Question: When December FHM Idol DJ Jennifer Lee provided you a starter kit on DJ-ing last week, did you really pay attention or did you simply take your time admiring her gorgeous photos?
We're guessing it's the latter. But we can't blame you.
But if you did the former and started assembling your DJ rig, it’s now time to move on to actually using what you’ve set up. Allow our Idol to teach you the ropes.
The Basics of Beatmatching
Among the first things you need to understand is that the tempo of every song is measured through beats per minute (BPM). It's the song’s heartbeat or pulse. This speed is constant throughout the song. Records from the same genre generally have similar BPMs. For pop, it’s mostly constructed around 120 BPM, while dubstep ranges around 140 BPM. Hip-hop and reggae are pretty much chill with their 80-90 BPM.
Obviously, when you select tracks to mix, they need to have the same or complementary beats for the end-result to be spectacular. This is where the “slave beat” will come to play.
The slave beat is that continuous sound that plays throughout your set. It serves as the backbone of your mixes. For beginners, you can choose songs with a simple drum-bass pattern so you’ll have an easy time switching and mixing tracks. It also nullifies the possibility of dead air during your set.
Along with the slave beat, another important quality to keep track of in each tune is the volume. Again, the volume of the records you beatmatch should be similar for smoother transitions. One trick to getting seamless track switches is studying the song’s audio spikes, or the points where a song suddenly gets loud.
You know how it seems like there’s something wrong when the next track blasts on the speakers without fading in? Or when a track blares from the background and overshadows the main tune? Aside from making you look like a noob spinner, these mishaps are also unpleasant to the ears.
Mastering Your Controls
What if the beats or the volumes are out of sync? That’s where your pitch controls come in. You must learn to use the knobs and faders behind the deck, so you can mix tracks harmoniously.
You delay one of the tunes, fade one in or cross-fade, make parts of a track louder or dull them, and plan every transition. There are also other effects like phasers and flangers that help you infuse your own sound.
Sounds simple, right? If you need a little more convincing, let the second part of our interview with DJ Jennifer give you a hot dose of inspiration:
Have you always wanted to be in the music industry?
I always wanted to learn how to play all kinds of musical instruments. When I was in high school, I joined an all-girl band and performed in some of the local music events in our hometown. I use to play lead and rhythm guitar in our band, and sometimes swap and play around with the other instruments. It was fun!
Do you draw inspiration from certain artists or other DJs?
Definitely! I draw inspiration from my international DJ idols, Calvin Harris and Zedd! I listen to their music a lot. I also like to watch videos of their performances and get to see what's happening behind the decks.
That's a pretty tough list. How about our local DJs?
I also look up to Ace Ramos, Mars Miranda, Chrismyk, Sonny Abad, and X-Factor! They always share tips and advice. They are up there for a reason! I try to learn as much as I can from them. Admittedly, I'm makulit and ask a lot of questions. I know they find me weird and annoying, ha ha!
What are the best and worst parts about being a DJ?
The best part is the people in it. When music is played, there's this solidarity and energy from the crowd! It's amazing! Hats off to the people behind the scenes too. There will not be a party without them.
And the downside would be?
Sleep deprivation! Ha ha! I'm on zombie mode after late night gigs and early flights, ha ha! But I'm used to it and I enjoy every moment of it.
If this is how zombies looked like, Jen, let us tell you: We’d like to see more of your kind! Check out more of DJ Jen’s photos below!
Photography Ejay Leung of Midnight Bonkers Styling Debra Bernales Makeup Amanda Padilla of At East |Jed Root Hair Cats Del Rosario of At East |Jed Root