Monday, July 14, 2008

So You Wanna Be A DJ? Part 8

I really hope that the info I have shared with you has helped if even a little, it's kinda hard to talk about how to actually DJ as this is a personal thing and different for everybody. A very long time ago (1986) I heard a Jamaican DJ called Marvelous Marvin. This was before I even began my career. What blew me away with this guy was the fact that he was creating art as I watched him blend 2 records effortlessly together creating in fact, a remix before my eyes. Not only that, but all his mixes were in tune with each other! I even remember the tracks; the Soul 2 Soul acapella mixed in Din Da Da. It was simply beautiful.

To this day I never seen another DJ do that...EVER. I made a promise to myself that my mixes would be beautiful... (well I would certainly try) and that is why I simply spend hours and hours putting my sets together. The main reason being that, it really helps to know your tunes, where the breaks occur, where the track goes etc......... for the DJ's like myself who can play 6 hour sets, this is important as there is alot of music to get through and you want your set to flow, to use a cliche, as a journey. This is a different case in drum and bass however, mainly because we play for only one hour and your mission should you choose to accept it, is to destroy the dance floor.

Another reason to practice is because I spend endless hours editing other peoples music. I do this so I have something that is special, that is mine alone. It could also be that I need a simpler ending to a track and the person who made it was not a DJ, so they put a bass line in it all the way to the end... thus making it tricky for me to get the next track mixed in tune.... again this is a personal thing, some DJ's that I know use eq's to fade bottom end out... again, it is up to you, but I like my tracks to start with beats and end only with beats, this makes my job much easier, so it makes sense for me to spend the time doing this to all my music so I never have to worry about anything not flowing or coming in out of tune.

Of course, I am at a point now where the majority of what I play is from my labels and my own production, but practice makes perfect in my case too. Try to stay away from a formatted set list. You are always better when you use your heart  and eyes to tell you what track to drop next; the crowd will tell you, you'll just feel it. Sometimes its cool to have your music arranged in a specific way (in your box/bag whatever... personally I love
UDG). For example, prog house in one set, minimal in one set and so forth. I arrange my bag according to time; beginning of show, middle, peak time and end. As I said, it's all up to you. 

Well my dears, thats all for mixing. Just take the time in your bedroom before you go out there, nothing worse that a newbie sledging mixes, it's so awful to watch, so become great before you expose yourself to the masses because it only takes one person who thinks you suck to tell a hundred people, especially with Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and the Internet being what it is...word gets around. If I see someone who sucks I would never make an effort to see them again, but that's just me. There is so much great music out there that I can't justify "sucking", if you don't want to be the best you can possibly be, then why even try?

-- Gotta plug the site and tell the newbies that they can pick up free music in their inboxes every month by signing up on my mailing list at

--- --- OH last thing! If there's ANYTHING AT ALL about DJ'ing that you'd like me to discuss feel free to make a request in a comment to this post. Love to know what YOU wanna know.


Greg said...

Hi! I was wandering if you ever tried to re-create that mix that made such an impact on you? It seems like the majority of Soul 2 Soul's hits were 102bpm and that George Krantz Din Da Da was around 116bpm? if my memory is right :-) That seems too far off to make it work correctly? When you mentioned your bag for the night are you primarily spinning vinyl live or is it a combination of vinyl, cd and MP3's? Also curious to know which mixing software you like and why?



Greg said...

You can dis-regard my previous questions. I went back and re-read thoroughly over and over your previous 7 parts to this blog and I think I have them all answered now. The first answer would be that your Logic software would allow you to time stretch the 102Bpm mix to match the 116bpm while pitch shifting to adjust the key and the vocals? #2 Your DJ bag is all CD's now and you only use Pioneer CD players and mixers for your equipment I.E. no live mp3 mixing whatsoever. Now I want to go buy a G5 and some Pioneer equipment!

Thanks again,


DJ RAP said...

Hey Greg, Thanks for your comment, appreciate it. However, in response to question number 1 about mixing hte records together... there simply wasnt the technology to time-stretch in those days. Which is why this guy was such a hero and inspiration to me. I have still never seen anyone re-create a mix like he did so many years ago without the technology available today, which would allow you to do that.

Keep reading!

Luv and Bass, DJ Rap