How the Gear Slut Kills your Talent

When starting out to DJ, the choices you have for gear to use are extremely vast. Not only do you have to choose the format; CD, Vinyl, Digital (or a mixture of the three), but then have to choose which manufacturer to hand over your money to. Because the industry is now so huge, that’s not where it stops! The gear slut in you is constantly on the search for more gear or the next piece of equipment and you need to keep this in check.

The Gear Slut

dj-logosThis is the part of you that is linked to ego. It’s the part of you that craves more, or craves something different. It’s the part of you that desires new toys, the part that strives for improvement and perfection. It’s the part of you that gets hurt when someone ridicules you for playing on Serato, it’s the part that made me write that last comment.
If you are a Serato user and happen to be reading this, don’t worry, read on, you might like where this goes!

So as I mention, the gear slut in you never stops the commentary. For instance, when you are watching a youtube video of some DJ rocking out, you think, “What’s that he’s using? Oh it’s a Thingy-McWhirly-Gig! Awesome!! I should get one of those, because if he can do that, with a Thingy-McWhirly-Gig’, then I will be able to do it too!

This is the Gear Slut and it needs carefully monitoring. The Gear Slut wants you to buy everything, he’s the part that companies target, as they know he will crumble easily with enough pressure. Companies use big names to sell their brand to you, making you think that if ‘so-and-so’ uses it, then you can be as cool or as famous as them. It’s the reason why Nike sponsor Michael Jordan, they do it to make money. It’s the same with DJ gear. Be aware of sneaky guerrilla marketing, it could kill your talent.

Your Talent

The Ego houses the gear Slut, whereas your Talent or Creativity sits in a different realm altogether. They are somewhat linked, but the creativity really shines when the ego is disconnected. For creativity to come through you need to be inspired. The word inspired comes from the words ‘in spirit’. To me this means that when you are fully connected to spirit, creativity flows through you and you are able to create great things.

Music is about connecting to your creativity and letting it flow. You don’t need any special tools to harness your creativity. People have become very talented using the most rudimentary equipment; hell, people can even play the spoons pretty damn well!
Obviously, you are going to need the basics, every workman should have a hammer, right!
But it’s all about realising the Gear Slut when it arises in you and finding the balance.

Finding Balance

It’s likely that when the Gear Slut appears, you still have a lot to learn on the equipment you already own. You won’t have outgrown your equipment yet, it’s just that the marketers have climbed into your head.

Let your creativity be your guide

small__4660350655If when DJ’ing, or producing, your creativity calls for an operation that you’d love to do, but your equipment limits you, then maybe it’s the time to research what equipment will allow you to complete this operation.

It’s likely that you’ll get the urge to buy equipment after seeing another DJ use it, only to find that when you get it, nothing changes about your DJ style. You continue to grow at your own pace; the pace that existed before you parted with your hard earned cash. In fact, you may even be back at square one. Instead of perfecting your DJ skills, you now have a new piece of equipment or program to learn. This stifles your creativity as you’re stuck learning new equipment again.

You should allow yourself the time to become a ‘professional’ on the gear you already own. You should able to do it in your sleep. Jumping from one piece of kit to the other is likely to stunt your growth in one area. You may become a jack of all trades, so to speak, but you’ll be a master at none.

Some beginner DJ’s think their game will improve once they owns a certain piece of equipment. This is not necessarily true. Many big DJ’s have been exploited by manufacturers, being used as the ‘Thingy-McWhirly-Gig‘ pimps. Whilst the equipment they use is undoubtedly very high quality and expensive, you can learn on the lesser gear. Don’t feel pressured into joining the big boys.

Be aware of your Gear Slut and harness your creativity. Now stop dreaming and start performing!

