Pro Tips For DJs During The Off Season

Right in the beginning of the year many DJs complain that there really aren’t enough DJ gigs coming in. It’s right after Christmas and New Years, Festival season is far away and the high time for weddings is months away. In this video I talk about some tricks and tips to preparing for the high season while you’ve got the down time now.

1. Make Playlist for EVERY occasion.
Whether it’s an art show, store opening or headlining an event. Make sure you’ve got a variety of playlists ready to go.

2. Organize, pre-pack and plan.
Think of anything that can go wrong or that you might need and pack it. Maybe it’s a couple of back up usbs, headphones, ear plugs and a power bar. Add in a few converters and headphone adapters.

3. Update your equipment and test your equipment.
Ensure your cords are sending sound both left and right, link cables are in good working condition and any updates have not only been done, but you’ve tested.

Building Better DJ Habits You Can Actually Stick To In The New Year

It’s 3 days into the new year and you may already be feeling off track from your goals. In this video I am going to talk about the 6 ways you can build better habits, ones you can actually stick to. I’ll go into more detail in the video.

1. Focus on the baby steps
2. Make it easy
3. Remove distractions
4. Build your like minded tribe
5. Utilize your creative hours
6. Reward yourself

More fantastic content for DJs and Producers:

 

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Planning for the New Year

Before planning for the new year, I like to reevaluate the previous year. I do this because it gets me to question just how efficient I am being with my time, money and energy. It’s not an easy task mind you, because it’s one where we must be TRULY honest with ourselves and it’s easy to make excuses. If however you can be direct in finding those answers, the benefits will far outweigh the slight discomfort. Moving forward you can really start to change the behaviours that are not working. I find it best to write these answers down starting with the question:

1. What did you set out to accomplish this year?

2. Why or why didn’t you achieve these goals?

3. How can you do differently moving forward?

 

More awesome ADVICE 4 DJS

Studio Gear Tips For Artist With A Small Budget

Is a tight budget stopping you from building your producer studio? Here is the thing, you can have all the best studio gear in the world but it won’t make you the best producer. We have a simple solution for your tight budget, so you can focus your energy in sound design and getting into that creative mindset.

 

Studio gear on a budget:
Focusrite – https://www.focusrite.com
KRK – http://www.krksys.com/
M-Audio – http://www.m-audio.com/

More Great Articles:

3 Red-flags For DJs That Means It Is Time To Lean Into Change

Do you feel like you’re making headway however something is off? You’re not quite sure if it’s time to make some changes in your career? Well let’s jump into the #3 things that tell you it’s time!

1. If you’re waiting to be happy

“As soon as I get that first big break, I’ll feel successful.”
“The moment I get my track released on that label, I’m be rolling in it.”
“When I finally get that world tour book, I’l be happy.”

2. When you feel like this is all you’ve got coming to you

What’s worse than waiting to be happy? Thinking this is as good as it gets. YUCK!

By the ways here is an article on the mindset that is holding you back. 

3. When you start feeling jealous about what other artists are doing

Hello! I know I’ve been guilty of this myself. It’s hard not getting you’re ego in the way. The first thing a lot of us want to do (especially when we are getting jealous) is to blame them, “They are kissing up!” or “They probably paid for plays, likes, reactions.”

STOP! time to REASsESS 

When I find yourself doing this, it’s a great time to investigate. That hard part is not letting your ego get in the way. It’s easy to want to shift the blame and think someone had it easier. But this is the time to REALLY dig deep. What is it that someone else is doing that is working for them? Why are other people happy, healthy, successful? What does that look like for me?

Here are 3 articles and videos that dive deeper on each topic:

How To Be A Happier DJ
Why You Need to Dream Bigger
What to do When You’re Not Getting What You Deserve

6 Ways to Gain Trust and Decode The Needs of Promoters

Not every potential client is looking for the same skill set or experience when booking a disc jockey. It’s important not only to ask the right questions but decode the needs of these business owners so you avoid wasting time and focus on what will help your clients. So how can we gain trust while figuring out their needs?

