How to be a DJ

Authors Note

I am not a DJ. I have not yet been able to aspire to such great heights. However, I have had the privilege of meeting several semi-famous DJ's and I would like to pass on my experiences to the next generation.

The Music

You must have your own brand of music. The greatest sin that can be committed is to be easily categorisable. Whilst following the cheesy pop route is a sure fire money earner true recognition can only be found doing highly inventive genre crossing acts. The best way to do this is to take famous or semi-famous tracks and remix them by adding a heavily bass drum dependent drum track. You should also insist on doubling the length of the original to demonstrate that your two renditions are different interpretations on the same theme.

Later, you may wish to experiment out into your own style. For this a drum machine and sampler are both essential. You should endevour to take this from a natural source - e.g. recording the sound from a TV speaker via a minidisc player to give an ambiance that can't be achieved via purely digital means. Feel free to use extravagant EQ since this is your own composition and will sound generally different to the original. The important thing to remember is the sound quality and originality will be enhanced with each extra step you add in so the more complicated the better. Ideally some of the steps should be highly visual so you can perform them on stage - e.g. a microphone - speaker coupling using a fish-tank filled with smoke and a strobe light pointed at it.

Should you come up with your own style it is important to choose a name for it that has not already been used. For example, house and garage are both commonly used terms. You can either apply a modifier [e.g. speed garage] or a related word [e.g. driveway] or possibly both [e.g. transient kitchen].

The Name

As a DJ it is vital to have an original and distinctive name. Your name should ordinarily be prefixed with the letters DJ to indicate that you live your life as a DJ and that scratching and mixing runs through the core of your soul. It helps if your name has an unusual or difficult spelling or abbreviation - this shows you to be intune with the younger generation. Good examples are DJl8rs [pronounced Dee Jay Laters], DJinit4sx [Dee Jay In It For Sex], DJS0X [Dee Jay Sucks], DJb1r [Dee Jay boner] and DJHanddJob [Dee Jay H and Dee Jay ob - suitable for a pairing masquerading as one].


Scratching is an essential part of being a top notch DJ unless you are content for middle of the road obscurity. The simple sound of a scratch on a record has the ability to evoke the widest range of emotions in the listener. By varying the tempo and timing of your scratching to alternately fit in and contrast with your pure music source you may be able to achieve a post modernistic ironic cover of even the most banal tracks which will win you critical acclaim.

Classical music is often a fantastic source of music for this type of variation. Not only does it lend you an air of credibility by having a music taste more sophisiticated than the average teenage listener, but it also provides subtle platform from which your scratching will be accentuated in it's difference from the norm.


Any DJ is truly judged by his ability at live performance. It is not sufficient to be able to provide a superior sonic scratching ability, it is also necessary to provide an exciting visual display. This is best achieve using at least one more record deck than is supplied by the venue - preferably of a different type which is used exclusively for a singular type of performance. A fine example would be to use only a technics 1210 for scratching purposes and a 1200 for straight playing. It is vital that your stick to your prinicples, even if it means forcing the venue to source an alternate deck for your use.


The answer is no. Vinyl has superior warmth, sound and scratchability. This is the easiest way to spot a fake DJ. Digital-fan-boys will claim that the indestructibility and perfect reproduction is an advantage. This is only because they have ears unattuned to the extra frequencies that can be heard in a pure vinyl recording.


Spinal tap proved themselves to be extraordinarily prescient in their insistence in using amplifiers scaled to 11, allowing 10% more volume that the standard 10 that usual equipment comes with. Insist on equipment scaled to 11 or more when you speak to your supplier.

Headphones and monitoring

As a DJ you have to accurately mix tracks together so it is important to be able to accurately hear the timing of the first track that you wish to mix with the second. Experiment has shown the best way to do this is to place two monitoring speakers next to the DJ at a louder volume than the PA. This will avoid any issues with time delays and reverberation in the main sound. This should be listened two from a pair of open designed headphones with the designated mixing track for comparison. It often helps to only use one ear of the headphones.


As a DJ it is your right to suitable food and refreshment for the time you are present at the gig. It is considered reasonable to include your other workers - e.g. roadies who carry your records in this amount too. You should also endeavour to include other vital persons to the well being of your performance, e.g. your friends who were on the guest list, any pretty girls who took your fancy and you may be able to shag later. The venue will complain about the quantity that you ask for, but you should remember that the amount you get should be related to your skill - which is of course infinite.


See Volume.

Other DJ's

You should have many voluminous opinions about other DJ's and their inferior style to your own. The correct insult form is

[Accurate statement about the technical skills] then
[Statement about choice of music] finishing with
[disparaging comment about ability to perform]
Some examples of these are DJTossPot - he's got a great scratching style but it's wasted on his blend of funk-house-britney so he loses the soulful melodic original feel under his hectic scratch patterns. DJBigJob - His timing is all up shit creek which is a shame because his techno-house collection has some PhatBreakz init - it all gets ruined by his inability to hold the Beatz. It is important to learn to talk such that the works Fat and Phat can be distinguished.


You should purchase as much of this as you can manage without exploding.


As a DJ you should imbibe strange quantities and mixes of drugs to enhance your performance. A fine example would be to inist on having cocaine mixed into sweet green leaf tea immediately after having nasal decongestant or marijuana taken only as a particular type of coffee coated fairy cake. You should generally only aim for stimulant style drugs before performances - this will allow you to mix more quickly and then depressants afterwards to calm you down. For a DJ, there is no such thing as an unsafe drug.


In order to be a fully successful DJ you have to fully master the language - this is the final test as to your suitability to be fitted into DJ circles. Firstly you have to master the art of writing and speaking with a series of words loosely based on the english with more percussive sounds but helpfully phonetic spellings. A simple guide is given here