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Starters For 10


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#1 CAMF111

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 01:26 PM

Hi there, So if you read my introduction I said i was interested in becoming starting my own Mobile Disco down the Line. I had a few questions some of which may seem obvious and some probably aren't really that important but here goes.

Is is thought of as a requirement to be able to club style DJ? eg. beatmixing

Do you prefer CD's or MP3's? I think I was leaning slightly to CD in terms of quality but I want to know your opinions

How much of a night do you plan? DO you know exactly what you are going to play and when, do you know only the Hosts requests, or do you make it all up on the fly?

The songs you think are going to get the biggest reaction or are the most popular, do you play them near the start or near the end?

Is it better to finish fast or slow?

If god forbid the System goes wrong and stops playing, what you tell the 'crowd' over the mic?

what is the average price for a midrange setup + a decent CD collection?

and finally...

What do you ware behind the decks? Smart, Smart Causal etc?

Sorry for the large volume of questions and I know from reading through this form thaat a lot of you will have devided opinions but just your thought would be good.
Just treading water... on the possible path to becoming a mobile DJ
Currently studying Radio/TV in Aberdeen
Wave Hospital and Community Radio Show Friday 7-9pm http://waveonline.org.uk

#2 McCardle

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 09:09 PM

Hi, its quiet on here these days so i'll try and answer your questions based on my own personal experiences.

QUOTE
Is is thought of as a requirement to be able to club style DJ? eg beatmixing


Very little, if any, is required for general mobile work. You'll find most guests at Weddings and 50th Birthdays are indifferent to whether you are mixing or not and given most genres of music played at family type functions it would be overkill or hard to beatmix anyway!. At 'formal' functions such as Weddings, black tie dinner dances, corporate events, masonic functions etc, the ability to use a microphone clearly and confidently will be far more important to you than your mixing ability. Generally being able to accurately and correctly mix two similar tracks one after the other commercial radio style with no gaps, is about as much skill as you'll need in this respect, unless you are booked to do dedicated club work.

QUOTE
Do you prefer CD's or MP3's? I think I was leaning slightly to CD in terms of quality but I want to know your opinions


Personal choice really, some prefer MP3's for the ability to locate and cue one track amongst 10,000's or 100,000's of tracks in seconds by using the combination of pro DJ software and MP3's rank highly in their overall decision to use MP3's. These days, music can be bought as professional downloads which are often CD quality anyway, and if you can spend time ripping existing CD's at high bit-rates into Mp3 or other higher quality file formats then it really isn't an issue. To be honest, unless you have a club quality sound system costing 1000's, most clients in a village hall, played over an average DJ quality PA system won't be able to tell any difference between CD's and MP3's ripped at 320kbps. Just don't use anything less than 192kbps!.

QUOTE
How much of a night do you plan? DO you know exactly what you are going to play and when, do you know only the Hosts requests, or do you make it all up on the fly?


Depends on the function. Most DJ's will invite their clients to supply a playlist containing 25 - 50 tracks at the time of booking, its also a good idea to get professionally printed request slips to put on the bar / on tables before the function to (a) Promote your business and (b) give the clients guests the ability to make requests during the function. Printed pens are also an option, but it depends on what your budget is!.

At family functions with mixed age groups, Dj's generally have a list of ex chart tracks and cheesy tunes accrued from the last five decades which always tend to work well and fill dancefloors at all but the most difficult of functions!!. To get an idea of what these are, search the forum for 'playlist' and 'wedding playlist' as these will generally cover the 'must plays' and give you a reasonable list of what will work at virtually any mobile Dj based event.

QUOTE
The songs you think are going to get the biggest reaction or are the most popular, do you play them near the start or near the end?


If its a Wedding, generally I start to work my way through them after the Bride and Grooms first dance, the very early part of the evening, whilst guests are still arriving quiet background music or some low key chart tracks are a good idea, as its pointless to waste your best tracks when only 50% of the guests have arrived and people are still mingling and catching up with friends and family. In my experience, very few functions rarely get going until after the B&G's first dance, or the buffet.

QUOTE
Is it better to finish fast or slow?


