Archive for the ‘ DJ Grab Bag ’ Category

KNOW WHERE TO (JUMP)START

Endless Flight “I’m Starting To Feel Ok”

Again one of those DJ inspirations from the strangest places.  Or more explicitly, traditional artists informing DJs – the creative process is really the same for both.

Sometimes you just need a jolt, shot in the arm, some old timey “get off your arse and get going” kind of advice.

Jack London, author of Call of the Wild (you probably had to read this in grade school) – iconic American author has the following to say (taken from excerpts in his memoir) which I suggest you apply to your DJing.

1. Be decisive, choose something, then attack it.

Writing wasn’t London’s first career choice. When he was forced to leave college early after his finances dried up, he needed to do something:

I decided immediately to embark on my career. I had four preferences: first, music; second, poetry; third, the writing of philosophic, economic and political essays, and, fourth, and last, and least, fiction writing. I resolutely cut out music as impossible, settled down in my bedroom, and tackled my second third and fourth choices simultaneously. Heavens, how I wrote! Never was there a creative fever such as mine from which the patient escaped fatal results. The way I worked was enough to soften my brain and send me to a mad-house.

The early days for London were a period of restless exploration. He tried everything. But most tellingly, he wrote a lot.

2. Be persistent, endure struggle, and hone your craft.

We all have to toil away in our creative pursuits. But harder than the work itself can be the long period of gestation when it feels like nothing is happening.

The trouble with the beginner at the writing game is the long dry spells, when there is never an editor’s check and everything pawnable is pawned.

Success, though, is a stacking of the bricks. Each one leads to the next, and along the way the technique gets more effortless.


3. Develop a routine and be relentless about it.

One key is figuring out what works for you and developing a steady routine. A common denominator of successful creative people is simply pulling the reps.

As I succeeded with my writing, my standard of living rose and my horizon broadened. I confined myself to writing and typing a thousand words a day, including Sundays and holidays; and I still studied hard, but not so hard as formerly… There was so much to learn so much to be done, that I felt wicked when I slept seven hours. And I blessed the man who invented alarm clocks.


4. Settle into a groove and make the act of creating part of your life.

At some point the routine becomes a livelihood. What you do is not separate from who you are. Your day is in service to your craft.

The program of my ranch life was as follows: Each morning, at eight-thirty, having been reading or correcting proofs since four or five, I went to my desk. Odds and ends of correspondence and notes occupied me till nine, and at nine sharp invariably, I began my writing. By eleven, sometimes a few minutes earlier or later, my thousand words were finished. Another half hour cleaning up my desk, and my day’s work was done, so that at eleven-thirty I got into a hammock under the trees with my mail bag and the morning newspaper. At twelve-thirty I ate dinner and in the afternoon I swam and rode.

Source: Call of The Wild’s Jack London On Honing Your Creative Craft

A DJ’s Booth Is Their Castle

Music DNA

An artists space is a really personal thing.  It’s a place of comfort, safety, chaos and most importantly creativity!  DJ’s love looking at pictures of DJ booths to see how the gear is set up, not to mention to get a peep of what kind of gear they’re using am-I-right?  One thing I notice sometimes is the lack of visual aesthetic on the walls though.  You know it’s not just about how pretty the gear looks or the table it’s on.  You need more beauty than that if you’re going to tap into the artistic side of your brain.

Why not put art on your walls that actually represent music!

I found this great article on various data visualization projects that turn music into art.

Now get those drab walls singing!

http://www.cassandradaily.com/media/visualizing-music/

The Music Marketing Manifesto. Ten Principles For Success

These are some pretty smart principles and are relevant for DJs and producers.  I’m a big fan of Music Think Tank as they have in depth articles about the music industry that are really helpful and actionable.  For a description of each of these principles click on the article link below.

1. Write, record and play high quality music

2. Continue to only deal in high quality

3. Be your own biggest critic and biggest promoter

4. Register with the PRS For Music

5. Plan to release music – never just release it

6. Promote before the release

7. Don’t create fake hype – be honest and humble

8. Understand the rules and the realities

9. Remember relationships aren’t built with a Like or a Follow

10. Think in stories and cycles

http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/the-music-marketing-manifesto-ten-principles-for-success.html

Producers and DJs looking depressed!

Illum Sphere

Illum Sphere

I understand that looking serious is very important in a DJ/Producer headshot.  No one wants to look like the ridiculous clown the media constantly portrays them as and everyone wants to be recognized as an artist.

