electric drum set

I’ve shared a lot of my loves and hobbies and passions on this site. I’ve talked about how I love traveling with a hammock, how I prefer listening to music on a vinyl record player more than any other source, how I’ve wanted to learn how to sing, and, of course, my love for raves and electronic music concerts.

What is surprising is that I have never mentioned drumming before. Drums are a natural instrument for those of us who are really into electronic music. Sure, we like to get out the turntable and spin some vinyl, using it as an instrument through scratching and such, but even better is producing our own music.

When you produce music, you can use drum machines or keyboards or samples or all of those on a computer. But I prefer using real instruments. I feel it sounds much better. And the instrument I like playing the most is the drums. I actually had a drum set growing up. Yes, my neighbors hated me.

And I just got a new drum set, but this time I won’t be pissing off my neighbors. Why is that? That is because I got an electric drum set this time. The set I got is certainly not the best electric drum kit you can find online, but it is quite good. More on that below.

electric drum set

First, I want to explain more what e-drums actually are. These didn’t exist when I was young, but to me, they are an incredibly important invention.

They’re basically like a regular drum kit, except the sound is not created by hitting the drums and echoing out. Instead you hit an electronic pad and everything is done digitally. Sound is interpreted and reproduced digitally.

That means that you can play very quietly. You can hit the pads and have the sound turned down. Is this as good is playing loud? No, of course not. You lose a lot of things when you play quietly like this.

But it does have one huge advantage. It does not bother your neighbors or anyone else. And that means that you can practice far more often. With a normal drum set, you’re limited to certain times of the day, usually those times when you have agreed with those living around you that they will suffer through your drumming for that one or two hours. Outside of that time, you simply cannot practice anymore.

With an electric drum set, you can practice during those times. You can practice anytime you want, because you can turn on the sound and not bother anyone. That completely changes the way drummers practice and get better.

Previously, so much time was spent on trying to find a suitable practice base, or trying to work around other people schedules. Now you practice anytime you want and pretty much anywhere you want. That frees up so much more time to practice your drumming. You can make progress much faster. As a result, I think these electric drum kits are better than acoustic drum sets.

Now, I am obviously not a professional drummer. I just like to do it for fun. I do record some of my own music and I hope to press some of it to vinyl some day. It would just be so cool to listen to my own music on my vinyl record player. But even if that never happens, I just love making music. Even if no one else ever hears it, the joy of creating my own tunes, and now doing so with my own drum set, is just unbeatable.

If you’re wondering about where to get an electric drum set, I bought mine online from a place called Percussion Cave. Well, I read their review of my kit, but bought it elsewhere. You can generally get them at a local store that carries instruments.

There are a bunch of different brands available. I bought a fairly small one that doesn’t have too many different parts. I didn’t need anything fancy. It is considered a beginners kit, but it has so many advanced features that I think the only thing that makes it beginner is the fact that it doesn’t have more pieces.

It was really more of an advanced kit, but one with fewer pieces for the drummer who doesn’t feel like he needs to show off with hundreds of different components. And that is me, since I’m not really a real drummer anyway. I just need enough pieces to be able to make the sounds that I want and I have that.

I’ve been using my kid a lot since I got it and I absolutely love it. If you are a drummer or thinking of becoming one, I highly recommend getting an electric drum kit. Obviously, if you play live, you’ll need a real drum set too, but you should still get an electric one to practice on. They are actually surprisingly affordable. You owe it to yourself to check them out.

woman in parachute hammock

There are only a few things I always take with me when I hit the road. And perhaps the most important one to me is my hammock. That’s probably surprising to hear, but there’s a reason for that and it’s a pretty good story. Before we get to that, let me introduce you to my hammock.

woman in parachute hammock

I have what is called a parachute style hammock. I bought it online from some website. It was not a huge site, but they have a good selection and they have great prices on parachute hammocks. They also sell other types of hammocks, like Mayan hammocks and Brazilian hammocks and tree tents, but parachute hammocks are the best for traveling.

