Beyond The Bedroom: Becoming A Multi-Genre DJ

For working DJs, sometimes the greatest competition is an internet-connected jukebox. While it might not have any talent in terms of contextualizing and mixing music, its ability to fulfill the direct musical desires of a room makes it a prime choice for venues that could easily have a DJ. Becoming a versatile, multi-genre DJ who can react to a room is essential to get more gigs – learn more in today’s article.


No More Evacuating The Dancefloor: A lot of DJs are experts in specific genres, often because of a personal draw to a certain sound. Often times these DJs suffer when placed in an environment where their usual style isn’t working – and not having the ability to break out of the usual will keep the dance floor nice and empty.

More Gigs: DJs who want to play more gigs often have to learn how to become a generalist instead of a specialist. This doesn’t mean giving up mixing your favorite type of music, but it does mean building a library, improving selection skill, and mixing prowess that will come in handy when your audiences change every time you play out.

Different Venues: Fancy becoming a resident DJ at a bar or club with its own independent draw? These venues are usually well known for being a great place to go, and not for a particular night – so when a huge pack of international students from a local college roll into your brand new residency, filling the dance floor and demanding tracks way outside of your normal repertoire – you need to be ready.

Go Mobile: If you’re planning on getting into the mobile side of gigs (read: weddings, bat/bar mitzvahs, school dances, class reunions, etc), you often walk into these types of gigs almost entirely blind in terms of what type of night it’s going to be like. You can’t scout out these events a week ahead of time – there’ve been countless times I’ve showed up to an event with a completely different crowd than what the organizer expected (wedding receptions can always be a surprise).

Remember: almost any gig you play can make you a better DJ. Even the ones where none shows up, or where the club owner yells at you for not playing his favorite new Rihanna song, or where you forget to reset the timecode track on the bride and groom’s first dance and the song stops 30 seconds in.


Becoming a DJ who can perform in any genre does not mean that you have to have every single song in that genre. The reason why is simple – if you don’t know what music you have, your ability to choose quality tracks that surprise and delight the crowd in front of you is limited by your guesswork and the requests that you get.

Instead, think about building up a quality collection that focuses around these three different types of songs in per genre:

  • Classic / Timeless Track: The well-known tracks that define(d) the genre.
  • Deep Cuts: The lesser-known dark horses in a genre, you’ll have to hunt for these quite a bit more.
  • New, Current Songs: If a song is getting radio play, you’re going to want to have a copy in your arsenal. Feel free to prune these regularly.

Here’s some of the best practices that you can do to build a great, current library:

Paid Record Pools: We’ve written a whole roundup of digital record pools earlier this year – having a service that curates music for DJs is a great way to rapidly build a current library and not miss out on songs as they come out.

DIY Personal Record Pool With Friends: While we don’t encourage piracy of tracks you don’t own, having a few trusted friends (ideally fellow DJs!) who you talk shop with and share rare edits and interesting tracks with is a great way to build your library.

Top Lists: If you’re after a great mobile library, start with the Mobile Beat Top 200, powered by DJIntelligence (one of the most used mobile DJ request services) – this will cover many of the requests you’re likely to get.

Podcasts + Radio: We hear from more and more DJs who regularly listen to podcasts to search for new tracks and who use digital radio services like Spotify, Pandora, or even Hype Machine to keep their library peppered with current tracks – or to educate themselves on genres that they might not know anything about.

Pro tip: Set aside a time every week to go digging for new music – and as you find things during the rest of the week download them and put them in a playlist to listen, review, and categorize when this library-building time comes around.


Just having a great music library means nothing if you aren’t playing to your crowd. Not every crowd will tell you what they want to hear, or how they’re doing. Start first with what you know about the gig – are people here to dance all night, sing along to pop hits, or just have ambient music to socialize to? In some cases, the ideal state changes dramatically over the course of an event – take a traditional wedding reception, which starts off with mellow cocktail music and escalates to first dances and a potential full-on dance party as the night goes on.

