Hi, Doctor Nick! - Business Cards and How Traktor/Serato Fit in with Being a 'Proper' DJ

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We love Nick Hook. Not just because he's a great dude—which he most definitely is—but because each week, the guy takes time out from his ridiculous schedule of DJing, music making, traveling, partying, and general radness to help out XLR8R readers. Seriously, questions pour in from around the globe—if you have one, make sure to send it to doctornick@xlr8r.com (we ALWAYS need questions)—and Doctor Nick answers them. In a way, the guy is constantly paying it forward, and no matter what the topic, his internal encyclopedia seems to have some small nugget of wisdom that he's more than willing to share. We're lucky to have him.

Hi. I'm still in LA.

Shout out to the god Salva for putting his new record out. I had a blast with the Friends of Friends crew the other night, and afterwards I ended up in a vortex downtown. Also, shout out to friends winning Grammys. For readers of this column, let me explain that these guys started no differently than anyone else, and it's finally starting to manifest after something like eight or nine years. It's pretty cool. I remember meeting Diplo on a bench outside of Turntable Lab in 2004 and now the dude is up for producer of the year. Like, the same award Quincy Jones wins. The sky really is the limit.

Oh yeah. If you are in NYC next Monday, come to the best party of the year: our annual celebration for Dr. Dre's birthday. I'm doing a Nate Dogg tribute set and it's gonna be off the chain. Free gin and juice and all Dre. It's all ages this year too. All the info is here.

Keep the questions coming. doctornick@xlr8r.com. Hope everyone is well. Shout out to XLR8R for letting me do this.

Hi Doctor Nick,
I really enjoy your column and have definitely been inspired and encouraged while reading it. I've been DJing and producing for a few years, but am still trying to get out of the minors and into the majors (more realistically, the semi-pro circuit). I realize this is the most common question you get, and you've offered great advice in the past, but specifically, how do you find things like business cards work?

Do you have any cards yourself and do you find that people actually contact you because of them? I get the feeling most people aren't interested in sitting down to listen to a CD I hand them and I'm trying to find other ways of encouraging others to listen to my stuff. Do you have any other methods of selling yourself that have worked particularly well, or produced interesting results?

Thanks for all the help and advice,

Yo. Awesome. That makes me happy. Thank you.

I'm going to answer this in two ways: on my own behalf, and on others' behalf.

Personally, I don't have cards. I always thought it was corny as fuck. FOR ME. I just assume that in 2013, if you wanna fuck with me, hand me your phone and I'll give you my number or I'll email you right on on the spot. I've always preferred taking an organic approach to music and my business, just to make sure I'm interfacing with all the right people.

That said, when I meet someone that does have a card, I DON'T judge them at all. I kinda love saving them, because when someone blows up, you are like, "Yo, I have their card," and it's super cute. I think I still have Drop the Lime's card, along with some other random ones. I think if you are going to go that route, just make sure you do it right. Something that is almost an art piece is a lot more likely to grab me than a bad font and some contact info. If you get handed a card with detail, good design, and elegance, you might go, "Damn, this kid is on it." The last two cards I can remember getting were from Brenmar and Syd from The Internet and they were both nice and clean.

I think the best method of selling myself has been being myself and working hard. I'm not trying to become friends with everyone. I'm letting it all grow organically. People know who you are working with, who you are friends with, and all that, and it leads them to pay attention. I was DJing and working with Yak Ballz awhile back, and all of a sudden I got a call from El-P out of the blue. He heard that I was good at Ableton and wanted to experiment with his live show. I ended up going to play Pitchfork Festival with him and doing a really important instrumental set at Low End Theory in LA. That led to friendships with a bunch of guys we all admired on the West Coast, and it all continued from there. And it all stemmed from just kicking it with a good friend, helping out for free, and doing it cuz I wanted to.

Hi Doctor Nick,
I want to DJ and do it proper, with Technics SL-1200s and vinyls. So far, I have a Technics SL-1210 and a basic Numark mixer. Sure, I have a few records, but not enough to be able to DJ and build my own sets. So I thought that a Traktor/Serato vinyl-control system would be the way to go.

What's your experience with the vinyl control systems, and how do you think they compare? How well does it work to mix and match between an actual record and the control vinyl when you're DJing?

They work great. I started buying vinyl as well and got into Serato around 2005 or 2006. I've found it fine to mix between vinyl and Serato. It has become a little bit weird, just because music is constantly getting mastered louder and louder, so sometimes it's hard for an analog record to keep up, especially older stuff, but you can finesse that with the gain on the mixer. Also, the good thing is that you can digitize records as you go.

After moving to New York, I had to make a realistic decision about my record-buying habits. My apartment was small, I didn't have a car, and my girlfriend at the time would kinda just be like, "Are you really real about filling up our little shoebox with these records?" So I slowed down a bit. Traveling with records is tough and you end up ruining shit that you love. Luckily, since then I've become single and got a bigger apartment, so I've tried to reconnect with my record buying. I really did forget how much I love it and it has been super inspiring lately.

Respect on proper DJing. It's such a beautiful art form and I sometimes worry that it's going to get lost due to cost and laziness.

Hi, Doctor Nick! appears every Thursday on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Nick Hook can help you.