Tuesday, 9 September 2014

How does one become a Disc Jockey

How does one become a DJ?

The most common question that every DJ gets asked all the time is, "How to I become a DJ?"  In my case, I have been spinning the 45s for so many years I have a bit of difficulty remembering. Did I get born playing records? Of course not, although as my love of music emerged when i was only about 10 years old it WAS quite some time ago.

That was late 1963; there was very little music on the radio and maybe I was lucky as my family were pretty poor and we didn't have a television, but night times were spent huddling around my Mum's old Bush listening to Radio Luxembourg. One Saturday morning I went to the Locarno Ballroom in Hull with a friend, where they hd a two hour disc session for kids - I was hooked. It became a major part of my life for the next few years, and eventually I got chance to do a guest DJ spot by one of the DJs, and would help hims sort his records out etc.  By the time I was 12 or so I found that there were all kinds of strange radio stations popping on and off the dial - pirate radio ships, which played my beloved pop and soul music all the time, unlike the BBC which was pretty turgid and boring at the time.

Within a few years I was involved in that world of watery wireless too, but in March 1968 I began playing the records at a local club.  The first one was a tiny little place in Hull called MUSIC BOX. I remember at the time thinking that there was NOTHING more satisfying than someone coming up and saying they enjoyed the music you were playing.  (I don't think I had discovered girls yet, far too busy with the music!)

I had also become quite keen on the technical aspects of audio and music, but especially of radio engineering. I decided that radio and music had to be my future career, though I had no idea how. Radio was simply the BBC, hundreds of miles away from Yorkshire. The pirate radio ships had been put off the air - who could I combine the two? The local college had a large marine radio section, but there were no such thing as grants, so I had to find a job to "work my way" thru college and support myself. Working as a DJ in clubs was THE obvious solution. I had lots of training courtesy of some of the best showmen in the business, in particular other DJs on the Mecca circuit; we were trained and encouraged to be showmen. I even worked on the fairground for a thrilling week, spinning the records on the waltzer, and extolling the girls to scream if they wanted to go faster. I still love to wander the fairground  fifty years later and reminisce about those days but its my only DJ gig to which I would NOT want to ever return!

What I was getting was the hands-on experience of actually DOING the work of a DJ, and the technical knowledge of how a programme was assembled, what was possible, and how to make it sounds as though you knew what you were doing. Later, I was offered my first proper radio gig on Radio Caroline, hosting the breakfast show. I got that simply because I had those important essential ingredients - expertise with equipment, and showmanship, or rather just raw enthusiasm.

And that's the key - get the experience and have more than a modicum of enthusiasm.

The DJ world is much more competitive now and DJs are expected to have many more skills such as mixing, scratching and Beat Matching, none of which were even possible with the primitive equipment we had in the 60s. To get the skills is important and one source I would recommend is the course run by How to DJ Fast.  
You can go from being a beginner to mixing like a pro, impressing your friends and packing the dance floor in just two weeks!
Click that link to take a look, and you could be DJing yourself REALLY SOON. All the instruction is done by video, so you can work so the course work in the comfort of your own home. There's a money back guarantee, and you could start in the next ten minutes, wherever you are, no matter what the time is. 

Getting a break into radio is now so much easier nope that there are around 600 radio stations in the UK alone, although few of them want real DJs these days at all. I will look at how to get a break into radio in a future blog; I'm going to to try and talk someone else to write that article if I can!