Three things that every DJ should be doing to make the most out of this quarantine.
From everyone at Rock and Soul, we hope you are staying safe during these scary times. Due to this quarantine, we all have some extra time on our hands, and there’s no better way to spend your time then to work on your DJing.
Increase focus on online networking
Now is a great time to focus on networking, particularly when it comes to your social media presence. With people not being able to go outside, everyone is moving to social media to get their socialization fix. This means that now is the perfect to ramp up your social media activity since more people are going to see it. Below are some important tips to keep in mind when networking.
Keep posts positive - People are going to social media for a distraction for the outside world, not a reminder on of the bad things that are happening. Keeping posts positive and light hearted gives them this distraction and encourages them to keep an eye out for your posts.
Go live - With everyone working from home, people aren’t scared to be on social media during work hours. This means they are more likely to check out when you go live. Use this opportunity to go live and show off your mixes. Be the soundtrack to their at home work day.
Find like-minded people - If there is ever a time to join a DJ related Facebook group or start following and interacting with a hashtag, it is now. A lot more people are going to be online then usual which will lead to increased activity in these types of spaces. Use this opportunity to get your name out there and connect with people within the industry by engaging with them on social media, sending love for their work and asking for feedback.
Use a call to action - Studies show that telling people to do something increases the chances of them doing it and therefore supporting you. It is important to tell people check out your new mix not just post a link to the mix. The more call to actions you use, the more likely they’ll do the desired call to action, which increase the chances of them becoming a fan.
Experiment with MIDI controllers
Although purely using a MIDI controller during your DJ set is a herculean task, incorporating a MIDI controller into your rig is a simple way to add an extra layer flavor to your DJ sets. Whether you are going with a keyboard or a drum pad, you must make sure the that the MIDI you’re buying it compatible with your DJ software and with your rig. Once you’ve found a suitable controller, it is time to begin to elevate your DJ sets. Below are some different ways you can use a MIDI controller in your sets.
Adding a harmony or melody - If you know your way around a keyboard, then adding a harmonies or melodies to your sets will make your DJing stand out from the rest of the pack.
Adding basslines - Like the previous point, this is something best reserved for those who know their way around a keyboard and know a bit of music theory. Aside from being a way to stand out, adding basslines are a great way to fill in drum transitions.
MIDI as a Sampler - You can setup your MIDI controller to player samples at the push of a button or press of a key. This can a great way to incorporate original as well as well-known samples or sound effects into your mix.
Personalized controls - Mapping out your MIDI controller to control the effects that you use in you sets is a powerful way to streamline your work flow. Having a dedicated button for things like high and lowpass filters is a massive improvement over having to turn knobs for these effects.
For those looking for a MIDI controller to add to their rig, Rock and Soul has you covered. We have a wide variety of MIDI controllers, from drum pads to keyboards and everything in between, available at Rockandsoul.com. These MIDI controllers cover all price points, so whether this is your first time using a MIDI controller, or you’re looking for a new controller to bring your rig to the next level, you’ll find what you need at Rockandsoul.com.
Brush up on your music theory
Now we’re not saying that you need to and delve into the intricacies of music theory, but it helps to know the basics of music theory as a DJ, as the more music theory you know, the less you must rely on your DJ software when creating mixes. On top of this, a deeper knowledge of music theory opens the door to incorporating unexpected and unusual songs into your mix, further separating you from the pack as a DJ. There are 3 great places to start when learning music theory as a DJ.
The Chromatic Scale – Although other scales exist, the chromatic scale is the one used in western music so it is best to get accustomed to it. It consists of 12 notes that all correspond to the keys on a piano as shown in the image below. It is important to understand the chromatic scale since these notes along with the song key provide a road map for the song.
Keys and Scales– The 2 most popular keys in music are the major and minor key. Major keys are often used in uplifting and happy songs while minor keys are used in somber and serious songs. Knowing the key of a song is the first step to knowing what notes are used in the song, which is easy to figure out once you understand whole steps and a half steps. A whole step is when you go up or down two keys on the keyboard for example C to D, E to F♯, and C to B♭. A half step is when you go up or down one key on the keyboard for example C to C♯, F to E, and B♭ to B. Both major and minor keys have a pattern of whole steps and half steps you can use to find the notes used in them (W = Whole Step and H = Half Step). Major Scales use the pattern W, W, H, W, W, W, H while minor Scale use the pattern W, H, W, W, H, W, W. Using these patterns, a C major scale would use the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C while a C minor scale use the notes C, D, E♭, F, G, A♭, B♭. Last thing to mention about keys is that every major key has a minor key that uses the same notes as them and vise versa. For example the A minor scale uses the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, which are the same notes as the C Major scale. When this happens, the two keys are called a relative minors/majors.
Harmonic Mixing – Now that you understand notes, keys and scales, you can use them to your advantage when mixing in your DJ sets. This is where the clock-based Camelot system comes in. The Camelot system is a system that aids DJs in choosing which songs to mix together without having the mix be to jarring. The system works by first starting with in one key, and then mixing a song of the same key, going up or down an hour or going to the relative minor/major. For example, if I started at 8B, I could mix songs that are in 7B, 8B, 9B or 8A. If I started in 8A I would be able to mix song in 7A, 8A, 9A or 8B. Using this system allows you to creatively mix songs without worry that they will sound out of tune with each other.
Why it works – This system works because the keys always have similar or the same exact notes in them. 8B and 8A (C major and A minor) are relative minors/majors and share the same notes, as shown above. 7B (F major) contains the notes F, G, A, B♭, C, D, and E while 9B (G major) contains the notes G, A, B, C, D, E, and F♯. Both 7B and 9B have only one note that is different from 8B, which allows them to mix into each other seamlessly.