To get people to start dancing, look for the connectors in the room – the people whose enjoyment of your music will infect others around them. Wedding DJs know exactly what I’m talking about – if you get the wedding party on the dance floor, you can usually get everyone else out there pretty easily.

Pro tip: a really good exercise is to go out to the venue where you’re considering doing a gig and watching how things go down. How does the night evolve, and what’s the relationship between the DJ and the crowd? You’ll get lots of good ideas this way, so always scout your gigs if possible!


DJ AM stood at the top of the pack in terms of being a DJ prepared for every type of gig – simply because of the variety of performance experience he had, which included radio, mobile, band, and club gigs. Having spent thousands of hours DJing between all of these contexts made him an expert at reading a room.

In general, DJs who take every opportunity to select music for a group of people are the first to become pros at commanding a room. Some great ways to score more reoccurring hours playing out include:

  • searching on wedding sites and Craigslist for a multi-op (more than one DJ) company in your region and seeing if they need new DJs or roadies
  • signing up to work at community or college radio
  • finding a regular live music night that has downtime between acts and volunteering to be the between-band DJ
  • many other unlikely venues (click to read a whole article on exactly this!)

The next article in this series will discuss the many solutions for handling the always-difficult art of handling requests during a gig – stay tuned! 

Header photo credit:

being preparedbeyond the bedroomdj librarymobile gigsmulti-genre djtaking requests
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    […] also important for two reasons. First, you will be prepared for any type of situation during a gig (Learn how to become a multi genre DJ). The format in a small market can change quickly and being able to adapt can take you a long way. […]

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  • Raymond Leggs

    So nobody wants to listen to your posthardcorepornmetalindustrialtrance?

  • Castle

    WRONG! It is the job of the promoter to pick different specialists as to have a diverse(and usually larger because of that) line up.. It is not the DJs job to bounce around all over the BPM range (much like a jukebox would do) It is his job to BE a specialist and dig DEEP within his genre to find things that these multi-genre douchbags will never find! People keep trying to be some damn superstar, just play what you like, when you like. But youre not going to have time to dig deep if you aren’t a specialist, lets get real….

  • Come On

    you would think people who get into eclectic mixing do it because it best represents their creative voice, not because an article told them it will get them more gigs. there is nothing wrong with career tips for djs, but encouraging them to not be themselves is just saturating the market with uninspired hacks. perpetuating the fake it till you make it mentality is so awful, it just saps any artistic scene of the integrity and passion that made it special in the first place.

  • Nick S

    So does everyone just steal their music now? Because I spin vinyl records (absolutely FUCK timecode), so I need to pay a pretty dime to spin the track I want to spin. You’ve got to be fucking insane to suggest buying any other records besides house & techno. Not only do I absolutely not have the time or money to spend on those records, but I won’t enjoy playing those records either. I’ll just be bitter as fuck the whole time asking myself, Why did I buy this record? To appease a few chaps out on the floor or a few promoters hiding in the nooks of my city. Fuck it. I see your point DDJTT but rememeber that only a percentage of DJs use a computer.

    • Jerry Carroll

      your inability to answer without cussing proves nothing. You are a an EDM DJ and will be nothing else. some of us are wedding and party DJs catering to a majority. getting paid $400+/gig is why we need to be multi-genre DJs with large libraries. I have over 160GB of MP3s, there is no way in hell you could handle that as vinyl or CD…period. You don’t take requests I bet either.

      you mix 5, 6, 7 minute songs all night and just chill, while some of my songs are barely 3 minutes and have to scramble to pull, prep and cue the next one. I miss being a House/Techno DJ using CDs and vinyl….it was so much easier back then…..hardly any work to beat-match, blend and mash up.
      Lastly, more folks are using timecode and computers than you think. you think DJs are still using records? hello! that is a control vinyl you are looking at.

  • Fiderman

    There are times to be a “commercial DJ” (which is what this article is talking about) and there are times to be your “own” DJ. Finding that line between the two makes a difference.

    You want to play what you want? Find venues that play what you want to play or host your own parties. You want a huge pay out multiple times? Play what the crowds want and they will find you. There are always two sides. Just know where to be them.