The reason parachute hammocks are so good that they weigh very little and they roll up into a tiny ball. You stuff them in the pouch they come with and they take up very little space. Despite that, they are very strong. More importantly, they are incredibly comfortable.

The only hammocks that are (slightly) more comfortable are Mayan hammocks and Nicaraguan hammocks or perhaps Brazilian hammocks. For me Brazilian hammocks are a bit too warm, but Mayan and Nicaraguan hammocks are cooler. All three are very comfortable though. They are the kind of hammocks you can sleep in. The drawback of these hammocks is that they are bulkier and they weigh a little bit more and they are much more expensive. That is why I have a parachute style hammock.

I started carrying a hammock with me when I first began DJing in other countries. Back then I could not afford to stay in nice hotel rooms and even hostels were a bit expensive for me in the long run. I quickly learned from other travelers that you could often stay in a hostel for much cheaper if you brought a hammock with you and simply hung it up on the property.

They would charge you half of what they would charge for dorm room and often even less. In exchange for that, you get access to the kitchen and their bathroom facilities. For me this was important. I know I could’ve hung my hammock up out in nature and not paid anything, but I really wanted to be clean. You can’t roll up looking like a homeless person when you’re DJing in a club.

Because of what I said earlier, you’re probably wondering what other things I take with me. The others you can probably guess. Naturally I always bring my phone and a lightweight laptop. I need these for my business. I don’t bring much DJ equipment anymore, since I can do everything from my laptop. Sometimes, when I play big festivals, I do bring actual turntables and a mixer. At these types of events, I like to still spin it old-school style with real turntable record players. Apart from that, I just bring the standard stuff you would take when traveling: clothes, toiletries and so on.

Like I said, there’s nothing too surprising in there. Except for the hammock of course. These days, I can afford nicer hotel rooms, but I still like sleeping in my hammock to be honest. Sleeping in a hammock is much more comfortable than just about any bed.

Of course, this presumes that you know how to sleep in a hammock. Most people do it wrong. They lie init like a banana and that is not comfortable for a long period of time. You have to lie a bit diagonally, so that your body ends up being straight. Lie in one like this and hammocks are super comfortable and also great for your back. You get the best sleep of your life, trust me.

DJ singing

There is a common misconception about DJs, that they don’t have any musical talent. The can’t play any instruments and they can’t sing. Actually, this is probably not that big of a misconception. This is true for a lot of DJs. In fact, I would say, a lot of people who really want to get into music, but have no talent whatsoever, end up becoming DJs.

DJ singing

Obviously, not all DJs fit into this grouping. Many of them do have musical talent. But because they became DJs, they never really fostered it. That is a shame. I think as DJs, if at all possible, we should learn to play at least one instrument and perhaps also learn to sing.

Playing an instrument helps with music production, but singing probably provides the best benefit of all. Nothing helps you get in tune with your musical abilities more than learning to sing. It has a ton of other benefits to, from confidence to breathing, to posture, etc. It will also help make your DJing a lot better, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

First, the big question is how do you learn how to sing. Singing teachers can be expensive and if there are no good ones in an area, then you would have to hire one over the Internet, which takes away some of the benefits of having a teacher.

There are also a lot of courses that cost a few hundred dollars. These are generally pretty comprehensive and can take you quite far. But when you’re first starting, you do not you need to spend any money. You can find a website like this one that provides free vocal training and has a ton of tips and techniques to help you improve your voice. This is a great way to learn to sing, if you are a beginner. It will take you out of the beginner stages.

After that, it makes more sense to hire someone. If you want to really get good as a singer, you will eventually need a live teacher. It could be a live teacher over Skype, but even better if it’s a teacher in person. There are so many of these available, including teachers who have taught quite a few famous singers.

