WHAT THE Fx?

Have you even used the Fx buttons or know what they do?

What’s your favourite effect that you would never do a set without?

It took me a while to get comfortable with them at first because when I started, all my attention went towards just getting two tracks aligning on the same trajectory and pulling that off in style. Then the focus went on to beatmatching. I did no lessons, so I was adamant to work it out for myself. For some that can take ages to master and others seem to get it in a very short time. There’s no science to this, it’s just a wiring thing in our brain. It’s not a race at the end of the day but when I did start nailing the beatmatch, fuckin look out, it was kinda like an orgasmic moment that I wanted to create over and over again.

Once the beatmixing is nailed then you free yourself up to start to get a little adventurous. If you’re like me, that’s when you start getting in bed with the Fx.

I am in bed atm with the low cut echooooooo and slip roll roll roll roll, in most of my sets.

The big mistake is to use too many Fx. Producers already make the music with their own version of effects, so sometimes adding or subtracting from their work can fuck with the whole track.

Once again, it comes down to practice. I have been doing sets at the moment just practising with using different Fx. I record them so I can listen back later on and hear how lame or awesome it sounded. Sometimes when you are using Fx, you don’t get a clear indication of what it sounds like in your headphones, so having monitor speakers or a PA system in your practice session is going to give you a much clearer indication of what these effects are sounding like.

I did a friend’s party once and I didn’t have a monitor speaker near the DJ booth, so I was relying on my headphones and the shitty speakers as feedback to what I was doing. At the time, I was using the flange button a bit. I couldn’t hear that it was working so I kept it on in places and just though maybe the button was broken. Ha, maybe the button was broken. Dickhead hehehe. When I listened back to the recording, the button well and truly worked and sounded so bad as I left it on too long thinking it wasn’t working. So, the moral of the story is making sure you can hear what you are doing when it comes to Fx.

Check out our Soundcloud page. I’ve put up the practice sessions on purpose even though some of them are roadkill so that the beginners here can have a listen at what works and what really doesn’t.

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as mistakes, it really comes down to what works and what doesn’t when it comes to DJing IMHO.

With passion for the music
Lainsta

SHOULD YOU PLAY A SONG UNTIL THE END?

Of all the many choices that we are faced with when we stand behind the decks and play, a common concept gets brought up time and time again. A concept that is ruminated over by both the new DJ and a seasoned DJ.

SHOULD I PLAY A SONG UNTIL THE END IF PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING IT?

There are quite a few variables to answer this, so I’ll give you my take on it. For me it comes down to the following five points:

  1. HOW LONG IS THE SONG?

If you have a dancefloor full of people rocking out at two minutes in of the track, but it’s a seven minute track, chances are that even though they are enjoying it at two minutes, they might be bored shitless of the riff by five minutes. Then you have a bored dancefloor waiting the last two minutes of the song out.

In my opinion this is a risky move as potentially you will lose their interest and just like that the dance floor halves.

2. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO REPLACE IT WITH?

If you are already on a winner with the track that you are playing, the aim is to keep the energy of that dancefloor at the same level with the incoming track. It doesn’t even matter if you change genre’s (unless you are going from psytrance to slow dubstep, not sure that would be anything but roadkill but prove me wrong).

The trick is that you want the track to energetically meet the D floor at the same level.

3. BE SPONTANEOUS!

It’s always a powerful asset for a DJ to be spontaneous. The majority of DJ’s prepare their set in advance which can be great piece of mind. Personally, when I prepare my set, I will add in extra songs to play in case one of my tracks that I thought might work, isn’t working. Then, I have the extra ones there to creatively mix in so that I can get the track that isn’t working, the hell out of there, even if it’s only 1 or 2 minutes into the track.

Remember, it’s not a personal thing when people don’t vibe with your selected track, sometimes it’s a timing thing but at the end of the day, you need to be masterful at reading the crowd.

4. ARE YOU BORED WITH THE TRACK?

You will come across this quite a bit when you are totally in the zone and immersing yourself in your craft. A track will be playing and people might be loving it, but as you are scrolling through your library for the next track you see something you just have to play RIGHT GODDAMN NOW.

