The Unexpected After-Effects of Purchasing a DJ Controller

A personal journey deeper into electronic music

The rise in digital music creation has helped the spread of what was once considered an underground genre of music. With EDM gaining popularity each year, it’s becoming gradually more common to see people getting into music production and DJ’ing. Services like Spotify and Soundcloud have made it easier than ever to access a growing global library of music. Meanwhile, the cost of technology has slowly become more affordable on DJ gear like MIDI pads or a DJ controller. Hence, creating and manipulating music has never been more accessible to the masses than in the last several years.

Like many other teenagers, I grew up owning a guitar that I’d occasionally play a song or two on. Although there was never any aspiration to be in a band, or become famous, I enjoyed the freedom of expression and creativity owning an instrument gave me. When I first began getting into electronic music, the idea of mixing my own sets seemed beyond reach, not to mention the cost to even pick up gear and starting was well beyond my budget. However, with the cost of a DJ controller becoming so affordable, I’d entertain the idea of purchasing one almost weekly. After a few months of research, and several trips to the music store I finally picked up my first controller.

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Appreciating the DJ

I have no shame saying outright I didn’t have much of an idea as to what I was doing. Unlike a guitar, the DJ controller was out of sight. Generally, I had an understanding of what a DJ does, but hadn’t seen much of it up close. However, I did have a list of songs I thought would always sound great mixed or mashed so started there. I immediately realized it wasn’t as easy as others, including myself, sometimes made it out to be. After a few failed attempts at mixing I made my way to YouTube for some guidance.

Jumping head first into mixing, I began to grasp the amount of work that’s put into actually creating a mix. Not only that but I started to really appreciate the amount of effort that a DJ puts into their sets. As someone who attends a show I’m only really hearing the final product of whats likely hours of prep. Like a painting, you don’t experience the artist putting in time and effort getting the canvas from blank to finished. Things like setting beat grids and cue points have become a daily routine. I now find myself tirelessly making sure my tracks are setup correctly and how I want them.

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