Every now and then I get a lot of emails or questions regarding how to start DJing. There really is no right or wrong way to do it so I’m going to just blurb about how I did it. I’m going to split this up in many categories but keep in mind that it is not in any particular order. This article isn’t a tutorial, but more of a general outline and my personal advice I would give to my own friends if they considered becoming DJs themselves. But first I’ll let you in on how I first got started.
Johnny Plastik 101
I think it was 1997. I was introduced to my crack-cocaine called MP3′s by my good friend Vang Lor. “What? You can download music.. get the f@$k outta here you muthaf#$%a”. Exactly. You can download music. My very first track was “Bone Thugs In Harmony – 1st of the Month”. Yeah I was pretty thuggish back then. Sike. Now during this time I was also a poor student, floating my way through college down at Mankato State University. I had no idea what MP3′s were or even why they existed.. I mean come on man, CD’s were illin’! That is what I spent a lot of my money on… until I hijacked my first MP3 off the internet. On a 14.4k connection of course, which took literally 30-40 minutes to download a 3 minute track. It didn’t matter to me though, I was hooked. Badly.
In about 3 months, I had over 400 songs, most of them hip-hop, 80′s and early 90′s rock ballads and of course, remixes and remixes and remixes. I still had no idea what DJing was at the time because to me I just loved collecting music. I was introduced to my first DJ Mixed CD by my friend Lue Yang. It was DJ Markski’s “Eurodance Ski Mix 7″. I was like.. “whaoh.. this dude mixed track after track after track… I didn’t know this could happen..”. After listening to that CD non-stop for the next 6-7 months, I started to mess around with my music collection. I downloaded Acid’s Soundforge and started to mix my own CD’s on the computer. I made many many many wack mix CD’s for my friends. I mean really wack.
Fast forward a few years, I met up with a friend named Bob Vang. Bob was rocking bad-ass house/trance and alot of grooving tracks. I was just playing cheesy vocal stuff because I haven’t found my nitch yet. We gigged at little pubs and bars locally for a few months and it was a blast. Now, I didn’t say I was good or knew how to beat-match, I just played records, haha. Then in the summer of 2001, I met my buddy and mentor Ville Thao. He had a pair of turntables and I was like WOW! We fed off each other and kept ourselves busy. We hunted records together at Vital Vinyl (now called Vital Culture) and toured through the Midwest and west coast under the code name KIND BEATS. And that’s about it. The rest is history.
I’m leaving a shitload of details out because if I told you the whole store, you’ll be reading for days, and we’ll never get to the main point of the article. Ok.. so lets get the ball rolling! Let me remind you that these sections are in no particular order. My first section will focus on equipment.