Walmer Convenience
<> on August 13, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

WHY YOU MIGHT SUCK AT DJING

Maybe you’re new. Maybe you’ve been doing this for 20 fucking years. Maybe you’re fucking famous. Maybe you play at tiny bars. It don’t matter. If you suck, you suck. It could be for a number of reasons. Let’s investigate together.

1. YOU THINK EQUIPMENT MAKES THE DJ

Maybe you’re like “I have to use vinyl man!” or you’re like “Look at all these controllers!”. You might have 2 cdjs, 4 turntables, a controller multiple other things for FX and shit. Can you use them well though? That’s really what matters. Sure, people are gonna come into the club and be like “Whoa this guy’s setup is crazy!” (actually it won’t be “people”, it will be like 2 bros) but if you can’t mix properly people are gonna fucking hate your guts. Fuck man, if you can dj from an iPhone app and crush a party every fucking time then you’ve fucking done good. Even those assholes using iTunes that just choose tracks are better than some fuck who has a ton of gear and plays like shit. Not only that, but you’re probably that guy who at every gig is like “Wait, I can’t go on yet because my shit isn’t working” and you’re probably walking all around the peeps playing before or after you putting together, taking apart and trouble shooting your unnecessarily intricate setup. After all that and you go on and you can’t even dj well? GTFO. Just get the most simple setup you can that allows you to do what you want to do, become a master and collect $$$$.

2. YOU PLAY FOR YOU AND NOT THE CROWD

Unless you are some famous ass motherfucker headlining nights around the world, you gotta play to the crowd bro (or broette). Your friends are there to see you and they might know a bit of your unique musical tastes but otherwise no one wants to hear a whole set of that shit. I’m not saying you gotta go full lowest common denominator-tard but you gotta give them something they want. You can even play one big tune and one underground tune and another big tune and so on. Or you can start with some big tunes and once you own them you drop some of your own fave shit. Djing is like sex, you gotta give if you want something back, otherwise you’re just jerkin off and no one wants to pay you to do that. Hell, you do it for free all the time.

3. YOU GET TOO DAMN SHIT FACED

Like Future, I’m just gonna be honest. I like a drink or 6 when I dj. There’s something to be said about putting yourself into the mindset as the crowd and nothing wrong with having a bit of fun. Sure, if you dj everyday you will eventually prob have some health issues (especially if you’re doing mad drugs) if you get fucked up every time but as long as you maintain control you’re fine. If you’ve forgotten how to fucking mix or start picking stuff because drunk logic is making you think it’s the right choice that same crowd that you just connected with will fucking turn on you and you will fail again.

4. YOU HAVE A WHOLE FUCKING SET PLANNED BEFOREHAND

There’s nothing wrong with having an idea of what tracks you might play on a given night. That’s totally fucking fine and is, in fact, recommended. But if you’re one of those people who plan every fucking track and transition beforehand you’re not only setting yourself up to fail but you’re also fucking the other people playing with you. I’ve fucking played a gig where dude hit the end of his “set” and was like “you have to go on, I only have one song left”. Not even gonna mention how fucking garbage your time will be if people aren’t digging what you had planned and now you’re still stuck playing it for a fucking hour. Oh wait I did.

5. YA TALK TOO DAMN MUCH

Yeah. Nothing wrong with fucking connecting with the crowd. In fact it can help make a mediocre set better. But if you fucking talk too much and you fucking suck then it’s gonna make everyone hate you. The only people who can talk a lot are dancehall djs. If you’re not that, then shut the fuck up. Not like you’re gonna somehow convince us the night was rad with words. Show, don’t tell.

6. YOU FUCK WITH THE EFFECTS KNOBS BUT YOU FORGET TO MIX PROPERLY

Sure you’re doing all this fucking shit with the knobs but it doesn’t mean shit if you don’t know when to bring a song in. Like, if you can’t count to 4 or 8 or 16 or 32 but you can throw on the flanger at will then you’re still fucked and you’re still gonna sound like shit because stuff will just not sound right and will be happening wrong. Like really fucking focus on that. In fact knowing timing is 80% of djing.

That’s all I can think of right now. What do you think?

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74 thoughts on “WHY YOU MIGHT SUCK AT DJING

  1. You forgot not being able to beatmatch : the worst you can do.

    • Lost of people avoid beat matching, or the blending of harmony/melody etc. For lessons please hit me up on Facebook. I am a very old school house DJ. Half our trax were locked in a mix years ago, that was the whole point.

