Hi, Doctor Nick! - Tips for Becoming a Better DJ and the Dangers of Dating Mothers

Publish date:
Updated on

Nick Hook is a modern-day jack-of-all-trades, a man who somehow finds the time to produce, record, engineer, DJ, travel the world, party, and just be a genuinely rad guy. Amidst all the chaos, he amazingly finds the time to answer questions from the XLR8R faithful, popping in every Thursday morning to shell out nuggets of wisdom he's picked up over the years. Doctor Nick is a veritable gold mine of information, which is why our readers shouldn't be shy about hitting him up at doctornick@xlr8r.com. Our resident advice columnist is here to help, and more importantly, he's happy to do it.

Hi. I don't have too much to say this week. Spring regressed in New York and that's pretty wack. The questions have actually been getting better and better, and I salute everyone who been writing in and showing love.

Follow me on Twitter and stuff. @nickhook

Anyways, yeah. Keep the questions coming to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Here goes.

Hi Doctor Nick,
What's good? I just started DJing a few months ago, and I've been practicing almost every day, but I just don't feel like I'm making that much progress. What are some tips and/or tricks to help me progress and become a pro?

Yo. Chillin'. Everything is good. Off the top of my head...

Pro is a loose term. Starting tomorrow, pretend you are a pro and try to live up to that every day. Name it and claim it. I think the bar has been set so low that being a decent DJ makes you great these days. It's unfortunate, but hey, it's 2013. If you've actually been practicing for a while, I would bet some money that you are already a better DJ than half of New York City, and that's like four million people, cuz everyone is a DJ here.

Are you having problems beatmatching?

Kicks on kicks and snares on snares. That sounds obvious, but make sure you match the kick on the one with the other song you are playing, and then the snare should match too. Pay attention to song structure. Don't be one of those dudes that loops one bar on Serato and then you mix out and you have to wait for another 45 seconds for the song to drop. Most dance music is made so that you mix 16 bars of one track with 16 bars of another, so try and think of that when you drop the new song—drop it after the sequence of 16 bars ends. It'll all make sense, and then you can have fun pulling EQs in and out and filtering and so forth. It's kinda all math.

The way I learned to beatmatch when it didn't make sense was that I had two A Tribe Called Quest records and I was like, "These things have to go together." I just kept trying to do it over and over until it worked.

If you are playing rap, don't fucking mix that shit. Drop it. Never underestimate the element of surprise.

The real tip is to actually go get some gigs. This is my personal opinion, but practicing DJing in your house during the day doesn't equate to actually going out to a club, being in a room with a bunch of people partaking in activities, and how it's different every time. Everyone does it differently, but being in that situation is like 10,000 practices. Go suck—we've all done it (I'm still doing it), but at least you can analyze it faster and learn how to do better next time. And obviously, keep practicing,

Use your ears, don't use the screen. Trust me. It might take a little bit longer, but it'll pay off.

Listen. Think about who's your favorite DJ and why. It's simple, but studying is amazing. Make live mixes. Record yourself. I think that's it. Maybe. Hmmmm.

Hi Doctor Nick,
Have you ever dated a legit mother? Any words of advice?
Anonymous ;-)

I myself have not.

My advice is to steer clear. I was talking to some rappers about this (that I will leave unnamed), but they agreed, for several reasons.

1. The good guy reason:

She's got kids. Unless it's real, I don't think its good to build an attachment to some kids that you don't plan on taking in.

2. The slimeball reason:

The kids get in the way and interrupt the end game, which is the pussy.

And just in case you fell in love with the girl and she never told you she had the kids, you just gotta be ready for one thing—to be called Dad.

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.