DJ Tips Part Two | Collect and Select

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget the way you made them feel.”

– Maya Angelou

vinyl-1849717_640

Octoblues festival in Germany holds a special place in my heart as a warm and inclusive blues event, and I love that I’m a regular part of it.

This year Katrin and Jered’s vision for the event was to create a journey through the history of blues dance and music. As part of that I was given a chance to teach a class on DJing. It’s one of my favourite topics but I don’t get to talk about it too often. I wasn’t sure how much of an audience there would be, but I was excited to find out!

About twenty people gathered in the café bar with me on Sunday afternoon. I had a cup of tea and shared my thoughts on how to collect, organise and play a personal and authentic collection of music.

I wasn’t sure how it was coming across, but was happy to have lots of questions, so I thought it went well.

Later that evening someone told me they really enjoyed my talk, because I was clearly serious about music, DJing and teaching! That made me laugh!

When a complete stranger takes some time to say something like that, it means a lot, and I’m still smiling in recollection.

Here are my notes from the session. I hope you find them interesting.

Continue reading

DJ Tips Part One | The Journey

“Your job starts in the record store, not on the decks. Your worth as a DJ begins and ends with what’s on your shelves and in your bag. For every hour on the deck, a good DJ spends days, months and years picking out tunes and learning about music.”

– Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster

f27978e7a1c6512a55b811d6100cf75e

My first DJ set was less of a set and more of a playlist and I was absolutely terrified. Lucky for me it got people dancing with a smile on their face and sent me home with one too.

From that day I knew I was on a journey. I wasn’t entirely sure of my destination but that didn’t matter. I set off without a map but trusted the universe to send me guides and sign-posts whenever I needed them.

Continue reading

DJ Notes | Old, new, borrowed & blue

IMG_3760

EBI 2015, Sunday Night Party

One of my favourite ways to spend an evening is to lay on my sofa listening to music and tidying up my song library. (That’s pretty much what I’m doing right now, truth be told.)

I often listen back over my recent sets and think about what went well (and what didn’t go so well). I might make a note of something I want to remember.

Today, while I was listening, a traditional English saying relating to a marriage custom came to mind:

’Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.

(A bride that wears something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on her wedding day will find good fortune, or so the saying goes.)

I like this saying and found myself thinking that it could be used to describe the way I select my music when I’m DJing. (Maybe it brings me good luck too.)

Continue reading