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

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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 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.

I Have An Electronic Press Kit, Now What?

So you’ve taken the time or invested in having someone design your press-kit. You’re ready to get it out into the world, but you don’t know where to start. The one thing I like to ask my clients before I even get started on the design is, “What will you be using this EPK for?” Often I hear, “I’d like to use it to gain more press, attract a label and or gain new clients (get bookings!)” It is not enough to just send the thing out or even have a button on your website. You need the interest to look at said kit first, and here is how.

1. Check Out The Market

 

In order to get the press, you need to know where to look. Online magazines in your genre of music is a great place to start. But which ones? Look up your favorite artists. The ones in your industry getting the features. Where are they at?

2. Show your support

 

Great, you found a label that’s right there with your sound. Are you a regular purchaser? Do you share their music on social? In the clubs? Businesses notice their supporters. (Well… great ones do!) ill-Gates is a great example of an artist & professional business owner that truly take notice and acknowledges his supporters.  He is also super interactive with them… but that’s an article for another time.

3. Get into the conversations

Maybe a local promote or festival owner has just wrapped up one of their events. They could be promoting the next festival. Are you sharing your thoughts on what makes the event fantastic? Are you adding value to their view? Maybe you’re looking for sponsorship with a company whom’s software or hardware you use frequently like pioneer, native instruments or Ableton live. Go where they are and get in the conversations.

4. Reach out

Now that you’ve taken the time to create some notice of yourself a direct message followed by a cold call or even an email won’t get lost with the rest of the requests. You’re not just another hustler. You’ve done the jab, jab, jab and now it’s time for the, “Right Hook” as Gary Vee would say. He may not be a dj but he knows how to crush it and no matter what industry you are in I recommend his content.

5. Finally, Send your Electronic Press-Kit out!

 Electronic Press Kit EPK

This can be done in many different ways. It may not even be the very last step, but this is one way you can ease into it. I personally love putting the EPK as a signature in my email. From there the receiver can simply click on the picture and it sends direct to the website linked PDF. No download required. This can also be viewed via mobile. It is very user friendly.

Are you ready to make your own or maybe you are thinking of hiring someone? Let’s talk!

Deliberate, Coincidence or Lack Of Effort For Diversity At Festivals

Each year we run into the same controversial conversation about diversity at music festivals. The question being, “Why aren’t more women being booked if the amount of women in music is increasing exponentially?” Is it sexism? Are women being discriminated against? Or simply being over looked?

While it would be difficult to prove either way, we can ask the right questions in regards to who is being booked, why and take a look not just at ‘numbers’ but what is actually happening.

Watch the video below!

Too Busy or Just Distracting Yourself?

It’s incredible to hear the stories people make up as to why they have “no time” for their passion. When often the reality is, they are scared. Scared of failure, feel a lack of knowledge and so they fill their time with mindless projects that aren’t actually “adding” to their life, so much as distracting them. An excuse not to push through their fears. If you are doing the following things, chances are YOU are the one holding yourself BACK from your potential.

Too busy or distracting yourself?

You Work On Things That Can Wait

You need to finish a mix for next Friday, but instead you are writing an article that isn’t due for 5 weeks. If the most important thing for you to make your career move forward is submitting that mix, then the article can wait until that task is complete. In your mind you might think, “Well this is a taste I need to get done.” But we often work on the tasks that can wait when we’ve got a deadline out of sub-conscious fear. Before you know it, the deadline is here and this happens…

YOU HAVE A POCKET FULL OF EXCUSES

Imagine the amount of times an internet radio show or the owner of a regular podcasts hears from a dj the day a set is due, ” Holy crap! My entire dj program has crapped the bed and I unfortunately lost the mix I’ve been working on for the last 3 weeks.”

.0007 % of the time this is true… most of the time it just is NOT! If you know you are not going to do something, own it. If you know you will put it off, don’t commit. Intention mean NOTHING. Action is everything.  If you have to actually recorded something first, then do that.

You Work On Things That You Hate

I dislike doing laundry. So much so, I used to clean the entire house before touching it. Cleaning isn’t fun for me either but the idea of having to fold laundry, organize everything and put it away seemed like more of a task then just cleaning the house. Learned to “eat your frog!” If the worse thing you have to do in your day is eat a frog, the rest of the day is easy. JUST DO IT FIRST!

The Solution – Ask yourself the hard questions

Working with artists and business owners one on one, I have to ask a lot of questions when issues arise. You can’t figure out a solution if you don’t understand what the REAL problem is. Almost always, the issue is fear. Fear of rejection, fear something wont work or wont be good enough. Then we get to play the “what if” game. A game where we don’t just say, “what if this thing happens…” but play it out to the end.

Q: What if I share this piece of music and people hate it?
A: Then I will ask for feedback.
Q: What if the feedback isn’t helpful.
A: Then I will ask for help.
Q: What if no one will help me?
A: Then I will read up online and watch tutorials.
Q: What if I am still awful even after all of that?
A: Then I will go to school for production and ask for help from the professionals.

The idea is to prepare yourself for the worst, accept it and then take the risk anyways. Often we find our fear is far worse then the reality but this way instead of fear of possibilities, we take risks for the opportunities.

On that note: here is a sneak peak of something I’ve been working on and news of our move of The Basement Sessions to MixLive.TV and you can watch it on your mobile anytime. Share your stories and music in the comments. When were you scared to share something but did it anyways? Maybe today will be that day.