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Old 17-01-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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How to get involved with playing live

Hey guys,

Just had an interesting thought pop into my head about the idea of playing live somewhere.

Are there any resources out there that kind of hold your hand through the process of being a novice to starting to play live gigs?

I come from a programming background, so considering making moves in music is all very new to me, but I'm becoming increasingly more intrigued by the world of music production. The only problem is that I really don't have a clue how people make the move from being an amateur, to someone who starts to play their music in front of an audience.

I've had a bit of a search round and can't find anyone asking any similar questions to this, so I hope I'm not repeating noobie question 101 =P

I mean, my first guess would be to start approaching local clubs and see if they like my music and would consider letting me do a short set, just to get my feet wet. Something like that, but I can't imagine that many clubs would be interested enough to give you the time to demo your tracks when they can just get some DJ in playing well known tunes. I guess you probably have to get out there and shake some hands and do something to try and stand out to make them want to take the time to check out your work?

I also wondered if I need to learn more about the art of being a DJ, or if it's possible to get by being more of a producer. I mean, I don't know the first thing about using a set of decks, but I can make my own music of course. How blurred do the lines between DJ and producer get with this sort of thing?

I could also do with knowing stuff like what kind of hardware you are expected to have (or if it's usual for the venue to provide all you need). Music-wise, I literally just have 2 laptops, 2 MIDI keyboards and some AKG headphones... I kinda guess that's gonna be way off what's required to get started and am wondering how big an investment it's likely to take to progress that way.

I know this is quite a big set of questions, so I don't mind if it's too much for anyone to cover in any depth, but perhaps someone knows of a book or website or something that may be of use?

Many thanks in advance for any help

SteveO
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Old 17-01-2012, 02:40 PM   #2
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

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I mean, my first guess would be to start approaching local clubs and see if they like my music and would consider letting me do a short set, just to get my feet wet. Something like that, but I can't imagine that many clubs would be interested enough to give you the time to demo your tracks when they can just get some DJ in playing well known tunes.
It really depends on what kind of tunes you are writing, and what sorta 'scene' you want to be involved with.
Start local.
Find a crew who are doing club nights that cater to the sorta crowd and tunes you are into.
Get to know the crew well. When you get to know them offer any help you can in promoting, helping put on nights.

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I guess you probably have to get out there and shake some hands and do something to try and stand out to make them want to take the time to check out your work?
exactly its called networking... or ass licking take your pick

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I also wondered if I need to learn more about the art of being a DJ, or if it's possible to get by being more of a producer. I mean, I don't know the first thing about using a set of decks, but I can make my own music of course. How blurred do the lines between DJ and producer get with this sort of thing?
Unless your music is shit hot you're probably going to want to start off DJing, playing music that inspires you, that is the same style that you aspire to and then you can start slipping in your own tunes and see how the crowd responds. Did they notice you dropped one of your own tracks? How does the dancefloor react? Then you turn to your promoter mates and go "oi cunt these are my tunes innit" and they go, "that's fuckin sick cuz"
and then they start thinkin about one day booking you for a live set.

Learn to mix - Djing your own tunes is a good start. Start producing your tunes with intros and outros that help you mix your own tunes better.

good luck. make sure you make alot of friends otherwise you got no hope

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Old 19-01-2012, 02:56 PM   #3
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

I wish benwaa would share his wisdom with us here.
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Old 21-01-2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

Well I don't really understand what else there is to it... you gotta promo the hell out of yourself, you gotta have the tunes and you really do need to know how to mix other music in your genre. It's so important to identify with the people in your local scene who are putting on events, or find likeminded individuals and start your own local scene.

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Old 21-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #5
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

Thanks mote. Great helpful reply. I think there is probably room for more responses in the way of what to expect when you start working live (equipment needs, etc), but so far as the "how to get to that stage", I think you've covered that pretty well. Nice to know I wasn't too far off in my expectations.

I have to admit I find the need to learn *another* skill (DJing) on top of everything else a little daunting. I find the concept of mixing stuff live interesting. I've watched a few videos of Deadmau5 explaining how he performs live and it sounds fantastic, but I think it's more the DJing part, having to presumably learn how to use decks (I assume it's not like all digital or whatever now?) to end up playing other people's music.. well, it's not quite my area of interest, but I guess I probably have to suck it up and go with it and perhaps I'll enjoy adding another skill to the tool-belt once I get into it.

Cheers

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Old 21-01-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

ahhh yeah soz forgot about that part of your question...

That's the fun bit hehe

I've found having a novation remote 25 sl is a really good bare minimum for what I need.

