What Kind of DJ Are You

There are ALL Kinds of DJs to choose from.

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The huge idea behind DJing is to match your individual musical expression with the needs of a given audience.  It’s not simply matching beats, or scratching over songs. It is about being observant, empathic, and reactive.  It isn’t hard to get started. But it’s tough to stand out, and to be exceptional.

What sort of DJ are you interested in turning into?

Strictly speaking, a DJ is anybody who performs pre-recorded music for an audience. If somebody hires you upfront to play an iPod playlist at a birthday party, you’re DJing.  But, because you’ve made it to this guide, I imagine you’re serious about doing slightly more than that.  So, let’s break it down into a number of easy categories. These usually are not hard and quick definitions, as a result of many individuals (such as myself) typically end up juggling several types of DJ roles.

The club/bar DJ (resident)

This is the DJ that has a recurring gig at the local club or bar. He/she is often refered to as the “Resident DJ” of a venue.  Each club has a distinct feel, reputation, and audience.  Which additionally means that clubs differ in what they anticipate from their musical choice and resident DJs.  Typically, the nightclub DJ’s job is to keep the dance floor bumping, uninterrupted. Often by doing super long blends (transitions) between songs, or some other kind of trickery to keep party goers feet moving.  In a perfect world, this DJ is aware of the way to ramp the energy up and all the way down to balance between an active floor and a busy bar.

The performer/guest DJ

People go to the club to see this kind of DJ as a result of who they are, their popularity, and what folks assume they will do behind the decks. This can literally be anybody who has built up a loyal following that people will come out to see.  The “exhibitionist” oriented DJs also fit in right here, much like the turntablist dj (folks good at chopping, scratching, and numerous record tricks), and other live and semi-live performers.

The mobile/wedding DJ

A totally different type of DJing could be required of the mobile DJ. This is often more of the entrepreneur type, and usually the place you should have the very best chances at success in making a living as a DJ.  This form of DJ typically must be comfortable with taking requests (and sometimes even whole playlists), talking right into a microphone, and investing in his or her personal sound equipment.

The Radio DJ

The concept of the “radio DJ” owes its origins to broadcast radio stations.
The radio DJ’s job varies vastly, from the one that broadcasts the weather between songs, to full-on music curation. While many corporate radio DJs no longer have any control over musical selection, a lot of this function has been shifted and kept alive because of the arrival of indie/on-line radio, podcasting, and so-on.

What About Producers?

Many folks typically confuse DJing with producing music. Where DJing is playing pre-recorded music to an audience, producing is the unique creation or recording of music.
In other words, someone produces a techno track, and then a techno DJ plays that track at a festival. Sometimes that’s the same individual.

This is usually hard for individuals to wrap their heads around, particularly within the realm of digital music, because its performers typically do some kindof  hybrid of the two, whether or not that’s live, or in the studio.

I hope this information helped you discover what kind of DJ you are.