  • DMuse

    I started out as a bedroom DJ and never thought about making money as a DJ one day. Then I started playing out and people liked what I was doing. I ended up putting myself through college doing this and once I graduated an opportunity opened up at a local radio station that I couldn’t turn down. Things continued to progress from there. However, if I had known some of the things that this article points out, I could’ve been more successful at my craft and who knows where I’d be today. Not to say that I am unhappy today because I am absolutely living the dream, but it makes me wonder. So, I don’t think many of you should look at this article as being a way to help you chase money, but more of a way to prepare you for success in case your DJ life takes you in that direction. I have never met anyone who wouldn’t want to make a living off of a hobby or doing something they love. So just relax and don’t look too deep into this.

  • karishma

    i sync tracks that help me wake up although they are not necessarily the same tracks that help me go to sleep. you could beatmatch them for more coffee.

  • Luis Hernández

    I’m currently on techno, deep/tech/progressive/electro house and trance and I have to say that I’ll never play genres in which I’m uncomfortable. What’s the purpose of have more gigs if you are not even feeling the music you play. In my opinion its like you’re prostituting yourself in order to gig more. I DJ because I like to feel the music I play to the crowd and I don’t really care if I gig less or not because the few gigs I do are driven by my heart and making the crowd go bananas with the feelings I imprint into the tracks I pick and the way the crowd feel them it’s enough for me.

  • Nogui

    There is great insight on this article on becoming multi-genre capable. I call it making a living. That gear isn’t going to pay for itself. Why not make some dough to cover those mp3 purchases, those speakers and CDJs/Controllers?

    People say that it might ruin your underground persona, if your DJ’ing a wedding or corporate party, chances are slim that some of your “underground” followers are there.

    • djfourmoney

      Underground persona? Eh, that sh*t is useless… I’ll say it again, I play ANYTHING, I draw the line at Country and Trash Metal, but anything that people generally dance too I can play, beat mix it, drop it, whatever. I have fun with it too because nobody expects a Black Man to play Depeche Mode….

      • ZoommaiR

        Dropped Depeche Mode at my last gig, got the the girls hollerin’

  • Numbdrum

    Great Article!! DJTTs insight is priceless!

    Though it’s funny reading some of the negative comments from “bedroom djs” claiming this article is all for non-bedroom djs and blah blah blah, didn’t y’all read the title of the article “BEYOND The Bedroom: Becoming a multi-Genre DJ” key words; Beyond the Bedroom! If you want to stay in your cumpfy bubble then go right ahead, there’s nothing wrong with that BUT don’t complain about an article that obviously wasn’t written for you! Again, key words “Beyond The Bedroom” which means “for people who would like to DJ in public”!
    Anyway, just my 2cents.
    Keep up the great work DJTT!!

    • Nogui


    • djfourmoney

      Most of these “bedroomers” are techno/trance junkies and nobody else outside of their circle of friends really likes that stuff on a regular basis. If I see another trance laced video on YouTube, I’ll scream.

  • hightechorchestra

    from my understanding dj means disc jockey, not digital jockey. I can totally understand sync helps…but sure this is not the meaning behind, why u wanna djing…ask yourself?

    • Benson

      ? , what is the connection of ur comments with this topic ??

    • djfourmoney

      What is your problem with sync? Again, I started on a Numark and 1200’s and I USE THE SYNC BUTTON because I am lazy. Whatever song that goes next is IN THE BALLPARK because even with Beat Locking, if its too far off it doesn’t sound right.

      Get off your high horse, because its one of those dime store nickle rides anyway.

  • the_mongrel

    I hate how dance music has turned out. DJ’s don’t belong high up on some massive stage like the pope. If that’s your ambition through DJ’ing then I’m afraid you will never make it. DJ’s should be in with the crowd, interacting with them. If you get a gig playing music that you don’t particularly want to play, then you are playing at the wrong gig. Go home, practice some more, send demos/beg/shag promoters of gigs you want to play at. I cant wait for America to get bored with this “EDM” sh!t and move onto the next big thing, then dance music can go back where it belongs underground.