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Old 21-01-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

i say fuck playing other people's stuff.

write a sets worth of songs and just go fucking nuts.

but then i also come from a strong punk/metalband sort of mentality so I'm probably predisposed against DJing.

it also depends on whether you make dance-oriented music or not.

and you don't need decks to dj. you can do everything with just Live if you wanted.
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Old 21-01-2012, 09:26 PM   #8
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

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i say fuck playing other people's stuff.

write a sets worth of songs and just go fucking nuts.

but then i also come from a strong punk/metalband sort of mentality so I'm probably predisposed against DJing.

it also depends on whether you make dance-oriented music or not.

and you don't need decks to dj. you can do everything with just Live if you wanted.
Dude, I just...I just love you.

If I ever get to "dj", then I would rather play the music by people I know from forums rather than playing famous stuff. Because fuck elitism, thatīs why.
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Old 21-01-2012, 09:51 PM   #9
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

Yeah, that's what I would love to do... just get out there doing small sets of my own songs, with a bit of live mixing thrown in. That's the ideal at least, but I have a feeling I may be making it more difficult on myself by wanting to do that.

I do recall seeing some videos of guys playing chip tunes at some relatively small venue in New York I think it was once. I think it was like some kind of club (in the sense of a group of like-minded people, not a venue). That's the kind of thing I'd like to do to start out with, albeit with dance music rather than chip tunes.

Not that I don't appreciate music by other people, just that going that route kind of detracts a little from what I would really love to be spending my time doing, i.e. making and playing my own original tracks and gawd knows, between games programming and music production, I have so little spare time nowadays!

I'm working at entering a few remix competitions as well to hopefully try and build a bit more of a name for myself. I figure opportunities should be easier to come by if I can manage to win or place in at least one. I was also thinking it could be cool to do some youtube tutorials or something, seeing as that seems to have really helped Enzed build his name up and it would be nice to do something like that which gave back to the community, though I'm not sure if I'm quite good enough to be doing that yet!
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Old 22-01-2012, 12:42 AM   #10
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

There is something really satisfying about playing your own music alongside the tunes of those that really inspire you and for it all to work and flow really well... and for an audience to not even bat an eyelid when you mix it in.

It can be a kind of benchmark moment...

Oh yeah also - when you make friends with your local scene iffn you don't want to DJ your own tunes, make sure you start slipping tunes to DJ's. DJ's love having killer obscure unreleased music. That's one way you can get your music exposure without worrying about doing DJing.

But you know the thing I said about mixing - is this:

The amount of times I have heard a producer play who had no idea about flow, who didn't understand crowd dynamics or the importance of the right drop at the right moment ... well it's alot. At the very least start mixing your tracks... make an hour demo of your music. Start making yourself heard

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Old 22-01-2012, 12:54 AM   #11
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8BitReaper View Post
Hey guys,

Just had an interesting thought pop into my head about the idea of playing live somewhere.

Are there any resources out there that kind of hold your hand through the process of being a novice to starting to play live gigs?
tbh not that I know of, there are books on DJing but really you don't have to know how to DJ, rather how to put on a show.

Quote:
I come from a programming background, so considering making moves in music is all very new to me, but I'm becoming increasingly more intrigued by the world of music production. The only problem is that I really don't have a clue how people make the move from being an amateur, to someone who starts to play their music in front of an audience.
Good promotion, knowing the right people and luck.

Quote:
I mean, my first guess would be to start approaching local clubs and see if they like my music and would consider letting me do a short set, just to get my feet wet. Something like that, but I can't imagine that many clubs would be interested enough to give you the time to demo your tracks when they can just get some DJ in playing well known tunes. I guess you probably have to get out there and shake some hands and do something to try and stand out to make them want to take the time to check out your work?
Still worth making a CD of your set and sending it out. Especially if there are venues that already have nights that specialise in similar music to what you're making.

Quote:
I also wondered if I need to learn more about the art of being a DJ, or if it's possible to get by being more of a producer. I mean, I don't know the first thing about using a set of decks, but I can make my own music of course. How blurred do the lines between DJ and producer get with this sort of thing?
Depends how you go about it. Some people do live sets, which normally involves playing their own music via a laptop, equipment and sometimes using decks. Others never play their own stuff. Some mix it up. Its down to you what blend you choose. Just remember that if you're playing a live set and aren't mixing the tunes together then you may have to find a way to fill the time it takes to switch to the next track.

Quote:
I could also do with knowing stuff like what kind of hardware you are expected to have (or if it's usual for the venue to provide all you need). Music-wise, I literally just have 2 laptops, 2 MIDI keyboards and some AKG headphones... I kinda guess that's gonna be way off what's required to get started and am wondering how big an investment it's likely to take to progress that way.
You'd be ok with your set-up. I've seen guys gig with just a laptop.... in fact with just a Gameboy. A decent interface can help as you'll have less problems with compatibility when trying to hook up to PA systems.

