International Artists Reveal The Art & Science of Being a DJ
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While mixing tracks or creating one might look like the easiest job to many, this is no duck soup. Becoming a DJ is beyond one’s passion for music. It’s about making music essential for life. So to all those who aim to be a part of this exciting profession, get ready for the battle of originality. The ocean is deep and you need to taste the water before you jump into it. To understand the journey, Entrepreneur India got in a conversation with international artists at Sunburn Festival Goa 2020, who present you with a 101 guide to be a DJ.
Fail all the time but keep going. Try lots of different genres. Copy other artists and figure out how they do what they do. Once you copy them, you’ll be able to find your sound. Do your research and find out what fits your vibe. Put a lot of time into producing it at the end of the day — these are only a few words of wisdom by Fedde Le Grand, a Dutch house DJ, record producer and remixer. The passion to hear, see and learn can map your way to being a great artist.
Belgian DJ and record producer, Felix De Laet aka Lost Frequencies from his experience explains, “I try to be open-minded to learn new ideas and towards different kinds of people or coaches and their music. Just try to stay up to date with what’s going on. And originality is a must. Most importantly, try to be positive and be inspired by other upcoming artists and perhaps see how they did it and be motivated.
Being an independent artist has its perks but with that comes the responsibility of being a wise business mind. Five-time DJ Awards winner, Chilean-Swiss DJ Luciano believes one can create a business based on passion, not just thoughts. And when your name becomes business, surround yourself with great minds.
“It’s like virus you will create through time, something viral. When you feel the music and perceive something deep that can contaminate people, you can dominate people. I did it for 25 years, travelling around the globe. If you put 2,000 people dying at an entrance, that’s a business. That’s when you have to surround yourself with great people. Hire someone who takes care of the accounting and other daily deals when you are producing and creating music,” he says.
Australian record producer, music programmer and DJ, Harley Edward Streten, known professionally as Flume whose has topped the ARIA Albums Chart suggests, “Read the contract. Know who’s taking what. It’s important to know where your money is going. I particularly have not always been on top of it. But the longer I’m in this business, the more I realize how important it is to be aware of what’s going on. Also, everything’s negotiable.”
Lastly, once you start performing, real money will follow and that’s when you need three most important things. “Get a good lawyer, an accountant and then you can do whatever you want. This is very important to have a good word. I think it’s very important to have a good accountant. Think wisely because the moment you start making money, a lot of people just get carried away and that’s where you also need a good partner to help your business,” advises Teri Miko who is known for her high energetic DJ sets and performances.
Own Your Masters
When you are the creator, why let the moolah overpower? “Most artists give up their masters’ labels in exchange for an upfront paycheck. Masters eventually, like a fixed deposit will keep making you money,” according to Anish Sood, Indian music producer, songwriter and DJ. When fame catches up, the flow of money comes in. However, it does dry up what many artists fail to realize.
“There are times where you will need to reinvest back in your career to reinvent it. So treat it like a business. A business person would invest back. Spend money on yourself, improve your technical abilities, improve your collaborations and work on yourself,” he adds.
Be Obsessed! It’s a Long Process
Unless you haven’t failed three-four times, you can’t hit success. While many might disagree, Cuban-American DJ Maceo Plex believes that’s the route. “Be obsessed first! If you’re really obsessed, it’s not just for fun or impressing others. You can’t sleep at night. Quit three or more times and come back. Be mad because you didn’t get a gig and someone else did. But then it will happen. It’s a long process but it works,” he says.
The profession of being a DJ certainly looks glamorous but requires you to be grounded and understand the essence of the unsaid musical world. If you can manage that, you won’t just rule the charts but also rave the industry.