Article | Onlythebeat

We Are Your Friends Star Cole Carter's Tips for Aspiring DJs

Friday, May 22, 2015
Janessa Demeule

So you wanna be a DJ. Well let me tell you, everything you thought you knew about becoming a music producer/DJ is wrong. How wrong? Let's ask our good buddy Cole Carter aka Zac Efron from Warner Bros. Pictures' new movie We Are Your Friends. You may be asking yourself "I have passion, years of practice, and a desire to spread good music to others. What more do I need?" to that Cole and I respond with throws of laughter. You'll never get anywhere like that. Here's what you need to be a real DJ. So grab a pen and paper and let your friends drop some knowledge on ya. In a world where you can do anything, if you want to be a DJ there are 3 key things to your success.

1. A Laptop

To be a top notch DJ you need a laptop, because this is where the music comes from. You could invest years of your life obtaining vinyl and CD's, or you could just find music online and go from there. The Laptop is important so when you get on stage everyone knows your a DJ. We suggest pairing your laptop -preferably a Mac, with some Beats or other insanely large set of cans. The bigger the headphones, the bigger the sound. That way no one can confuse you for some idiot who walked on stage. With the laptop as a heavy hitter in your arsenal, you are on your way to becoming a famous DJ.   [caption id="attachment_33070" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Just grab yourself a DJ Starter Kit and begin your dream today! Just grab yourself a DJ Starter Kit and begin your dream today![/caption]  

2. Some Talent

Cole puts a lot of emphasis on 'some.' If you have too much talent you might not get noticed. If you understand the finer nuances of music production you run the risk of alienating the biggest audience, the millennials. They really just want to hear the same generic sound that has been ubiquitous in the festival scene the last few years. It is what they know and connect to. Anything better than that might cause you to lose their interest. Who wants to spend hours practicing scratch techniques or finding fun new ways to blend? This way everyone wins! You just have to time the drop right and they just have to get ready to jump. [caption id="attachment_33072" align="aligncenter" width="420"]With some talent you can be a judge on Simon Cowell's new show! With some talent you can be a judge on Simon Cowell's new show![/caption]

3. ONE Track

Only one. That one defining track that will take you out of obscurity and launch you into the hearts of millions. Why focus your efforts on learning the finer nuances of music production when you can take what's worked for other famous DJs and use that? Find your sound and make it sound like everyone else. Cole notes that  You'll be famous overnight, guaranteed.   [caption id="attachment_33076" align="aligncenter" width="436"]One good track will turn you into an animal behind the decks! One good track will turn you into an animal behind the decks![/caption]  

4. Hit the Sweet Spot and Hit It Often

What's the sweet spot? According to Cole it's 128 bpm, or "beats per minute" as it is  known among DJs. If 128 bpm is where you end, where is a good place to start? Cole suggests trying 125 bpm. This way you build up a slow crescendo as you increase speed all the way up to 128 bpm. In doing so, you can really get the crowd out of their heads. After all your job is to help them forget all their problems and provide a soundtrack to their heavy partying. A three click gap on the metronome is a huge difference, but you'll be so good at this point, that they will hardly notice how far you've pushed them. Make sure you fear 138 bpm or anything else that could be extreme. Too much bpm will tire out your crowd and they will lose interest. [caption id="attachment_33077" align="aligncenter" width="432"]Here Cole demonstrates the art of taking it from 125 bpm, to 128 bpm. Here Cole demonstrates the art of taking it from 125 bpm, to 128 bpm.[/caption]

5. It's Not About the Music

Cole might have originally been for the music, but soon realized that it doesn't matter when money is on the line. What he wants to pass on to you is the understanding that it's your future at stake and if you're going to do something because you love it, you have to do it for money.   [caption id="attachment_33079" align="aligncenter" width="444"]Paris did it for the money and she's doin' fine. Paris did it for the money and she's doin' fine.[/caption] Watch Cole's master technique in the We Are Your Friends trailer here . Make sure you check these and other tips from Cole when he drops onto the big screen September 9th.