Top 5 accessories a DJ should bring to gigs.

Being prepared for a gig is a priority a DJ must always make, as sometimes circumstances are beyond one’s control. Here are 5 accessories a DJ should own for gigs.

5. 1/4th Headphone Adapters

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I cannot count the number of times (okay, maybe twenty or so) that I have needed to buy the 1/4th headphone adapters, especially after losing so many at gigs. Whether this is from a fellow DJ asking to borrow an adapter, to my niece adding it to her treasure box, missing adapters is a problem myself and I’m sure many other DJs have dealt with.

1/4th Headphone adapters can be purchased in bulk quantities on sites such as eBay, and are relatively cheap in price.

4. RCA/Optical Cables.

Expensive equipment such as CDJs and Controllers require audio and digital cables, which are then connected to the mixer. A common occurrence is the cables failing or breaking during a DJ set. Packing your own cables circumvents this problem, but remember to not forget your cables after you are done with your set. Unless of course you feel like staying around and letting the promotion borrow your cables.

3. Duplicate Flash Drive

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The wonderful advancement of DJ technology within the past decade has been tremendous, with equipment becoming cheaper and smaller yet technologically advanced. Gone are the days of lugging heavy crates of records to gigs, and this is now replaced by small flash drives that can easily store up to 1000 songs.

Most CDJs need one flash drive for your songs to be played on, and an ethernet cable to connect two or more CDJs together so you can share your musical library amongst the decks. But if the ethernet cable isn’t working, then what do you do? That’s where having a duplicate flash drive comes in handy, and this has saved my sets on more than one occasion. You can’t always rely on a nightclub on having equipment that is maintained, so making sure you have a flash drive copy of your songs is a preparation well worth getting used to.

2. Spare Headphones

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Headphones are an absolute necessity for DJing, but unfortunately sometimes they break, as the everyday wear and tear does add up. If your headphones do break during your set, then you have a very big problem. A spare pair of headphones will alleviate this problem, and you’ll never know when your current headphones will break, be stolen, etc.

1. Toilet Paper

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While this may seem like a joke entry, I highly recommend having an extra roll of toilet paper with you at all times. I have been to many venues that didn’t have toilet paper, and one must always be hygienic especially when dealing with venues with unsanitary bathrooms. Having hand sanitizer and tissue paper can be beneficial as well.

I have encountered these problems many times during my career, and owning these 5 accessories will help you to not only be prepared for your gigs, but will make your DJ life much more problem-free.

DeeJay Lessons

There are many techniques one must learn in order to be successful at the art of DJing. The following are considered the basic techniques that most beginners will want to learn in the beginning of their career.

Beatmatching

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Beatmatching is the very first skill a beginner DJ will want to learn, as it will enable you to mix and transition two or more songs together. The way this is done is by matching the BPM or Tempo of the songs, usually done by manipulating the tempo slider of a turntable or similar device.

Intro/Outro

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The intro and outro, short for introduction and outroduction, are the parts of a song that are normally used for transitions.

Transitions

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When you have two songs beatmatched, the next step is to apply a transition. This is usually done from one song’s outro to another’s intro, though as a general rule of thumb, the transition can be applied anywhere within both songs.

It is very important to know these terms, as they will serve the backbone to your journey of becoming a successful DJ.

In the near future I will cover more DJ terms that one should learn and know.

Cardistry

Recently I came across this art form known as Cardistry. What it is essentially is card manipulation/flourishes, card tricks as you will.

I’ve always been a fan of card tricks, and after watching A LOT of YouTube videos featuring this art form, I know I had to learn it myself.

Step One into immersing one’s self in Cardistry, is to find the proper deck of cards. I picked up a few at my town’s local Wal-Mart.

While i’m still a newbie at this, I feel like i’m slowly grown adept at it with every passing week. I will eventually post some videos here.

In the mean time, here is a Cardistry compilation video featuring some of the best Cardistry practitioners in the world.

 

What made me Switch to the Nintendo Switch…

I’ll be honest in that the last time I was a Nintendo Fan-Boy was during the Super Nintendo Era. I attribute this to having been a teen and outgrowing the “Kiddy” style video games Nintendo was known for. “Bring on the Mortal Kombat violence!” was my line of thinking. I had started getting into the Fighting Game genre, and I considered myself pretty good at games such as Marvel Vs. Capcom and Tekken 3.

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Throughout my life, I did dabble in video games here and there. With the advent and popularity  of MMORPGS in the late early 2000s, the arcade scene had started to get tossed into the back-burner. What I loved about MMORPGS, is it reminded myself of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. This game brought back that awe that the original Legend of Zelda had given me.

