely certain that you cannot live without owning a copy. This way your collection is constructed only from gems, each and every one, and every time you dip into it only good things will fall out. If you buy “meh” tracks that you think you might like later or “will fill a spot in a mix, I guess” you’re diluting your collection with cruft that, over many years, will greatly outnumber the good tracks. Concentrate, don’t dilute.So, fill your basket then stop. Go away and come back in a week. Listen through your list ruthlessly deleting any track that doesn’t say to you “I MUST HAVE THAT”. Repeat. Finally, purchase in the knowledge that you have only awesome tracks.

    • Johbremat

      Or, buy physical media.

      Not to take away from what you’ve said – BRAVO – but I cringe reading what is ultimately aimed at the digital crowd.

      I truly pity anyone who hasn’t been to the physiotherapist after suffering through a weekend of crate digging, or gone through the pain of listening through compilations or albums to find a single track amongst 9 or 12 that is such a gem you fork out for the fillers.

      I still believe (mistakenly or otherwise) that anything pressed to vinyl (or to a certain extent, CD) goes through a vetting process, through Q.A. if you will.  I’ve spent a small fortune on music in what I believe is an “investment” in a medium that is easily quantified and holds more sentiment than the binary held on commodity electronics.  And would happily do so again, knowing what I missed or had to work harder for as a result of my addiction.

      I can happily say I’ll never make it big in the world of DJing.  The satisfaction I get from my music collection is never getting tired of it, and knowing there are people out there willing to MURDER for what I’ve got.

      • Anonymous

        Why do you think it’s different if you ultimately buy the track in physical format, or as digital?

        If you buy physical, there’s a strict limit to your budget. But that doesn’t prevent you from buying fillers.

    • http://twitter.com/SamBenDavid SamBenDavid aka DJew

      Agree 100%!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rob.cifre Rob Bamboo Cifre

      Yeah growing up I didnt have much money, so picking out records were on a must have basis… now in the digital age, i still keep this philosophy.. Must have must share.. hey did u hear this track its WOW! Love seeing the bass face from across the setup.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sebastian.rattansen Sebastian Rattansen

      the shiver test, or the dance test, or the memory test are also good. if a tune gives you that shiver down the spine buy it. if it makes you nod your head or move your feet and want to dance, buy it! if it reminds you of that time you were in the club, dancing drinking and having a good time with your friends, buy it. 

    • Anonymous

      exactly…