Whether you’re a bass head or a house fan, the underground music scene is rapidly rising above the surface. With it, the past few years have seen a flocking of amateurs into the music scene, making it on their own with the help of social media and a makeshift studio in their bedrooms. Countless success stories show it’s possible to make it as a DJ/Producer even in a short space of time. You just have to know how. So kicking off our ‘steps to becoming’ blog series, here’s a short guide from Smash Urban Media on how to become a DJ/Producer.
Become a Fan
Chances are if you want to get into the underground scene, you’re already playing a part in it. Whether you’re addicted to Soundcloud or make a regular appearance at live sets and festivals, it’s important that you have a good music head about you if you want to make the transition from fan to famous. DJ/producers draw from current, past and future sounds to create hybrid beats that get the crowd going. Whether you’re dropping in that famous theme tune halfway through a set or sampling iconic sounds from the biggest songs in the world right now, you can’t blag musical knowledge. So get listening.
Learn to DJ
Before you can even think about producing, you need to understand the basics of mixing. Invest in a mixing desk and DJ software and spend some time experimenting with what sounds good whilst developing an ear for timing. If you haven’t already, try DJing at house parties and birthdays for friends and you’ll soon work out what makes the crowd tick. A DJ/producer needs to be able to play live sets, so start small and get comfortable with your skills before working your way up. Don’t be afraid to refer to Google to work out those technical terms and grey areas, it’s all part of the process.
When it comes to producing, you need to start somewhere. So when you feel ready, give it a shot and make your own sound. Even if it’s the most god-awful thing you’ve ever heard, it’s a start. Try to copy a beat that you like whilst you’re learning, just so that you know how it’s done and get a feel for producing music. Learn from your mistakes, don’t give up, and remember: practice makes perfect. Never release a song until you’re 100% happy with it; after all, if your debut track is a flop it could really set you back. And when you are happy, get a second opinion for some feedback before releasing it, as it can be difficult to judge your own work.
Promo, Promo, Promo
If you’re lucky enough to be seized by a renowned music blogger or a viral wave, you might find that a track makes it big with little to no effort required. Whilst this does happen, it’s rare. Set yourself up with a Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter, and encourage all of your mates to jump on board with likes and shares. Maintain a regular presence online and take the initiative to send your songs off to the major bloggers and DJs. They are much more likely to feature unknown artists than any radio station or record label. Grab any live opportunity you can get, as sets are a great way to get people’s attention. If you can play a good gig then people are music more likely to go back and Google you when they’ve recovered from the weekend
Keep At It
You might have been producing music for months or even years before you get a break. A lot of it lies with luck, but don’t just sit back and wait to get noticed. Work hard, keep a close eye on the latest music trends, and experiment with different sounds and techniques. Try to create a good portfolio of music to build up your online presence, so that you have something to engage listeners when they do land on your page. It might not be meant to be, but if you put in the effort you’ll have miles more opportunity to make it work.