A huge amount of attention has recently been given to the topic of which equipment people ‘should‘ be using to DJ with. As this subject is becoming a little tiresome and quite frankly ‘pointless‘, I want to make this my final word on this topic!
There has been talk of laptops and DJ controllers being banned in clubs, which is fuelling an all out war between:
a) those that think digital DJ controllers and laptops are the way of the future, and
b) those that lean more towards Technics and CDJ’s for the “real” art of DJ’ing.
Well, I am here to say, “Who Cares!!?”
Let Go of Discrimination and the Need to be Right
By entering into argument about DJ gear, we are perpetuating an age old human trait of separatism and a heightening of the ego. This is the same part of the brain that we use when being discriminatory against any subject matter, be it race, culture, choice in sexuality, or even down to the route you take to the local store.
We all have opinions and our own preferences when it comes to choosing our path. We are all wise enough, or stupid enough, to decide on our own destiny.
Whether it be the stubborn streak in you that decides your route to the store is more direct, or less busy, than that your friend takes, regardless of proof. Or, if it’s your choice of DJ equipment being better than another DJ in a online forum. Whatever your opinion, we are all creatures of habit and will continue to push our own beliefs on others, whether they ask for it or not. (This article included).
The thing is, beliefs can be limiting. Whilst a belief might add personality, or maybe even purpose to your life, it can also be restricting. Unless that belief is in Yourself!
I’m sure you’ve heard the following statements before:
“DJ Controllers are the way forward, anyone that thinks otherwise is stupid“.
“Turntables and CDJ’s are the only way to go, you gotta ban those damn laptops“.
By holding on so tightly to one of these statements, you could be closing yourself off to experiencing some fascinating aspects of life.
I can not believe that racism still exists, it disgusts me to see comments online that seem entrenched in the 1800’s. By discriminating in this way, we close off much of life and we block the flow of Love.
Whilst discriminating against the choice of DJ equipment seems so petty and mundane when compared to racism, it is also an act of discrimination.
Judgement will serve you in no other way than to separate you from your inner power and true potential to shine as an individual.
Carl Sagan said, “..an organism at war with itself is doomed!”
This has a much bigger connotation, but if we can’t even stop fighting about DJ Equipment, then what chance do we have at World Peace!
We all feel the need to say our bit, we all want ourselves to be heard, but maybe it’s time to stop pointing, criticizing, and demeaning other people’s choices and to just be happy with your own choice.
Your choices are YOUR choices. What is right for you, might not be right for someone else.
Take food for example. I have been a vegetarian now for over two years, but I don’t go around telling everyone to stop eating meat. Our choices are designed as just that, ‘OUR choices’.
If you ask others for advice, remember, their advice is filtered through their experiences and is likely to be different from the next person’s. Only YOU can make decisions for yourself. Ask for inner guidance on what feels right. Whilst other people may have more experience in a certain field, their preferences, may not be right for you. You need to ask them the right questions to gain the knowledge needed to make an educated decision for yourself.
Feel what’s right, you know all the answers, you just need to access them within. Just because ‘Mr Superstar DJ‘ uses this, or Jonny down the road uses that, doesn’t mean that’s what YOU should be using!
Music is the Gift of Healing
Music triggers many emotions, it can make you cry or smile, it’s soup for the Soul.
With the focus back on the music we can forget about the tools we use to play it. The reasons we play music is to bring joy, not pain.
If your chosen tools of delivering music to people are getting in the way, then you might need to consider a change of direction.
If the club you want to play at demands you only play on CDJ’s, then it’s time to venture inside and find out what that means to you. Ask yourself if changing your methods aligns with your passions and your values. There is more to the decision than loyalty to a brand, or to a friends advice. It’s about the direction that your heart and soul wants to take.
I started DJ’ing on Vinyl, but when I decided to travel the world, I was forced to use CDJ’s due to practicality of travelling light. As a result of this change, I landed a weekly residency at a club earning $300 for 3 hours work a night. If I had maintained a stubborn attitude and not tried to venture into CD’s, then I would have closed the door on an amazing opportunity.
Yes, I spent days on the lead up to my trip, painstakingly burning all my vinyl to CD, with no promise of a DJ gig. I just put in the effort as I wanted it so bad.
DJ from Your Heart
It really does not matter what you use to DJ with, so long as you are having fun and that you are enjoying the path you are on. If you come across obstacles on your path, it’s down to you to navigate them however you feel will best aid your progress as a DJ and as a person.
Transcend the ego when it comes to brand loyalty and peer pressure from others, connect with your inner guidance and do what’s right for you. Drop the attitude that you know what’s best for other people, and live life from a place of Love.
That way you allow yourself and others more freedom, giving everyone the power to choose their own path making the world a more peaceful and creative place.
A friend of mine, Paul Jarvis, wrote an excellent piece called Tools Don’t Matter, I highly recommend you read it next.
21 thoughts on “DJ from Your Heart and Stop Your Ego from Holding You Back”
I’m brand new to much of this, but it seems that such gear- zealotry is endemic in many communities, be they computers, audio gear, cooking utensils, or even fandoms. Some folks get so warped out of shape about such tiny things that they lose sight of the larger picture. Sad, really.
I prefer to see difference as an opportunity, rather than a threat, a learning, and even friendship possibility. I do have my Precious Objects, but am not threatened or worried about yours. Besides, as many have already stated, it’s the end product- the music and atmosphere- that truly counts. Sure, I could rattle on forever about whether the music sounds better over which sound system, but who cares? (My picky ears do, but oh, well!)
People are more important than things.
