How to Make It as a DJ – Becoming a successful DJ is never about overnight success; it takes hard work, patience and a lot of effort to build a successful career as a DJ, but if you are committed and have a love for mixing music, then go for it! This guide takes you through 4 essential steps in your career to becoming a successful DJ. Remember, anyone can start DJing, but those that are dedicated and put in the hard work are more likely to become superstars!
Think About Your Setup
If you’re keen to start DJing, the first thing you’ll need is your own setup. A DJ setup should consist of two turntables (both vinyl and CD), mixers, controllers, software, speakers, headphones and then, of course, any extra DJ accessories that you would like to add on. Headphones are used for ‘cueing’ — listening to and preparing one track while the other track booms out of your speakers to the audience.
Having a good, basic DJ setup is integral to building your success. With your own setup and space to DJ, you can build your skills and, in the long run, save money from not having to hire expensive equipment. Have a read through these beginner dj tips from Pirate for more information about exactly what your beginner’s setup should look like. If you want to learn how to use it properly, Pirate also offers DJ courses at their studios, which are also useful if you want to learn advanced techniques.
Decide Which Kind of DJ You Want to Be
There are many different DJ personas when you break it down – you can be a club DJ, a mobile DJ or even a radio DJ. Club DJs play their music in venues for huge audiences and often have to make sure they are catering to the crowd, reading their reactions and setting the tone right. After all, every club has a different atmosphere! Normally, the main job of a club DJ is to maintain a lively and exciting dance floor and ensure people don’t get bored with the music. Club DJs who build a successful career for themselves can end up DJing at festivals, events and more.
Mobile DJs and people that play at weddings or parties usually have their own setup which they can easily transport from event to event. With this kind of DJing, it’s less about what the DJ wants to play and more what the hosts of the event want them to play, so if you’re looking to go down this avenue, be aware that you’ll need to take lots of song requests! On the other hand, radio DJs have a lot of control over what music they play, although it is usually limited within the bounds of the genre of music the particular radio station usually plays.
Think About Your Long-Term Goals
Are you DJing for the money or for the love of DJing? Being a DJ is such an oversaturated profession that if you’re not doing it at least partly for your love of DJing, you’re likely to lose a lot of motivation when you realize just how many aspiring DJs there are out there. DJs often struggle with being underpaid and trying to find gigs, especially those where they can play their own music and display their own talents. Make sure that however much money you’re making, you keep on DJing for the fun of it. Even if you feel as though you have no time to mix your own music, try and schedule some time once a week for this, as it’s doing this consistently which will improve your chances of making it as a DJ in the long run.
This is an important step in making it as a DJ. Recording your first set will give the world a glimpse of the kind of mixing you perform, and a taste of what your own specific brand has to offer. Recording a mix privately is very different from playing in public as you don’t have to worry about reading the crowd or getting the tone right; you can simply record whatever you love to do. Think about trying to do something with your set, whether it’s to really establish your tone as an up-and-coming artist, or to tell a story. Once you’ve recorded your first mix, release it out to the public – this is certainly nerve-wracking, but will be an essential step in your DJ career.
Making it as a DJ is certainly a difficult thing to do, but with hard work and dedication, you can certainly start to get your mixes out to the public and even start playing and venues or at events. Remember to remind yourself of your passion for DJing and why you wanted to get into DJing in the first place. No matter how much money you are making from it, don’t stop making your own mixes in your bedroom purely for the fun of it!