Much can be said and pointed on what makes a great DJ, but once it’s all broken down, it’s the records that make a great DJ.
Sure you need to know how to beat match or press a sync button, and have the basic knowledge that music works in fours and dance in eight fours, which literally anyone can learn. At the heart of it all it’s the records a DJ chooses that makes him great.
The ability to read a crowd and know what record will work in that exact moment in time is what can make a night truly special, or the ability to tell a story with a series of records that moves moods, thoughts and heart rates.
Fatboy Slim: “A good DJ is always looking at the crowd, seeing what they’re like, seeing whether it’s working; communicating with them. Smiling at them. And a bad DJ is always looking down at what they’re doing all the time and just doing their thing that they practiced in their bedroom…”
Knowing what to play when, is art in it’s own. There are different moods and different structures for different time slots. Different feelings, different BPM’s for different events and venues. Being conscious of the DJ that follows you and being able to leave him in a good space to work from, are all factors of record selection.
Paul Van Dyk: “Since the early days of humankind, dancing was always an expression of feeling good, and making someone feel good is the main intention of DJ’ing. I don’t see the point of playing a record that makes people stand there, look at you and say ‘Umm, very interesting'”
We all understand that there needs to be a top 10 chart on all our purchasing websites, but that doesn’t mean all ten need to be played in an hour. A great DJ frequently spends hours searching and educating himself on new upfront music, to share and perform.
An important trait of a great DJ is being a music lover in the essence of the description, once that goes you might as well pack up your headphones. We are all music lovers but a DJ needs to love it a little bit more to educate and entertain the masses.
Sven Väth: ” I think it’s really important that the crowd thinks there is someone up there who’s looking after them. I always like to create a little wave, a journey.”