5 ways to keep DJing at home!
The best way to build your home DJ setup and how to keep active
Honestly, is there anything better than mixing all of your favourite songs in the comfort of your own home? It is something that countless amateur and professional DJs are enjoying at the moment, and it has never been so rewarding to own a home DJ setup. But here's the thing: without the required inspiration the art of DJing can end up getting a bit stale from time to time. Read on for a guide on some of the best ways to find inspiration and get more creative with your DJing.
Create your home DJ setup
First thing’s first, you’ve got to get your DJ setup sorted at home. You’ll really have to think about what kind of setup suits you best and what DJ equipment you already own. In order to create your home DJ setup, you’re probably going to need the following:
A DJ laptop
You’re going to need a suitable computer or laptop to start your home DJ setup. If you’re new to setting up as a home DJ or if you’re looking for a new computer, then you’re going to need to look for something with high-speed RAM and a decent amount of storage for your music library.
It may also be worth looking for a DJ laptop with SSD or a ‘solid state hard drive’. These modern hard drives have no moving parts, so while they are more expensive, they’re also generally more reliable than a conventional hard drive.
You’ll also need to consider what kind of DJ setup suits you best. Principally, are you going to use a DJ controller or a mixer?
The difference between a DJ controller and a DJ mixer, is that a DJ controller already contains built-in turntables and a mixer which can connect to your DJ software. A DJ mixer needs these turntables or a CDJ to be connected before you can start to mix. DJ controllers tend to be more popular with beginners.
DJ Controllers can connect you your laptop so that you can use your DJ software.
One you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to think about what DJ software you want to use! Modern DJ setups are designed to work with your software, and there’s plenty out there to choose from. Some of the most well-known pieces of DJ software are Traktor Pro, rekordbox DJ from Pioneer and Serato DJ Pro.
A good pair of headphones is vital for your home DJ setup. If you don’t already have a pair, then you can’t really go far wrong than some of the well-known brands, such as Sennheiser, Pioneer or Sony.
Speakers and subwoofers
The only way to make sure that your home mixes are hitting the right note is by hearing them! Invest in some decent speakers and maybe a subwoofer in order to really amplify that sound. Of course, if you’re going to be starting your home DJ setup, make sure that you take into account how much space you have and plan accordingly before you start looking at additional speakers and subwoofers.
A combination of speakers and subwoofers can complete your home DJ setup.
Watch and listen to as many DJ sets as possible
Aside from practising yourself, the best way to learn how to DJ effectively is to watch and listen to as many DJ sets as you can on places like Youtube or Soundcloud. The Boiler Room series is especially good, as it enables you to actually see what the DJ is doing in real-time. Aside from giving incredibly valuable lessons in technique, doing this can also inspire you to pull off more advanced tricks or mixes.
The great thing about watching and listening to DJ sets is that it is incredibly enjoyable, however at the same time, if you make sure you are taking notes it is also very informative and can be a great help.
Explore new genres to DJ
A fantastic way to reinvigorate your relationship with DJing is to explore new genres to mix with. There is only a finite number of tracks in any one specific genre, but once you learn how to weave in and out of different styles the world truly becomes your oyster!
Far too many people constrain themselves to one specific area of dance music when DJing for example, but in reality you can mix any kind of music you'd like as long as it has a clear rhythm. In fact, there is nothing wrong with just playing song after song if the genre you are exploring isn't inherently mixable. Moreover, whilst BPM is important to DJing it can often become too limiting. Think of BPM in fluid terms rather than fixed; if a song is at 118 BPM but you are currently DJing at 126 BM there is nothing wrong with speeding it up!
Try a new medium to DJ with
Most DJs these days start out using CDJs or a laptop and DJ controller which is a great way to learn, but many people end up getting bored after a while due to the relative ease of mastering the art. If this sounds like you why not invest in some cheap turntables and attempt to navigate the world of vinyl DJing?
This is a whole different experience, and one that is insanely rewarding once you start getting the hang of it. Vinyl DJs also find that the music they collect is often a lot rarer and special, something that really sets them apart from the rest after a while.
Blend two songs together
DJing is mostly thought of as an exercise in playing one song after another (with a short amount of time in-between where they overlap), but some of the most fun can be had by experimenting with playing two songs at the same time. If you need a bit of inspiration and want to boost your DJing skills, this is a great way to inject some excitement and keep yourself entertained.
There is genuinely no better feeling than locking two tracks together and creating something entirely new with the resulting harmony that can happen if you choose the right songs. Obviously this is something that has to be practised because it doesn't always work, but it is a perfect thing to try out whilst DJing at home.