As a DJ, though, it is not necessary to become the world’s best singer. Just working with a free site like Musicaroo, will take your singing to a much higher level than it is currently. The improvement you make from just learning the basic singing techniques is incredible. After that, it takes a lot more work to improve more, so it only makes sense to do that if you actually want to become a singer. As a professional DJ, you probably do not

Once your voice is a bit better, you can actually use it in your music production and sing on your own tracks like these famous DJs. You probably do not want to sing complete tunes, but you can add some hooks and such into your music.

You can even incorporate singing into your live sets, if you don’t suffer from stage fright. A lot of people don’t like to sing to an audience, but if this does not bother you, it would be great to add some singing to your DJing. This is especially true if you are a female. People just love female voices set to electronic dance music.

Whether you’ve got any music ability or not, you can learn to sing and you should. It doesn’t really take that much time for the initial improvement jump. That comes quite quickly. Once you’ve gotten that, go ahead and stop. That’s all you really need as a DJ. You just want a basic singing ability; one that puts you above most people, but not in line with professional singers. As a DJ, this will help you out in your career. Trust me.

a traditional vinyl record we all enjoy playing

vinyl record for a turntableA few months ago I wrote a post about turntable record players making a comeback. I got so much mail from my readers concerning this post. It’s weird, because the site isn’t really even about that topic, but it seems to have really hit a nerve with people.

Most of the messages I got were people telling me that they love vinyl. Like it does for me, it reminded them of their time growing up, listening to the dad’s record collection on his player. They want to relive those nostalgic feelings, but they don’t have a record player of their own and their dad’s has long ago disappeared. Sure, they could get music files that were taken from vinyl and recorded into the digital format, but it really is not the same.

In short, they want to buy a record player, but they had no idea where to get one. The really aren’t many stores selling turntables like this anymore. Most of the ones you buy are specifically tailored for DJs. DJ turntables can obviously be used to play records, but they have a lot of features that you don’t really need and are missing other features that you probably do want. You end up paying for a lot of things you don’t need and, of course, missing the features that you really could use.

a traditional vinyl record we all enjoy playingI actually thought the answer was obvious, but from all the messages it appears it wasn’t. And that answer is: buy online. Seriously, there are so many online stores that sell practically anything these days, that it seems like a no-brainer that they would also sell record players. A site like Amazon, has thousands available.

Now obviously, that presents a whole other problem. Of those thousands of record players available, which ones are actually any good and which are simply ripoffs? The truth is, the majority are cheap products coming from China. Some of them won’t work at all, but most will work for a while and then breakdown. Usually they will break right after the warranty period runs out.

So how do you avoid these crappy products? You do your research. You’ll find a ton of sites online that review the top record players and give you a list of the best ones. Not only do these reviews have a ton of information on each product, most of the sites also feature charts of the top turntables, so that you can see at a glance which one is best for you.

Check out the website I mentioned above, or do a quick search and find hundreds of similar ones. You may notice that most of them are written by a mentally challenged four-year-old. Or so it would seem. The one I mentioned is well-written and that’s why I mentioned it. So many of the other ones aren’t and their reviews are completely useless. They were clearly written by people who’ve never used the products themselves.

So there you have it. Online is the best place to buy record players, but you face the same dangers as you do with any other products online. A lot of them simply aren’t very good and it’s hard to tell which ones those are. Furthermore, the sites that claim to review those products have the same issues. Most of them are worthless as well.

I had all of these same issues when I got my new electronic drum kit. I had to weed my way through hundreds of terrible review sites until I found one called Percussion Cave that actually had useful reviews. Those helped me decide on the electric drum set I ended up going with and I am very happy with the drums I purchased.

So you first need to find a good review site (I helped you with that) and then you need to go find a place to purchase a record player that you decided on. If you do all of this correctly, will end up with a wonderful player that will help you enjoy your dad’s old vinyl collection or your new one. Alternatively, you could go to a store selling DJ equipment and pick up a turntable player favored by DJs. Either way, happy listening!

