Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty DJ

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How many things are going on here that aren't DJing?

These days, you can probably spit and hit a DJ. But that doesn't mean DJing is easy.

Sure, technology has given every 12-year-old and drunk frat doucher the ability to sync. But mindlessly pushing buttons on digital decks isn't any kind of indication you're actually any good.

We know it's hard to believe, but most of you so-called DJs aren't that talented -- and we're not excusing some of you superstars. The hard fact of life is that talent does not beget success, and vice versa.

If you're good, you probably know. But being bad is harder to acknowledge and accept. Here are Crossfade's five signs you might be a shitty DJ.

See also:
-EDM: How to Succeed in Five Easy Steps!

You Don't Know the Art of Opening
Contrary to what some might believe, you can't just go out there swinging your biggest guns. There's a real art to warming up a crowd. Your job as the opener isn't to show what a great headliner you would be, but to get these not-yet-quite-drunk people to let go of their inhibitions and bust a move. You've got to ready them for whatever act is coming next and get a dance floor vibing. And the real kicker: Every crowd is different. That's why you've gotta read that bitch. And please, please, stop playing the headliner's songs. That should be obvious, people.

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164 comments
Alejandro Castrillon
Alejandro Castrillon

To each his own, man. I'm tired of this Hipsters Vs Hypebeast debate. Y'all obviously not letting the music do its thing.

Chris Schaaff
Chris Schaaff

Skrillex and DeadMau5 can go eat a bag of baby dicks man!

Andy Reynolds
Andy Reynolds

Hah, the Steve Aoki video pretty much wraps up my opinion of mainstream "EDM." And look at the crowds in these videos. Gawd. I've always thought he was a total idiot, as was anyone who acknowledged this privileged party boy.

Jenni Warjas Morales
Jenni Warjas Morales

Bottom line: if you are a bar or club DJ, your job is to sell drinks. And if shitty, boring music is what makes the people drink, that's what you play

Hank Justice
Hank Justice

I want to see what DJs the author considers "good"

Jenni Warjas Morales
Jenni Warjas Morales

This author has obviously never had the displeasure of making a living DJing for Miamians (who generally have shitty taste).

Tony Frei
Tony Frei

Here's a sign! Uhhhh, you're a DJ!!!! Love you Paco Palacio.

George I'doccupyThat Owen
George I'doccupyThat Owen

Not trying to pick a fight with you kat but this should be written by a dj. Steve aoki throws a party. Yes it isn't underground music but it's about the whole show. It's actually fun. This is coming from someone that has spent their entire electronic dance music journey in the underground. Djing is about expression just like any other art form. Some people make party art. Are you going to go after them for encouraging people to let loose? Music is supposed to bring forth emotions and if it doesn't satisfy your needs don't listen to it. I used to love hating on all the big acts but you know what? They bring millions of people a good time and even if it's recycled sounds from the underground 4-10 yrs ago it's still making people have FUN. It isn't like these djs are beheading live animals and kicking orphans... They're making music for their clientele. That is their market. That is their business. Treat it like going out to eat. Sometimes mcdonalds is your only option or all you know. Not everyone has access or knows how to use blogs/soundcloud/awesome YouTube channels/record pools. Yeah I get where you are coming from but lay off them. They're securing their future and feeding their fam/helping friends out.

Paco Palacio
Paco Palacio

5 signs you don't need to know tha kat bein is a shitty journalist..

John Tuttobene Jr.
John Tuttobene Jr.

Aoki plays BS commercial shit. This electro stuff is for rookies. Would never pay to see him when I can hear the same shit from a resident DJ

Andrea Dutchland
Andrea Dutchland

U guys love to shit on everyone lmao .... Five signs u might be a shitty journalist ... One u write for the miami new times ..

frankiebones411
frankiebones411

A performance artist should have never been labelled a DJ in the first place.  That is why they were called "Live P.A.'s" when the Rave Scene which created EDM first happened in the U.K. in 1989.  So the question now is "Are you doing what Gene Simmons in KISS does?  Or can you rock out like Jazzy Jeff? Cause if you come off like Grandmaster Jay we will catch your lame @ss and tie you to a tree.

B-SIDE
B-SIDE

MY Top 5 REAL DJ's (Ones who can rock any crowd / any format - In no particular order) - Anyone who's commenting should know who they are. If not visit Youtube, LOL


1) Jazzy Jeff

2) Craze

3) MAW (Kenny Dope & Louie Vega)

4) Nu-mark

5) A-Trak


+ Out of respect I have to mention, Q-bert although he doesn't do the same type of 'party rocking that Craze / A-trak does

arielle8
arielle8

I went from trying to be a bigger and better known DJ back to production. I simply can't compete with 18 year olds whom ask for almost nothing because they live at home with their parents and DJing for them is simply for fun. I have bills to pay, and club owners do as well. They're looking for the least expensive talent, but I know that having either free, or next to free talen whom can't read a crowd will kill them in the end. Short cuts usually lead to a lot of back tracking and redoing to make things right. 

