Weekend Recap – Perks of Being a DJ

After we recap our weekend we talk about JD’s new 90’s mini mix on the DMS blog, Styles Davis’s West Coast mix on Dj City, Enferno’s LRP, Canada’s music lisenciing, Mark Farina being kicked of the decks in Vegas, CDJ2000 HID mode, Dj creativity, the perks of being a Dj and we finish off with next weeks Topic of the Week: Is Serato falling behind?

Dj JD’s 90’s DMS Mini Mix
Styles Davis West Coast Mix
Enferno Live Remix Project – Levels Vs. Love Lockdown
Canada music licensing
Mark Farina kicked of the decks

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3 comments

  1. Hey JD, regarding your question, just wondering if you find the problem with the skipping in “CDJ” mode or “Vinyl” mode or in both, however it might not be relevant seeing when you hook 3 or 4 the issue wasn’t present, but I’ve noticed an issue myself and I was in Vinyl mode, although when in CDJ mode, the issue was not present.

    On to Springs question, I agree, The same DJs that Produce great tracks in the studio are left playing these productions live, but as seen in Enfernos LRP(awsome production in the vid by the way!) he always goes that extra mile to make his live set a production. These days with so much technology at bay, it is more than ever easier to become more and more creative within your live sets you are DJing. A lot of DJs I see make that effort and do their best within the confines of their gigs, but I was just reading an article via the Guitar Center guide, and the latest Interview on the Crystal Method, tied into what you were talking about. In the magazine article, it talked about how they managed to stay relevat and around thru out the transformation of EDM from the late 90s to the current time period. They stated that nowadays its more about creativity and utilizing that gift of creativity you have, because the technology allows artists like Skrillex to sell out to record breaking crowds, and the technology he uses is no different than what the average DJ/Producer uses these days, so its up to the DJ/Producer to throw his or her creativity on their productions to stand out from the next guy using the same equipment.

    I’ve been embracing thinking outside of the box from almost day one. Of course without question, you want your DJ sets/Productions/Remixes to stand out from the rest with your own uniqueness, but at the same time you want to add a bit of contemporary relevance to it. Its how to know where and when to inbed your awe-inspired uniqueness into your live sets to get the crowd wanting more. I say its how to know where and when because certain venues or events you may do, like say a wedding, where the Bride and Groom strictly enforce that you not go crazy with effects and tricks, just play the standard wedding fare. You can still be creative and stand out from the rest of the Wedding DJs without all the stuttering, scratching, looping, etc in a more tasteful way that would do justice for that particular wedding. That’s where your pre-production time should have you brainstorming for ideas and techniques to get you to the next level without offending your audience. 

    I’ve seen first hand at a venue a while back. We had a top name celeb DJ, very well known do a similar DJ set almost in the same fashion of Enfernos LRP(It wasn’t Enferno though), it was at a residency I had, and it happened to be a teen night, where the kids at the time just wanted to hear the hits, not caring for remixes or over the top DJ showmanship. None the less the DJ went ahead and performed. I, personally was awe struck and inspired by the amazing talent of this DJ, however the crowd was not at all into it, no one was dancing, and more so complaining to management that they could not dance and were asking when the “normal” dj was coming back on. Of course the crowd didn’t get what the Celeb DJ was doing, and even though they knew the DJ by name as a Big Industry DJ, they found it difficult to sing along and dance when constantly each song being mixed was re-looped, stuttered and verses and chorus were strewn out of original arrangement. If that same DJ just DJed a normal set, the crowd reaction would have probably been pretty epic I think. In similar fashion, I respect what Enfrno manages to do. He utilizes his LRP for venues/gigs and events that call for this type of Live Production. Certain other gigs, you can have Enferno as your nights Celeb Guest DJ, just DJing a normal set, although he still throws in that Enferno touch, if he was catering a high end corporate event with older clientel, maybe the LRP wont go over as well, so he has the option to tone it down utilizing his normal DJing skills!

    Anyway after that gig I did in which the Celeb guest DJ wasn’t getting the attention from the crowd, I took note and about a year later, I was called upon by one of my close DJ friends who had a posh nightclub residency, very upscale, with a beautiful tropical themed patio, and he asked if I would be interested in DJing a 2×4 set there in which Management was requesting an 80s dance music beach teme party. The reason he says he asked me, was because I always like to go above and beyond and challenge myself with off the wall creations at my live gigs. For some reason when I would mention a certain mashup blend or crazy idea, on paper, it wouldn’t sound to appealing to him or think his crowd would go for it, but maybe not in the way he was thinking of it going down, but always when I told him I wanted to try it, the response was really good and it went over well. I believe it was 2002, and we were doing that tropical beach themed patio venue outside of this club, and we were playing all 80s dance music. Inside the standard mainstream hits of 2002 is where everyone was at until they got extremely hot and went outside for a brief time to cool off and then head right back inside to listen to the current hits. I took note of this while analyzing the crowd prior to signing on wit him to do the residency. 

