Now they've penned the authoritative guide How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records (Grove Atlantic, $15). The London-based Broughton and Brewster outline every conceivable aspect of DJing (and some inconceivable ones) with great wit and thoroughness. Whether you're just unpacking your first SL-1200s or playing to 30,000 ravers in Goa, How to DJ Right can help elevate your game. B&B sprinkle insightful quotes from talented jocks throughout the tome's 283 pages and include a helpful glossary. In addition, we learn that lighter fluid is a great antistatic agent for cleaning vinyl, and are advised to buy "any record that has band members standing in front of a spaceship."
"We figured no one had written a decent DJing manual," says Broughton, "and after interviewing DJs and writing about dance music for 15 years, we could do a really good job of it. All the other how-to-DJ books that have come out have been shockingly bad. We figured we can: take it seriously and still make you laugh."
But aren't DJs notoriously secretive? "Everybody thinks that DJs are tightlipped merely because they never ask them the questions we did," says Brewster. "Come on, who doesn't want to know which lipstick Paul Oakenfold uses? Actually, many of the DJs whom we interviewed hadn't been asked the more theoretical questions we posed. It made them think hard about what they did--and us, too, which is unusual."
How did they accumulate their DJ wisdom?
"A lot of what you do when you DJ is unconscious," says Broughton. "We spent a long time asking each other questions--e.g., 'What does knowing your records really mean?' 'What information are you actually getting when you watch the dance floor for a reaction?' We gradually worked out all the things that you never talk about and put them into words."
Isn't writing such a book akin to giving away the keys to the kingdom? "We figure that all the technical stuff is actually pretty unimportant, so we don't have a problem telling the world how to do it," says Broughton. "The real skill of DJing comes after you've mastered these things and you have time to worry about style, taste, intuition, improvisation, musicality, and experience. DJs don't need to learn too much technical stuff to play great music. Mixing is seen as vital in many genres, but loving music and having great records is far more important than smooth beatmatching. If your tunes are dull, the most flawless mixing won't save you." DAVE SEGAL
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