You’re the sorceress, it’s your magic, so if that’s what you choose to do then change whenever you feel, but just make sure you remember point #2 in this list. As much as there are elements about being a DJ that is all about you, it’s also really important to remember about the magic you are creating for others.

5. SONGS YOU WILL BUY SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS PURPOSE

There are songs that I buy specifically to be fillers. What I mean by that is, I’m never going to use them to play the whole way through. Those tracks for me are ones with a great beat that you can play in the background of another track in order to enhance it more, plump up the jam so to speak. For me, I buy these songs just to be able to loop them in with another track for maybe only 32 bars and then BOOM, it’s out the door! It’s great to have these fillers in your library so look out for them and keep them in a folder all of their own. The ones with great bass lines for the party sets or the flowy instrumentals if you are more conscious dance inspired

As you get to know your library more intimately, you will know which songs will sound great together and you can start building crates just around that. The learning potential and creative expression is endless.

Keep up the great work Sista’s!

Peace Out

Lainsta

Don’t forget to record your set

“Don’t forget to record your set, Don’t forget to record your set, Don’t forget to record your set”

These are the words you will most often hear me mutter for the whole week leading up to a gig. Then for about an hour before my set, I’ll be looking for post it notes around the house to stick on my DJ controller, while still muttering the words…..

“Lainie FFS DON’T FORGET TO RECORD YOUR SET”.

Regardless of all this ‘mental note to self’ stuff, nine times out of ten I forget to record my set.

The truth is that there is always a level of nerves that follow me when I am about to play a set. When you are a DJ, there is so much that could potentially go wrong tech wise. You will generally have all these things on your mind before a gig:

Will the speakers work, do I have the right cords and leads, did I forget anything, did I bring my laptop, (in my case) did I bring my glasses so I can see the screen, will the internet be accessible (if you are only streaming – not advisable but people still do it), did I remember to bring a backup of my music.

I guess with all this stuff on a DJ’s mind, it’s no wonder that when you are about to start your set, the last thing you remember is to press record. You just want to jump into it and get your flow on and get people dancing asap.

Pro’s of hitting record:

  1. You have evidence that you can DJ and you can show it off for all to hear and enjoy.
  2. It is great to add to your Soundcloud page so you can send people who might potentially want to get you to do a paid gig somewhere.
  3. You can listen back and find ways you can improve your skills.

Con’s of not hitting record:

  1. The self-flagellation you give yourself for forgetting can be ruthless.
  2. When you nail your set, there is no evidence of this for you to go back and see what worked so you can replicate the magic.
  3. I can’t think of a third one because honestly, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just bloody frustrating.

When you record a digital set, the settings for where you will find it on your computer are different for each software. I’ve done a little video showing where you find the record button on a Rekordbox set up. You choose where the folder will be in the recordings tab of the controller tab in your settings.

Look at this short video by clicking on the link below which will explain more. The picture underneath shows a screen shot of the dashboard explained in the video.

https://tinyurl.com/yvbft7js

For Serato DJ Pro, here is a clip to explain how to record your set, keep in mind the free versions won’t allow recording. One of the many advantages of paying for the software.

Don’t fret Traktor people here is a relatively boring explanation but it’s easy to understand and that’s what we want!!

Whatever happens, whether you forget or remember to record your set, the main thing is that you show up and give it everything you have!

Peace Out Ladies

Lainsta

Choices by Rasela

When we first set out to create an online course for women to teach the necessary skills of DJing I had my reservations. I knew it would mean that I had to work harder than I probably wanted to, devote more time to a new project which could mean spending less time surfing (eeek), and that I would have to answer to a business partner who would be relying on me to complete certain tasks and maintain a level of commitment and consistency in our new venture. OMG but what if I don’t ‘feel’ like I want to work this hard it’s taking so long?! Have any of you felt the same when starting a new project?

If you have embarked on the journey to become a DJ then we are on the same page. Sure I have the skills you need if you want to be a vinyl DJ but as a brand new business owner I too am starting from scratch and learning how to turn a creative pursuit into an educational empowerment tool for Women. 

