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New Technology has Nightclub DJs in a Spin

Nightclub DJs are masters of the dance floor. With their characteristic headphones, they spin records and mix tunes, controlling the sound and the vibe in the room.

Nightclub DJs spin records in live settings -- be it at nightclubs, dances, weddings or other events.

When nightclub DJs first started spinning, vinyl records were the format of choice. And they remained so for a long time. Eventually CDs became the popular format, and DJs used a combination of both CDs and records.

Nowadays mp3s are popular. It's not uncommon to see a DJ hunkered down behind a laptop rather than two turntables! The word "mp3J" is even starting to get tossed around.

"Once you could only get vinyl records to DJ with, so everyone was well-versed in the use of turntables," says nightclub DJ Kenzie Clarke.

"But now the vinyl has all but disappeared, and mp3s are the new thing. Whereas before you could wander down to your local record store and search hopefully for that song that you really wanted, now you just have to click a button a few times and it's there. Convenience-wise it's great, but nostalgically speaking, it's not so great."

Evan Bluetech is a popular Hawaiian-based DJ/producer. He also performs under the names Evan Marc and Evan Bartholomew. He agrees that the Internet has made things easier for DJs.

"Especially with DJ-oriented music sites like Beatport, which has made it much easier to find music that fits your style," says Bluetech.

On being a DJ, he says, "I get to tell a story, almost compose a journey in the moment using other pieces of music that have moved me. It's fun, spontaneous and allows a really cool level of interaction with an audience as you see what's working for them."

"I really love music, and listening to it on my own is a huge part of my life," says DJ Hrdvsion (also known as Nathan Jonson to his mom).

"To be able to present music and affect other peoples' lives in doing so is incredible. I can't imagine how my life would be...without music. And to have this possibility of adding this love to someone else's life is infinitely rewarding."

So how do you get started on the journey to becoming a nightclub DJ?

You'll need a great ear for music, as well as a collection of music that expresses your particular vibe, according to Bluetech. "It's easy to play what everyone else is playing," he says. "It's much harder to build a distinctive style, but that is ultimately what will give you longevity in a DJ career."

Before starting out, Clarke suggests taking some lessons or talking with an established DJ. But be sure DJing is something you really want to do, she warns.

The investment in equipment can cost $400 to $1,500, and that's just the beginning, she says. "The costs are quite high to stick with it, and most people who start find that they don't want to do it as much as they first thought. As a sole profession it is very difficult to instantly become the next big thing, but, as with every other profession, persistence, some business savvy and practice will help you move towards your goal faster."

It can be tough to make a go as a DJ, according to Clarke. To get by, many DJs earn extra income elsewhere. "It's such a touch-and-go industry in regards to making money," she says.

"Most people basically just break even. What they pay for their equipment comes back to them eventually. You do see the 'superstar DJ' culture in magazines and on websites, but these people are very few and far between."

Like many professionals in the entertainment industry, nightclub DJs experience ups and downs. There are times when dance clubs are really popular. At other times, economic trends or even changing musical tastes can draw people elsewhere.

Clarke says the popularity of DJing is currently on the upswing, due to the ease at which people can learn to DJ. "Programs such as Traktor or the introduction of the iPod DJ console have brought the living room DJ into the clubs, and have started to let people try out the DJ role for themselves," she says.

But Clarke tries not to pay attention to the changing trends in the industry. "Focusing on the music is the most important thing in order to ride out these changes," she says.

"There will always be parties, clubs and venues where people go to dance, so as long as people like dancing, there is work for a DJ," says Bluetech. "If you are technically proficient, have a great music collection, and most importantly, a gregarious and open personality, then you can be quite successful as a DJ."

However, DJing is just one avenue. Bluetech suggests pursuing the musical expression that suits you best -- whether that's DJing, producing or performing.

"DJs get to be the sound of the party, the ones creating the vibe that everyone else experiences," he says. "It's not a bad job."

There are side benefits to DJing as well, according to Jonson. DJs become part of a community, which builds social skills, he says. DJing also promotes hand-eye coordination and works the brain. "Not to mention, it's just fun to see people dance to the music you love too," he says.


Visit this popular site where DJs can download music

The DJ List
Find a huge directory of DJs from around the world

DJ Times
Read this US-based magazine for professional DJs

Visit Bluetech's website

Learn more about Hrdvision

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