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5 Contemporary Skills Every Freelance DJ Should Have

5 Contemporary Skills Every Freelance DJ Should Have

If you want to add life and fervour to a song, then contact a DJ. DJs are professional artists who have the unique talent of mixing beats and rhythms and bring life to any show or dance event.

Give a slow romantic song and see it change into a dance number in blink of an eye – that’s the work of this incredible profession. Although, DJs are physically hidden from the general public, their presence is always noted when there’s a change in the ambience of a place.

Things have changed but…. The job has become tougher

With changing technology, today the environment for freelance DJs is unrecognizable and unfathomable. Unlike earlier,probably a decade ago, today the basic skills needed for DJ-ying are very different, advanced and competitive.

Even to get your first gig, you need to have quite a few unparalleled abilities and quirks. Just knowing to beat match and being a funky dressed person really won’t get you far any more.

Apart from simply changing the track sequence according to the party theme, there’s so much more to what a Class-A DJ does (just like those in Rock concerts and beach parties).

If you are considering becoming a DJ or have just started in the profession, here is a list of 5 contemporary skills that every freelance DJ should have, to stay in the race.

DJs of 2018 Should:

1. The Art of Mixing and Mashing Up  Should be on Your Finger Tips

In 2018 we mix and remix more than 10 songs together, whereas we grew-up in a time where mixing two songs was a heroic achievement. Gone are those days. Nowadays, even normal songs come out in several versions, let alone reprises and remixes.

Today’s DJs should not only know how to mix songs but should also be aware of producing their own songs and remixes.

If you want to stay serious in the profession, you should know how songs and beats interplay in different ways.  You should set yourself apart from other DJs and musicians.

Playing a song straight, with two or more extra beats, is not a difficult job. Even an amateur can do it. But what’s difficult and different is creating a unique culture around the song and producing something that goes with any theme. With rigorous training, you will be able to process songs in different alterations.

Audacity, Pro Tools, Cubase, Ableton, Audition and Reason are few tools most DJs use for song mixing. You can try them as well.

2. Learn To Adapt to Different Equipment

Playing in your own set-up, your comfort zone could be a cake walk for you. But performing in an altogether different environment with different set of jockeying tools is a worthy. As a freelancer DJ, you should diversify your DJ tools and equipment knowledge.

It is very important to know what’s extra out there; Turntables, DJ controller, Serato, Traktor or whatever it might be, you should get accustomed to them at a comfortable level. You should also be curious about other DJs and know what they use for their performances.

If you want to innovate and produce better remixes, you need to step down and understand what the USP is. You should also continuously think how you can make multiple uses from your existing equipment.

You may never know when you will be called for international and national projects, events or concerts. So, it’s better to be prepared with everything than make a muck of yourself.

3. You Should Know How to Creatively Use Midi Controllers

Here’s a pro-tip: as you slide into the world of music as a DJ, remember to get yourself a midi controller and operate on it rigorously, until you know everything about it. Like we said, this is not 2000 anymore; its 2018 and Turntables and vinyl-only DJs are just members of ‘lifetime achievement awards’.

Creating dynamic, live and ad hoc remixes is a normal skill that event organizers search in DJs of this era. Technology has improved so much so that everything is fast moving, even fine arts, media and music. You should start using accompaniments such as Ableton Live, Novation Launchpad and such other devices to create multi-layer live remixes.

Multi-layer remixes creation is something that only established DJs know to make, use this an opportunity and strengthen your base here. If you get a chance, go to live concerts of top DJs and hear them play gigs. Not just one or two, but quite a few if we must add. Make notes if you want, but do it for your growth.

4. You Have to Network and Strengthen Your Online Presence

Back in the 2000 when DJ-ying started to get popular, social media had just taken off the internet. There was Yahoo! and Rediffmail, an AOL was still popular. There was no Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp like today.

Getting your skills on the limelight was slow but a steady race. However, today DJs should know to market themselves while developing a brand around their name on social media platforms, a very effective way to create presence.

You have to bring the crowd wherever you go. The power of growing your followers and sending them updates of your next event is superlative – just imagine.

The web has allowed us to share our gigs and music to large audience around the world. Facebook, SoundCloud, Instagram, and of course, website and blogs are here to share your work and help you grow. You just need to empower them with your communication and networking skills.

5. And Finally, Don’t Just Play Music, Be The Music

With so many free apps on the market, everyone is trying to be a DJ these days. It is so true. Liked a song? Download free software that says remix, mix two songs and there you go.  Even a kid can guide you to do it. So, if you are planning to launch yourself, how can you differentiate your skills from these shady con artists?

Freelance DJs are more than just the person who plays the music. In fact a good DJ is a performer, a charmer and an artist. Being a robot and playing track is like listening to audio cassette in a worn out Walkman.

You have to be in love with your music and audience. You have to engage in a lovely relationship with your performance, emotionally and physically just like great DJs of the era, such as Tiesto, David Guetta and the unforgettable, Avicii.