A couple of DJ whom I know in Denver that are very well known don't like what the younger controllerist DJs are doing. One the owners think they're getting that better deal by not paying a truly talented DJ what they're worth and in the end the regulars can tell when a DJ isn't playing, nor reading the crowd well, if reading at all. 

I also can't afford all the newest industry standard equipment simply to play someone else's songs. I figured I would just go back to making music for others to play in clubs, and allow them to take the credit for playing my music. =) hehehhe

This is what I learned after 13 years of DJing, and trying to DJ in this more modern age. 

Louis Wing
Louis Wing

Seems like everyone with a laptop, MP3s, and headphones wants to call themselves a DJ/Producer. Meh

umac40
umac40

The article should be called "5 Signs You're A Loser"

Sign 1-5: You're a DJ/singer/dancer/actor/model

As if DJing is this incredibly important, life saving skill that takes years of hard study and dedication! You're playing music for a bunch of teenagers who are all cracked out and won't remover what happened anyway. No one takes you seriously except for the equally useless bartender/promoters who work at the shitty clubs you play at.

Go to school, get an education, and find a real job.

pars.r.us
pars.r.us

last one most true. nobody in the mainstream scene values selection at all. aside from people who are into live construction/reconstruction of sets (which is fine but a live set is kinda different from djing), djing is about tune selection. the technical shit was the easiest part to learn for me by far - you can learn beatmatching in like an hour tops. but if your tunes all suck and you just play the same hyped tunes, you are a boring dj. honestly, i would rate a dj who literally couldn't beatmatch but is a great selector. maybe 10-20 seconds sounds like a washing machine but if they choose the perfect song for the moment, you forget those 10 seconds after it kicks in. not to say that i don't appreciate a good mix and interesting blends, but developing a deep and informed (and individual) taste in music is a prerequisite to being a great dj. (and dont underestimate the importance of opening - many great, legendary djs have spoken about this topic - know how to create a buildup of energy and not 2 go balls to the wall right off the bat)

for the record, I couldn't care less about using the sync button or not, or vinyl, or whatever. many of my favorite djs use vinyl but thats just cuz many tunes in some genres never got a digital release (grime, jungle, bmore, chicago house, etc) if they got released at all. if the sound is good who cares what produced it.

chazz.royall
chazz.royall

I can mix with CD'js, Turntables or a controller and mix it up with all three. the best DJ's now combine all three, to put on a show and mix, and edit live remixes while on the fly adding additional loops and effects, and the real show stoppers even scratch through some mixes while doing all that (I can't Scratch). The Digital age is bringing midi controllers intro the equation so this way. We can be more creative with samples and make other peoples music our own as well. So that way an artist can truly have full control over the music and do live remixing not pre recorded so the sounds you hear and being changed and looped in the headphones then mixed in to the mix LIVE how is that not a real DJ? . This concept is bringing the dj's and producers together into one animal, and now one must truly understand music to do big things.  You have to produce and still hold true to the roots of being a real DJ. How hard is that to understand. I do agree that people playing all the same music is garbage. The sync button on a controller is to save a DJ time matching beats so they can do things like pull up a beat grid on the song he is about to mix in and change it completely! Taking things out and adding new sounds in, like you would in fruity loops. But its happening in the mix. If none of you think that is harder than matching a beat you are dead wrong. Love you all DJ Royall One Love One world, World understanding and peace through music through music. 

PS.. a guy was talking smack to me this weekend saying anyone can do that., So he got on my controller and couldn't do anything but train wreck and could not even get the volumes right, I got on his Tables and spun a flawless set right after! Hence everyone thought he was the dumb ass for making fun of my controller when he couldn't work it. I showed him up by getting on his turntables with his records I did not know and well he packed his stuff and left the event. That is a real show! And the supposed Real DJ went packing..... Don't limit yourself Learn every tool every thing you can the EDM age is moving toward new technology everyday. Show your true love for the people who listen to your music and bring them a new sound. Your Sound!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

chazz.royall
chazz.royall

See people around the world like you are destroying the world we live in with that attitude. Cheer up, Start show some Love not hate words like that are spoken from an angry person. I hope you will be blessed this very day. One Love DJ Royall. I spell just fine I was on my phone and the site was messing up. World Unity, Peace, Love, Respect and working together is the only thing that will fix whats wrong with this world and individuals like yourself. If you spent as much energy putting good out maybe you would see the world differently, And excel in your music to new heights you have never before known.

TheTHing
TheTHing

Here's an idea. Maybe you're a shitty blogger/internet "journalist" if you recycle the same tired shit as all the other ones?

Just a thought..


djtommyb
djtommyb

hardhouse was full of energy 140 - 160bpm.

please don't play lady gaga or adele remixes either! if you want that kind of music go to your local bar.. or a kids birthday party.