      • Strongly disagree! beatmatching is key.

      • I strongly agree with the fact that almost all of today’s DJ’s don’t beat match or don’t know how. They call “mixing” just slapping the fader and throwing the next song in and letting run for 30 seconds and go into the next one. And I’m one that loves to beatmatch and let the track ride together (at the right poin(s) of the tracks). Its a blend, its harmony, its a smooth transition. All my current and older mixes that I have online do prove it.

      • Hello, i would like some tips on mixing!

      • Hello, i would like some lessons, but i don’t have your facebook.

      • The DJ Gabriel G. on said:

        Yea i agree with most of these people. Yes, you are talking about “hot mixing” and it is used but not for every mix. Some acid house, some disco, etc.. Yes you have to do a drop cut sometimes but the way you say it, YOU SUCK.

    • Frix Rouzaud Joseph: Read number 6 again man

    • You are absolutely correct! Not being able to beatmatch will make your mix sound like shoes in the dryer.

    • How someone can call himself DJ when he doesn’t know how to beatmatch? :D Every fucktard should start with proper turntables and vinyls to know what does it means DJing without SYNC, BPM info…

  2. Terry Mac. on said:

    It’s all about the tunes! Top tunes=Top gig! Shit tunes=Shit gig!

  3. I love it when there are 3 guys live on stage rocking the fx knob with a prerecorded set. :D

  4. sacha on said:

    there’s a sync button 4 that ;)

  5. Wrong Frix! Not being able to beatmatch has nothing to do with being a good DJ. DJ’ing is all about interaction with your audience. That’s it!

    “If your music is boring or badly chosen, the best beatmatching in the world won’t save you.” As a matter of fact playing all the time in the same kind of tempo range is actually a bit boring.

    Quote from a great DJ who wrote a book about it:

    “Some of the world greatest DJ’s ever have been pretty ropey mixers. They have stumbled their way from one track to another, but the next track was so amazing and perfect for the moment that you didn’t care. And the next one, and the next one…”

  6. Decidan on said:

    I disagree with point no.4. Some of the biggest names in the industry plans their sets out before hand and then play exactly the same set for every gig they play for that specific tour. Andy C comes to mind. Known for planning every set to perfection. Obviously though it would have to be a pretty damn good set.
    I think this varies greatly with the type of dj you are, and what genre you play. I myself play drum and bass, and if I was to plan a set out full of top banana tunes, then I’d have no doubt that, if mixed well, the set would work every time, to a DnB head crowd. If on the other hand you play various style/genres and are playing to a crowd of mixed style/genre fans, then planning a set out would of course be a massive fail.
    And yes, as someone said, not being able to beatmatch – FAIL!

  7. James on said:

    There is a big misconception about preplanning. I pre-plan my DnB sets. But I am using 3 CDJs and usually never more than one full measure goes by when I am not mixing something else in, and a lot of time I will have 3 tracks going at once. And did I mention the mixes are fucking huge. No one on earth will create mixes like I do without preplanning them. Period. And if my timeslot needs to carry over I have no problem improving some other stuff. So you need to adjust number 4.

    • fuck #2
      if you’re refering to a big mainstream club. you might be right. but these places are about neon lights, fancy drinks, efects & dancers, etc.. and not about the music anyway.

      but if i go out, to check out new music & the selection of a dj. i want to be surprised! if you’re older than 30, you might remeber the days when djing was about breaking new music. and there are still enough clubs & guests that want that. everything else is shallow like the radio.

      ps. excuse my spellin. i’m not a native speaker.

  8. james solo key on said:

    it is sad when i learned i had to struggle and understand i see other people suck so bad it makes me cry its the keys mann….

  9. Curtis on said:

    Your an Idiot and your Article is pants! Please go drink bleach! you sound like angry teenager that doesn’t get booked! That being said I guess they give any douche a blog these days! Do you even DJ bro? Lol

    • jesseaustinlewis on said:

      I am not convinced of your adulthood by this comment. It’s a pretty fucking accurate article man. Also they don’t give out blogs, people make blogs. You could make a blog too. It’s just we won’t fucking read it, “pants”.

    • jesseaustinlewis on said:

      This comment does not convince me of your adulthood, “pants”. It was a pretty fucking accurate stab at shit that really happens. Also they don’t just give blogs away, people make them. You can make one too, I probably won’t fucking read it though. Then again any douche can comment right?

