Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review - Being a DJ


Being a DJ (On the Radar: Awesome Jobs)

By: Lisa Regan and Matt Anniss
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0761377757
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2012

If you have a passion for music you don’t have to wait until you’re grown up to begin a career. In fact Club DJ Tom Thorpe started when he was only sixteen. Granted, it wasn’t easy and he really had to practice, but for Tom it was well worth the effort. In his interview for this book he has a lot of hints for the aspiring DJ, but also tells you how to be a stand-out. “Good DJs will show their passion and flair not only through their music but also with their body language when they play.” Do you think you have what it takes to be a DJ and give it your all like Tom did? If so, you just might get your inspiration by reading about the art and those who practice it.

Historically, people always loved to dance, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that anyone thought of becoming a disc jockey (DJ). In 1947, Jimmy Saville “experimented with two turntables and the idea quickly caught on.” In the 1950s and 1960s people were still dancing up a storm, but in the 1970s Djs took it one step further. The art had become a career for some as they became performers. The first one, DJ Francis Grasso “became the first to mix records together in a nightclub.” It was on these simple turntables along with their ingenious ways with mixers that new forms of music such as hip-hop were born.

Naturally when something becomes popular, it grows and changes with the times. Do you have a favorite Internet DJ? You may still see Djs at weddings and dances, but some of the most famous ones can be streamed into your home though an assortment of electronic devices. Djs such as Pete Tong are superstars! Throwing a record onto a turntable or pumping up the jam with a CD is a thing of the past as technology has taken over. “Techno wizards” are now turntabalists in their own right. They’re hot and their remixes are garnering awards. For example, David Guetta won a Grammy “Best Remixed Recording” for Madonna’s Revolver. How much better can you get than that? In this book you’ll read about some hot Djs, the equipment they use, the history of the art, you’ll read about some of the best turntablists, suggestions as to how to succeed, and you’ll learn many more interesting things about being a DJ, the “best job in the world!”

This is a fantastic look at the history of the DJ and those who work in the field. Perhaps one of the best features of this book is the eye-popping layout. The book explodes with photographs, artwork, and sidebars that almost literally dance through its pages. Many of the people discussed or interviewed in this book can be found on YouTube for a little added excitement. Included are Dj Kool Herc, DJ Pete Tong, DJ David Guetta, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Rafik, TheScratch Perverts, DJ A-Trak, DJ CashMoney, and others. A two-page spread gives the young reader a lingo lesson with BEAT SPEAK and a glossary that defines words included in the text. In the back of the book is an index, a debate section (Musicians or Jukeboxes?) and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: If you have a youngster who is passionate about music and would love being a DJ, this is one eye-popping book you might want to add to your list!