DJing – The art of telling stories through music
So far, this blog has given me many different opportunities. Researching about new topics, learning about cities and human beings, promoting local talent… But today, I get to talk about one of my main passions. For those who don’t know me, you should be aware that I am absolutely obsessed with music. When I’m not busy with school or cooking, I’m spending hours and hours digging for music on the internet or in Montreal’s record stores. I then proceed to use this music to create DJ-sets, which take the shape of long mixes, live performances or radio shows. Today, we’re talking about this art form, which, although very popular, still remains mysterious to some people.
Travelling through genres
As opposed to what many people think, a DJ is not some obscure guy pushing buttons behind weird machines to make people jump during a party. There’s actually a huge amount of time that is dedicated to research. I like to consider DJs as tastemakers and storytellers. We showcase our unique identity through the musical gems we find.
What I think is particularly interesting is how diverse one’s musical taste can be. In my sets, I try to be as eclectic as possible. My goal is to tell stories by bridging gaps between genres, making the listeners travel through various musical styles, while still keeping a coherent vibe.
In today’s world, flooded with TikTok videos and the same songs on the radio all the time, it may be hard to find exciting and original music, both old and new. Luckily, there exists a ton of great resources to discover fantastic unknown gems. Of course, there are many YouTube channels and online radio stations streaming great alternative music. But some initiatives push it further. For instance, this is the case for Music Is My Sanctuary, a Montreal-based website and collective promoting diverse musical discovery through articles, radio shows and events. Your new favourite artists and DJs may well be at your fingertips, so start exploring!
Sharing music with people
The other part of DJing (and perhaps the most important) is the emotional bond that the DJ creates with its audience. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the pandemic, venues are still shut down in most countries, making it very difficult for parties and musical events to occur.
In normal times though, a proper DJ set allows people to forget about their problems and fully immerse themselves in a musical universe. Great events and parties are almost a religious experience in which people congregate around the music. The DJ thus has the heavy responsibility of providing the soundtrack to people’s emotions by playing with tempo, melodies and moods. DJing involves a lot of psychology and empathy, as it is important to know how to read a room and react accordingly to the crowd’s reactions. A quote I really like, which illustrates that concept perfectly, is the following. “A good DJ plays a track you want to hear. A great DJ plays a track you didn’t even know you wanted to hear”.
Timing is thus absolutely essential and requires experience. If you manage to drop the right tune in the right context, a very special feeling occurs. This very moment is really addictive, both to DJs and music lovers attending the party. This obviously takes time and it is important to know how to build a DJ set to get people into the right groove.
Join the club – Start to learn the fundamentals of DJing!
You didn’t think I would just brag about my passion for a full article without giving you the opportunity to give it a try, did you? As mentioned earlier, DJing requires a lot of practice and experience. If you’d like to give it a shot, you might find the solution on Experimnt!
We teamed up with DJ and Soundmotion label head Alexis Anzieu to share a new experience on our platform. It’s called “Train your DJ skills“! Thanks to his expertise, you’ll get to learn fundamental techniques on professional equipment to help you get started. After learning the basic functionalities of digital turntables and mixers, Alexis will assist you in the recording of your very first DJ set. It’s truly a fantastic opportunity if you’re interested in DJing but don’t know where to start!
Did you learn a thing or two about DJing thanks to this article? Do you perhaps have favourite local or international DJs? Let’s push the discussion further in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org!