10 Tips for New DJs

turntables2 10 Tips for New DJs

If anyone can tell you how to make a decent living as a DJ, it’s me.  I make a good living off of music.  I’ve been around for 15 years, and really honed down on my craft in that time.  My sets are damn near flawless, and the scene understands my consistency.  I can talk tough because I know I'm good.

But I’ve had pitfalls.  Hit road bumps.  And made TONS of mistakes.  Little things that you don’t anticipate can really fuck up a great opportunity.  You can practice at home on your controller all you want, but it’s a different game when a drink spills on your setup.  A shitty promoter decides that they didn’t make enough money to pay you.  Or people make horrible requests. 

My suggestion to anyone that wants to play or make music as their full time gig is “YOU WON'T SUCCEED AT PLAYING OR MAKING MUSIC AS YOUR FULL TIME GIG."  There is a 99% chance that you aren’t built for success in this life.  It’s quite possibly the hardest industry to stand out in, and now that music and hardware is within the reach of anyone that wants to throw their cards in, it’ll be that much more difficult for you. 

I’ve been grinding for years, and only recently started to get consistent bookings at my asking price.  If you’re doing this as a hobby, cool.  Leave me alone.  I’m in a different lane.  But there are people that want to give music a real shot.  Here’s a quick guide to getting started.

Click to start the list
  • Dylan

    good article, but i think you failed to mention the need to have a giant ego.

    • carmensdjservice

      Agreed, funny thing is that I have been in this culture for 20 years and yet have never heard of you?? So what exactly makes you the authority on this? It is definitely cool to share your thoughts on the matter but I think the “I’m greater than you” attitude that is so prevalent in your writing needs to be checked. One of the biggest reasons DJs fail? Their egos.

      • http://twitter.com/djnappy Trap Lord

        with all due respect, aren’t you running a wedding DJ service? that’s not my culture.

        • carmensdjservice

          Dude, I started spinning hip hop and house in 1992 and submerged myself fully into the rave culture around 1994. Yes I DJ weddings and whatever events come my way because the money is good, I also spend enough time keeping up with whatever music is out there…which is probably why I am commenting on a site like this. You say with all due respect but your arrogance just shines right through. All the best to you and your career but you should seriously check your ego. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so….

    • http://www.facebook.com/kilmamusic Kilma Music


  • gohomeguetta

    who the fuck do you think you are. No ones sets are ‘damn near flawless’ and any Dj with that attitude clearly isnt constantly self criticising and comparing themselves against others. That is what makes you a good Dj.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=769574186 Dave Dettloff Jr.

    Lol, how much did this douche pay you guys for a guest post?

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.woods.144 Andrew Woods

    This dude needs to focus on work/life balance, you shouldn’t have to sell your soul to music to find joy and success with music.

  • Guest


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  • DJ Knight

    I’ve been making a dam good living from DJing for 25 years it’s not how flawless your mixing is that is important it’s how good you are at reading the crowd, playing what the crowd want to hear not what you think they want to hear. and being able to get a really unresponsive crowd going is a skill in it’s self

  • http://sureshotnyc.com/ Jay

    Good tips. The TV part is true. I only watch sports (with my laptop on my lap the entire time listening to music and emailing/skyping/IMing)

  • Ed

    Yo, I think dis guy is ON the dope.

  • Andrew

    Ironically you make a couple good points but the hubris here makes it really hard to take you seriously. The whole writing style makes you come off less as someone who is confident in his abilities and more as an insecure person, trying to achieve some personal validation through self-hype.

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

      lol say what now

  • Substant

    What an arrogant fucker

  • Paprika

    Who are you(your name)????

  • Joe

    Bunch of low life bedroom DJs commenting on this guys hard work. This guys is being being truthful about the industry. Just take the advice.

  • Jfilipow

    Really nice article.. Great job keeping it real, and appreciate your forward approach. As a professional guitar player with years or full time experience, I know it is good to be honest about your abilities..

