The Beginner DJ Blog
DJing: What the hell is it anyway?
The art of the DJ (Disc Jockey) is certainly an odd phenomenon because although ‘DJing’ has been around or ages through radio, it really wasn’t until the discotheques and early clubs to really turn DJ’s into what they are today.
This post is a part history, part insight into what the hell DJing is, anyway.
What Started it All
The phonograph had been around for quite some time and vinyl has been widely used as the medium o choice for DJ’s around the world but for the most part – DJ’s were just there to play records and didn’t really do much else than hitting play.
It took until Kool Herc and the Technics 1200’s to really turn DJing into what it would become today; this was the eaaaaarly days when Herc was on the decks but he laid down the foundation for what others would improve upon such as mixing and scratching to give DJ’s the skills they need to do what they do.
And then came Disco
DJing was starting to come up at parties but it wasn’t until Disco that it became a staple; clubs needed people to play music and they couldn’t easily cram those big 30 strong groups of Disco bands into the area so DJing was the perfect solution.
Partially fueled by drugs, music and alcohol, people were staying out all night at the discotheques which started the early stages of ‘club culture’. But, as history goes, Disco was killed off after Rock music put the nail in the proverbial coffin – however, DJing didn’t die …
Let there be House
The 1980’s caught up with us and all of a sudden we had people that wanted to do nothing but go out clubbing. At the same time, groups in Chicago and Detroit were experimenting with music which would eventually form into House and Techno music – perfect genres to fuel the club scene and at the forefront was the DJ’s that brought it to the partiers.
90’s. Acid. Rave. You get the idea. The 1990’s were a time that music started to pick up big time especially in the rave scene. Not to mention, Ecstasy became a big hit with party goers and the Summer of Love was in full effect. DJ’s started to make it big all across the world because Electronic Music was finally starting to pick up the steam it needed to be caught by radio play.
F’ the Millennium
… as the KLF would have said. The millennium hit and all of a sudden nearly everyone had access to the web which spread music like wildfire with the help of P2P networks like Napster and eventually websites like Youtube and all the social networks that began springing up like crazy.
Here we are today, in the 2010’s and electronic music is back on the radio but horrifically disguised as pop music but that’s another story. For the true lovers of dance music, it’s still mainly underground depending on your genre. DJ’s are starting to be really huge superstars (which is sometimes annoying) but otherwise, we’re in a really amazing time for getting noticed.
Here’s where you fit in
DJing has been evolving for decades now. You can pick up a set of midi turntables and equipment for less than $300 and be practicing within a few hours compared to having to save thousands for turntables like back in the day.
You can now promote yourself online. Create your own tracks with music programs. Build a following and even release music on your own record label you’ve kicked up by using websites.
You’re at the forefront of it all but it still comes down to one thing: reading the crowd and good music.
It’s shit to think that you’re a good DJ just because you can beatmatch two songs – just saying. What really matters is your music selection and being able to get it to a crowd based on their emotional response (think Bruce Lee yo).
There are a ton of DJ’s that can certainly use their gear but they do nothing for the crowds. The crowd means everything. So, DJing has started to blur; you’re no longer just playing tracks – you’re also making music, promoting yourself, creating a following, launching record labels, creating your own posters, recording videos and much more – you’re sort of renaissance artist of some kind – kind of doing everything. But remember that it’s the music that matters and reading the crowd, just to reiterate.
About the Author - Muxx
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