  10. ups, that wasn’t suppost to be a reply. sorry

  11. Lowkey on said:

    Beat-matching /transitioning and song selection are a package. You can have the greatest selection and train-wreck each transition… its till garbage!

    As far as pre planning, I think what is meant there is the ability to improvise on the fly should the situation call for it. I know for myself, if I was to have an exactly plan of sequence and mix I was going to do and nothing would change this… then I would not see the point of mixing it live. Seriously, why not just pre-record it. I say that sarcastically however, I remember being at a “Black N Blue” party many eons ago, where a big name dj, did exactly that. Just played his CD (that most of us recognized, since we all had it).

    I know my thoughts are not shared by all, and this was not an intent to diss any existing styles. but I do agree with many of the points above.

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  13. You had me at that picture.

  14. 7. YOU’RE BENT OVER YOUR LAPTOP LIKE THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

    Based on your first six points I must be a pretty amazing DJ but if there’s one thing that needs improving its getting my face out of from the laptop screen more often and looking like I’m enjoying myself. Maybe bending point three would help. That or switching from four hour chillout bar gigs and cheesy private bookings to jobs that allow a bit more of point two.

  15. all celebrities are automatically awesome DJ’s, especially the ones with really orange fake tan. The more orange your tan is the better you are at dj’ing. Even when they can’t mix and choose horrible music the crowd is mesmerised by their orangeness and just enjoying trying to work out what that TV show was that they used to be on

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  17. Truth Hurts on said:

    you forgot the following:
    “you spend more time posing for pictures than selecting your tracks”
    “you do no music research and you only play whats on other peoples charts or bestseller lists”
    “you have no idea about the history of the culture or the music”
    “you’re in it to get laid and be famous”
    “you think its a competition and you do nothing to support other dis and trash talk on the regular”
    “you don’t know how to properly open for a headliner”
    “You think ‘red meters’ means you sound awesome”
    “you don’t support the industry that supports you (you steal all your music off pirate sites)”
    “you only know of one tempo and mood”
    “you jul on every new fad genre that comes out”
    “nothing you play will be playable in 6 months”

  18. Someone a bit pissed about the recent surge of overpaid, underskilled edm (shit American generic term that means nothing to anyone who knows anything about the different music and cultures it’s trying to describe) djs, that give djs a bad name.

    Honestly, I’m happy for the people into that kind of thing to stay away from my sets and parties. And if youre not into the music I like, then you’re probably not going to like my sets. I’d rather be that way, than play a set of stuff I don’t like just for the crowd and not enjoy myself. In the only one there that actually HAS to stay and listen to my entire set after all!!

    I can beat match and started on vinyl, but made the move to final scratch and now use cdjs. They’re not as much fun, or hands on to use, but if used properly can add a lot of interesting stuff to a set.

    This kind of culture is easy to cope with really.

    Don’t go anywhere you know you’re not going to like, and keep an open mind about the ones you’re unsure of, and if you can’t find anything you like, don’t complain, do it yourself. Someone else will be into it.

    But most of all don’t be a dick.

  19. DJ must play music which he loves. And educate the crowd, show them something that they maybe did not expect to hear, but they like it as soon as they hear the music. Which means he plays music for himself and for the crowd. Crowd should start respect dj and follow his music. But DJ absolutely shouldn’t be like “I will play for the crowd”

    IMO of course. And again IMO This article is too sarcastic and even a bit naive for a guy who thinks that he is a professional.

  20. Captain Obvious on said:

    Aside from hilariously comparing DJing to sex there is nothing here that hasn’t been mentioned hundreds of times before on hundreds of sites and forums. I want my 5 minutes back.

  21. dj 8-ball on said:

    Don’t forget the ones that have their eyeballs glued to the screen as if they’re watchin’ porn!

  22. Davey on said:

    I done acid and and straight up forgot how to mix, not just a little bit either I mean full on properly forgot everything what the faders and rotarys do what the pitch does, I was touching the vinyl like a child would thinking this is strange!
    Took about 4 hours until it came back to me.

    Moral of the story don’t do drugs before your set. More specifically ketamine and acid.
    Don’t think I can ever live that one down.

    • Patrik on said:

      Man u r Crazy! I use to get stoned, but already then it kinda can make you suck. I remember having had a bit too much. nooooooooot that good for your mixing :) I had to ask my m8 to come play quite soon after i came on the 2nd time. Quite embarrassing for me really.
      Don´t DJ when on Drugs kids, its gonna make you look like a turd!