    The year prior I was called in as a Creative Consultant on a Theme Park venue to help with the design of a new club there, so with that he felt it appropriate to turn to me, his trusted friend! My DJ friend said to me, “We need some sort of gimmick to get the crowd to stay out here more often” My answer to him was not so much as in that we needed a gimmick, more or less we needed to get peoples attention, from my analyzing the behavior of when and what the crowd did when they came out to the patio I told him, people mainly come to this club, as it is known for open format really consisting of today’s mainstream hits. What our manager has us playing at this mainstream club is songs from the 80s that may not appeal or even be relevant to the party goers who frequent this club. I threw out an idea that I strongly believed would work(hopefully,lol) He was strictly against it or to say the least didn’t agree it would work(similar in fashion to the both sides of the argument that JD and Spring bring forward on subjects like demo mixes, etc… that’s why I can so relate to their banter on these issues!) Anyway, my idea would be to showcase the 80s themed beach party theme as advertised, but throw a contemporary spin on it that hopefully no one had really expected to hear, but yet on the same token would want to stay around and say to themselves, “that sounds cool like that!, I wonder what hes going to do next?” and of course I’m talking about a hint of live mashups, done in a more complex way than just putting on an acapella over a beat. I wanted to utilize the 4 turntables and 2 cd player set up the 2 of us had, so I was putting for example Sean Pauls “Temperature” acapella over an old 80s classic track, but then cutting away from the 80s track into an old breakdance breakbeat loop for part of the chorus to provide extra impact, while my DJ partner would also be spicing that same chorus breakdown with the instruments, horns or something from another famous record. Unlike what Spring was mentioning in the video where 5 songs mashed up together would absolutely drive him insane, these were tastefully done and pre-thought out in order to make it live showmanship. Not to far off from Enfernos LRP, it was on that level of creating live remixes like never before heard, one off mixes exclusive to that club. In the end, this is what did the trick. Each week, people caught on to what they were hearing, which in turn we had a packed patio dancefloor, as we were giving them a hint and taste of mainstream over what they may of thought of as washed out has been 80s classics which they weren’t hip to from the start. One remix involving the old classic “Girl I’ll House U” was on of our most requested live remixes we did, and it was because we took a chance on rolling the dice and doing something our peer DJs weren’t doing around our local area. Again this was 2002, pre-Serato, really pre-mashups as we know them today, but it worked, paid off, and got us more gigs and residencies. 

    I tell this story not to brag or boast about its success, rather hopefully as an inspiring story to go with what your gut tells you to do when trying to allow yourself as a DJ to stand out from the pack. As the years move on, more and more DJs will be integrating the same technology as the next DJ, as we see with the likes of Serato. If we are all using virtually the same gear in some shape or fashion, it is up to us to allow for ourselves to stand out, and nowadays we cant just stand out with what flashy gear we have, we need to take it to the next level and allow our Creativity to sell and market ourselves, so when someone needs a DJ, your name will be one of the ones that crosses their minds :)

    Finally, because this is running a bit too long, just touching on Serato falling behind, I feel like with most technology, once a product sort of peaks on the market, other companies are right behind the peaking companies tracks, making sure to do it up even bigger and better than the last product, in hopes people will jump on the new product, and once Industry Celeb DJs either endorse or start using it as an Industry standard, than other DJs will follow suit. But like Spring, Im perfectly fine with Serato, it works, however Im always open to pushing the envelope into new technology, but being comfortable with Sersto and most importantly, because we as DJs have spent so much time organizing and reorganizing and analizing music and crates, Im not too quick to run over to Tracktor or anything else.

    My philosophy, no matter what you are using, from Serato right down to Fisher Prices “My first DJ rig” If you can rock it out with the above and everything in between, than your job in this Industry wont have you so focused on being locked down into what specific gear you are using, rather focus your time more efficiently on your Creativity, because Creativity and what we can do with our Creativity when utilizing the same equipment everyone is using, will be the factor on if we will stand out from the rest and be recognized as uniquely different!

  2. Best of luck on your upcoming weekend DJ adventures….5 hour energy or Redbull anyone!

  3. I have two CDJ 900’s and I have also had the skipping issue in HID mode.  It hasn’t happened to me as much as it has happened to you and the 2000’s, but it still happens.  I thought I was going crazy, or that I was doing something wrong since I am relatively inexperience with CDJ’s.  So thank you for talking about this and hopefully someone will figure out how to correct the issue…soon!  

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