Being a DJ in a country as dynamic as India can be quite challenging, with the streams of genres to choose from, and the ever changing demand of venues and audiences alike.
Most DJs are always faced with a tough predicament - to go where your passion truly lies, or to make a run for the money and go after the trends currently making it big. With the sudden surge in the number of rising artists in the country, we at Clubbers would like to contribute by giving our bits of advice to anyone looking to kickstart a career in this field.
Do your research
A vast number of young guns in the city have taken to DJ’ing off late, most of whom get into it because of the “cool” quotient that supposedly comes hand in hand. While it’s great to say that you’re a performing artist, do make note that it takes a lot of hard work and grit to make a mark in this field. Ample research is required in terms of finding your genre, understanding the evolution of this genre, identifying the various artists that contribute to its production, and of course, weighing the pros and cons of pursuing this career full time or as a hobby.
2. Choose your weapon
It is then time to decide your equipment. Most DJs start off by learning how to mix on ready softwares available for online purchase. Softwares such as Traktor, Ableton, Virtual DJ, Serato are the ones most commonly used by people. While it’s the most convenient option to choose, it is always best to begin learning on less digitized equipment such as CDJs or even vinyls which will help make you a more versatile artist in the long run. One cannot take away the sheer glee of being able to physically control your tracks like you can with a vinyl player, although we will admit, this can turn out to be an expensive addiction.
From Left to Right : DJing on CDJs , Vinyl Turntables and Digital Controllers
3. Find your tutor
Whether you surrender to the internet and free online tutorials or choose to opt for hands on training, there are plenty of aids available to help you out. Institutions like Beatworx studios, Mixlabs and I Love Music Academy amongst several others, have played a key role in bringing forth class talent to this ever changing landscape. This of course also depends on your choice of equipment, as it’s always best to go via an institute if you wish to master the art on CDJs/vinyl.
Studios such as Beatworx in Bangalore offer a wide variety of courses for beginners
4. Practice, practice and more practice
No great artist was born overnight, and it is evident that the only way up is with sheer, dedicated practice. Mastering the art of being a DJ not only involves mixing great tracks together in a sequence, but also having the ability to phase between various moods and spaces of your genre, without sounding too disconnected. This is the place where most enthusiasts turn away disheartened, as you are more likely than ever, to fail on your first few attempts. Staying disciplined and pushing through this phase is key, and only more practice and feedback from known experts get you through.
5. Get your act together
It’s now time to step things up a notch. Finalise on your DJ moniker and get your marketing game on. Most DJs get their first few gigs through common connections, but why narrow your scope? A Press Kit will help you get in touch with people outside of your circle. A simple PDF highlighting a bit of your background and your musical influences along with your DJ name and a few high resolution press shots, can sure help go a long way. Seek help from friends and family to pen things down right, and send these across to promoters and venues alike.
The way to the top needs dedication and determination.
Soon enough, you’re bound to get an odd gig or two, and this is when you really start to test your mettle. You might initially only get opening slots, but this is always the best time to practice and persistently improve. Constant networking, continuously evolving your sound and ample research to buy new tracks that are current yet true to what you love plays a big role here. If you get things right, you’ll be on your way to playing at bigger events with better slots, and before you know it, your first festival appearance will be just around the corner!