At the turntables

January 26, 2018 12:05 PM The Week Bureau

Prajwal JB Rana, instructor at Wave DJ Academy in Sankhamul, Kathmandu, says being a DJ is much more than just knowing how to match beats of one song with another as many think it to be. “It’s about being observant and knowing what your audience wants,” says Rana adding that you have to understand how music affects people and be able to create that effect. “And it’s not an easy job,” he says. But Rana also confesses that there are many who want to understand the basics of DJing and thus runs us through the requisites and resources one needs to step into the world of making music.
Be passionate about music
One of the prerequisites for being a DJ is a passion for music since your entire career will be built around it. If you are passionate about music, you will find innovative ways of expressing yourself through it rather than being frustrated by the endless hours. Rana confesses that becoming a DJ requires focus and dedication. It’s not a simple path. And the competition is tough so you must ensure that you will be able to bring new things to the table and that’s only possible when you are passionate about the music you play. Also, ask yourself why you want to become a DJ. If the answer is fame or money, then perhaps you should think some more, suggests Rana. Because though these things eventually come with the profession, it takes time and effort and you will only be able to put in your best if you love music. 

Know the difference between a DJ and a music producer
A DJ mixes and plays music together using various techniques to change the sound and structure of an already existing track. Music producers, on the other hand, create their own original music in a studio using Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Though these two are completely different professions, many DJs can also be called music producers and many music producers can also be called DJs. This is because some DJs produce their own music tracks and producers also work on remixing the original songs. So someone who is a DJ and producer both will be making his own music as well as working on already recorded or popular tracks to give it a new twist. .

Work professionally
According to Rana, anyone and everyone who mixes music isn’t a DJ. These days, with many online sites and smartphones applications, mixing music is no longer a difficult thing. But don’t be fooled. These sites and applications have preset controls that won’t give you a freehand to mix music the way you like it. Your work won’t be completely unique. Rana says that the apps and sites can be used for performances at family gatherings and such but, in the professional arena, they don’t amount to much. So if you want to work as a DJ, forget these apps and sites. Focus on the real stuff and work with good software. 

Understand the genres
If you want to become a DJ, you need to know your music. You need to be updated about the different genres of music out there. Though there are many genres of music, you can also focus on what you like and take your pick depending on the effect you want to produce. You can work with multiple genres as well. But a thorough understanding of the genres of music you want to work with and a basic understanding of the others will help you make good tunes. Rana says that understanding is imperative for a DJ to be able to latch on to the right beats and mix music well.
 Know your equipment and software
As a newbie, investing in your first DJ setup can be a daunting task. Rana says the most important gadget you will require is a good pair of headphones. Then you will need a laptop and a controller. The controller allows you to mix music efficiently. Now, it is time to get a CDJ setup. This setup is important but also quite expensive. Sometimes, clubs and event managers arrange for the setups and DJs don’t have to worry about lugging their own. The only thing you need to take is your music.

Then, Rana strongly recommends two types of software for a great music mixing experience. The first one is Virtual DJ. This is an entirely free software and supports as many decks as you want and includes features such as key lock, sync, loops, sampling, recording, and more. The second one is FruityLoops Studio also known as FL Studio. Not only is this software good for mixing beats, you can also use it for music production. “These will help you get the basics of DJing right,” concludes Rana. 

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