The Secret DJ: "A proper DJ selects well and mixes well" – Mixmag

You know how you know you’re a DJ? You dream about it. Everyone has anxiety dreams; mine are about things going wrong. I’m at a gig and I can’t find the tune I’m looking for as the one playing is running out. Or someone accidentally disconnects a cable and the crowd think it was me. They are a combination of things that have actually happened, amplified a thousand-fold by fear. A psychologist might add more, but you get the gist.

Fear is normal when dealing with crowds. Fear of mistakes is pointless. They’ll happen regardless. I’ll never forget the time a famous female DJ was playing and I saw with my own eyes a shambling mong trip over the main power cable in the Space car park, so the entire thing went dark. A couple of days later, a rival publication to Mixmag printed letters from angry, spotty herberts talking about her ‘mistake’, and how women shouldn’t be allowed near switches, dials and micro-chips, lest their vaginas break everything.

Don’t live in fear. If you’re scared of a bad mix you will be a timid selector. The one per cent of the crowd who are taking notes will find fault with you regardless. Understand there will always be hate. In fact, hate is far more of a driver in the biz than love. If you engage with the haters it won’t be long until they contaminate you with their negativity. Be a Zen thing. Ignore them. They really, really hate being ignored. If you do actually train-wreck a mix, there’s no reason why the rest of the set can’t be awesome. A DJ performing live has more in common with a radio than a recording. It’s a stream that only moves forward, and mistakes and blips are lost in time. Leave it; move on. No-one will remember but the haters. Leave it to them like a gift.

Mistakes are fine. In fact you need to be very suspicious if there aren’t any. You see all those bangers, glitter bombs, videos and confetti cannons? You can’t synchronise things like that with sound if the DJ is live. It’s a sure sign of cheating when flawless mixes mesh with spectacle. Mistakes are a sign of reality. Do not fear mistakes.

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