    • djfourmoney

      Yeah this trend turns me off as well. Nobody dancing, its just stupid idol worship; IE history repeating itself…

  • thejone

    It amazes me that this stuff has to be said at all. I see DJing as an unspoken negotiation with a group of people you’ve never met.
    If you are a Dubstep DJ and your audience is coming to see you at a Dubstep party then the most of the negotiation has already been made. They have already agreed to most of the terms of the deal. Now if you’re a known Dubstep DJ performing at said party then you pretty much have the deal in the bag, as long as you don’t fire hand guns into the crowd you will more than likely have an amazing gig.
    The flip side of that of course is if you are playing a gig where the musical style hasn’t been defined and the audience aren’t there for any particular reason other than to “Have a good Time”, and on top of that nobody knows you from a bar of soap.
    Here’s where the “real” negotiation starts.
    This is what most of the working DJs I know have to contend with 3+ nights a week.
    If you tried to do these gigs with one genre you will not be getting booked much.
    simple as that.

    The more flexible you are, the more negotiation leverage you have, it’s that simple.
    would i love to be a Tommy Trash or Skrillex smashing out bangers at massive festival, for hundreds and thousands of dollars?
    Fuck yes!
    But until that happens, my job is to negotiate with a room full of strangers and make them feel like they just got the deal of the century!

    • Nick S

      lol sounds like you aren’t spinning raves so much as college bars. Real ravers understand that a DJ will play his genre. Its why we have different rooms at raves. Don’t like DnB? head over to the next floor or room and enjoy some house or trance, the basment might have breaks and bassline electro. At a stupid fucking bar, where most of the new rules of DJing are being written, there should honestly just be a jokebox and not a human. And if there is a human, you better be playing shit like Journey and Stealers Wheel.

      • Castle

        Sadly promoters are falling short in providing this type of atmosphere..

        • J.sto

          the venues in most of america are designed for bands and center stage acts, for electronic music we need rooms! i would way rather go to a place with tons of music i can choose than a place where one guy runs everything all night

  • polocorp

    I did a lot of selector DJing for the past few years, you can make a decent living of it, but you don’t build a strong image as an artist… Being versatile and responsive is of course a quality, as are reading a crowd and being able to throw in a couple of tracks that the audience already knows in the middle of your set, but trying to build on being a crowdpleaser will make you the next big wedding selector, not a respected artist. You also end up being treated as a jukebox… and will loose all the joy of DJing and playing music that YOU are into.

    The best way to make it big is still to stick to what your profoundly enjoy and propose a DJ set with an angle and an identity (+ a talent can help). You should always consider overriding the first obvious choice or a request if it serves the greater purpose of playing what you want to play and show who you really are! I perceive the DJ as a musical teacher, he educates the crowd : throws in a bit of candy to get some attention but should always try to challenge the audience and push them further.

  • Dj L-BIZ (BEAT3)

    I did a lot of dj-ing in bars to which paid my way for a while and it was invaluable experience for reading the crowd and playing various genres. Those skills can;t be taken for granted and have served me well in numerous situations since. i would say take those gigs if you can get them and hone your skills in as many different discipline of the Art form as you can.

    If you have been lucky enough to become successful of one genre or style that’s great but for most picking up skills in various different situations is invaluable.

    I’m a much more confident dj for it.

    Its great to know you can be versatile for those situations where you get offered a cheeky bonus set at festivals etc where the crowd won;t be there be cause of who you are (necessarily) and you can keep a variety of people dancing and grooving to your thing.

    yeahs it great to have a thing and play what you like and love and nothing else, but being multifaceted wont detract from that so there can’t be any harm

  • old but not old enough

    If you love what you are playing the crowd will notice. It will come through in his or her performance. Trust in knowing that and you will be fine.