A DJs turntable at a wedding

As you know, I travel a lot. I’ve been all over the world and have played all kinds of clubs. In addition to the clubs, I’ve played raves, I’ve played electronic dance music festivals, I’ve played birthday parties, I’ve played frat house parties, I’ve played weddings. You name it, and I’ve played it.

Now the list of places I hate playing is exceedingly long. The list of places where I love playing is shockingly short. But I’m not going to go into either of these two lists in this article. That would fill a book. Scratch that, that would fill a multi volume book. Maybe even an encyclopedia. You know one of those old ones that took up a whole bookshelf in your dad’s study? Yeah, the list of places I hate DJing could fill one of those. And you know that business card some idiot handed you the other day? Turn it over. The list of places I like playing would easily fit on there.

A DJs turntable at a wedding
DJing weddings is even worse than DJing for tourists

Anyway, I digress. Today I want to talk about one specific club. A type of club you may well know if and even play quite often, if you travel and DJ like I do. It is the club full of tourists. Like this one. I hate these. That is not to say I especially like playing local clubs either. Those very much depend on the country. In some countries, the locals are great. This is true in much of Europe. It’s even true in parts of the US. It’s not true in China. It’s not true in Thailand. It’s not true in countries like those where people dislike horrible music.

Again, I digress. Back to the tourist clubs. Why do I hate them? I’m sure you can imagine this on your own, can’t you? I realize tourist is a general descriptor. They come in all shapes and sizes and have all different tastes in music. That is the problem, I suppose. When playing a club or show, I like the audience to have generally the same musical taste. That way I can create a set that will take them on a journey. It is specifically tailored to what they like and as a result they love me.

When you have a lot of different musical tastes to cater to, this is impossible. Every song you play, 60 to 90% of the audience will hate it. You can’t really create a coherent set. You have to just wing it. In many cases you have to do the unthinkable: you have to take requests. Now this is the absolute worst. People never seem to request good music. They generally request stuff that doesn’t fit in with anything else you’re playing or stuff you would never be caught dead playing. They expect you to have tracks no one has heard of and tracks everyone has heard of, but no self-respecting DJ would have. Dealing with these requests is the worst. And if you try to do any singing, don’t even get me started…

But when you travel and DJ, you often have to play events like these. You’re not going to get the best gigs when you’re new in town. It doesn’t matter how great your reputation was in the last country, people won’t know you in the next one, unless you are one of those superstars. So you have to build up your reputation again. That means you have to start from near the bottom again. It’s simply the price you pay for traveling the world in our profession. As with any other job, if you want stability and security you can’t move around.

So what do I advise aspiring traveling DJs to do? Suck it up. If it gets too much, vent to your friends. If they don’t want to hear it anymore, do what I did. Start a blog and vent to the public. Probably no one will read it, but some people might. You just did, after all.

Womb Nightclub in Tokyo, Japan

International DJs like me, get a chance to travel all over the world doing what they love. We see great destinations, meet beautiful women and play music all along the way. It’s a great life and I try never to complain about it. That said I’m going to do just that here: I’m going to do some complaining. To make up for it, I’m also going to do some raving. In short, I’m going to list my favorite destinations for DJing and my absolute least favorite.

My number one favorite destination on earth for playing music is Tokyo. I just love the city and everything about it. I love the excellent food you get, I love the futuristic-looking buildings, I love the ancient-looking buildings and I love the way all of it melts together. I love the excellent transportation system, I love the friendly people, I love the nightlife. I love going out to clubs as a partygoer and I love playing them as a DJ. Nowhere on earth beats Tokyo.

Now, there are better destinations to party. Don’t get me wrong, though, Tokyo is great. The problem is that the Japanese people as a whole are pretty conservative and that there are very few international people in Tokyo, relatively speaking. If you’re totally into Asians, it’s a great destination to meet women; if not, you’re kind of screwed. They also love karaoke way too much. But if you’re a good singer, that works to your advantage. Nevertheless, because of those two points, I prefer cities like New York or Las Vegas for a great night out (find out where to see DJs in New York). But for a travel destination to play as a DJ, Tokyo is number one.

