The Underdog DJ: Finding Joy in the Warm-Up Set

The Underdog DJ: Finding Joy in the Warm-Up Set

A lot of promoters are guilty of booking amateur DJs who want nothing more than to steal the spotlight.  This is annoying and frustrating, not only in how it relates to personal manners, but in how it wrecks the flow of an evening.  Everyone wants to be a rock star.

Warm-up slots should be treated with the respect and care of any other time slot… including the headliner’s.  This respect should be held by both the person organizing the event, and the person playing it.  But many DJs feel annoyed when they get stuck playing early time slots.

A skilled warmup DJ, who is able to tune-in to the desires of both the audience and the promoter, is worth his or her weight in gold.  So, what is it that keeps people from excelling as an opener, and enjoying it?  Here are some common gripes:

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The Big Thing That Most DJs, Producers, and Promoters Get Wrong

The Big Thing That Most DJs, Producers, and Promoters Get Wrong

Becoming a DJ, producer, or promoter is easy.

Now, I should explain myself before the mobs show up with their pitchforks.  Let me elaborate.

To DJ, you need to play pre-recorded music to an audience.  To produce, you need to combine sounds in order to produce an end product.  To promote, you need to be put in charge of planning an event and attempt to get people to attend it.  When explained at their most basic levels, there is no rocket science involved.  So why do so many people get it wrong?

Of course, you know as well as I that there is way more to it.  What’s hard is being a DJ that stands out amongst a sea of other DJs and builds a following.  What’s hard is being a producer who creates music that is so good, people will seek it out.  What’s hard is being a promoter that knows how to throw events that provide an enjoyable overall experience… for a crowd large enough that it turns a profit.

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Meanwhile, The Term “EDM” Continues to Confuse…

Meanwhile, The Term “EDM” Continues to Confuse…

Back in the early to mid-2000′s, I was fairly active on a handful of music-related message boards.  This was in a time before social media was a “thing”, and was pretty much the preferred method of online discussion for people with similar interests.

This was when I first saw the term EDM start to crop up.  And it was absolutely meant to be an umbrella term.  You see, fans of… erm… electronically-produced dance music, rarely stick to one particular style for their entire life.  There’s a certain implied context when it comes to DJ-centric music that is designed to be mixed and played back in a club setting, and it makes sense to be able to refer to it all at once.

To me, the term appeared to come about as a result of frustration.  We needed to call this overall idea of electronic music something besides “techno”, which was the go-to term for people out-of-the-know.

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DJs: It’s Okay to Let it Play

DJs: It’s Okay to Let it Play

As I write this article, I’m sitting at a local bar and grill which I often frequent.  I’m preparing to destroy this delicious late lunch and wash it down with a cold beer.  This place serves very simple, tasty Greek dishes… and I’m looking forward to eating my order of “Feta Steak”, which is basically a type of gyro.

I’ve eaten here many times, and as I think about the dishes that they serve and what I like, I notice that there is nothing super fancy about them.  The ingredients to my order are fairly simple: some meat, some feta cheese, a little sauce, and a pita wrap.  That’s pretty much it.  I find myself appreciating the simplicity of this dish.

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PDJ 007 – Finding Your Sound (And Where To Look)

PDJ 007 – Finding Your Sound (And Where To Look)

Welcome back, Agent, to episode 007 of the PDJ Podcast.

Episode 7 is a spiritual successor to a post I made a while back, titled “Having a “Sound” vs. Having a Genre“.  In that post, I talked about the idea of generally disregarding genre labels, and trying to build an overall sound that reflects you as a DJ and as a person.

In this session, we will dig a little deeper into where you might be able to look to help find and define your sound, and make it all your own.

In episode 7, we discuss:

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The A-Z List of Passionate Promotion

The A-Z List of Passionate Promotion

Think about the best local promoter or venue owner that you personally know, or are acquainted with.  What words would you use to describe their methods?

As I have mentioned before, most of us who are involved in a music scene these days have to wear a lot of hats.  DJs aren’t just DJs; they’re promoters, marketers, media companies… the list goes on.

Promoters these days are a dime a dozen, but sprinkled across the globe are a select few who do what I call “getting it right”.  I’ve created an A-Z list of words which describe these characters, with the hopes that this list will inspire you (and me) to be the best we can be in our promotions game.  Check it out.

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Boo-Hoo! My EDM is RUINED!!

Boo-Hoo! My EDM is RUINED!!

Today’s post is brought to you by guest contributor John Chapel, a promoter/DJ who has a Facebook page, a SoundCloud page and a new blog where he hates things.  Also, language warning.

I remember talking to my buddy once about Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 album, which….just an absolutely surprising amount of people never bothered to pick up, even though it’s realistically the only true Album that can be called a sequel in the history of music (Unless you wanna count all those Tony Bennet and Elton John duet albums, but we’re not here to talk about those forgettable stocking stuffers).

“Fuck daft Punk.” he says to me, quite matter-of-factly, as if this hatred of our Godfathers was some public opinion that I wasn’t privy to. “They got too popular. I was rockin them back when Homework was the shit. Now everyone’s listening to them.”

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An Open Letter To DJs Cluttering My Feed With Mundane Mixes

An Open Letter To DJs Cluttering My Feed With Mundane Mixes

Dear DJs,

I have a confession to make.  I have no interest in listening to your mix.

I mean, don’t take that the wrong way.  I’m sure it’s plenty fine and I’m sure I’d enjoy it.  It’s just… I have so much music to listen to already, and I haven’t been shown any good reasons why listening to your mix would make me happier than listening to my Spotify playlist.  I’m so busy through the day and my time is limited… I just feel that it’s too risky to give this particular mix a whack.

Perhaps some other time…

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Why You Should Stop Controller-Shaming (A Message to “Traditional” DJs)

Why You Should Stop Controller-Shaming (A Message to “Traditional” DJs)

This message is for all digital DJs who have been talked down to because of their choice of equipment, and the “traditional” DJs that do the shaming.

Let me start this post out by stating that I have no particular format bias.  This is quite evident by taking a glance at my homebrew DJ booth.  Starting from the (Traktor certified) mixer, you will see a pair of trusty Technics 1200 mk2′s.  Next, a pair of Pioneer CDJs.  Past that, you’ll see some controllers… namely, a Kontrol S4 and X1.  In my bag sits an audio interface for timecode use away from home.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about two things that really bother me: the attack on digital DJs because of their equipment choice, and the poor way digital DJs handle it.

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Drama Sells – And You’re Buying!  Controversy as a Marketing Tool?

Drama Sells – And You’re Buying! Controversy as a Marketing Tool?

Today’s post is another guest entry by our friend Kevin Kennedy (also known as FBK).  And just like his earlier posts about ditching excuses, and his exploration of what passion is, it’s a no-nonsense piece of honest truth that any DJ should read.

It’s no secret that controversy sells, and it seems that many well-known DJs are using this as a marketing tool to use to their advantage.  Does it work?  Sometimes, it does.  Controversy sells.

But, is it worth it?  And, more importantly, is it worth it to you?  Many tactics and approaches used at the top tier are scalable to smaller, local markets.  Let’s see what Kevin has to say.

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