HOWEVER, I found this new Tumblr of a series of photos of DJs and Producers looking depressed to be absolutely hilarious.  It’s all about context and in this context it’s let’s have a good laugh about it all. Sometimes we take ourselves TOO seriously (which I love you for no matter what).

Producers and DJs looking depressed.

Need DJ Inspiration? Go To The Movies!

 

Photo Credit: Stereo Club of Southern Californa

I’m a firm believer that you need to know your history to get a sense of your present and see the patterns that can help define your future.  I do want to comment though that the idea that things will be the same again, like the way we used to do it, is already a closed chapter.  The conditions and environment and tastes and music are just not the same to completely recreate the vibe of the past – enjoy the nostalgia for what it is.  Innovation is taking the best from the past and bringing into the present as a fresh perspective.  Which is why I think you should schedule yourself some DJ inspiration movie marathon time.  Beatport has come out with a list of the best Detroit Techno documentaries ever made.  This doesn’t have to be about techno, there are a ton of hip-hop, house, and rave documentaries to mine for inspiration. DJ Tech Tools has a regular column devoted to DJ/Producer documentaries.  The point is to get to know the heroes that made it happen and if you were one of the lucky ones to go through the experience while it was happening, see what you can do to honor it.

The 10 best Detroit techno documentaries ever – Beatport News.

Even More Documentaries for Producers and DJs – DJ Tech Tools

DJs OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM

Greetings everyone!  I am happy to announce my partnership with the Dope Underground Beats project.   See me put DJs in the hot seat where I ask them questions about their inspirations and creativity (and they have no choice to answer my questions, because I’m so charming).   After that you get to enjoy watching and listening to an exclusive set, recorded in HD, of each DJ in their element.  If you need new influences, new music, a breath of fresh air if you will, tune in.

Here is more info for you.

Based on two premises, giving back to the DJ community and allowing for safe uninterrupted creative space, the Dope Underground Beats project is dedicated to profiling up and coming DJs and encouraging them to be in their element. The DJs are given one task, play what they want as if no one is watching. Freed of expectations, the DJ is allowed to express their true creative side and let their point of view shine through unencumbered. Mustapha Louafi, the brains behind the DUB project, has been a lifelong DJ and DJ community supporter. He carefully selects each DJ based on their individuality and musical sentience.

Each set is paired with an interview by Behind The Decks founder and DJ coach Cristina DiGiacomo that illuminates each DJs background, goals, influences and intentions for their set. In addition, sets are recorded and filmed in HD quality audio and video so the viewer gets the most immersive experience possible – throw a set onto your TV and you’ve got your own personal DJ in the room. As you explore each set one thing will become apparent, each set is like a fingerprint, no one set sounds or looks like the other allowing for diversity and the sense that you will find something truly unique.
www.dopeundergroundbeats.com

THE WHAT’S MY SOUND DJ CHALLENGE

The What’s My Sound DJ Challenge is meant for you to look closely at the elements of music that inspire you.  Perhaps you feel too influenced by the market or are stuck and need some grounding.  This is also a good exercise to help you identify your sound or style.  The big eye opener for me was at one time I thought my sound was “dark” (or that’s what I thought I should be or was told that’s what I should be), and really I was just fooling myself, because what I came to realize was that I was more “light” and “romantic”.  Give this a try – you may just learn something about yourself.

THE WHAT’S MY SOUND DJ CHALLENGE

Look at your track collection and pick 10 songs that you cannot live without.  Don’t just pick songs you got recently, really dig into your “crate” and pick ten songs.  Songs that if you were stranded on a desert island you could listen to for the rest of your life.   Don’t evaluate them yet, just pick them out.   Now, pretend those are the only tracks you have – forget about your collection.  Listen to every track. Don’t think you just know them because they’re your favorites.  Listen to them, really listen.   Now evaluate them – but evaluate them in terms of what they signify about YOU.   What are the elements of these tracks that are similar?  What sounds are you hearing that may be consistent through all of them?  Is there one theme or word that describes all ten?  These are your passion tracks.   If you have identified what makes these songs resonate with you, then you have identified your passion sound.  Moving forward, when you listen to new tracks you will evaluate new tracks in relation to what your passion sounds are.  This will help you continue to build a strong discography based on authenticity and individuality.