The Beginner DJ Blog

Becoming a DJ – When is it too old to start?

Muxx September 21, 2011 General, Interviews Comments Off
British DJ Ruth Flowers mixes music at a recording studio in Paris


Today we have a guest post by Matt Challands, a British DJ living in Paris part of Sao Paulo Punks.

Is becoming a DJ about your age or can you become a successful DJ when you’re already over 30 or over 40 years of age?

When are you too old to think about becoming a DJ? What are the best tips and what steps do you need to take to get there?

These are the questions that I get regularly. Often, these questions come from guys and sometimes girls who dream of DJing and of making people feel good, but are concerned that their age will mean they won’t be accepted.

There is always the worry that when you’re DJing, your crowd will be full of 18-20 year olds who will judge you on your age, your looks and the tunes you play.

This can happen. In fact, anything in the world can happen. Anywhere. At any time.

DJing Is All About The Music

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as many times as you like. DJing is all about the music you play.

Digital DJs voice similar concern about becoming a DJ. They sometimes think (less and less now) that DJing using MP3s and a laptop with a controller will mean that people will judge them. After all, there are a number of reasons why various people dislike digital DJing.

Some forms of DJing do look cooler than others, that is the opinion of many people. But time and time again, if you cook up a great set, make people feel blissfully happy and know just how to read a dance floor then you’ll get respect from each and every party animal, clubber or bar drinker in the house.

If you’ve ever been clubbing and had a great time, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Dancing to DJ music that just hits the spot and makes you feel incredibly good is a fantastic natural high.

If you can get people high on the music, then no one cares about your age.

Want some proof?

I know of a couple of successful DJs in Paris. One of these guys is definitely over 50 and the other is over 40. Only one of these guys had any DJing experience at all, ever before starting to DJ out just a few years ago.

Now, you may think their music is crap or you may love it. But regardless of that, these guys play in loads of great clubs in Paris, the most visited capital city in the world.

They have a following and people who turn up for their gigs adore them. Check out more of their youtube vids and try to catch a glimpse of them. They don’t look like male models and they aren’t spring chickens either.

Don’t tell me you wouldn’t love to play at the best clubs in Paris like them! Their age hasn’t stopped them from doing well at DJing and there’s no reason that it should stop you either.

Now ask yourself: if they are old and can do it, can you do it? YES! Of course you can.

Advice for older DJs

You know that some DJs (like Amercian DJ Paulie) get a strong and loyal following because they also look great. Their audience is mainly made of young, impressionable teenage girls.

Some hot girl DJs play on their great looks and they are right to do so, because they are gorgeous and make men drool. Girl DJs are sexy.

But we can’t all suddenly become sexy and get people following us around.

Most DJs need to work on other aspects of their unique sound and image to get some kind of following and some well paid, higher profile club gigs.

Create your DJ image

If you’re a bit older than the average DJ, then you’ll need to work on some way to stand out. A style that fits with the music you play will relate to the people you play to.

Often, older DJs are respected because they have a great back catalogue of tunes. They have arms that reach so deeply into their record box that no young DJ can possibly know what’s going on. This is a massive advantage when it comes to becoming a DJ and getting cool gigs.

Older guys may know their 60s and 70s tunage like the back of their hand for example. They may be an 80s music fanatic or a jazz and blues freak.

Young people love older music as loads of tunes produced nowadays are shouts to music from the past. Music trends come back every twenty years or so, just like fashion does.

So if you can dress like the style of music you play, people will love you more for it, no matter how old you are. Playing rock and indie? Dress like a rock dude. You are one after all.

Playing acid house from 1988-1989? Look the part and find your acid clothes from 1990s raves in the UK.

The beat goes on…

Create a Unique DJ Sound

In case you hadn’t guessed, the guys in the above video have a very unique DJ sound. No one copies their sound because they simply don’t know enough about it.

But these guys got successful in becoming a DJ fast because they stood out from a crowd of guys trying to play trendy tunes that trendy people liked. Becoming a DJ successfully is about far more than playing the latest cool tunes.

There are far too many guys jumping on the latest bandwagon of trendy music that is the latest fad. When people in clubs suddenly decide that they don’t like this style anymore, these guys fade into the dust again.

By creating a unique DJ sound, you’ll associate your crowd with you and improve your following.

How do you do it? You concentrate on what you know and push that sound out. You’ll have very little competition as most DJs are too busy copying each other and fighting to get the same gigs.

Don’t become a DJ who follows others. Your superior knowledge on your music niche is a massive bonus. Use it to your advantage and reach out with what you know and the music that surrounds it.

Take people on a musical adventure and they won’t care a bit about how old you are. Becoming a DJ will be a breeze and far easier than you thought at first.

Becoming a DJ and rocking the house is about far more than just your age.

 

Matt Challands is a British DJ living in Paris, France. He’s one half of electro duo Sao Paulo Punks or running his DJ blog

 


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