A few months ago, we were thinking about running a feature called DJ Survival Guide. I interviewed several Seattle disc jockeys for the piece and accumulated thousands of words of wisdom re: the selecting, mixing, and playing of music for other people’s pleasure, but the thing never achieved publication. So I’m going to post those interviews on Line Out, because there’s enough solid advice to help a lot of aspiring jocks… and because the replies are interesting in and of themselves. This week’s installment is with TigerBeat, who DJs the TigerBeat Mondays weekly at Chop Suey, which focuses mainly on modern hiphop and its myriad mutations.
The Stranger: How many hours a week do you practice/prepare?
Tigerbeat: Constantly. It’s a never-ending search for new/old music, production tricks, and knowledge from my peers. If I stop learning, I become obsolete.
What’s your DJing format of choice and why?
I just have fun. I pay attention to the crowd and try to get on their level within my own musical taste. If you can get the girls and the gays having a good time, everyone else will follow suit.
What are your recommendations for headphones, needles, turntables, CDJs, DJ-oriented software programs?
I use Skullcandy's Mix Master Mike headphones. They are beautiful and sound absolutely amazing. Skullcandy also gives you a FREE lifetime warranty. A lot of people overlook that. I've been using Ortofon needles since I started. Technics turntables for life. I have never ever played on CDJs. Serato has been the DJ software staple, but Traktor seems to be gaining favor with the big DJs in the electro realm, largely in part to its effects for live performances.
Where are the best places to obtain music, both in brick-and-mortar shops and online?
Whatever you’re buying, wherever you are buying it, make sure it is quality sounding. Nothing worse than hearing a track in the club that sounds like it was recorded in a tin can.
What are the most effective methods for procuring gigs? In a hyper-competitive field, how do you set yourself apart from other DJs?
Networking. Being out in the spots you want to be playing at. You might be an amazing, talented DJ but if you never leave "club" living room, no one is going to know. Get out there and make friends.
My mixes are energetic, and being versatile is something I pride myself on. Having ADD helps sometimes, but can be a double-edged sword. I have to tell myself to slow down on the mixing quite a bit.
What have you found to be the most efficient ways to fill the dance floor (with dancers, to be specific ;))?
Play music that people know the words to.
Is beat-matching absolutely essential for a DJ?
If you want to be taken seriously as a club DJ.
How do you deal with requests?
No breasts? No requests! It really depends on the attitude of the person coming up to make the request. When some beezy comes up with her face scrunched up like she licked a cat’s ass, I'm already not even trying to hear it. If they come up, are patient while I'm in the mix, and not waving their gd drink all over the equipment, I'll hear their case. Cash is cool, too. I can go on about this all week.
How effective do you think flyering is?
I like to do it for branding or a special guest that could use the push, but it really gets overdone. And if you are going to do it, DON’T cover other people’s flyers if the show hasn't happened yet, DON’T flyer federal property and find your own spots. Get creative.
What have you found to be the most beneficial ways to promote your gigs?
Word of mouth from other people with positive praises about you and/or the party. Hands down.