Category Archives: Bedroom Bootstrapper

Traktor FX On Steroids, With Maschine Mikro

Wasting time on YouTube during last month’s snow storm, I stumbled on this little guy.

I never realized this thing could bust open the world of FX that Traktor had to offer. I dabbled with FX over the years but stuck with the two that cemented themselves in my effects slots (mostly on account of laziness).

This board gave me FX on steroids, and with training wheels.

Wait what.

Using any of the FX shown on the right is pretty much fool proof. Messing around will quickly teach and reinforce the differences between Reverb, Echo and Delay (finally). Let’s be honest, how many times have you looked them up and forgot? What was once a dust-bunny collector effectively became a kickass teacher.

Gigs that would typically be boring aren’t quite so bad anymore. Instead of having a minute or two between tracks during a vanilla cocktail hour, I’ve been adding some of my own flair to otherwise standard pop 40 tracks. It’s sooo much fun and can really add depth to your sets. I haven’t seen too many guys out there who bring gear like this. Anything you can do to stand out, right?

The past few weeks my particular go-to’s have been beatmashers, echo hold and turntable stop.

It took about an hour to mess around and get a feel for the controls but now I can’t go without it.

Measuring in at a foot by eight inches and weighing under three pounds, it’s conducive to both mobile and club gigs. It doesn’t even need power since it runs off USB.

The custom mapping can be downloaded here, and despite how long ago it was programmed still works just fine. The primary difference between the Maschine Mikro MK1 & MK2 is aesthetic so feel free to pick one or the other, either can be found on eBay between $150-200. You need no additional software so don’t worry about getting the unit sealed. That is of course unless you want to eventually make tracks with it.

A word of warning:

>Backup all of your settings in Traktor before loading any files!

Many of your settings will change with the upload, so just to be safe create a backup copy. You may have to load the files more than once, it took me two tries before I was successful.

It will take a little work, but man it was well worth it in the end. With about an hour or two of prep you’ll stand out from the rest of DJs in town and have more fun at your gigs.

So get crackin!

Finally Push Through on Beatmatching, Production, Consistent Mixes

It’s now mid-February… how are those New Year goals doing? Yeahhhh ’bout that.

Maybe you told yourself you were going to work on your beatmatching, or start making moves to play out in more bars and clubs.

If you did actually made some progress, great! I bet you’re still frustrated with how quickly you’re getting there though. Be aware of that slow creep of procrastination, crippling your march to success. What starts out as a small nag of dissatisfaction grows the longer it takes to hit your goal… eventually causing you to give up.

Don’t let that be you.

Procrastination’s Kryptonite

Consider the following:

  • The enemy of procrastination and his evil cousins confusion & uncertainty is confidence.
  • Confidence can be built, and isn’t just something that’s instilled in you at birth. It is learned, like a muscle.
  • Confidence is the result of incremental, constant, and consistent improvement.
  • Thus, the escape hatch from procrastination’s snare of overwhelm is to measure progress incrementally.
  • Then by taking the smallest amount of time to strategically plan our attack, we can remove the roadblocks that our willpower & emotions put in our way.
  • What’s even better, constant improvement and progress gains momentum the longer we stick with it.  Source

Think about a goal or an outcome. It might be…

I want to manually beatmatch

Play out in more bars/clubs

Ok, but by when? What’s reasonable?

Mental Time Horizons

The scope of your target should be a max of 90 days into the future.

“The psychological and neurological reason behind setting 90 day goals is that it is the ‘horizon’ line. It reaches as far out as you can see. This allows a tangible taste of what could impact my ‘today.’”

On top of this, habits take 30-60 days to create & break.

Keep that in mind the first few times you try something new. Our brains operate linearly and in the now; we extrapolate the difficulty of something we’re doing far into the future. Assuming things won’t get easier, we eventually get  frustrated and stop.

Clever Execution Scripts

Now, think of the steps required to accomplish your goal. Create a plan that, if followed, will undeniably move the ball in the direction of that goal.. even if it doesn’t necessarily achieve it. Then, chunk your plan into a two week sprint.

That is now your goal.

By chipping away at your goal every single week, you will eventually reach your target.

Don’t worry about the target itself.. worry about the process of what you need to do instead. In that vein, think about the potential obstacles to following through. Ask yourself,

What is most likely to throw off my routine?

How should I react in order to stay on track?

Build into your plan what you will do. This way when curveballs pop up you’ll be ready. Your willpower and lack of quick thinking won’t get in your way. Willpower is finite and constantly changing; do you want your emotions and fleeting energy to determine whether or not you will succeed? Didn’t think so.

Get all your thinking out of the way ahead of time. Then, just execute! Simple, right?

How to ensure you actually follow through…

Grab an annual calendar ($10) and put it somewhere so you’ll see it often, one that displays the entire year. Mark off each week with a big fat marker in which you execute successfully per your pre-defined plan.

Accountability baby.

This will 1) hold yourself accountable and 2) give you a little dopamine hit for every success mark resulting a positive feedback loop for our fickle minds. Seriously though, this is the best $10 I’ve spent each and every year. It keeps my mind on progress and momentum instead of the fact I haven’t hit my goal yet.

“Focusing on what’s not done can leave you feeling lousy about yourself, nervous or anxious, not to mention sleep-deprived. Research … showed that by making plans to get things done, that inner nag can be turned off, or at least toned down.” Source

What you appreciate, appreciates.

And don’t just make a list of stuff to do each week. To-do lists are evil, schedule everything! What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.

