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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

'DJing and the importance of Genres' A talk with DJ Tim Mills

Hi Folks,

Talk with DJ Tim Mills, DJ since 1982.

Its amazing how social networking can help one grow and understand from people far more experienced living halfway across the world. I had a very interesting talk with Tim Mills about 'Grenres' and what role they play in a DJ's music and how important it is to have a clear understanding of who you are playing to. Hope this helps other DJs around the world, reading this. Cheers.

Ashish Ddavidd

Ashish Ddavidd - "Bro how important do you think is it to stick to one genre of music as a dj...see im starting out... im new...and i pretty much go by what feels nice to the ears...sometimes...i break rules and mix between genres... or different bpms etc.... is that alright... or are there rules that i must gimme your opinion..."

Tim Mills - "I believe in versatility - what if you're audience doesn't want to listen to that one genre, then you're in trouble. I think it's important to be able to go anywhere the crowd wants to go - there are some sounds I stick away from (DubStep, Techno,) but I'll pretty much play anything. It depends on the audience, the time of my set, the venue, etc. Versatility is really important imo. The best advice I was ever given (by DJ Jorg) was "play for the people." For me, it's about connecting with my audience, the people who were kind enough to show up to the gig, the audience should be honoured for that and given what they want. I think many (especially inexperienced DJ's) forget that it's less about the DJ and more about making the audience smile. It's less about the ego and more about connecting with people who were gracious enough to come and listen. Versatility on your instrument is key, imo. Great topic for discussion, Ashish!" 

Ashish Ddavidd - "Thanks man. Ill keep that in mind. you are an experienced guy and obviously know what you are talking about. But there is also another school of thought which says that if you play any and everything, then you will never be able to carve out an identity and a signature sound for yourself. how far is that true or even important in your opinion? 

Tim Mills - "Hi Ashish, Thanks for chatting, I love talking about DJing, anytime! You raise a good point, but I think it's most important to read a crowd, this is why I say don't be scared of requests, even if you don't play the requests, the requests are a good barometer of what the audience wants. Another trick is to play to the right audiences, and the right venues, for example, if you're strictly a drum 'n' bass DJ and you're playing an early-night set in a country & western bar, it's going to be terrible. 
Know you're audience. Know the patrons of the venue. Each gig is different, one trick I learned which often works well is to play to just one person in the crowd, simply concentrate on making that one person happy, if you can do that, it's usually going OK. Also, make sure the person paying you is happy, if the person who is paying you likes what you do and is happy, success. If you only want to play a certain genre, make sure the venue wants to hear only one genre.  
Every gig is different, and different sounds go down better, I've noticed at different hours, the earlier in the night I play the more soul and funk and hip-hop I'll play, as the night gets later and later I'll start doing house music, if it's quite late in the night, I'll start drum 'n' bass, as the night progresses people want a different energy. Morning trance works best in the morning, go figure, dark sounds and heavy bass and beats work best at the deepest/latest part of the night. Older crowds prefer older school music, younger crowds prefer newer school sounds.  
It all depends, I play a lot of varied venues so it's important for me to be versatile and read the crowd. Every gig is different - if a DJ only wants to play a certain genre it's most important to play the right venues. If you can change your sound, you can play at more venues and hopefully make more $$$. 
 I've had many terrible gigs where the crowd hated what I did, versatility helped me avoid that terrible feeling, if you only want to play for yourself, stay at home and play for yourself, but if you can change your repertoire to suit any audience, people will enjoy it and you'll carve an identity for yourself. Play for the people. DJ's serve the people, in my opinion. Keep your head up, I wish you the best in all your future DJ adventures."

Ashish Ddavidd - "Super insightful bro. I think what you just said makes a lot of sense. I'm not a huge fan of any one genre but love all in bits pieces and portions. So I guess I have to now just look for the right audiences and keep things flexible. Also probably have a variety of sets prepared as that's how Ableton works as opposed to say a Tractor. Things have to be prepared and warped in advance. But ya. Thanks for your perspective. You have inspired me to take my work more seriously and work harder. Ill keep bugging you with my doubts and experiences."

Tim Mills - "Remember to put me on the guest list for the DJ Ashish show in Canada!!!  To me, there are only two genres anyway, good music and bad music"