Musical notes photo credit: The-Lane-Team

28 comments

  1. I’ve been DJ’ing a little more than a year and I love it! The only thing I can say is that DJ’ing is pretty simple. All u gotta do is play the music that people wanna hear……that’s it. If u know music, that will help in the long run because u will be able to accommodate ANY event which means more money (especially when club/bar jobs get slow. Ur equipment should be “flexible” enuff so u can DJ anywhere (within reason of course). Make sure u do ur homework BEFORE u purchase. And, make sure u BUY RIGHT the first time. I didn’t know anything about dj gear last summer, but I researched every single aspect of DJ’ing BEFORE I bought equipment. After very careful consideration I settled for: Traktor S4, Two Traktor F1’s, Traktor A6 Soundcard, Two Podium Pro Audio Speakers (both with built in MP3 players) that can read from a flash drive OR an SD card. And a pair of KRK Rokit 5 Speakers for my makeshift studio. I figure this set up will keep me happy for many years if not longer. In closing, DJ’ing is a “source”, it will heal u if u let it. Peace…….DJB

  2. true .. it can be said as well about knowledge ; i find my self trapped sometimes in a vicious circle ;that is wanting to learn too much stuff ..there are so many different techniques ;so many different tutorials available out there ,it’s kind of very easy to get sucked into them sometimes.. as you said it’s a matter of keeping a balance & do with what you have or know .

  3. I admit that I’m a gear slut. However, my gear is my tools for my trade. I’m a full time DJ/Pruducer and for the past few years I’ve been noticing the importants of being mobile/portable in studio and on stage. I also know a lot of people that buy gear based on what the blogs say and what the next person is using. My balance is to put my gear to work in any environment at any given time. The music industry is being reshape as we speak, with all of the new tablets and smartphones being capable of controlling music. It may seem like now anybody can be a DJ or make beats because there’s an app for this and that. Or you can damn near buy a DJ setup from Wal Mart. That doesn’t change the amount o dedication and practice you must put into the art. It’s still a process of interpretation. There’s no tutorial on how to be passionate.

    • Well said. To be ‘successful’ is to be passionate. As you say there is no tutorial, but there are definitely words of encouragement, including your words there! Thank you!

  4. I’ve thankfully kept my tendencies under control. I actually still use my outdated M-Audio Xponent. Bear in mind I’m only a hobbyist/bedroom DJ now. If I decided to go gigging and such again I’d buy an S4.

    Best thing that kept me in the past from going to nuts is the thought of carrying it all, setting it all up, and especially when it’s for a short set (60min or less). Sometimes all you need is just a laptop and one controller.

      • To this day I’ve never understood guys who bring out their whole gear setup for a 30-40 minute set. This isn’t even some “performance” or turntablism…just a normal DJ set.

        Why?

      • Well, they love there gear and maybe they’ve only learnt on that particular kit. Sometimes they don’t feel comfortable on any other set up.

  5. Im ashamed to say this but… This is so me! Once I had enough with just my turntables and my vinyl. But as soon as I changed to digital I became a real gearslut: i got the S2 wich got me interested in music production so I bought the Machine, that got me interested in more live performance so i bought the F1, then my setup felt to big for smal gigs and I got traktorDJ with a audio2MKII.
    Yeah NI made me into a fanboy and i myself into a gearslut. The thing i feel bad about is that before fully mastering one piece of equpment I bought the next!
    Me and my girl where in the DJ shop at the NI section last time, she asked me what piece i still wanted. So i responded: “the Kit that upgrades my spare time”.

    • Haha – I am glad you can identify with this piece. You got sucked in, like many of us! Now as you say, finding the time to use all this stuff is the hard part!

  6. I agree, it’s way too easy to be caught up in the ‘I want’ cycle.
    I am a retro DJ and have been running discos (there’s that word) since 1966.
    I have progressed from turntables (because the vinyl isn’t available) to CD players and to Virtual DJ and a laptop.
    However it’s always hard to resist that ‘new improved’ speaker or lighting rig – but you have to, otherwise you suddenly find that you haven’t made a profit for all your hard work

  7. It’s funny i feel this very way about Pioneer cdj’s i no i don’t need them i no they are way to expensive and i no they will not make me a better a dj, but i still feel like i need them, like that’s what’s in the clubs so thats what i need to be a dj, but if you look at the facts cdj’s are on there way out, the new 900 nexus are just individual controllers……. but i still what them, lol………

    Also NI pulled me in with all there marking and sales i must of spent a fortune on there gear the last couple of weeks, but i must say that they do make good equipment and it does work….