Depends entirely on the age group and function. You may want to finish with some classic or modern slow track, or you may want to fill the floor for the finale' with something that everybody can get up and join in with, like You'll never walk alone or New York - New York if in doubt be guided by how busy your dancefloor is during the last 15 minutes, how upbeat, music wise, the evening has been generally, and how many people are still there. At Weddings, the B&G may also want to request a track to finish with.

QUOTE
If god forbid the System goes wrong and stops playing, what you tell the 'crowd' over the mic?


If you unlucky enough to suffer total failure such as a fuse blowing or an Amplifier Failure, you won't have any mic to use biggrin.gif so always carry basic back up equipment (Mixer, Amplifier, Mic) to change out if required, as well as spares such as fuses, extension leads, mains power leads, bulbs etc and know how to do very basic electrics like changing a fuse or bulb. The Most embarrassing / minor things like a track stopping midway or skipping / stuttering to be counteracted by always having a back up track cued on a device using another mixer channel. For example, its a good idea and practice to have a third means of playback cued throughout the night, ready to hit 'play' should any of the two main players screw up. Then you wont have to say anything, just fade the problem track out, and hit play on your back up player, whilst you sort out the problem. To make occasional mistakes is human and happens to everyone now and again, don't dwell on it or lose any sleep over it and unless its a long 'outage' its pointless to draw more attention to it or feel like you have to give an explanation kid.gif

QUOTE
what is the average price for a midrange setup + a decent CD collection?


Again depends on what you need, but avoid the very cheap end of the market equipment wise, and at the start you should always be putting the majority of your budget towards a decent sound system because that forms both your first and lasting impression for the entire duration of the function. I would expect to pay around 400 for the nuts and bolts of your sound system (Mixer, CD Player / Laptop and DJ Software) plus around 600 for a decent set of Active Speakers. so thats 1000. You may also want to get a reasonable Radio Mic system, which can be bought for around 100. If you buy new, then shop around for the best deals and be prepared to haggle if you are buying more than one item from the same place.

Why Buy New also often have some really good deals.

You can mitigate some of this cost by buying decent second hand equipment on Ebay, often you will find good quality equipment being sold as a package by retiring DJ's and looked after second hand branded equipment is much better than brand new budget brands, provided its not ex-hire or damaged by falling out of the back of a van - literally!.

You can find a lot of older music compilations (50's / 60's / 70's / 80's / motown) on Amazon and Ebay in the form of Double CD's and Box Sets and this is often cheaper than buying "Dedicated DJ" collections from Mastermix (which tends to work out more expensive on a per track basis than consumer music CD's rolleyes.gif ) . That said, purchasing several Mastermix CD's can be handy for music which has now been deleted or for building up your party music collection - some of their 'classic cuts' CD's are a good place to start, but don't spend a fortune, as a lot of stuff can be bought cheaper elsewhere. Again refer to the many playlist examples given by other DJ's here to see the tracks you need to prioritise!.

Don't forget to also budget for the less glamorous and pleasant side of running a business, advertising, insurance, pat testing and any licenses. You'll also need to run a vehicle and tell your motor insurer that you are a DJ and using your car / van for entertainment activities, something which generally trebles or quadruples most standard premiums fright.gif . Depending on any existing income, you may need to pay tax and national insurance as I guess you are over 16, and even if not liable for tax currently you will still need to keep basic business accounts of your income & expenditure. But this sounds more frightening than it actually is.

The other factor you need to consider is the price you are charging for bookings, and this is the question which gets a lot of DJ's fighting amongst themselves, one DJ will tell you that you are under charging if you charge less than 600 a night, whilst others operate profitably and quietly at 150 a night whilst still paying the bills!. In short there is no one right answer, just the one which suits you and your own business plan. It also varies across the Country depending on local living costs, and its likely that a Dj operating in London with high parking / congestion charges and higher rent and longer traveling times (traffic) will have higher overheads than a similar DJ working in the middle of Wales or Scotland. Either way, make sure that whatever you charge covers the costs of the above list of business expenses and liabilities, and also gives you a profit!.

QUOTE
What do you ware behind the decks? Smart, Smart Causal etc?


My Own 'dress code'......

