A while ago, I started the series about the requirements of becoming a disc jockey. This week’s article will be dedicated towards informing you about the things you need to know and the choices that to have to make in your decision of becoming a professional disc jockey. However, for those that did not get to read the article that laid out the steps to becoming a disc jockey, here is a brief recap of the steps that have been stated earlier.
The steps are:
Step One: Learn what disc-jockeys actually do.
Step Two: Determine the reason or your motivation for deejaying.
Step Three: Test the waters and get familiar with some deejaying applications.
Step Four: Learn basic skills either personally or from a professional.
Step Five: Break out of the box and get some deejaying equipment.
With all of those mentioned above, this week’s discussion is a follow up from where I left off some weeks ago.
There are some important decisions an intending disc jockey has to make before launching out into the deejaying world. These decisions are sacrosanct, especially having got to this stage in the process of achieving the professional status.
You must determine the kind of deejay you are interested in becoming. Strictly speaking, a deejay is anyone who plays pre-recorded music for an audience. These days however, deejays are taking up bigger roles than just playing pre-recorded music to an audience. They have added extra tasks such as producing their own records, owning record labels, sound consultancy, video disc jockeying and a host of others. Therefore, it is pertinent that from this stage henceforth, you know the area of deejaying you want to specialise in. It is also at this stage you determine the kind of audience you want to target, the set of equipment you want to launch out with, et cetera.
Since you’ve made it to this guide, I will not deny you the right of knowing the choices available to you in your capacity as a disc jockey. So, let’s break it down into a few simple categories. These are not hard and fast definitions, because many people (such as me) often end up juggling several types of deejaying roles.
- The Club/Bar Deejay (Resident)
This is the deejay that has a recurring gig at the local night club or bar. Each club has a different feel, reputation, and audience. This also means that clubs vary in what they expect from their musical selection. Typically, the night club deejay’s job is to keep the dance floor moving and uninterrupted often by doing long blends (transitions) between songs, or some other trickery to keep people’s feet moving.
Ideally, this deejay knows how to ramp the energy up and down to balance between an active floor and a busy bar.
- The Performer/Guest DJ
People go to see this deejay because of who they are, their reputation, and what people think they can do behind the decks. This can include anyone who has built up a following that people will come out to see. The “exhibitionist” deejays fit in here. This usually include turntablists (people good at cutting, scratching, and various record tricks), battle deejays and other live and semi-live performers.
- The Mobile/Wedding DJ
A notably different style of deejaying can be required of the mobile disc jockey. This is usually more of the entrepreneur type, and typically where you will have the best chance for success in making a living. This kind of disc jockey often needs to be comfortable with taking requests (and sometimes even entire playlists), speaking into a microphone, and investing in his or her sound equipment.
- The Radio DJ
The radio deejay’s job varies greatly from all others mentioned above. With duties ranging from announcing the weather between songs, announcing transition of programmes, and full-on music curation. In other cases, there are radio deejays who don’t do radio continuity announcements, but focus mainly on dishing out tunes and generally in charge of the music that the station plays to their audience.
What is it that excites you about becoming a disc jockey? Is it the thought of directing a dance floor? Playing big tracks at festivals? Starting a wedding DJ business? Building an audience for a radio show?
Whatever your motivation is, the choice is yours, but it is important to give this some thought, as it will help you know how to pursue your career.
Read the first part here.