Has anyone read this? It seems like the sort of thing we should be selling or at least discussing here on Turntabling, since the turntable is still a big part of DJing even if you’re running time code vinyl. Truth be told, I’ve never read The Mobile DJ Handbook, and would be very interested to know what experienced pros think of it before I took the leap. Sure, I could buy a copy and read for myself, but I know SOMEBODY out there has to have picked this up at some point.
What I CAN do is to dispense a bit of advice from my own experiences as a DJ–mobile and otherwise. Thinking about taking the plunge? Read on.
Me personally, I HATED mobile DJing for one simple reason. It wasn’t focused enough. If you want to make it as a mobile DJ, you should probably be willing to do a country set, jazz, whatever Jimbo and his party buds want you to play.
I don’t mind a bit of that, but I prefer to pick a genre or three and specialize in those sounds, catering to people who show up expecting to hear them. A wedding or birthday party can be a real drag because there’s always somebody there who wants you to mix Madonna with Merzbow or isn’t happy until they can do the Humpty Dance AND the Macarena back to back.
Thanks, but no thanks.
If you really don’t mind any of that, I strongly suggest three things. Get a sound system (or plan on renting one) that has the juice to fill the room you’re spinning in. Don’t buy small. Buy larger than you expect to need–you’ll outgrow it soon enough. Skimp on the speaker size and the amp power and you’ll regret it quickly.
Second, use a laptop with a mobile internet connection to download those MP3s you get requests for but don’t own (that moment). Do NOT use MP3s encoded at low bitrates. Get the highest quality you can when you download.
Third–do NOT rely on that laptop to run your whole DJ set. It WILL fail on you, Murphy’s Law insists on that happening. Instead, run your MP3s off DVD or CDrs. Don’t rely on your hard drive, especially around all those lovely magnets in a big sound system. Yeah, running MP3s off disc is a pain in the arse. But you’ll thank me later.
Buy a good mic–a Shure SM57 or 58 should do fine, but make sure you have a feedback killer in your rack just in case.
Finally, a DJ is someone who spins. Don’t sit around NOT spinning when you’re trying to find work. Keep your skills sharp or at least developing. Don’t sit around for two weeks not spinning then try to go out and play a set. Doesn’t help your confidence or your performance at all.
Oh–one last bit of advice. It’s by NO MEANS required or necessary, but if you can get a part time gig at a local radio station spinning, it increases your audience base AND gives you a great networking tool at the same time. Don’t worry about it if you can’t land a radio gig, but it’s a DAMN fine way to get more contacts and boost your street cred specifically as a mobile DJ.