Last edited by NeuralPunk; 22-01-2012 at 12:58 AM..

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Old 23-01-2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

Being a DJ will improve your production IMMENSELY. You'll learn what DJs look for in a track, what makes a track easy to mix in, and what makes a crowd go nuts. It also give you a chance to audition your new tracks and see if they need tweaking. It also forces you to listen to a LOT of music in an entirely new way - not "do I like this track" but "do I like this track AND how does it work in a larger context" which is important to a producer as well.

It's also really not that difficult if you're musical. It's all digital now except in certain scenes (hip hop, I'm looking at you) so you don't need to learn to beatmatch at first. I consider myself a producer first and foremost but picking up DJing as a secondary skill was good for me and comparatively not that difficult since I have no reason to get super fancy with it.
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Old 23-01-2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

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Being a DJ will improve your production IMMENSELY. You'll learn what DJs look for in a track, what makes a track easy to mix in, and what makes a crowd go nuts. It also give you a chance to audition your new tracks and see if they need tweaking. It also forces you to listen to a LOT of music in an entirely new way - not "do I like this track" but "do I like this track AND how does it work in a larger context" which is important to a producer as well.

It's also really not that difficult if you're musical. It's all digital now except in certain scenes (hip hop, I'm looking at you) so you don't need to learn to beatmatch at first. I consider myself a producer first and foremost but picking up DJing as a secondary skill was good for me and comparatively not that difficult since I have no reason to get super fancy with it.
fceplm
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Old 23-01-2012, 11:41 PM   #14
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

@ Mote. Neuralpunk and Eyetooth

Thanks, yeah, I guess that's something simple that I hadn't thought of, to try and make a sample set, rather than just individual tracks out of context.

I think I do have a good, natural understanding of flow with music, but it would certainly be interesting to put that to the test and see what I can produce. Also a great excuse to dust off old tracks and polish them up a little which I have been meaning to do for some time, as I think some of my older work has great potential, but that I have learnt so much since then, that they could be vastly improved.

Thanks for all the comments about DJing and what not. Yeah, if I can get away with just a laptop and some midi controllers just to sequence stuff live, that would be awesome and good to know that things tend to be more digital nowadays than I realised from the sounds of it. Again, coming from a programming background, computers are right up my street and decks are a bit alien at the moment.

Getting some tracks played by other DJs would be a nice mid-point as well, to know that hopefully they are received well.

All great advice anyway and that has me excited to want to start producing a longer set demo Probably about time I attempted to create something resembling a proper album or EP as well rather than purely individual tracks.
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Old 24-01-2012, 01:08 AM   #15
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

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Because fuck elitism, thatīs why.
That actually sounds elitist in its own right.

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Old 24-01-2012, 08:11 AM   #16
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

Fair enough.
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Old 24-01-2012, 11:57 AM   #17
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

I've always thought about how I would go about doing a live show as far as how it could be done and what would be coming from a computer and what I could possibly recruit local musicians to play (my song parts aren't particularly complex, it would just have to be close)

Unfortunately I'm so damn self-conscious when it comes to my voice, but I could learn to play my synth parts fully. I'd just need more gear and I'd want to have a more powerful computer that could simultaneously process my programmed parts while I play some of it on a midi keyboard and whatnot. I could always have the programmed parts as a track on an iPod and play over that (I've seen this done very well by a few local bands) but then that would create issues with synchronization and I wouldn't be able to modulate parts on the fly.

The part that excites me the most when I think about it is creating a "live" version of the track with different intros and song parts so it's not the same thing as what you'd hear on a potential album/soundcloud/mp3 player.

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Old 24-01-2012, 12:28 PM   #18
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghytwembpang View Post
i say fuck playing other people's stuff.

write a sets worth of songs and just go fucking nuts.

but then i also come from a strong punk/metalband sort of mentality so I'm probably predisposed against DJing.

it also depends on whether you make dance-oriented music or not.

and you don't need decks to dj. you can do everything with just Live if you wanted.
Dude, I just...I just love you.

If I ever get to "dj", then I would rather play the music by people I know from forums rather than playing famous stuff. Because fuck elitism, thatīs why.
+2 guys, equally shared.

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Old 27-01-2012, 03:10 AM   #19
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

i agree, great reply!
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Old 27-01-2012, 12:03 PM   #20
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Re: How to get involved with playing live

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+2 guys, equally shared.
I'm with Rewriter, you guys could be seen to be pretty elitist.


Whatever happened to just playing good music, irrespective of who wrote it.

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