    • Yes, I’m with you on the CDJ’s too. They are industry standard and they just feel right to play on. Better than anything else in my opinion. They are still so popular because of their build quality, but also because its what any DJ’s are used to. I think they are WAY overpriced though. To say they’re more expensive than a MacBook Pro is somewhat ridiculous.
      Maybe you could rent some for a weekend to see if they’re a good fit, before you buy. Also, if you do buy, buy used and you only need one.

  8. Great article its like you hit the nail on the head i am not a pro DJ it’s just a hobby of sorts,i do my friends parties and so on but I always feel like I need to get that piece of gear to be better for example i started out with 2 denon dn-s1200 cdj’s and now i have a pioneer ddj-sx and i went through about 4 different controllers before getting to the pioneer but i still have the denons and i can play just as good on both.Thanks for the article it was very interesting.

  9. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to afford top of the line gear during most of my “musical career”. but as a person prone to “getting addicted” to the many things this world has to offer I just say, as I have learned, the truth will set you free. I know this is christmas season so the constant bombardment from gear companies is a bit tough to handle. But be true to yourself about what you know, about what you need. That shall be the guiding light. A career is a path one takes and life and experience go beyond “Having/possesing” things. Thank you for this timely article and for putting some of my thoughts into words.🙂

    • Amazing JD. I truly feel your understanding of this piece and am happy that you too have been able to recognise this within yourself and to voice it.

  10. I needed to hear this and take an honest look at myself. I am a gear slut. But that’s over now. I too spend way too much of my time wrapped in the tech and not in the art. I am slowly changing but it is taking both Spirit and conditioning. “I get by with a little help from my friends”! Thanks for the article.

  11. I am happy to be a gear slunt.
    In the past (10 years ago) I my gear setup very technical, using 3-4 decks, filters, effectors, etc, to release all my technical skills. But after a few years I realized I was only good at skills, and although my crate was filled with nice tracks, I was weak at finding new ones / good ones.

    One day I saw David Mancuso in Paris. The essence of inspiration. The perfection in sound.
    I was lucky enough to be in the DJ Booth during his set. He was using a premium audiophile equipment (Mark Levinson preamp) with no possibility to mix 2 tracks together (A-B selector). However, he knew how to kick the dancefloor and his groove was so ressearched and deep that everyone was transported.
    That was the best DJ gig I saw in my life.

    Then I decided to simplify everything. No more FX. No more Eqs. No more crazy skills. Just a premium rotary mixer and premium cables. And then I focused on finding new tracks and playing it the simple way.
    My creativity became higher and higher.

    As a gear junckie, it is important to keep it as simple as possible, and to reach the perfection in track selection and sound quality.
    That is what David Mancuson tought me. It works.

    • Nicely Said! A friend of mine uses a rane rotary, says it’s the best sound ever! I do like keeping it simple, I’m a big fan of Nick Høppner, he has a very simple style and it feels good to keep it focused and less all over the place! You get chance to find your groove rather than displaying a form of ADHD. Thanks for your comments.

  12. This is a great article as I haven’t seen anyone point this out in this manner before however the description fits perfectly. I have a bit of Gear Slut in me however I never buy anything until I have seen it in action and can imagine it integrating with my style. If I had my way I would have a Serato setup in addition to my Traktor setup (S2 Mk2, F1, PC Laptop) using a DDJ-SR and mapping in my Kontrol F1 for additional effects however I don’t have money to burn like that frivolously. Hence I stick to what is most important to me. If I had my way though and no discipline then I would go banana’s. One important thing also in considering a purchase of any equipment is research and possibly finding others who use the item and how they use to to see if it is right for you?

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