1. Leave your ego at the door

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Our ego LOVES to get in the way. You know the feeling, That need to correct people. Not only does this put most people into a fight of flight mode when it goes against their belief system, it makes us less likable. Yuck! And if that’s our first impression, well… you get the picture. While we all want to show our confidence in the business, check yourself before you wreck your chances.

2. Ensure Your Potential Client Is Heard

Are you in a business meeting and thinking about what to say next? Stop! Listen to your client. Hear what they are saying and think about what you’d like to know MORE about. If you want to gain trust they need to KNOW your invest and fully understand their needs. You can’t do this if you’re trying to finish their sentences or heaven forbid ‘correct’ them.

3. Ask Questions Regarding What You’ve Seen & Heard

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Dive into a comment they made. Maybe a potential client is talking about how they’d like to gain more notice of their new club. Keep it light but positive. “I took a look at the reviews online and it clear people really love coming here. Can you tell me what you’ve found has and hasn’t worked this far?” Or, “Why do you think you may be struggling to bring in more clients?” Instead of guessing, ask what their thoughts are, first. Maybe they are a new business and they haven’t considered hiring someone to market their brand? If the client it open to consider additional options to benefit the business, instead of promising them the world by booking you (which likely wouldn’t help in the long run) the questions open up the conversation about possible solutions.

4. Offer New Information In The Form of Questions

We did this a bit in number three however this is where you may be thinking about how this will effect your own live DJ Gig, for example sound. If you straight out tell a client that the quality of their sound is awful, after they just spent all that money on their new system, chances are there will be push back. However if you ask, “Have you thought about hiring someone to run sound for your establishment?”  If they’ve never thought about hiring someone to run this, here if your opportunity to sneak in the benefits of having an engineer to keep things running smoothly throughout the night. Or maybe they are thinking about doing top 40 bar music in a swanky lounge. Ask them if they’ve considered house music and what sort of mature, higher paying clientele that may bring in.

5. Avoid wasting energy on things they don’t need

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Some events don’t want nor need your help bringing in a clientele. This might sound odd at first, but if your doing an opening for a store, or maybe you’re a mobile dj doing a wedding, getting the word out about the event might not only be unprofessional but may clash with the marketing teams ideas. Maybe they’ve got an in house designer and that saved you time coming up with a new logo for the event you’ve got coming up.

6. Focus On Setting Yourself Apart While Adding To Your Clients Experience

We can’t do it all. I mean, we can but we just end up being, ‘okay’ at a bunch of things, instead of REALLY GREAT at one or two things that set us apart. To be a great DJ is to know what you can and can’t do so that you can delegate the rest. Maybe you are not the best at marketing a business, but you know a few great businesses that are. Maybe setting up sound is something you can do, but it time consuming and takes away from your performance. Hire or suggest a business hires someone. If you’re up front about what you can do but also give they client references, you’re giving them options they may have not considered so you can focus on the end goal. Putting on a fantastic DJ set.

Note: If you are just faking it through these interactions, people will see right through it. Practice this in your everyday life, with people you care about and you’ll soon see how your relationships can change. In turn it can make these business relationships and meetings go much smoother. So practice, practice, practice!

Speaking of promoters, you may want to avoid these nightmare ones or at least know HOW to deal with them.

More awesome Advice:

3 Common Mistakes To Avoid at DJ Gigs for both Beginners and Advance Artists

The absolutely worst time to have you vibe killed is during your own DJ set. These are situations both  beginner and experienced DJs can find themselves in. Below each example I’m going to touch on how this can effect BOTH seasoned vets and those still trying to hit that learning curve. Starting with one of the more obvious issues we note first.

1. Your Levels Are All Over The Place

If you haven’t been educated on the distortion followed by redlining your mixer, listen up now. If the sound on your mixer’s master output or even the channel in which you are mixing is hitting the red, the sound of your music is being compromised. We find this happens in few situations. The artist can’t hear their monitor and turn up their master output instead of their booth or maybe they simply do not know what is going on.

