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Digital DJ Tips – Phil Morse Reveals DJing Advice

by Matt · 0 comments

in DJ Culture

digital DJ tips

An Interview With Phil Morse From digitaldjtips.com

Phil Morse is the DJ brain behind Digital DJ Tips, the site any DJ has been following for a while now to find cool tips on the latest digital gear, advice on how to mix and articles about succeeding as a digital DJ.

Digital DJ Tips is a successful blog/resource site that Phil runs from the comfort of his own home in Southern Spain.

As an experienced DJ fascinated by the new musical freedom that digital equipment has brought us, Phil has the passion and skills when it comes to digital DJing to maintain a successful DJ website and also keep up his DJing career while making us highly envious of his lifestyle.

Having already written an article for Phil’s DJ website I thought it was about time we had a chat about Phil’s experience as a DJ and successful website author, about the road to becoming a DJ and succeeding in the fast moving, rapidly changing world we live in.

I’ve enjoyed reading your articles on digitaldjtips.com for a while and it’s quickly become a reference for many aspiring and experienced DJs.

But first of all, a few questions about you and how you started as a DJ. It all happened in Manchester right?

Yes it did. I was mobile DJing by the time I could drive a car, then I was in a band and we recorded some stuff.

Then I went off to college, got into the club scene in the early ‘90s and very quickly I was DJing again.

I promoted my own night for quite a long time. It was eventually quite successful and became what I did full time.

All the time I was writing for iDJ and for the local music magazines and also for the computer magazines.

What motivated you to DJ, was it clubbing, the music or because you’d been inspired by a special night out?

You know what clubbing’s like. If you have the kind of time that you’re meant to be having, clubbing can kind of take over your life. It certainly inspired me.

At the time I was working for a local newspaper and my boss told me to decide between DJing or being a local newspaper reporter.

So I decided I wanted to DJ full time and left my job, and that was the last time I really worked full time in a normal job.

I’ve promoted my own nights nearly all of my adult life since then. So yeah, it became a full time job very quickly. I was clubbing a lot, I had a musical background and I just realised that DJing was what I wanted to do.

Ok and what was the highlight of your DJing career: the best nights, the best period you ever lived?

Ibiza NightclubThe best nights were playing as a resident at my own night at the club “Tangled”. I was a resident for 12 years on Saturday nights. It was mostly myself and my DJ partner most weekends.

We promoted it as a brand name, so people came anyway, whether there were guest DJs or not.

We had a loyal crowd and people would come back again and again, whether there were guest DJs or not. Certainly, the best times I’ve had in my life were playing in the club.

But having said that, the club took us all over the place. We played at The Kitchen in Dublin for the promoters who ran that club; it belonged to U2 at the time. It was quite a cool club, so we’d meet all kinds of minor celebrities.

We played at Koo (now Privilege) in Ibiza for Extravaganza Records. They played for us and we returned the favour. So for getting them to play in a 400 capacity sweaty club in Manchester we got to play in Ibiza which was great. 

So what is it that stands out about DJing for you? The pleasure of people having a great time?

I think it’s the trainspotting music side of it. Finding good records and having people come to hear you play them, because they can’t hear them elsewhere.

That’s an interesting take.

It was different back then because you really could have a box of records that no one knew or could get hold of. I guess it’s changed a bit now, people can Shazam tunes on the dancefloor and download it on their phone on the way home.

But I still think it’s more interesting now, I actually stopped DJing back then because I got bored of it, making the living I was making.

We were kind of stuck in our rut, doing the same thing and I also got bored of having just 2 decks in front of me. The joy of DJing had kind of left me. When you beatmatch for 10 or 15 years and you can mix in key, it’s not hard anymore.

In the few years since, digital DJing has come up massively and I’ve got back into it and I’m really enjoying.

So you could say that it’s digital DJing that’s helped you back into it and your interest in that is how you run your blog and keeping performing sets in the South of Spain, where you live?

That’s right, I’m playing in beach bars and will get some club gigs again soon. But right now, just playing and enjoying it.

I’m sure digital DJing will become like a 2nd career for me. Packing your kit into a bag, cycling down to the bar and performing a set, then cycling back again. It’s great and a big change from the old days.

For a guy who learnt on vinyls, you come across as very pro digital DJing and digital technology. There don’t seem to be so many old skool vinyl DJs who are so in favour of digital DJing technology.

Yeah there are 2 reasons really. Firstly, I’m genuinely interested in it. I think there’s a correlation between the equipment guys use and the way they play music, and even the music that they play.Traktor Kontrol

I’m fascinated by the way music changes equipment and the way equipment changes music.

Techno, samples and loops in music have changed the way we make equipment. The new Traktor S4 for example, has sample decks because we use samples in music.

At the same time, the equipment influences the music. People are influenced by what is in front of them. If there are nobs and buttons there in front of you, you’re more likely to use them and if you do, the sound that comes out of the speakers is gonna be different. And I find that quite fascinating.

There’s far more to it now than mixing with 2 decks and a mixer and doing the same thing over and over again.

The other reason is, for my blog to succeed, it needs an angle. So this blog is purely digital. It’s all digital, and that’s the point of a blog.

I can get to know the people who read it, because I know they’ll be there exclusively for that or they’ll have an interest in it, even if they mix with CDJs when they’re playing out.

What’s your typical response to a guy that slags you off for being a digital DJ. We’ve all had it!

My typical quick response is: “It’s all about the music”.

Most people don’t care about the gear, they just care about the music that’s playing. 99% of people are like that.

Good answer. And would you say to young aspiring DJs that DJing is a career they could make a living from? It’s very competitive and sometimes not so well paid.

It’s changed a lot. I played for many years without getting paid properly all the time. I’d say, do it because you love the music, not because you wanna be famous or something.

It helps if you’ve played music, written music blogs or been a radio DJ. You do need something else to succeed in DJing. For me, it was promoting my own nights that broke me through as a DJ.

Or you can even be a mobile DJ. I know someone who mobile DJs and sells records online. You need to be flexible and to be able to do other things.

You need to have the passion for it. You need to realise that you love what you’re doing. If you feel like that then you’ll do well whatever.

I also think you need to make music to succeed. I think if you do that then you have something ticking in the background that could go off and make you successful at any time.

A way to succeed in music is to put your music up on youtube, keep adding new tunes. Upload one tune per month and put them on youtube. Then when one of your tunes go viral, you can upload your back catalogue of music on itunes, using Tunecore or something. Make an easy video and upload it.

Have you ever made your own tunes to succeed in DJing? I have. Check it out right here and leave a comment or question using the box below!

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