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of my business partner Lainie aka Electro Girl. If it weren’t for her there’s no way I would be able to get a business off the ground (or want to). I have many wild and crazy visions and ideas of what’s possible and Lainie is the one who knows how to make those dreams become realities through proper organisation, determination, dedication, hard work and relentless nagging (hahaa not really but I wouldn’t mess with this super hero would you?!)

Electro Girl

As a creative I have little desire to know the ins and outs of the business world, I hate 95% of all social media (with a passion) and have a huge resistance to being photographed or filmed. We recently paid for a marketing course that meant we ‘had’ to post to socials everyday (it’s called “showing up” because apparently you want to see our faces everyday of your lives). It made me want to walk away from the business and the entire online world we seemingly had to exist in, in order for us to ‘succeed”. Can you imagine sharing an online business with someone like me?! 

But there are reasons for it. In a fake world of manipulation and cunning schemes, ramming down our throats how we should look, sound, act, eat, vote, dress, fart, talk, dance, not dance, post to socials, sell our souls and basically live our lives, (ok ok you can fart however you like). I wanted to be part of something that better supported the more natural flow of life. One that promotes authenticity, uniqueness, reality, sustainability, our own mental and physical health and a whole lotta fun. We have a choice.

DJing is an opportunity to express yourself but don’t judge yourself in the process. Remember you’re just starting out and that’s the most exciting place to be because you still have it all ahead of you. I’ve already done it (and continue to do it) but there’s a part of me that wishes I could do it all again! Watching you all step up and take the opportunities that are presented to you, getting way out of your comfort zone, increasing your knowledge, learning new technical skills, playing at new gigs and watching you grow on your journey is as good as me doing it all again! 

So if like me you have days where you think even the idea of a new project is way too much (what were you thinking?!) you don’t know what you’re doing so put it on the back burner AGAIN and tell yourself you’re better off without it (who me?). Maybe you simply don’t have the energy to put into it today or tomorrow… that’s OK. We all feel like that from time to time.

Take a break, a day off, a week off, go out for a bike ride, find a waterfall, watch a movie, run into the hills and hide, seek out and surf the endless wave, turn your phone off and don’t join our Zoom calls for a month, hide your DJ gear under a blanket and pretend it’s not there, but please come back when your heart is full and you can focus again. We’ll be here waiting for you. And for those of you who haven’t taken that leap of faith to do the course yet … we’ll wait for you too!

Each day we have choices. Out of respect to the Women that came before us who didn’t, and to those who slaved and paved the way for us to live the life we are able to choose today, I step up and take my place. I hope you will too.

Thanks Lainie, for all your hard work and nagging ooops I mean belief in this project, for putting up with me and my relaxed anti-social approach to online marketing, and for being one of those strong women who wants to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.

I salute you my Sista.

Drunk or sober? – by Lainie

To be (drunk) or not to be (drunk), that is the question!

When Hamlet posed this question, it was purely about the conundrum of whether he wanted to live or not to live and what would be a more preferable option. In the reference above, I of course, am referring to rocking up to a gig and living through your set hammered…. or dying in the ass coz you are a train wreck that got a bit too tipsy turvy either before, or during your set.

Alcohol serves a different purpose for everyone. Some can function quite easily with it in their system and some can’t. At the end of the day, alcohol is a depressant and it’s no secret because I’m sure we’ve all been there, that it affects your brain and can alter your reaction time. That might be fine when you out with your mates heckling hotties on the street, but as a DJ, this is not a good thing!

I have been to some gigs where you can clearly see the DJ is wasted but somehow, they are pulling off probably the best set of their career. On the other side of the fence, I have also seen DJ’s that are so wasted, they are swaying behind the decks, eyes closed, zoning out and just pulling it together while they load another average tune up and start zoning out and swaying again. As amusing as it is to see this on occasion, it’s also terribly tragic.

I get a tad nervous before a gig for these reasons.

