If you’ve ever dreamed of being a DJ, there are essentially four different categories of DJs, which we’ll explore in greater detail.
The two most popular types of DJs are found in two completely different genres — hip hop and electronica. Styles and mixing ability varies greatly among hip hop DJs, but most are able to scratch at least a little bit. Expert scratchers are known as turntablists for having elevated scratching and hip hop mixing to an art form. Frequent DJ battles separate the men from the boys at the art of hip hop DJing and those that are at the top of their game are literally wizards with two turntables and a crate full of records.
Among electronica DJs there are countless genres — trance, progressive house, breakbeat, techno, and chill out. Among these main classifications are still more sub-genres that are too numerous to mention. Almost all electronica DJs are known for their ability to DJ mix songs using a technique known as “beat-matching” — keeping two records in sync for a significant amount of time. Beat-matching is to electronica as scratching is to hip hop. Both skills take a significant amount of time to develop.
The third basic category of DJs are those that mix pop music in commercial clubs. While they may be good at both a little bit of scratching as well as beat-matching, their main skill is music selection — keeping up with current trends in the ever-changing pop world. Most serious electronica and hip hop DJs would scoff at pop music DJs for their lack of taste and mixing skill, but they serve a specific function in the DJ scene, so they’re likely not going anywhere soon.
The last category for DJs are those that play private parties and weddings. Like pop DJs, their main skill is music selection and for wedding DJs, it can be a considerable trait to have as the extreme variety of music styles necessary to please a wide range of musical tastes among wedding-goers is maddening.
If you’ve always dreamed of mixing music for parties, consider these four basic categories as your starting point and you’ll find which school is best suited to your personality and music taste.