  23. JOHNNY K on said:

    ITS REALLY SIMPLE,GOOD ATTITUDE,GOOD MUSIC,GOOD EQUIPMENT,GOOD APPEARENCE,PLAYING FOR THE CROWD,SOUND LEVEL OF MUSIC,MIXING PROPERLY,BEAT MATCHING,GOOD LIGHTING,ALL IN MODERATION,VIET NAM DJ AND STILL GETTING GREAT RESULTS,BE HAPPY AND SMILE….

  24. This post is unbelievably retarded.
    I read the whole thing only because I find this topic very, VERY interesting, but I would’ve stopped midway through if it wasn’t for that.

    You could try writing in a little more formal language, so that maybe other people would actually read it.

  25. Entertaining blog folks.
    How professional does a group of bitchy Djs look… Pmsl
    Just keep em Dancing…

  26. Adam GhostFacedNinja on said:

    When I listen to other DJ’s for me basically it goes:
    70% the tunes they play
    20% how they mix em
    10% the “show” they put on whilst doing it.
    So basically, if they play good music, then their mixing can be ropey and it wont be an utter train wreck.
    It’s better when the DJ doesn’t hunch over the laptop ignoring the crowd, but at the end of the day, if the tunes are good and well mixed I couldn’t give much of a monkeys what the DJ looks like when doing it.
    But if the music sucks, then it does not matter how god like their skills are or how much of a “show” they put on, then I will not enjoy their set..

    As for pre-planning, I think it’s overly harsh saying “it’s bad”. It depends on the DJ and what they are trying to do. I mix big DnB, I like to use four channels, and I heavily plan my sets. I put a lot of work and practise into ensuring the product is good, and I have options if I need them. I.E. If I am called on to play longer than my planned set, or to maybe take the vibe in a different direction, that is never a problem, because I have hours and hours ready to go. And these are mixes I’ve tried at least once, so I know they are good. I spend hours and hours and hours each week, finding those tunes that go together really nicely. I put in lots of work, so that by the time I am playing in front of a crowd, I am playing something that I fully love and believe is the best I can do.
    You cannot say “you might as well play a pre-recorded set”, as a live set will never go completely as you plan it, and you have to be ready, able and willing to change or fix things on the fly.
    If you are one of those people that just likes to “go with the flow” or whatever, kudos to you. But do not be dissing on those that prefer to plan more. As mentioned some of the biggest and best DJ’s out there plan ahead, and ya know I would rather listen to Andy C playing a preplanned set than some monkey slapping random tunes together with no real idea of how it will sound till they play it.

  27. DJ-JD on said:

    The songs you play and the order they’re played, you can beatmatch and mix with the best of em but if you’re playing crap nobody cares

  28. I totally agree with all 6. Being able to read a crowd is paramount. Next the mixing. I tend to work better on drugs? But not alcohol…too much anyway. It’s good to have industry standard equipment and know your tunes. Play as often as possible! Then you know what works. Cheers

  29. Steve on said:

    You are very wrong about number 2.

  30. dj gold on said:

    Don’t forget about auto sync

  31. angelzxx on said:

    Buncho homos

  32. 1: Don’t rely on a sync button. This should be at the top of every list.
    Oh cool, you gotta mix in but you have no idea how to actually do that across a spread of different genres then you are smoked. Go home, and practice more.

    Speaking of which.

    2: Play everyday. If you arnt putting as much time into djing as you are partying you are probably blowing it. It’s like anything. Practice. Earn your 10,000 hours.

  33. Too many ppl in the comments are still putting beatmatching on a pedestal. I know a lot of guys who can beatmatch perfect but still suck. Beatmatching isn’t the only thing that defines a DJ. It’s a technique not a talent. Anyways, props to this article.

  34. This guy over there on said:

    Nice article and some good points!:)
    But I don’t totally agree with two of them: “you play for yourself” and “your set is prepared beforehand”.

    1. “you play for yourself and not the corwd”:
    There are a few djs out there which are crazy diggers and developed a unique type of mix over the years. I mean they play mostly quality unknown stuff and play the crowd a big set of new music they haven’t heard before. If you’re one of these djs and if you’re good at what you do – Then you get booked for exatcly these sets! Sure, maybe you’ll play some single well known stuff, but it’s not necessary because you get booked of your individuality and quality.