To cut this story short, I had recently purchased the Nintendo Switch, for the fact that the new Zelda game was supposed to be as grand as an MMORPG.

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Let’s just say I’ve been spending way too much time exploring Hyrule, meeting all the various citizens, and just reliving the feeling I felt from the original Zelda and Ocarina of Time.

I highly recommend both the Nintendo Switch and the new Zelda, especially if you grew up with the OG Nintendo and Super Nintendo!

 

Loyalty

Promoting events takes a certain type of temperament, as well as being able to work with and against the system. One tends to encounter and interact with many types of individuals. What constitutes a successful promotion, is one filled with not just a qualified leader, but loyal supporters as well. But these “loyal” supporters, from my general experience, seem to want more than just to support. And when the promotion isn’t at it’s highest, is when you will truly see the real supporters.

Groove vs. Friends – Analysis on Rave themed movies

Movies based on the rave and dance music scene are always a hit or miss, and while these movies aren’t solely targeted towards club goers, they generally get the stereotypical ideas of what an underground dance event is like. Two movies that delve into the rave theme are the aptly titled Groove and We are your Friends. Separated by 15 years, each movie does a great job representing it’s own generation and viewpoints, though this does not necessarily mean it’s a good thing.

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If Groove’s story line were to be written into a short summary, the basic jist of it would be that a group of strangers lives are intertwined and enhanced due to their attendance of an underground rave held in San Francisco.

On the surface it may seem cliche, but Groove did a wonderful job of representing how the actual underground rave culture was like during the late 90s era. Though it may be thought of as cliche characteristics, almost every type of party kid could be seen in the movie. You had your candy kids with their bright floppy clown pants as the bro raver mentions during one scene, the experienced party girl who teaches and takes care of the silicon valley nerd turned newbie raver, the adorable gay couple that doesn’t make it to the event due to their bickering, and much much more. Each character adds their own “Groove” to the movie, from the promoter dealing with the wise cop played by Nick Offerman, to the inexperienced DJ that trainwrecks his first set.

Though the plot of Groove may seem a bit stale at some points, every scene encapsulated what it really felt like to be a raver during that era. The movie poster is truly a symbol of what the rave scene was like during its peak, before it became the cash cow of today. Speaking of…

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If I were to summarize “We are your Friends” in a word, the only thing I could come up with is “128”, which seems to be the amount of minutes that was put into creating the plot. The movie titled is based off of the song produced by Justice, and doesn’t even seem to really represent the movie very well. Sure the main character played by Zac Efron has a group of friends, but in hindsight the movie should have been renamed “128” since the generic bpm is constantly thrown down the audience’s throats while the rest of the plot is a convoluted mess. Let’s not even go into the laugh fest of creating a track using recorded samples off of a cheap microphone and ending with the cringe worthy “Are we ever gonna be better than this?” line towards the end of the movie. No Zac this movie will never be better than anything I have watched in my 36 years of breathing.

One highlight is that the movie does represent the current EDM Festival scene, in that one of the main points mentioned throughout the movie is how easy it is to make it big with one musical hit. And sadly this is true. In a world of ghost producers and faked DJ sets, one only has to have connections and the right looks to make it big in the million dollar festival scene.

While both movies reflect their respective eras, Groove is the only movie out of the two which actually gets the nod of approval. We are your friends was just an overall mess of a movie that tried to capitalize on the EDM craze and in my opinion failed miserably.

Why all Dance Music DJs should learn turntablism…

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Why do I state this? Turntablism skills can lead to new and effective ways of completing transitions and mixing songs. I will use the term “EDM” not as the genre term, but more towards describing dance music as a whole, as it gets pretty stale having to type out dance music everytime.

Getting back to turntablism and primarily scratching, while being a whole different skill set, can help a DJ to get out of a bind when close to making a mixing mistake. Say a DJ has his two songs beatlocked, but right as he/she is about to make a transition to the next song, accidently nudges the incoming song and thus causing a trainwreck. Let’s list the options available to the DJ.

Option A: The DJ could just move the crossfader over and thus cutting to the next song.

Option B: The DJ could try to fix the trainwreck, but depending on the skill level may either fix it right away or take a few seconds to fix.

Option C: This option would require learning basic scratching skills, you could baby scratch the train wreck and mix into the next song.

Most EDM DJs will only have access to Option A or Option B, but having Option C as well opens up a whole other level of options. Maybe I will upload examples in the near future.