8 Ways to Become a Better DJ During Quarantine
DJs everywhere are suddenly finding themselves with lots of extra time. And while it may not be easy or feel natural to be stuck inside of your house, by keeping busy and staying focused on your passion for music, you can absolutely come out of this situation stronger.
If you’ve been following our Instagram, you may have caught a few of our IG Live COVID-19 discussions. We’ve talked to renowned DJs including Qbert, DJ Craze, DJ Puffy, Buck Rodgers, DJ Battlecat, and Angie Vee about how they’re making the most of this time practicing social distancing. You can be sure we took notes and included them in this list.
Here are 8 things you can do to become a better DJ by the end of the quarantine.
1. Start Digging
It’s easy to get lost in the latest Netflix documentary (Tiger King?) or find yourself immersed in video games during this time at home. But instead, why not do something that’s just as fun and will also help your DJ game? Digging for new music and finding hidden gems is a great way to pass the time productively. Not only will your DJ sets be better for it, but you can also start cleaning and organizing your Serato, rekordbox, or other music crates at the same time. The important thing to remember is why you got into DJing in the first place – it’s all about the music!
2. Practice the Fundamentals
If you’re a beginner DJ, now is the time to start tackling fundamental skills like beat-matching, phrasing, and EQing. These basic skills are crucial to have as a foundation for your DJ career. Remember that being a great DJ is not just about choosing the right tracks, but also about how you transition from one track to the next. Once you have a good handle on each of these fundamentals, you can start mixing and having some fun.
If you’re an experienced or professional DJ with extra time on your hands, it’s not a bad idea to freshen up on these fundamental skills. Additionally, if you have any new DJ gear at home, this is a great time to get comfortable and familiar with all the features and functionality. It’s never too late to learn something new!
3. Make Mixes
This is by far one of the top quarantine tips heard on our IG Live conversations. If you’re a DJ stuck at home and you’re not working on your mixes, it’s time to get started! DJ mixes can be used for everything from demos for potential new clients, to pitches for radio shows, to content for your channels like Mixcloud. Use your free time to perfect things like transitions, harmonizing, looping, and the overall storytelling and flow of energy in your mix.
Plus, with more free time, you have the freedom to play around with different length mixes and experiment with various genres. Practice building sets for occasions such as cocktail hours, club sets, lofi lounges, and sporting events. Get to work and have some fun!
4. Watch Scratch Tutorials
If you find yourself bored in quarantine, start hunting for interesting tutorials and learn a new skill! And if you’ve been wanting to learn a few scratching techniques, you don’t have to look very far. BPM Supreme recently launched the #BPMDJChallenge, a new video series where we go over some scratch fundamentals and ask you to share your skills with us online. See all of the #BPMDJChallenge videos we have released so far here.
Our YouTube channel is another great resource. It’s full of tutorials like Cut Class with DJ Angelo, Software Spotlights with Mike Acosta, and Mobile DJ Tips with Joe Bunn. Plus, you’ll find plenty of other entertainment like “On Deck” DJ routines, gear reviews, and our DJ Gift Guide series. See them all here.
5. Learn Music Production
In the music industry today, the line between DJs and producers is often blurred. If you’ve been solely DJing for most of your career, this time at home might be ideal for jumping into music production. Whether you want to create your own edits and remixes, or even learn the fundamentals of beat making or creating an original track, there are plenty of ways to get started.
You can start with a beginner-friendly software like GarageBand, Audacity, or Serato Studio. There are free versions of almost all music-making software, so do some digging and give a few a try before committing. In fact, Serato has just released a completely free version of Serato Studio, their beat making software.
Remember that less is more! You don’t need all of the best studio gear and millions of plug-ins to get going. Get to know the features and functionality of one program, and nail down your workflow so producing beats becomes natural.
6. Perform Live
If you’ve been keeping up with social media during this quarantine, you’ve seen how successful livestreaming has become! Now is an ideal time to build your social media followers and engage with your fans through live DJ sets and discussions. We also recommend watching and interacting with live sets by other DJs. This will help you stay connected to the DJ culture, as well as allow you to discover new music and inspiration for your own social media. If you’re thinking about going live soon, check out our 6 pro tips for creating a high quality livestream event.
7. Work on Your Brand
As a DJ, you need to eat, sleep, and breathe your brand. Building your brand starts with things like choosing a DJ name and creating a logo, but there’s so much more to it than that. Eventually, you’ll want to work on getting great press photos, growing your social networks, creating promo merch, and packaging your brand in a professional press kit. All of these combined will make it easier for you to get bookings once venues and clubs open back up.
If you start working on all of this in the free time you have now, once the quarantine is over, you’ll be ready to rock and roll! If you’re having trouble knowing where to start with all of this, check out our article: Build Your DJ Brand: Getting Started. Here you’ll find a 7-part series all about how to build a visual brand and get your name out into the world.
8. Set Goals
Here is another highly recommended quarantine tip from the pro DJs on our IG Live discussions. Creating a daily, weekly, or monthly to-do list can help you map out your goals and hold you accountable for those goals. Maybe you want to create three mixes by the end of the month, or maybe you want to finally practice those scratch techniques that you’ve been adding to your YouTube list.
Your to-do list can be as simple as ‘write my bio’ or ‘clean up my Serato crates.’ As long as you are writing things down and setting deadlines, you will stay productive throughout this time at home. And this advice can be used across all aspects of your life, not just for becoming a better DJ. So, what’s on your to-do list?
If you start to feel stir crazy or sluggish, just refer back to this list and start working on something new. You will bounce back. You will play gigs again. And you will be a better DJ because of this experience!
How are you spending your time at home? Leave a comment below and let us know!