    2. “your set is prepared beforehand”:
    Most of the time I prepare my set before the set. That means I will fix a track order and set cue points & loops ect. But the beatmaching is 100% real and done with just the ears.
    I’m totally sure that, except for few of the best djs out there, nobody can put so much creativity, power & flow in a set like in a prepared one. If you prepare your set for each show – you can catch the people quite good because you mostly know what they expect.
    But as you already said: If the set is finished you gotta be good enough to keep on playing a good set. That’s what proofs that you’re a good dj.

  35. 1.Know your music.. WELL! When u know ur music well and you suddenly get an extra half hour, improvising won’t be a prob.

    2. Beatmatching and knowledge about time should be a core skill. Should be trained before anything else

    3.never get more than one yellow bar on the equalizer! RED means you should hide in shame..

    4. Know your MUSIC!!

    5. Various effects on the mixer, samples or whatever is secondary. Seriously hate when someone puts a filter, flanger, phaser or whatever, on every freaking 30. sec!

    I reckon that most crossfade dj’s are shit. Atleast what i’ve experienced (these haven’t been famous or whatever – unknown people.) And the places you usually find them, is at clubs where the crowd has a disgracefull angle on music anyways.

    Though, for example, Venetian Snares uses the crossfader as intended, switching with lightning speed back and forth between tracks and creates a new vibe or sound, that in his case, is well controlled destruction and mayhem.

    I mix a lot of Dark Psy, Forest Psy. Whatever hardcore trance that suites my taste. And for me the most important thing is to keep the trance going. That first of all means damn tight beatmatching – You don’t want breaks and interruptions all the time. The music has to be seamless! It has to take you through a journey through various landscapes, evolve and explore. Therefore preparing a set is one of the keys to tell an amazing story.

    For me, practicing beatmatching is best optained by mixing DnB. You have to work fast and it’s really good to help you get in touch with the decks. Can deff recommend doing that.

    Good luck and happy mxing

  36. Richard Romero on said:

    Word up. Idk about mixing on iphone apps but, it’s true that the equipment does not make anyone a dj. Practice does.

  37. Neil on said:

    Good DJs do not follow a bunch of dumb rules posted on the internet.

  38. and you ise the work “fuck” too much

  39. i’ve heard many a dj whose selection alone can stand on it’s own merits, without the need for beatmatching every mix. these selectors are few and far between though, and what the author has written in this blog is generally spot on in the realm of quality dance music djing.

  40. Dj d rock on said:

    #facts 1-5 I know a lot of local dudes that dude them. My roommate does like 4 of them and wonders why I’m booked more than him. And I’ve told him bro play for the crowd, or the club manager will be like don’t bring him to DJ no more he gets to waisted and I c instantly have to apologize for him., this is straight facts good post

  41. Maique on said:

    “Djing is like sex, you gotta give if you want something back, otherwise you’re just jerkin off”, I’m gonna write this on the walls of some clubs..

  42. What a load of tosh,If you do not mix because you love it don’t mix.
    If you use any thing other than a set of 1200 or 1210’s you may be an very good performer but You are not a Jockey of Discs.
    If you can not mix well after your ability to stand up has left you from the over indulgence of the local hospitality,you have not been practicing enough
    If Hard Core was not a building aggregate long before people started to over drive there deck’s to +10 you will not have had enough opportunity to practices your art.
    Don’t ever let other people decide if you are a D.J. or not it is very rarely that any one with true talent manages to fight his way passed all the garbage ,if you are one of the few who truly loves the form you can’t help it and will be happy as long as you get to produce sound that make’s the hare stand up on the back of your own neck.
    There will always be a place for you some where even if it is the ass end of now where in front of a load of lunatics.

  43. The first thing about being a DJ is knowing how to move your body right. Then you can step up to the plate.

  44. The first thing about being a DJ is knowing how to jack your body right. Then you can step up to the plate.

  45. In my experience, planning out your set actually allows for a lot more improvisation, contradictory as this might sound. The ideal “planned set” should be a base to build upon, with several detours every handful of tracks, so you can grab people, take them through some vibes which the crowd is obviously enjoying, and yet have several others paths on which to branch off when it’s time switch it up.

    I’ve found it beneficial to split my sets into segments or “chapters”, a handful of tracks in length– tracks you know mix together beautifully, with the beginning and end of the chapters having “hinges” in order to connect each segment to the next.

    When you’ve played these chapters out a few times, you know by both instinct and experience which will succeed (depending on timeslot, venue, crowd, etc), but you won’t bore anyone who has heard you play recently by mixing the same tracks in the same order.

  46. brenda on said:

    Couldn’t have put this better myself! lol

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