  1. I am always hoping the changeover between myself and the previous DJ is seamless, and I don’t fuck it up and look like a dick.
  2. I am praying that I’ve come prepared with the right music and enough variety to keep the crowd smiling.
  3. I am always a bit nervous that I’ve forgotten my eyeglasses coz without them, I can’t see the screen and I’ll look like an old lady squinting close to the screen just to make out the name of a track. (really have to remember to get a pair made and keep it with my equipment)

To combat these and other small (ish) concerns that go through my head before I start, I admit, I do go in for the gin and tonics (maybe 1 or 2), but I cap it at that just to take the edge off.

Once I have started playing and I’m on a roll, I’ll say yes to people bringing me drinks but I’m generally too fixated on the set and what I’m doing and forget to drink them. I’ll have 5 different drinks on the table that people will bring me but won’t get to even drink them much coz I don’t want to take myself off my A game. I think my ego plays a little part in that. Ego is not a dirty word Skyhooks!

Basically, to sum up what I’m trying to say, drink if you need to take the edge off but save the partying for when your set is over and you can relax.

Water is really the key. Stay hydrated. Drink a lot but not that much that you need to go pee every 20 mins, because that’s just a whole other pain in the ass.

Peace Out Sista’s

Lainsta

Washing Records – by Rasela

Ever picked up a record that looks like it has a cloudy film over it, greasy finger prints on it, loaded with dust, small bumps that can be scratched off with your fingernail or worse still, scratched deeper into the groove?

Many old/improperly stored  records may contain one or all of the above and will make playing it sound muffled, distorted, incomprehensible, and even cause the needle to jump or skip across the record.

Mold, dust, dirt and ‘unidentified sticky bumps’ are but a wash away and if you follow the record washing guidelines below you can play them again with renewed love.

INGREDIENTS

  • Records
  • Soft cloth
  • Clean sink
  • Lukewarm water
  • Gentle liquid soap
  • Drying rack
  • Record cleaning outfit (your choice)


METHOD

  • Fill sink half full with lukewarm soapy water
  • Remove record from sleeve
  • Momentarily Immerse ONLY the playable portion of the record into the water taking care not to touch the label (it may wash off along with valuable info)
  • Wipe gently (but firmly enough to remove dirt) with soft soft cloth
  • Repeat until clean
  • Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water again taking care not to touch the label
  • Sit in clean drying rack in a cool dark place until dry


TIPS

  • Do not let your records touch direct sunlight
  • Ensure all of the soap is rinsed off before drying
  • Do not scrub or scratch bumps off with your fingernail or anything sharper than a soft cloth
  • Do not dry with t-towel
  • Do no more than your drying rack can hold at a time
  • Place covers in order of records in drying rack so you don’t waste time afterwards trying to find their home
  • Smile 🙂

Getting in a Funk – by Lainie

Spring has sprung. New vibes, new energy, new endorphins that are fueling us. The winter has passed and even though some of you reading this might be in situations where your freedom feels like it’s been placed on pause, thankfully no matter what situation we are in, we always have music.

I think Parliament nailed the lyrics when they sang “Ow, we want the funk. Give up the funk, Ow, we need the funk, we gotta have that funk”.

How true it is. Where would our lives be without the funk! When I was thinking about what to write for this month’s newsletter, I was reflecting on how I have been feeling in relation to getting behind the decks and practicing my craft. I have a Pioneer DDJ-800 DJ Controller, a library full of music and some kick ass monitors and headphones. I have so much to learn and get better at technically which only practice will help, but sometimes I stand looking at my equipment and realising that I myself am IN a funk.

By being IN a funk, I mean being in a rut, uncreative, lacking enthusiasm, pre-menstrual, generally just uninspired and shitty about things beyond my control. From past experience, I know in my heart that pushing through this and even just standing behind my decks and loading a track in Channel 1 would be the best remedy for to get the ball rolling to get me inspired, but sometimes, you know, I just can’t be fucked!

Never underestimate the power of The FUNK ladies. This is where the magic can truly happen. It’s the exact time when we are most in need of something to put us back in the vortex of our creativity. The place where we shine and smile and frolic and play like the soft feminine beings that we are!

This month, if you are feeling like you are IN a funk, take stock, breathe, make some time and space for yourself, throw your favourite song into channel 1 on your chosen hardware and simply hit play! The rest will follow.

Our love is deep, and our bond is strong

We are women hear us ROAR!