First of all, let’s distinguish between a DJ and a producer. A DJ is someone playing music (usually in a nightclub, but can also be playing at parties or in general) and the producer is someone who makes music.
So we’re going to talk about how to become a DJ, as this will help you understand what it takes to actually produce your own tracks.
Steps to follow for becoming a DJ/producer:
- Get the tools and mess around with them: it’s OK to get a demo version of FL Studio, or a DAW used by other producers and hear how they work.
- Get the equipment: you’ll need a pair of headphones for monitoring, (we’ll get to that later). you’ll also need some speakers, likely two (again, we’ll get to this later)
- Identify your preferred genre of music: listen to a lot of music, identify what you like and dislike about the music you’re listening to (don’t just listen to EDM, for instance). Once you’ve identified an area that interests you, find out how other people make tracks in that area: find tutorials on the internet and how other producers work.
- Make something from start to finish: get a track together, write down the steps you took and try to recreate them. Make sure you write all the work down so you have a record of what you did and where you got stuck (it helps when later on, if things aren’t working, to be able to go back and see what specific step it was that lead to the problem).
- Play as many gigs as you can: this is one of the most important steps in learning how to become a DJ. Go out and play in clubs and venues – learn how people respond to the music that’s played. And make sure that your set is entertaining: people want entertainment, not just yet another song they’ve heard ten times before.
- Now try to get formation, tutorials, and educate yourself to get better on things we aren’t that secure yet. There’s plenty of information online these days, but it’s important to select the correct one, as there are more than a million out there, and each is correct only in context.
- Once you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, and your music has evolved to the point where you’re happy with it make your tracks public: that’s what the internet is for! (and why we want to be DJ/producers).
- In the end, it might come all to this single step! If you’re serious about being a DJ, practice practice practice: the more you play, the better you’ll get.
- Think beyond music: if you can’t get a gig, then make your own web radio show and put it on the internet so that people can hear you play. It’s all about getting exposure!
- Stay up to date: remember that technology is always changing, and the music scene changes constantly as well. Don’t get stuck in a rut: stay up-to-date with what’s new happening in the industry, or risk being left behind.
- Learn how to use your digital audio workstation (DAW): a very important piece of the puzzle, as without it you can’t actually make music.
After you’ve completed all the steps above, you can start to think about your branding. This itself, is worth another complete list of steps, but for summarizing it’s important to say that if you can’t stand out from the crowd, why would people pay you attention?
And by the way, there is still no app for this. All of the skills you need are not going to come from a piece of software. You have to do it all yourself.
As we said before, there is no shortcut: unless you’re extremely lucky and get directly sponsored by someone with a large enough platform to get your music played (which is extremely unlikely) you’ll need some serious work and dedication in order to achieve success as professional DJ/producer.