How well do you know your collection?

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julius
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How well do you know your collection?

#1 Post by julius » Wed Jul 09, 2003 7:23 pm

I remember when I used to own maybe a hundred CDs (total) and I knew the track order and song title and opening bars on every CD by heart. Well, that's been long untrue. I haven't cared because I have no need to know. But in your professional capacities as DJs, surely you all must have more than passing familiarity with your hundreds or thousands of CDs.

My question is, how well do you know your collection, how much do you think a DJ should know, and what do you do to get to know it better? How much time do you spend each day listening to your music?

By "know your collection" I mean the ability to think of an appropriate song for a situation and maybe know what album it's on, recognizing songs played by other people that are in your collection, and so on.

It's kind of a vague question, but I was just wondering how vital this is to being a DJ. I've bought a tremendous number of CDs in the past few years and I think I've probably listened to some of them just once or twice, even if they are really good.

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yedancer
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#2 Post by yedancer » Wed Jul 09, 2003 11:18 pm

I don't know my CD's half as well as I should. However, I was able to DJ at the Lindy Summit without headphones (and I only keep liner notes on about 1 out of every 10 or 15 CDs.)
-Jeremy

It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

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SirScratchAlot
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#3 Post by SirScratchAlot » Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:49 am

I know my collection pretty good. and even though it's big, it's very limited as to what I collect and enjoy to collect.

It's not vital to memorize your collection at all, all you have to do is label the bpms and then play away...LOL
\\\"Jazz Musicians have dance in them, and Jazz dancers have music in them, or Jazz doesn''''t happen.\\\" Sidney Bechet

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SirScratchAlot
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#4 Post by SirScratchAlot » Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:50 am

yedancer wrote:I don't know my CD's half as well as I should. However, I was able to DJ at the Lindy Summit without headphones (and I only keep liner notes on about 1 out of every 10 or 15 CDs.)
and if I may say you did an awesome Job!!!
\\\"Jazz Musicians have dance in them, and Jazz dancers have music in them, or Jazz doesn''''t happen.\\\" Sidney Bechet

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mousethief
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#5 Post by mousethief » Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:50 am

if my collection ever gets to the point where i can claim even half-assed mastery, then i need more music. i can generally dj without phones and have done so at several exchanges.

but nothing - nothing - beats my finding something new and wonderful on a cd that i have owned for 6+ months.

kalman

Roy
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#6 Post by Roy » Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:46 am

I normally DJ without ear-phone. When I buy a new CD I listen to it several times picking out the best songs for dancing. I then keep my own notes on each of those songs. Outside of those selected songs it is unlikely I would be able to recognize the song if someone else plays it.

A few CD's really stand out and I listen to them reguarly.

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djstarr
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#7 Post by djstarr » Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:59 am

as I buy CDs I'm listening once or twice w/o taking notes, then one time thoroughly to note BPM and liner notes --- I have a three star system - no stars is not danceable, one is ok, two is good, three is a sure fire winner.

I'm now acquiring CDs faster than I have time to make liner notes, so maybe I should stop buying them for a little bit.....

I also like Dj'ing without headphones - it makes for a bit more excitement when picking a track, however I couldn't do that if I didn't make the liner notes.

I think once you get over a certain number of CDs you have to rely on some kind of a system.

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Swifty
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#8 Post by Swifty » Thu Jul 10, 2003 7:17 am

I find that when I'm DJing without the help of headphones I have a habit of only spinning the tried-and-true standbys I'm most familiar with. With headphones I'm a bit more ambitious in my selections.

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Soupbone
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#9 Post by Soupbone » Thu Jul 10, 2003 8:35 am

I know my collection pretty well. But, i still don't like spinning without headphones. As well as I know my stuff, I find that I still like to hear the tune in "real time" while the previous tune is playing.

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GemZombie
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#10 Post by GemZombie » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:43 am

I'm up to around 350 CD's (just Jazz/Swing/Dance related), but only carry about 200 with me. Of those 200, I probably know 3/4's of them well enough to find the right song on the right track... but I still resort to looking at labels just in case.

I usually think "I want this song", and know exactly where to go get it...

KevinSchaper
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#11 Post by KevinSchaper » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:33 pm

DJing without headphones makes it really hard to cue up records. :)

I don't think it's possible to know 300+ cds the way you can know 100, but I'm still surprised at how often I can remember the track number for a given song..

I actually noticed a decline in how well I knew my music when I started listening to audiobooks a lot while driving back and forth between eugene and portland instead of music.. having my music at work as mp3s has kinda made up for it.. but I find it's really hard to get to know stuff I only have on LP, cuz I just dont spend enough time at home listening to em.

Brenda - you guys actually could headphone cue at Sonny's - you just need to bring some along, and figure out the mixer - those kinda mixers have "PFL" or "solo" buttons for each channel that'll send to the headphone out.

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mark0tz
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#12 Post by mark0tz » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:38 pm

I feel like I know 50% of my stuff REALLY WELL. and 50% of my stuff hardly at all.
Mike Marcotte

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yedancer
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#13 Post by yedancer » Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:44 pm

Swifty wrote:I find that when I'm DJing without the help of headphones I have a habit of only spinning the tried-and-true standbys I'm most familiar with. With headphones I'm a bit more ambitious in my selections.
Same here. I can DJ without headphones if I have to, but I hate it. I get much more diverse when I can preview what I'm going to play.
-Jeremy

It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

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wheato
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#14 Post by wheato » Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:17 pm

I've also DJed w/o headphones before, but I try to avoid it if possible. I usually don't refer to a BPM list anymore, and invariably I underestimate the tempo of some tunes, so that my sets don't quite turn out the quality I would like.

I'm also losing track of my collection a little bit. I hate it when I stare at a song title, and I know it's a good one, but for the life of me I can't remember how it goes!

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Greg Avakian
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#15 Post by Greg Avakian » Fri Jul 11, 2003 8:41 am

I feel like I hardly know my collection at all. I have a crappy memory so I use familiarity, BPMs and a rating system to guide me. Jesse Miner encouraged me to start using headphones and that has been the best advice anyone has given me as a DJ.

I think that unless you have a great memory, you have to listen to your music constantly. I make mixes of new stuff just to be able to play it over and over again. I've been in Canada the last week and I only bought 24 new CDs. Knowing me, that will make about 1 good mix CD.

When I traveled less I had a weekly gig and that really helped me keep in touch with my music too.

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