Solution: Find the loudest part of your track and see where the levels are on your mixer BEFORE you mix it in. This way you know that when at full volume your mix will not clip because you’ve change the level to match below 0.

2. Messy or lack of Eqing

 

This can go one of two ways. You’re not allowing for your tracks to breath or you are over EQing causing some uncomfortable sounds like harsh highs. Sometimes you’ve got both tracks match up perfectly and as you’re bringing in your next track the bass drops. Even though everything is in the same key you’re noticing your mix sounds muddy. In very active music like drum and bass and dubstep (the robots and dinosaurs fighting kind) the bass or multiple sounds can compete which is how you can end up with a unappealing sound. On the other side over eqing can also create some sharp even painful (for some of us) noise.

Solution:
This video is a simplified explanation on eqing.

3. Being under prepared

 

Whether you have a 5 hours gig at in a lounge where you’ve got to keep the atmosphere swanky or you’re at the club and have an opening slot for the headlining act. Being prepared is something most DJs aim for, but we don’t always think of the ‘what ifs’ and make assumptions about how the night may go down smoothly. In those situations when things go the wrong way, we are thrown off and suddenly our vibe is seriously killed. From technical issues with the software to a hardware cord snapping in two. Being prepared can start with the music, having the right vibe to ensure that if things to go awry there is a back up but it doesn’t end there.

Solution:
Make a list of things that could go wrong and then plan for it. From cords to ensure your programs are updated but also tested in advance. Double checking on the gear being supplied, even speaking with sound personal if your set ups are more extensive.

At the end of the day we’re human, we make mistakes and all the preparing in the world doesn’t mean you won’t run into issues from time to time. In our opinion and experience these are the common ones, so if you find this helpful please share with your DJ friends so we can all enjoy more smoothly run shows!

Awesome helpful articles:

How to Become a More Confident DJ

I can and can’t recall my first DJ gig. I got drunk. It was about ten years ago. I was nervous as hell and thought alcohol would help my nerves. One drink turned into five and by the time I hit the decks, well… it was messy. Clearly it didn’t work for me. For my next few shows out I decided to just stick it out sober at least until after my sets. I choose to feel the uncomfortable feelings and play anyways. It didn’t instantly make me some flawless mixer of music but I did learn some valuable lessons in becoming a more confident DJ. Watching Mel Robbin’s recent workshop reminded me why this worked so well for me and even taught me some new things I’ve been using in production.

The three points she made that sent this message home were:

“1. Confidence is a skill – Mel Robbins”

skill dance man

No, I wasn’t confident going in but over time it became a skill. I knew that if the music was starting to slip, what to do. If I was having a difficult time mixing I’d double check and see if turning my monitor up would help, or if it was facing the right direction. If I couldn’t hear my music through the headphones, I’d take a breath, stop the panic… and realized they weren’t plugged in. As time went on the skills in calming myself down and just taking a moment to trouble shoot any issue helped me build the confidence that I could deal with whatever came at me and the rest was out of my hands.

“2. Confidence is situational – Mel Robbins”

Skill action man street

Even TODAY in some situations I feel more confident than others. If I am playing a club I’ve played at before or a piece of equipment I am more comfortable on, it’s no big deal. Hell sometimes just looking out into the room and seeing people I know and care about make all the difference. In the past I might looked up and see someone that I wanted to impress in hopes of a future booking and allowed it to make me nervous and throw off my game. While it may now actually get me excited about showing a new tune I think they’d enjoy.

“3. Confidence begins with action- Mel Robbins”

skill street feet man alone

You can’t think your way to confidence. You really just have to DO IT, take action and build it as a skill. Yes you’re going to feel out of your element and uncomfortable but the more you do it, the better you’ll get, which will build confidence and eventually you get so confident that you stop letting the little or even the big stuff throw you off.

So how can you apply this to your life, TODAY?

