The Beginner DJ Blog
The Types of DJs
A common question that arises when talking about DJing is ‘what type of DJs is there’?
This is a really good question as there are a lot of different paths to take when DJing. You can DJ as a hobby within your bedroom, work the local scene by doing mobile or wedding DJing or eventually rise to the top as a club/festival DJ. To clear this question up, the following post will tell you about 6 different kinds of DJs.
This is certainly not all the type of DJs there are, but it should give you a good idea of what a lot of people choose.
The Bedroom DJ
The bedroom DJ is exactly what it sounds like: DJing in your bedroom.
Often, these DJs can either be really good or complete ass; you’ve probably seen quite a few videos on YouTube of bedroom DJs so you already have a good idea of what’s going on. Bedroom DJs are generally the ‘first’ type of DJ because we all have to start somewhere. Unless you’re some spinning god, you’re not going to walk into a club and hold down an entire set.
Bedroom DJs have the basic equipment to get going, such as a pair of turntables/CDJ’s/mp3 controller, a mixer and some basic speakers – more often than not, regular computer speakers. The great thing about playing as a hobby is that you’ll be able to do whatever you want – mix in some random, cheesy song with a pounding house beat, who cares, it’s not like anyone is listening but you.
The only bad part about bedroom DJing is that it becomes very comfortable. Sure it’s great as a hobby but if you plan to go any further you need to step out of the room and mix it up elsewhere. There are a few things you can do to get a bit more exposure with your mixes:
Upload your mixes to YouTube
Join a few forums and become part of a DJ community
Start doing mixes at your friends house or their parties School dances are always good – you may even impress a few people
Either way, it’s your choice to do what you want, just have fun.
The Mobile DJ
The Mobile DJ is often your ‘step up’ from the bedroom DJ.
These are the people that finally left their room and started hitting the local circuit. You’ll often see these type of DJ’s playing Top 40 for various events – maybe some local charity event or sale. That’s not to say the mobile DJ is limited to these activities. Maybe the person just don’t want to move into a club, they could be doing really well right where they’re at.
There are a lot of cool little benefits of being a mobile DJ:
You’re getting paid for a change
You’re getting a bit more exposure
You can afford some new, cool equipment
You may find these types of DJs at local parties as well, maybe a kegger or something along those lines. They’re comfortable playing in front of a crowd but haven’t made that jump to playing to a room full of people really wanted to dance hard.
The Wedding DJ
If you’ve ever had to attend a wedding, you’ve probably ran into a wedding DJ.
They’re pretty cool people overall – it’s kind of hit and miss. Just because you can play music doesn’t mean you’re worth a damn, believe me, some people just suck.
A wedding DJ has a different job overall though, they’re trying to be an overall MC in a way. They’re trying to get everyone together at the wedding to participate in goofy games, do a bit of dancing, announcing what’s going on and other stuff like that.
The only problem with wedding DJing is that you don’t really have a say on what you’re going to play. You’re not going to show up to a wedding playing a hard acid track (although that would be badass). Instead, you’re kind of stuck with Top 40, often playing the most popular songs of the day and of whatever decade the bride and groom grew up in.
The upside to wedding DJing is that people are always getting married, so your services are welcome all over the world. You have to remember that it’s two peoples special day, you don’t want to come with an attitude because that would just be a dick move.
Plus you get free cake.
The Bar DJ
Ahhh, the bar DJ. Sometimes they know what’s up, other times they’re playing nothing but Aerosmith all night (ughhh).
I’m not really sure the mindset of the bar DJ because they always seem to be all over the place.
When I mention a bar, I’m talking about a general bar that you find in every city.
It isn’t about dancing to music but you’ll probably end up seeing drunk, middle aged people dancing to 80s hair metal by the end of the night. Half karaoke, half controller of the radio, the bar DJ is a bit like the wedding DJ but he’s there to get people really drunk. Depending on the type of bar you go to, you never know what type of bar DJ you’ll run into. Kind of like the wedding DJ, the bar DJ generally take requests to keep the patrons happy and drinking more.
There are some perks to being a bar DJ – you can get free drinks, talk to some really interesting people and you’re working at a bar, how awesome is that.
The Radio DJ
The Radio DJ is in this sort of purgatory.
On one end you get to be recognized and you get to listen to music all day as your solid job. However, you’re often stuck playing what the program director wants you to.
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, playing Top 40 country would just drive a person insane. Additionally, in a way, you have to sell yourself which, I would think; most people have a hard time doing. You’re stuck plugging promos for shitty products, events that no one cares about and talking to some very boring people.
On the flip side, if you’re at an awesome radio station, you can play all kinds of stuff that you want. You can be that person that everyone flips over to when your show starts because you know what people want to hear and you’re going to give it to em raw. This is when you know you have it good, when you have a lot more freedom to choose your playlist, talk to crazy people, pull some on-air hijinks and get some extra little benefits.
It’s not for everyone but radio DJing has a lot of perks.
The Club DJ
The club DJ has it made, usually.
You’ve made it to the club level, you’ve gotten residency and your name is all over the wall, you get to play whatever you want and party all the time.
People just want to spin music for others to dance and have fun. I applaud these people. They aren’t out to get rich and become famous; they just want to live for the music. Others are the stereotypical douchebag that thinks they are the greatest thing placed on this planet.
But I digress. The club DJ has a regular gig. This can be a blessing or a hellish ride as it becomes a true job. At some point you have to step back and wonder if you’re doing it for the passion or doing it because you’re comfortable. It’s like being a bedroom DJ but your bedroom is now serving alcohol and people are dancing.
There are all kinds of perks to being a club DJ:
Travel the world!
Meet up with other really awesome DJs
You could get your own radio show
The list goes on and on. This is what many people strive for and best of luck to those that do.
The “All-in-One” DJ
I say the All-in-One DJ because this is the person that does everything.
You see them at festivals, house parties, weddings, and clubs – basically everywhere because they just love to play and there’s always a party going on.
In my opinion, this is what everyone should strive for. You’re not stuck just playing to friends in your bedroom, you’re not stuck playing Top 40 to weddings and you’re not stuck playing night after night in the same club. You really get to choose what you want to do.
At this point, you might as well start making your own music and touring as well. You’ll build all kinds of contacts; people will know you all over and go apeshit whenever you’re in town. You get to have fun, plain and simple as you’re living for the music.
Always do it for the love
Whatever you choose to become, always keep the music to your heart. As cheesy as that sounds, that’s what really matters.
As long as you play a great set, for both yourself and the crowd, you’ll find that you’ll always have fun. You’ll meet a lot of great people along the way, learn many new tricks, party in the sketchiest of places, but it will all be worth it.
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BDJ Current Gear Picks
1. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2
The NI Traktor Kontrol S2 is an incredible digital DJ controller that comes packaged with Traktor PRO. Those that want to get started with DJing should definitely consider the S2.
Learn More: Traktor Kontrol S2 on Amazon
2. Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller
The Mixtrack Pro DJ controller is perfect for those on a tight budget; it has everything you need to get started with digital DJing and continues to drop in price every few months.
Learn More: Mixtrack Pro on Amazon
3. Hercules DJ Console MK4
If you're really itching to start DJing and don't want to spend a whole lot than the MK4 is for you. You'll have complete control over your mixes plus it's packaged with Virtual DJ.
Learn More: Hercules MK4 on Amazon