Black Tie, Dinner Jacket etc for Black Tie Events
Jacket / Tie / Suit for Weddings
Smart Trousers and Personalised polo shirt with company name for Pubs and General Family Events
Jeans & Personalised Polo shirt for Under 16's events, Schools etc

Edited by McCardle, 26 December 2013 - 09:52 PM.

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"

'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

#3 CAMF111

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:43 PM

Thanks for the speedy and informative reply. a lot of it sounds like personal preference and optional ditties.
I would like to learn to Club beatmix but I don't really have the time or resources yet and im not really that into modern house/techno/dubstep etc.
It seems a shame that this forum is going quite but never mind. Do you recommend being a mobile DJ as a career or is it something better left as a hobby.
Just treading water... on the possible path to becoming a mobile DJ
Currently studying Radio/TV in Aberdeen
Wave Hospital and Community Radio Show Friday 7-9pm http://waveonline.org.uk

#4 McCardle

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 11:39 AM

QUOTE
Do you recommend being a mobile DJ as a career or is it something better left as a hobby.


I do know a few DJ's who do this for a living, however they tend to be the more established ones, who have been in business for 20 or 30 years. Starting any business and becoming self employed at the moment is extremely hard, especially anything to do with Entertainment. I think its fair to say that I know more DJ's who do this line of work on a part time basis, rather than as their sole form of income.

What is the first thing which the public cut back on when times are hard? - their spending on entertainment!. They go out less, they may put off getting married for longer and they tend to spend less on planning parties, probably choosing to go out for a quiet family meal to celebrate a birthday, rather than go to the expense of hiring a hall, caterers, DJ etc. Many pubs in a lot of areas are closing down or are up for sale, often meaning that previously pub based resident Dj's are now going mobile too, I think that in a lot of areas there are more DJ's than ever, all chasing the same limited number of bookings.

Club Work is steady and often reasonably well paid, but notoriously difficult to get into, even more so than mobile. Clubs often get hundreds of letters every year from people all wanting to work there so you need to have skills to stand out from the rest just to get listened to, plus more often than not you need a keen interest in the music you are likely to play because you are also going to be listening to it several hours per day in your own time, just to learn how to beat mix in order to get to a professional level. It also has a relatively short life span, after all, how many famous club DJ's are there who are still working into their 50's and 60's?, and you are still going to need to earn a living when you reach that age, so once again even if you do decide to make a go of it, don't make it your sole skill or occupation, and certainly don't give up college in order to follow it, because the more qualifications you can get, the more opportunities you will have.

So my advice to anybody would be, to get a profession / career with qualifications behind them first, and then follow any dreams of Mobile or Club DJ'ing, so if it doesn't work out, or they change their mind later on, there is always something to fall back on. Its pretty typical to do this in this industry, I know a presenter currently on BBC Radio York, who is actually a qualified teacher, and throughout his working life he has switched between Teaching and radio work several times.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with working part time as a DJ whilst following / studying for a different or similar career, provided you can juggle the two, but of course you will need to decide which area of DJ'ing you want to try for first, because they all require a lot of dedication and time.

From your first introduction post, and reading it as a complete outsider, I guess your own personal interest in music would perhaps make you more focused on Mobile work, I see that you also do some Radio work already, so you are no stranger to using a mic, which again is a skill which would be beneficial for Mobile work.

What exactly are you studying at college and what line of Tv / radio work are you aiming for afterwards?

Edited by McCardle, 27 December 2013 - 12:07 PM.

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"

'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

#5 CAMF111

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:56 PM

QUOTE(McCardle @ Dec 27 2013, 11:39 AM) View Post

I do know a...
...are you aiming for afterwards?


Your right mobile Djing does sound a better path. Currently I am in a one year course, that covers basics for TV producton and pesenting and radio production and presenting. With the option of going into a deciated TV or Radio course the year after. After that it is most likely finding employment.

Thanks again for answering all my questions.

- Cameron

Just treading water... on the possible path to becoming a mobile DJ
Currently studying Radio/TV in Aberdeen
Wave Hospital and Community Radio Show Friday 7-9pm http://waveonline.org.uk

#6 DJTREV

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:26 AM

That reply doesn't come any better than that.Very informative and reasoned.Should be 'pinned'.I think that's what the saying is!!


This is not a rehearsal
This is it - grab it while you can.




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