For next level accountability, text a close friend of yours. Tell them A) this week’s goal and B) to check back in next week on your progress. Congrats, you just turbo-charged the probability you’ll hit your goals!

Conclusion

Even on the bad days, do the smallest of tasks to keep the ball moving forward. Track your progress so you know exactly where you stand and you can see what you’ve been up to and have someone, or something keep you accountable to following through.

If you found this useful, I publish articles weekly every Tuesday. Signup for my newsletter and be notified the next time I’ve got some tips and routines to upgrade your DJing one step closer to what you know is possible!

Change is inevitable, Growth is optional

 

How to Spin College Parties ASAP

University is an AWESOME opportunity to start spinning. You probably know it too, but you’re thinkin the people with all the connects are ‘bro-ey’, or that you have to drink to find those opportunities. You’re just not that type of person. Maybe there’s not much goin on because your college isn’t that kind of school.

Sure, going to a big school with a thriving night-life doesn’t hurt. But there are plenty of options no matter your situation.

The framework I used to develop the below strategies doubled my revenue and number of gigs every year for five straight years, all the while working full time at the world’s largest hedge fund. If I could do in the little time I had while working in Finance, you can definitely do it in college!

Let’s get on with it shall we.

Greek Life (Without the Bros)

Fraternities are great places to start. But wait, bro’s are so annoying! Indeed many are, but there are plenty of fraternities with quality people without the DB’s.

‘Yeah but I don’t drink, I don’t really feel at home at frat parties.’ Still all good!

It’s actually very easy to get involved with fraternities because you too have something they want: men to rush! In fact, they’re going to try to get to know YOU because they’re looking to recruit men for their pledge classes. Don’t like one group of guys? Hit up a different one.

Checking out Greek rush events is a low-pressure way to get to know some of the brothers. A rush event could be a poker night, NFL Sunday viewing party, or a Hookah social. ‘Rushing’ is not a commitment to join, and they don’t cost you anything.

Going to a few of these a semester are an easy way to explode your network.

Female DJ? No problem, Greek Life is still a very viable option in the way of sororities and co-ed fraternities. They too have open rush nights. Bottom line, you’re ultimately going out & meeting people in and around the space. There’s a chance some organizations are less apt to throw parties, but they’ll still be well connected to others that do.

Clubs on Campus

Another source of gigs are clubs. No, not untz-untz nightclubs. Student organizations! Find some clubs on campus and get involved. Your school might even have it’s own student run radio. Jackpot!

Hesitant of the time commitment clubs need? There are many clubs that require a lighter touch than others, this way you can participate on your own terms.

Break into the social circle of a group by going to every weekly event for a month or so, then scale back to once a month to focus on other networks in the early going. As your schedule fills up as a result of your new connections, you’re going to be too busy to cycle new groups into your life. That’s a good indication your efforts should segue to increasing the depth of the connections you already have. It’s really up to you with regards to how much you want to hit the gas in building up your social life.

Get to know the decision makers and leaders of as many organizations as you can. Not only will you be their go-to DJ once they need one, they’ll start passing your name along to their network. Decision makers’ networks are usually filled with other leaders, what a better conduit in the way of potential gig leads?

Included among student-run clubs are charity groups who typically have little to no money to spend on DJs when hosting events. Right now you need to build up marketing material and experience (see my Private Events post). These orgs are going to be much more flexible picking up DJs with little to no experience if it means preserving what little funds they have.

Pitching Yourself

To nail that gig, get in touch with someone in the group and ask for the event coordinator’s contact info. Tell them you’ll volunteer your DJ services for their next event. Have a twenty to thirty minute mix ready on hand to prove you know your decks from a football and see how easy it is to pick up work.

Now when folks ask for a sample, keep it relevant to your prospective audience. You’re not going to send a techno mix to a church group, just the same as you wouldn’t send a down-tempo mix to the Social Chair of the biggest party house on campus.

‘But I’m Too Young’

Maybe you’re a freshman or flat-out new on campus. This will only hold you back as much as you let it. If you act like it’s an issue, it will in fact manifest itself as an issue. This is a self-limiting script, a self-fulfilling prophecy in true form.

Renowned DJ tutor Ellaskins describes this well in his short clip here; if you carry yourself confidently like you know what you’re doing, that you’re a DJ that knows how to carry a party, you will be treated like you can carry a party! On the flip side, the same applies. Get this out of you head because such a cognitive distortion can do nothing but hold you back from taking action and being successful.

Even if someone does turn you down for your age, so what. Move on and find the next person who doesn’t care. More often than not, they won’t.

‘Dude I’m Broke’

Having no gear can certainly be a buzz-kill. The good news is that many event venues will already have a sound-system to plug into, all you need is a controller/laptop combo.

You can actually go about purchasing some gear risk-free with someone else’s cash, but you’ll have to hustle your way into picking up a paying gig for your first event beforehand. I walk through the nitty details in my post here.

If you get creative enough there’s always a solution!

Tl;Dr: Grow your network. Rush Greek events and join a club or two. Offer to DJ non-profit events. Quickly your network will begin to balloon, feeding you more gigs than you could possibly handle!

Once the gigs roll in: What to charge

Right now I’m in the process of refining a tool that will systematically tell you what you can charge each and every time based on all of that criteria. You will readily be able to tap into the knowledge of DJs who have made a living spinning & getting paid, combined with country-wide data based on events in YOUR area, all at the click of a button. FREE! If you want to be the first to know about updates, sign up for my newsletter up at the top and check it out here.