Nicely said! I played an outdoors event the other night for full moon and the dancefloor was rocking, not once did someone come and ask me what I was using! They were there to dance and have fun! 😉
Alan I must say I am highly impressed with this article. I share this same exact view as you do. I don;t hate on anyone because they have an S2 instead of an S4? I don’t care if someone prefers spinning with Vinyl Versus Digital? The opposite happens for me. When I see something new that someone else utilizes I want to experience it. That little experience from something new and different can go a hell of a long way in broadening your horizons and becoming a better person in general. Respect is the word that comes to mind? We may not like everything we encounter however it doesn’t hurt to respect another persons methods, thoughts, opinions, means, etc. You never completely know what you ultimately gain from open mindedness other than knowledge and peace of mind however it pays in dividends to think in this manner. Now I truly know why I was attracted to your website which I found through Digital DJ Tips one day back in December and frequent it everyday looking for new write ups and news shows. Great job Alan. keep up the great work brotha.
Thanks my friend! I am very happy to know that you find value in the words here. I appreciate you taking the time to be involved in this community and wish you great things on your path. Thanks again.
DJ against DJs is so lame and so against the best interest of good entertainment. We should be helping each other and not competing. I absolutely have fun jamming with other DJs on a Sunday afternoon and we son’t care what the other is using, Come on Guys!!!! Where did the music go?
I totaly agree! Equipment does not make a DJ, and my best and most creative moments are when I pick tracks on the fly and get a very creative mix or transition during my live shows on Mixlr or while creating a show for Mixcloud . You have to have fun and enjoy it to be successful with or without a regular gig.
thats very true. Creativity flows in the moment. Spontaneity of a mix is the best thing, it ALWAYS turns out better than a planned mix. I’d say the maximum amount of planning for a mix is best if you grab 3 times as many tunes as you need for a et and just use those. If you think of something else cool to add on the fly that’s not in that list, go ahead and use that too. (So long as you have it with you)
I echo your thoughts there Al. It is good to know your options of the gear and what is available etc, but it is the end result of people enjoying the music that matters the most.
Yes, I think people are getting too caught up in the gear, me included. It’s because DJ’s make the error of marketing to other DJ’s instead of to music lovers. When DJ’s try to impress DJ’s it comes down to a battle of equipment and skill. I’m not a fan of playing DJ’s against each other, maybe this is topic for another blog? 😉
Certainly sounds like a topic. Personally I’m into bringing DJ’s together as a community. We all share a common love of music. Just helping each other to become better DJ’s whether you play at home, on radio, parties, weddings or bars / clubs. Learning from each others experiences.
Yes definitely, all DJ’s can feed off each other, but we must encourage each other too, rather than compete.
I always carry two opinions on this matter:
1) It’s wonderful we have so many choices in how we want to DJ…so every single DJ can play on the system/setup he/she desires.
2) Fighting for “digital VS” analog” or “sync VS manual” is pointless when the MUSIC being played in so many avenues is just plain terrible. The fight should be to widen the landscape and push innovation. To make this a talent-driven world as opposed to a marketing/PR -driven world.
Fight for better music to be played…not for the medium it’s played on.
Yes! I 100% feel you – it seems that once corporate interests started ‘getting in’ on the dance music scene, it tarnished it a little.
Digging deep for music and playing the sounds of your soul will keep DJ’s in tune with what’s true. Thanks for adding your voice!
Compare a DJ who only spins songs people like (or at least plays songs people keep dancing to) but cannot mix well to a DJ who is a master at mixing well but cannot choose songs to keep people dancing, which one do you think the club wants?
I’m also vehemently opposed to the DJs who play a couple of good songs and then a bad one to drive the people to the bar. This (to me) is just plain wrong.
There’s a right and a wrong way to perform this. It can be done without pissing of the patrons. That takes serious experience. Any club or bar owner that has a DJ that can “reset” the dance floor properly has a valued asset in that DJ. The DJ has control so if you like to watch ESPN then you do it when your favorite show or sport is playing. If you have people watching with you you turn the channel to something that compliments what you were watching on ESPN until the commercial break stops. You don’t turn on Disney as the people watching sports with you will be looking at you like you have 3 heads and wanting to yank the remote from your hands lol!
How many club goers walk up the window and before they buy a ticket ask, “What equipment and software is the DJ using tonight?” None.
haha – perfect! 😉
Djs are always attempting to grow their popularity, therefore, they are always competing against other Djs. As such you need to come up with skills and abilities that differentiate yourself from the other Djs. I think that’s another reason why these arguments are so intense, one dj spends countless hours mastering a skill that is then given for “free” to another dj via technology.
But here’s the thing, its all academic, people dancing dont care. People dont care if the dj does a masterful 4 table 8 minute mix, or a a 2 song 10 second cut and slam mix, so long as the sound coming out of the speakers makes them dance, they are going to dance.
The lesson to be found here, is its all about the music, the moment it stops being about the music and starts being about your skills, is the moment you have begun your decsent.
Well said – thank you!
This was never more true than when I was playing a gig here in town, they had a BEAUTIFUL setup and I didn’t have time to connect my gear up because the initial DJ was leaving and absolutely had to leave. I had played on their equipment before so it wasn’t like being thrown to the wolves. I got many many compliments on my music, the blending, etc and I didn’t get to use all the bells and whistles that I was more familiar with my personal gear with. I felt very proud of myself that it IS indeed the musical style and energy you bring to the table, not the gear.
energy is VERY important. And by that I don’t necessarily mean high energy, but more positive and passionate energy.