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How To Be The Best DJ You Can be...

Updated on July 3, 2014
Picture of a party I planned, promoted and Dj'd in.  Hawaii, 2011 Halloween.
Picture of a party I planned, promoted and Dj'd in. Hawaii, 2011 Halloween. | Source

Learn tricks to help you develop new skills and grow as an artist.

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Do you ever wonder how big name artists such as Bassnectar, Mochi pet, A track, Deadmau5, excision, Diplo, and many other famous DJ's from various EDM genres seem to have insane skills when it comes to mixing / blending / transitioning there music? Well, the truth may surprise you....

The truth of the matter is DJing can be pretty simple if you know the formula, with technology on the rise it's easier then it's ever been. Many very successful DJs aren't really even very good at mixing tracks *cough* Skrillex *cough.* The majority of people in audiences don't even know enough about DJing to understand what is even going on, as long as you don't completely train wreak you will be fine.

using these techniques will help give you a slight edge to make cleaner mix tapes. But if you really want to get noticed the easiest way is to produce your own music, or at least make original edits of popular songs. but that's a different guide for a different time.


Harmonic mixing

There are two ways you can do this, you can either try to figure it out using a keyboard listening to the notes, learn about key scales, and music theory if you don't already know these things. Or you can download software that analyzes your selected tracks, and finds the key scales.. Some of these also categorize your songs into and label them with a very easy to understand method that helps you mix them. This is called the Camelot system, you can find this software by doing a quick search for "mixing in key"

They theory is very simple, it works like a clock. There are 12 major and 12 minor scales (refer to picture on right.) Each major and minor key scale has three other scales it can mixed with harmonically. For example, say you want to mix a 12A harmonically with another song, well it's easy, you can mix it with a 11A with a 1A and 12B. This same theory works backwards for the minor scales 2B mixes with 3B, 1B or 2A. Just remember it works like a clock.

pro tip : add 7 or 2 and keep the same letter to raise energy in a mix. Beware of mixing two songs that have melodies playing with this technique, they will not harmonize. This is best used to just switch dramatically using effects or volume fading. This also works backwards of course.

Make sure your counting correctly

This might be common knowledge for some, but a lot of DJ's I see at smaller parties are horrible or seem to have no idea about this.

In case you didn't know, the first kick is where you start counting. from there just tap your foot on the ground in a rhythmic motion to the tempo of the song and start counting. If you are doing it the right speed you will notice the music change every 4, 8, 16, or 32 "foot taps" or beats or whatever you want to call it.

The most important change ups happen every 16, 32, Make a habit to counting up to 32 in sets of 8 or whatever works for you. The more you do this, the sooner it will become second nature.

What you want to do is line up the first kick, or any other kick that is a "1 count" with one of the "1 counts." That way the songs are most likely set up to do major change upsht at the same time, not all but defiantly most popular genres EDM follow the same formula though. This makes it easy to DJ two songs you may have never even heard before ;)

Get good at using the EQ

Don't over look the EQ...

First of all, never play two baselines at max volume during the same time (of course).
You can turn one of the bass knobs down to 25% and it will sound a little different then all the way. Both are worth giving a shot.

Everyone has there own methods of EQing, this means getting comfortable with the Highs mids and trim as well. Having monitors pointed towards you while you mix is essential to getting a good mix down.

Try experimenting with taking some of the mids out of one and bringing it up on another, do the same with the highs too. Try to train yourself to identify the different layers of sound when you are practicing.

Never forget Djing is an art.

You can practice all of these skills, and master them. But there is only way you can set yourself to grow any further after that. And that is to be creative. Don't always follow these rules, do what you think sounds good, Just use your ears.

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      I SWEARZ IM NOT SKRILLY 5 years ago

      HOW DARE YOU TALK SHIT ON SKRILLEX HE BEST DJ IN WORLD, HE PRESSES PLAY AND DOESN'T AFRAID OF ANYTHING!!! YOU TAKE THAT BACK MR VESTAX!!

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      Skrillex 5 years ago

      how could you make a DJ article on how to be awesome and totally leave out Rahfee Zahkee? that's like a given dude!

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      DJ Skindogg 4 years ago

      Very good for Learning Dj's... I found when i began to Dj, I had to train my ears and mind to separate two tracks playing at one time.

      If i could get you to think of a diagram of a human head with two separate lines to indicate to tracks , the lines would be a mess in you head , a bit like two strings of spaggetti in a heap!!!

      By practicing cuing and just wearing the headphones and playing two tracks together starting them at the same time helps , keep playing these tracks ,get to know them and your other tracks well & with practice your heap of spaggetti in your head will start to eventually separate and flow eithenly in you head sitting side by sit rather than a mess!!

      Cue points can be vital too i find.

      beat matching can be the first thing to learn but the structure of you mix may not be tip top. Finding the right cue points depend on your tracks , bars .

      Using the effects to make your mix personal comes natually when perfecting your mixing , you'll find you will experiment and find new perks to make you mix stand out and sound personal.

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      Dj ElijahMcg from Dhecks on Deck 2 years ago

      Wow thanks for the great advice and I'm a house Dj from South Africa even though I can mix I still believe in learning more about mixing so that I can be one of the greatest Djz. Follow me on twitter @ElijahMcg and ill follow back

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