  • old but not old enough

    you cant tell a story by reading the crowd. Im old school, djs perform what they play. I always looked at djs like bands. this guys does this and that guy does that. with djs thats the way it is.if you dont play hiphop, you dont play techno at that party. meaning you don’t play that party. it has become incresingely easy to be any dj you want. when you had to buy records and they cost 10 bucks a piece, you were destined to the sound you liked. dj’s these days have it extremley easy. back when i used to order records, i couldn’t even listen to them. most djs i listen to these days, which are all old, play what they play. when you go see them, you know what the sound is gonna be like. back in the old days, i just went to raves and saw who i saw. some i liked and some i didnt. but it was always cool to hear something that just blew your shit that night. so you would go to these parties and have no idea what it was gonna be that night. seems it was more fun, more of an adventure. I dont think its about being multi genre’d, its more about the audience being open minded to what is being played. thats the adventure part. the soundscapes created within the course of the night.

    • scamo

      I agree. I don’t want to be a jack of all trades, master of none.


      • djfourmoney

        I’ve mastered most of them….. I don’t stray too far from Deep House on one end and danceable stuff around 90 bpm, but everything in between is FAIR GAME.

  • bedroom_W

    All these articles on DJTT are about finding a way to make it big… Why is it not okay for people to DJ as a hobby, for the pleasure of mixing, playing whatever the hell you want, recording sets and sharing them, playing to your group of friends if a likely situation permits, maybe the occasional club if you’re lucky enough to know someone? I’m a bedroom DJ and I’m proud of it. I get to play what I want, when I want, to people I want… Or to nobody if I want…

    I find cool tracks from other mixes, from the big name DJs, I have my own little empire of fav labels too, and I get to buy and play a medley of all these tracks, old and new – no pressure to have to play only ‘fresh’ stuff, no requirement to buy a bunch of shit I don’t like to please others, no requirement to have to have the latest technology to keep up with whats in the clubs (2x 1200s and traktor scratch pro here thankyou very much)

    I’m having a ball. If you are reading this article thinking ‘fuck that… I don’t want to play a load of garbage to impress others’ remember that DJing is allowed to be a hobby too… Just do what makes you feel good. Fuck what anyone else thinks…

    • Argonaut Wasp

      The purpose of these articles are not to diminish the role of the ‘bedroom dj’ – rather, I see them as an educational source. The ‘bedroom dj’, whom I assume are the majority (and target audience) of djtechtools, are being offered professional advice (if they wish) to perform in a professional venues.

      Yes, playing “what I want, when I want, to people I want… Or to nobody if I want…” is a great outlook for a hobby – but, for some djing needs to be more. Once a skill set has been obtained, many djs hope to make money doing what they love.

      Again, there is nothing wrong with djing as a hobby – these articles are presenting djs with information about doing what they love professionally.

      Also, for me – it is the reactions that I receive from the audience that I am most thrilled by. I think there is a middle ground between playing “a load of garbage” and “playing whatever the hell you want”.

      • Fiderman

        I agree with you Argonaut. If you are a hobbyist, do not read the “make-it-big” articles. Read what you want but do not bash on DJTT.

        These articles may be boring to others or even “dumb” but there are people out there that really do not know how to market themselves.

        • uhhhduh

          And not only that, who the hell needs to learn how to be bedroom DJ, or to just make mixes of their favorite tunes for their close friends??? Would like to read an article about that?? No one is telling you to not like what you do on your spare time. But there really is no point in writing about it…

    • bathroom_DJ

      Very well said! So… How about DJTT folks try and keep the material on this site interesting not only for the “wanna-make-it-big” crowd but for the “keeping-it-small” as well… reality is this latter group is quite substantial and probably brings just as much $$$ in DJTT store here… P.S. Personally I read DJTT less and less… it’s become boring and not very enjoyable aside from few product reviews and occasional technique reads here and there… I’d rather enjoy reading musicradar, soundonsound, attackmagazine, emusician, puremix, varietyofsound, and others.. Maybe you should split and have a separate column for this kind of instructional materials for wedding DJs, wanna-be-tiestos, and the like… I’ll be sure not to look there. Dear DJTT editorial staff, I wish you good luck!

