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How To Become A Famous DJ Like These!

Published: Wed July 16, 2014  News Feed

How To Become A Famous DJ - Like These!

Alright, so you wanna learn how to be a DJ. Not only that, but you've set your aims high and you want to become a FAMOUS DJ. The good news is, you can do just that, but if you're hoping for a first class ticket to the Arcadia stage then you've got another thing coming.

Arcadia DJ Festival Stage Boomtown Live gig

It happens quite a lot - a new DJ you haven't heard of breaks onto the scene out of no where and you start hearing their music everywhere. They make it look so easy - almost effortless. But years of hard work and dedication goes on behind the scenes to get them there.

Fame, album sales and live shows might be the ambitions of a new DJ, but none of that is possible without spending (what others would call) way too many hours at home perfecting your technique.

This article won't tell you what gear to buy and what buttons to press. What it will show you is how some of the most famous DJs in the UK achieved their success, so that you can take the same approach to your career.

Let's see how it all started for them. It's not all glitz and glam...


sonny moore skrillex from first to last lead singer Sonny Moore (Skrillex) grew up in Los Angeles/San Francisco. He had a hard time during his teens as he was home schooled at 14 years old due to bullying and then learned he was adopted at 16 years old.

Despite this, when he was 16 he offered to play guitar for post-hardcore band From First To Last, and attended the auditions. He was heard singing and they asked him to be their front man. They were successful in USA and had lots of tour offers until he suffered vocal problems which caused them to pull out of many gigs. He had to have a vocal operation and subsequently resigned from the band to work on a solo career (that was less voice dependant).

He took to MySpace (remember that?!) in 2007 and released a few demos that were received well, and ended up touring with bands such as All Time Low. Things took off from there.

In 2008 he started performing under the name we all know as Skrillex.

skrillex rolling stone magazine cover dj dubstep sonny moore

Skrillex Live Gear Setup DJ controllers mixer And the "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" video currently has 170 MILLION views. That is not just luck - that is Sonny's perseverence at making music, not letting his problems get in his way and adapting to circumstances that has helped him get where he is today.

Good on you, Sonny Jim.




 deadmau5 dead mouse deadmouse deadmaus dead maus joel zimmerman dubstep dj

Joel Zimmerman (Deadmau5) was born in Ontario, Canada and evidently liked Pokemon (great taste). It all started when he was bought a keyboard for Christmas and it went from there.

Apparently he got his name as a child when his computer broke. When his dad opened the computer up there was a dead mouse inside, and from then on everyone called him the "dead mouse guy".

Here is one of Deadmau5's early demos when he was just 14 years old. I'm sure I heard the Windows 98 error bleep sampled in there somewhere...

It's nearly 20 years down the line and many would say Deadmau5 is now at the peak of his career. He certainly didn't come out of no where, it's just that no one had heard of him until he collaborated with Kaskade and "Move For Me" reached number one in 2008. If you persist and are always seeking out opportunities like Deadmau5 did, you have a much better chance of being successful.

deadmau5 deadmouse dead mouse dj dubstop joel zimmermanDEADMAU5 LIVE GEAR GUIDE:


Norman Quentin Cook has worked hard over the years to earn his twelve MTV and Brit awards. 

fat boy slim fatboy norman cook the housemartins He has played drums, bass and even took the lead vocals in some rock bands over the years, although after spending time at University of Brighton and becoming DJ Quentox amongst the thriving night club scene, it was there he discovered what type of music he wanted to make.

Here's a list of Cook's musical ventures that helped get him where he is today:

  • Disque Attack (1977 - Drums, Vocals)
  • DJ Quentox (1979 - University of Brighton Clubs)
  • The Housemartins (1985 - Bass Player)
  • Norman Cook (1989 - First Solo Hit)
  • Beats International (1989)
  • Freak Power (1993)
  • Pizzaman (1993)
  • The Mighty Dub Katz (1996)
  • Fatboy Slim (1996)
  • The Brighton Port Authority (2008)

fatboy slim norman cook It just goes to show... if at first you don't succed - try again.

He suffered a serious setback with Beats International in 1989 when he lost a copyright infringement legal dispute with his number one track  "Dub Be Good To Me" that forced him to pay back twice the royalties he had made on the record and forced him into bankruptcy. 

It is a good job Cook did not stop there and carried on making music - or Fatboy Slim would have never existed. Again, perseverence and determination has paid off.

fatboy slim brighton beach dj gig free

Here's part of an interview with Norman Cook telling us why he became a DJ:

"I used to get invited to parties because I had the box of records. But in those days, you leave the records lying around at parties, and you get them home and they're covered in vomit and cigarette ash.

One day, I got invited to a party and I said "Yeah, but I'm not bringing my records, is that ok?" and she said "well, that was the only reason we invited you." But the girl's parents had a bit of money and she said "what if we hire these double decks and you can be in charge of the records all night - that way they won't get damaged?" And so, we did and I really enjoyed it, and the crowd seemed to. That started a career as a sort of party and wedding DJ."

FATBOY SLIM LIVE GEAR SETUP: Norman Cook has been DJing since the pre-digital era and still finds the whole digital age of DJing a bit strange. In an interview with MusicRadar, he tells us that he has packed away the Atari and now uses a couple of Macbook Pros with Ableton and Serato. In this Livecam, he uses:



Hopefully you've seen a different perspective on what it takes to be a PRO DJ. Ofcourse you need the skills, creativity, passion and equipment to make this a reality, but there is another skill set that many of us overlook in this fast-paced modern world; and that is your mindset.

New DJs looking for a quick way to achieve stardom will find themselves sorely dissapointed - it is only those that have the pure grit, determination and perseverence that will succeed.

Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Fatboy Slim did not give up after they faced setbacks. Let these examples serve as inspiration/motivation at hard times during your DJing career. Prepare yourself for some hard work - get practicing, get pro and get yourself out there. 

Got any tips for new DJs? Let us know!

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