Joedia
Joedia

everybody talks about 120-140 bpm ... what about 170-180 bpm ? ...  lot of energy you can find in drum and bass , i'm DJ ing from early 2000s and i'm changes my style to dubstep and special DnB few years ago because i'm finish to be a jukebox , i'm not mixing on laptops and controllers with sync buttons , i can make a real party but i can't grow up because where i live everybody likes just what they can hear at radios and tv's ... commercial music nothing different , and they need jukebox dj s ... :(   

NoLove
NoLove

As a producer who isnt a  "real" DJ..MY outside perspective is that most DJ's seem a little arrogant about how they do things,Ive never met  two DJ's who agree on DJing techniques..I happen to be a sync button DJ myself,the obvious most hated thing you can be in the DJ world,but at least I make my own shit. How SHOULD I play my tracks,windows media player? Also where should a person start if he wants to be a DJ?You kinda have to be a shitty DJ before you can ever be a good one,am I wrong? Has any one in these comments gone down to the DJ store,bought some equipment and just instantly started killing shit? I feel like instead of telling people they shouldnt do something that interests them,maybe the old school heads should be helping the new guys along,guiding them in how to do it right.Let me know if im totally off-base here.

Jeremy Andrews
Jeremy Andrews

I will say, a true DJ in the sense we are talking, should either be able to A) Beat Juggle B) beat mix longer than 32 beats without touching the pitch or nudging the spindle (I'm talking running songs 1-2 mins over each other without it sounding like a train wreck.

veruszetec
veruszetec

Lol, Aoki fans are cute. He's still shit.

caffe
caffe

@umac40 You're mad just because these people get more money than you without doing much. Well, you can cry everytime you want to. 

sen-sei
sen-sei

@umac40 / What about the professional musicians who create the music that djs play? I went to school, got an education, have a full time corporate job, and I've been playing piano for 35 years.  / Your summary is ignorant. 

getnonni
getnonni

@NoLove I don't think the guy who wrote this is a good DJ either.  He's just a hater who wants to make himself feel better about himself by trying to say other people suck at something.

CelebrityMurderParty
CelebrityMurderParty

@Jeremy Andrews Nonsense.  A true DJ is one that gets the crowd going.  Simple as that.

you can have all the skilzzors you want, but if you can't rock a crowd then it's masturbatory noodling.

I'd much rather watch someone with a cross fader who can't beat match but who's bringing the vibe than the most technically perfect guy evar.

People have forgotten what DJing and Dance music is all about.  Having a good time without being a chin strokery wanker or a fucking rock star.  Time was when people turned their back on the DJ and just danced and had a good time rather than treating them like rock stars.

Fuck rock stars.

umac40
umac40

@caffe Oh definitely....DJ's are THE most important thing we have in this world. Nobody makes more money than the strung out 35 year old with blue hair playing at the local warehouse for 500 kids who are rolling their balls off. They are the envy of EVERYONE! Up to hundreds of dollars a week?? And think of the perks! Nearly unlimited molly...getting to live with your mom for up to 20 years after entering adulthood (she'll cook for you too!), and no actual responsibilities?? Almost as much power as the President! Screw medical or law school...like we need more doctors? PLEASE! DJing is where all the power is!

odgbar
odgbar

@getnonni @NoLove If you bothered reading it, the writer stated that people doing those things are shitty DJs.

My guess is you probably do those things, and you're pissed someone called you on it.

dontHateThePlayer
dontHateThePlayer

@odgbar @getnonni @NoLove  Not necessarily. But people who suck and are broke have been talking smack about people who are successful since time immemorial.
 

Questions for you....

1. Do you think Avicii and Deadmau5 set out to make overplayed, commercialized cross over hits? Probably not. If you've spent any amount of time after work, late at night in front of a DAW, you know writing music is hard. Writing music that will sell is even harder. Controlling 100% of what happens to your song once it gets out is impossible. 

Deadmau5 could have 50 midgets ass f*cking 23 purple unicorns for all I care.When the rest of us were d*cking around with  VST sound presets, the guy dropped a filter sweep on a saw wave and made his music sound alive (I refer you to :19s into Ghosts n Stuff and a little something called complextro). He took a simple kick drum and made it sound like it was breathing. All the while making even the sh*tiest speakers pound without saturating.

I dont game.I had to google "griefer". I dont like 100% of anybody's marketing. Hell, I still dont understand EDC or Wonderland. But after 10 years of writing EDM, I know a good producer when I hear one and I have enough sense to not waste time talking smack about them. 

I download their music. play it back a 1000 times at 1/2 the bpm and analyze the f*ck out of it. Why is this guys sh*t so damm good is the real question.

2. Where's your hit song?

3. This is more to the articles author.....A DJ set is the accepted live presentation format for EDM Producers. You do realize, some of the Dj's you are busting on, actually wrote some the music right?

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