Start DOING, now. Get messy, make mistakes, do things you are unsure of and learn as you go. It’s how we build confidence. We built the habit of doubting ourselves, we weren’t born that way. How many times did we fall when learning how to walk and how many times did we get back up? You get it. Just start with where you are at.

Mel Robbins wrote an amazing book on taking action called, “The 5 Second Rule.” You can purchase here. I’ve also left a video below that dives into the science of why her rule works.

Find more awesome content here:

Video Tutorials on Beat Matching, Mixing and Eqing

I’ve always found it difficult to put into words exactly what it is electronic dance music DJs are doing and how exactly to do it. From the terminology to figuring out where to start. When doing research for a previous Disc Jockey News Show I came across these 3 perfectly explained videos from a few different business professionals.

Step 1 – Counting Beats and why it’s important
DJ TML has a wonderfully, helpful channel for DJs and lays out the beats, bars and phrases right here.

Step 2 – Beat matching and mixing by ear

Christian Jackson did a simplified video of how to DJ by ear that I think you’ll really enjoy.

Step 3 – Eqing

Last but not least, here is one on DJ Tech Tools channel from Ean on Eqing. A very well thought out way of explaining this, starting with cups. Yes, you heard me!

Here you can find the video I did for Disc Jockey News T.V. Here:

Check out the latest articles  & vlogs here:

How To Be A Happier DJ

Are you waiting for success to bring you happiness? Well it should bring you some excitement to know that happiness actually brings on more success. So you don’t have to wait any longer. Nope. Actually the more you believe that you are in control of your life, the happier and more successful you can be. If this sounds like unicorns and magic potions read on. If it is not, then you probably know someone that could use this article, but feel free to read it anyways.

“You Validate Your Ideas By Pursuing Them” – Mel Robbins

1. Listen to music from the happiest time in your life

I took this straight from Eric Barker’s blog and for good reason. One, you’re a freaking DJ. Two, imagine how this effects others, too?! Some of my most popular mixes have had those ‘throwback’ tunes people loved from the 90’s or 2000s. It totally makes sense why people go wild at weddings and socials listening to the Spice Girls and other timeless music that reminds takes them back to a emotion in time. Cool thing is that neuroscience backs this idea.

2. Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Fears

It’s probably been quoted by more than a few celebrities at this point, but it really does work. I know for me, sometimes I find myself obsessing or stressing out one particular task, but when I shift my focus and think about the bigger goal I feel less fear about the hurdle ahead.

I grabbed this one from Eric Barkers blog about the happiest people having goals. He quoted this book.

Via Engineering Happiness: A New Approach for Building a Joyful Life:

“In his studies, the psychologist Jonathan Freedman claimed that people with the ability to set objectives for themselves—both short-term and long-term—are happier. The University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found that working hard toward a goal and making progress to the point of expecting a goal to be realized don’t just activate positive feelings—they also suppress negative emotions such as fear and depression.”

3. Let Go Of The Outcome

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There is only so much we can control in this world. When we let go of the things we can not control, we can find some peace. This is where you can refocus your energy on the things you can control. For example, I can’t control the weather. It might rain during one of my outdoor patio gigs. I can however bring tarps, have additional sound inside ready to go and a plan of action if we must make a quick change over.

On the topic of not being able to control things like people’s opinions of you, I chat here in a vlog about why you should probably keep doing the things people are making fun of you for. 

4. Remove the distractions that aren’t really helping you

You really can use laziness to your advantage. We are naturally drawn to things that are easier, not what actually makes us happier. The satisfaction out of creating and finishing a new mixtape feels wonderful. However staying at home and watching t.v. is easier and what a lot of us end up doing. So while starting that new tune seems like a lot of work when picking up your phone and checking facebook for the 30th time today may seem easier, in the end it’s not making you happier. It may be time to shut off that wifi or delete the apps that are distracting you, cancel the cable and have your music stuff ready to go, plugged in and right in your toolbar.

Want to figure out how to stop procrastinating? I dive more into that here.