    • Ray Gutierrez

      You couldn’t have word it better man! I get everything you say in this response and support you 100%!!

      • Dj Richi AC

        well… i see that you don’t like to get venues as a professional dj and you like just to be a bedroom dj and do it just like a hobby. Fine with that, no one said that beeing a bedroom dj is a bad thing, this articles are made for people who wants to get to play in a club or professionally. If you want there are plenity of other stuff in this very blog. Tracktor tutorials, ableton tutorials, etc. If you don’t wanna follow that way because you feel you are selling your soul as an artist or you just feel confortable playing at your friends party is ok but don’t say to the blog that they have to change to fit your objectives. There are plenity of plp trying to make it big and pay their bills with djing and some advice is always good if you are trying something new.

        You don’t go to kfc to ask if they have sushi isn’t it ?

    • djcannut

      hey buddy chill …. do what u want .. nobody can stop u … this post is just a marketing thing .. pickup points which are usefull for u and ignore the rest 🙂

  • W

    Though it’s more affordable than it’s ever been to buy music digitally, knowing the amount of tracks I buy in the relative broad genre of ‘house music’ and their associated cost, I can only imagine that trying to cater for multiple genres, and trying to stay ‘fresh’ in those genres would simply cost a fortune… If people want just want to hear their own songs – the internet jukebox sounds like a great idea… This seems out of the scope of DJ and club culture..

    • Mark Pieman

      I think you missed the title of the web page.

  • leavesremix

    Hahah oh boy I just checked out that “Mobile Beat Top 200” and there are a lot of terrible songs on there! I am not ashamed one bit when I don’t have some of these songs people request.

  • DFTT

    This article is everything wrong with the DJ world today. Everyone wants to be a trend follower instead of a taste maker. Totally backwards from the way the dancehall/DJ world began.

    • Mark Pieman

      It’s not the DJs that have done this, it’s the iPod generation of customers. They want what they know and they want it next. In fact, they want you to stop the song you are playing, plug in their iPod and play that RIGHT NOW!

      • Jerry Carroll

        OMG…this pisses me off….since when do these folks think we would even allow someone to plug in their iPod into my system? I had to tell a customer that no REAL DJ would EVER allow that. DJs that do that need to go back to the bedroom.

    • California


      Bah. Goodbye self respect, hello homogenization.

      • Kid Optimus

        The Dj isn’t there for themselves, as the force behind the music your crowd is listening to you will always have a chance to set trends and push the envelop. The job of a Dj has and will always be to entertain the crowd. That means not limiting yourself to the sub–sub-genre you can’t enough of this week. It doesn’t mean you need to sanitize yourself or water your abilities down to appease the lowest common denominator, Find way to appeal to the largest crowd without compromising your own artistic personality.

        • Nathaniel Young

          I disagree that the job of the DJ is to entertain the crowd. To me the job of the DJ is to take the listener on a journey. Exposing them to new sounds and new experiences not just crowd pleasing. The DJ has become an accessory to the club and it’s no longer about the music rather its about consuming. I personally give zero fucks about what the audience thinks about what I play out. If someone walks away having heard something they’ve never heard before then I’ve done my job.

          • djfourmoney

            Exposing them to the same but just rearranged 4 on the floor is not a journey unless you’re high on X. I take people on a journey to present, the past and the future. The world didn’t start in 2005 when you discovered DJ’ing…. Not a personal diss on ya, just what I keep seeing from the under 30-25 crowd.

          • Stripey1960

            If I decided to play what I wanted to educate a crowd to new music that I liked, I would never get any work! I get paid to fill a floor, not to educate the public. That is the role of broadcast radio, although they have been doing a crap job of it of late.. If you want to impress people with new stuff, then internet broadcasting is the place to be. I know, I have worked Mobile, Clubs and in broadcasting, Radio & Internet. Id did not start in a bedroom either, I learnt as roadie on a big disco. If you want to make new music, learn to play an instrument and play music.. become a musician.. I have done that as well & play in a signed band. I have never rated DJ’s that try and make new stuff out of other people music, as far as I am am concerned, they are just not good enough to make it themselves. There are some genuine DJ / Musicians though.. one of the greats is Calvin Harris.. but then his music is original!