  • suckadicknappy

    What a douche, fuck you and your “99%” aren’t built for success attitude. If you are so great and integral to the rise of different genres of music, etc. etc. why haven’t I heard about you?

    Shit article.

  • suckadicknappy

    What a douche, fuck you and your “99%” aren’t built for success attitude. If you are so great and integral to the rise of different genres of music, etc. etc. why haven’t I heard about you?

    Shit article.

  • CK

    What’s your dj name then? Loco Dice?

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  • James_H

    Nappy, you should be ashamed of yourself. Reading this article leaves me only thinking that you have become so wrapped up and indulged in your self proclaimed ‘fame’ that you have lost the memory of what it was like to be an aspiring DJ with a dream of one day becoming a successful professional. I personally feel that this is the equivalent of me asking a more experienced DJ than myself for some advice and you turn around and palming me right in the face. Although I understand your attempt at trying to keep things at a realistic viewpoint I don’t feel that this article offers any advice at all to the aspiring DJ, instead I feel it is more an effort to discourage them from living their dreams. I mean imagine when you were just starting out and asking for some advice from a professional and getting the following answer back; “YOU WON’T SUCCEED AT PLAYING OR MAKING MUSIC AS YOUR FULL TIME GIG.” how would you react to that?

    For any body out there that wants genuinely helpful advice on DJing check out ellaskins videos on YouTube. Above all else do not be discouraged by this self-obsessed, egotistical ‘professional’

  • Erik Airrik Dale

    Woah why did every tip start with ‘I’ or ‘I’m.’ ‘You’ seem a little bit self righteous to be writing this article

  • NappyNeedsChanged?

    What a cock. Clearly worried about who’s coming up behind you. Here’s a tip for you…there will always, always, always be a kid who’s younger, better and has hotter chicks than you. Through my experience (significantly greater than yours I may add) I’ve learned that you have to endear yourself to people in order to maintain longevity- that’s pretty much the same advice if you’re a DJ, a guitarist or a pizza dough maker. Take a serious look at yourself ‘nappy’…what a shit DJ name…literally in the UK

  • DJ AKB

    You forgot one very important fact…your career..ability…and success lie in gods hands. Humble yourself and as a professional encourage others despite the road ahead. Your thoughts and experiences may have some truth but I was looking for advice. After reading your article I have decided to not search the Internet for advice at all. I will instead do what I love and see where the road leads. It seems jealousy, negativity and very narrow thoughts exist all over. How sad to see a fellow DJ express himself in this fashion. Here is my quote….never quit..follow your dreams..don’t take no for an answer…..never give up. Put god first!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kilmamusic Kilma Music

    Wow, that is quit the “confident” opening statement. Which is my nice way of saying… you may better attract bee’s with honey. Good luck ;)

  • hahahaha

    is this an autobiography of a conceited douche …..?

  • ryan

    lol shut the fuck up

  • Mitchy

    This guy thinks he’s the king, it’s hilarious… Who the hell is he anyway? Hahaha

    Most of the ‘advice’ he gave wasn’t even advice anyway, was just him subtlety bragging about how great he is when he’s a Dubstep and rap DJ. Lmao.

  • DJ AbsOfSteel

    Was the name of this article ’10 Tips for new DJ’s’ or ’10 tips for people that want to have so much pride they can’t see past their noses to read a crowd’?

  • Kraid

    Stop talking about “the industry”. Fuck the industry. The industry doesn’t have power anymore. It’s the time of the artist now and I’ll never play trash music I don’t give a shit how popular it is.

  • Paul Van Dyk

    lol “My music collection is shitting on yours” Really? Your 3 compilation CD’s and 1tb hard drive don’t count as a massive music collection fucktard. My 1100 vinyls are shitting on yours though. You’re a failed idiot that nobody knows about and you try too hard to be someone. Go buy some fake likes for your facebook page and pretend you’re good.

  • nancyedward

    I’m a beginner, just got my software today…hopefully I get to practice with friend’s house parties and thanks for share this post it’s helpful!
    Adelaide DJ for Weddings