          • Jerry Carroll

            you must not work in a club…..if I cleared the floor and no one was buying drinks I would lose my job. most folks would care less about the DJ….they just wanna hear their music and if a bunch of country loving hot chicks came in, you know I am gonna play country.

      • djfourmoney

        Shhhh,I know I’ll play something you can’t stand, I always do…lol

    • djfourmoney

      Funny thing is, I have played what I have wanted, minus the request 99% of the time…

  • Schmidt

    Great article, even more so for opening/support DJs. Even if the headliner is playing 128 knockers, openers should build the night, staying around 120-126.

    What do you suggest for producers asked to open when they make 128 songs????? Play lower bpms until the end of your set and then throw in your stuff or not play them at all? I’m sure this is a concern for a lot of growing producers.

    • Sonz Of Jack

      djs with balls don’t have to play all of their own 128 bpm tracks… richie hawtin doesnt play his own music during every set. laurent garnier can play his music alongside hip-hop. this idea that you have to play your own music during a dj set is more of a managerial decision than creative in most cases. good djs have versatility and can react to spontaneous changes on the dance floor, which is the point of the article..

    • djno1

      How can u read the crowd when all party people is all infront facing u? They’re not even dancing its all hands up fist pumping shit. Just do ur thing as a dj/performer, be creative push the envelope dig deeper. There is no rules in music

  • Mark Pieman

    I’m a commercial/rock/pop DJ and you can’t learn this side of DJing by watching youtube videos. It just takes time, and not in the bedroom.

    A handy tool I found on Google Apps was TasteKid. If a customer requests a band you don’t have or don’t know, it’ll list a load of other bands that said customer will probably like as well. Obviously you shouldn’t be looking at this every time, but it can help on occasion even if you’ve been doing it years. 🙂

  • Marc Reck

    Nice article. I’ve been on this mission for a long time, and found that building up a true multi genre library which is unique and expressive to you can be years of preperation work. Equally developing a system in order to effectively and freely play it out as a whole thing and be able to adapt to your location is another time whore, but well worth it as i think you can hit many limitations along the way. I find that this is where the digital djing really makes things possible, with ratings, keys, cue points and smart playlists for the organisational workflow and for me using traktor with 4 decks on the s4 and 2 1210s for the scratching really helps evolve the performance side (and make it a lot more fun :))

  • djnerd

    fuck this shit! I want to be a minimaltechhouse dj and never get laid or payed!

    • djfourmoney

      If that’s what you want….lol

    • Nick S

      I spin Minimal Techno and have gotten both paid and laid quite a few times; many times in the same night. What fucking god awful city do you live in that minimal techno and house DJs suffer from no pay & sex?

  • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

    Great article. One skill you will need if you go this route is the tact to handle a certain percentage of drunk annoying people.

    In my experience as an open format DJ (3 gigs a week for 2 years) I found that when you play a variety of music, people will expect they can request a variety of songs because they see you as the jukebox. The requests can be bad or good but poorly timed. And dealing with these is a skill in itself.

    Last month I was DJing a 3 am time slot on Saturday night of a multi-day festival. A girl came to the DJ booth requesting I play “that song from the commercial..” She then followed up by telling me she was going to be in a photo shoot for Maxim in a week as if that would help her request.

    I was polite but made it clear that there was no way I could or would honor her request.

    • Dan White

      Request handling is a whole can of worms. I think we need a humorous instructional video about it.

      • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

        I’m laughing just thinking about it. 🙂

      • DFTT

        Requests are for radio and roller rink jocks. The fact that people think they can make requests is an issue caused by so many DJs taking them in the first place.

      • Nick S

        This is why I still play Vinyl. “Oh I’m sorry, I can’t play that, I don’t own it, but if you go find me a copy of that record, I’ll play it.” Still waiting for some bloke to actually come back 30 minutes later with the wax he wanted to hear. Never fails.

  • 031999

    sad that it takes direct intervention, on DJTT part to help save dj’s careers. This article is perfectly written, It really should be titled “Why an I not getting more gigs???” Well folks this article is your answer.

  • J Crenshaw

    I love how in the header photo, no ones even paying attention to him… He must be really rocking that set….

    • TCMuc

      A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – before the rise of EDM, gigantic festivals with big, big light shows, custom dj booths and ‘funny’ masks or helmets…

      … people didn’t gather in front of the stage, cheering at the DJ as if he was a rock star. People were just dancing with each other and the DJ booth was in a dimly lit corner of the club…


      • J Crenshaw

        Really? I am 35 years old, have been going to Shows, Underground raves etc etc etc since I was 15.. So really other than a defensive comment it holds no weight. But from your description I have NEVER Witnessed such a thing. Perhaps you should go to better shows, see better DJs or put on better performances.

        • djfourmoney

          I’m 43 and I have been clubbin since I was 17, you do the math. I’ve been to some of the largest raves in the United States and elsewhere, YAWN. Typically Anti-Social. I went to hear a set by Fedde Le Grand, even in Mexico City its face the DJ and cheer like he’s the Rolling Stones.

          I have no idea what YOU see, maybe you should put that IPhone to better use…

  • TCMuc

    Great article, but maybe you should add that this approach can be a two-sided sword…

    While I totally agree with you that the value of experience and practice (mixing/selection/crowd-reading) can’t be overestimated, it really depends on your favourite sound (the genre that got you into DJing and that you would like to play most/all of the time) whether this approach can work for you or not.

    If you e.g. want to be an underground Techno DJ, opening up to other genres like Top40/Rock/etc might not be helpful and might even lower your chances of getting gigs in that area, due to various reasons:

    If you suceed in building a reputation as e.g. a Top40 DJ in your city, that might actually keep promoters of underground venues form booking you, as having a well known mainstream DJ on their flyers might actually keep people form coming to their parties.

    One of the most important things in the more underground scene is “credibility”, which is easily lost by “selling-out” (i.e. playing more mainstream in order to get gigs). That specific credibility is something that is very hard do get back once it has been lost…

    I’m also not sure if all promoters would agree that having proved to be able to pack a mainstream floor by playing the latest hits and mash-ups is a great reference for being able to rock a dark techno night… 😉

    So before you sign up to 20 DJ pools and start digging for classics, deep cuts and latest hits in every genre from Ambient to Zouk, ask yourself some of these questions:

    Are there any related genres I could include in my sets to broaden my musical horizon and potentially get more gigs without having to move to a completely different genre/scene?

    How does my current scene see the genre(s) I’m picking up? Positive/neutral/negative?

    If the answer to the question above is anything other than 100% positive: should I chose a different DJ name for my multi-genre activities so I don’t hurt my underground DJ name/”brand”?

    • Guest

      Disagree. Being well rounded cannot hurt you. Use a different moniker if you must. Just because I’m playing a gig doesn’t mean I need to use my “DJ name.” – If it’s a random club gig, or a wedding, they don’t need to know if i’m DJ xxxx or not, and I can just use my name.

      If underground people won’t book you, start your own.

      • TCMuc

        I disagree to disagree. I never said being well rounded would hurt, and using a different moniker is exactly what I suggested in my last paragraph…

        So I’d say we pretty much agree on everything you wrote 😉

        • Guest

          My browser botched the “see more” until now, so your post makes more sense haha

    • Dan White

      Well put – in terms of reputation building, taking every opportunity to play a gig might not be the best business move. If you’re an established DJ, I don’t recommend just playing every quinceañera that you can find on Craigslist.

    • djfourmoney

      There too many wanna-be underground/trance DJ’s, especially on YouTube. They don’t wanna hear the awful truth that I can duplicate any set they do on Mixmeister.

      Underground venues are overrated and too dark for my taste, I like to see the girl I’m interested in…

  • Future UK-J

    Well-timed piece… i knew i needed to be playing out more to really get better and this is giving me the inspiration to do it!!