Of course, I love New York and Las Vegas and London and Paris and Berlin and all of these cities as a DJ, too (the top 5 clubs in Vegas). These are some of my other favorites. It should come as no surprise, that these are also my favorite cities in which to party. A night out in any one of these places is a wonderful experience, although all of them, except for Berlin, will set you back quite a lot of money. For that reason, I suppose Berlin is my favorite city for a night out. It has a strange nightlife, though, spread out all over the city and often hard to find the best place to go, but once you do, it’s a blast.

You may have noticed I left off Madrid. It’s true, Madrid has famous nightlife, but it shouldn’t be so famous. I think it’s only famous because the Spaniards enjoy going out so much, but the truth is, the clubs are pretty horrible and extremely overpriced. One bar closes after a few hours when a new one opens and you have to move there. You have to spend money everywhere.

I was felt like I was being herded around and ripped off at every step. I had some fun nights in Madrid, but I consider it one of the most overrated party destinations on earth. Playing Madrid as a DJ, however, can be quite great. The city attracts so many beautiful women, on top of the gorgeous locals, and being a DJ in the city attracts those women to you. Enough said.

Naturally, I should mention Ibiza. This is another one of the top destinations in which to DJ. If you get a chance to spin music in one of the famous clubs here, jump on it. The same goes for other tropical places in Europe, like the Greek Islands.

Speaking of tropical places let’s head back to Asia and to Bangkok. For a night out, the city is absolutely horrible. It’s another overrated one. It actual costs far more than it should, surprisingly, but what’s worse is that none of the clubs are really any fun. The music is far too fast and too loud and the crowds consist of Thai couples and hookers.

If you go to the bars that only attract foreigners, you’ll have a good time, but you’ll pay even more for it. And you’ll be dodging hookers all night. Apart from the working girls, there’s really no difference between those bars and ones back in the West, except the ones in the West are better.

Womb Nightclub in Tokyo, Japan
Club Womb in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

As a DJ, Bangkok is all right to play, but I generally prefer to stay away. In Asia, Tokyo is the best city and Seoul follows after that. Hong Kong is also a great destination but I think that will change as China takes over more and more. Chinese clubs are horrendous, and China’s one of the worst places to play in Asia. The only real exception is Shanghai and a few of its clubs.

I realize this list is far from extensive, but those are the places that popped into my head first. Someday, I’ll sit down to write a much longer and more detailed list, but for now just remember which cities you’ll definitely want to accept gigs in and which ones you’ll want to avoid. Of course, if you’ve never been, you might want to accept a gig there anyway, just for the travel experience. Oh, and a tip for saving money: always travel with a hammock. Read this post to learn why.

Equipment You'll Need To Become A DJ

Breaking into DJing is difficult. Whenever somebody asks me how to become a DJ, I make sure to make clear just how hard that path will be. It will take hours of practice to get good enough to play in clubs—and not good clubs mind you—and once you’re in those clubs, it will take years before you get into the good ones. But more than the time, probably the most prohibitive aspect of breaking into the industry is the equipment cost.

Common Dj equipment setup

That’s why it’s absolutely vital you do your research and you buy all the correct equipment from the beginning. You don’t want to have to buy things again, because you bought something substandard. You also don’t want to end up buying superfluous equipment. So make sure you buy exactly what you need and only what you need right from the beginning. Here’s a quick rundown of the essentials every DJ will need:


Input Devices

You’ll need a minimum of two input devices: either two turntables, two CD decks or whatever. You can get more but you need at least two to mix tunes.


A Mixer

You’ll need a mixer with at least two input channels, so that you can mix your two input devices into each other.



Without headphones, you can’t DJ. You need them to hear the next to you will be mixing into the current one, to cue it up and to do all this without everyone else hearing it. Make sure you get a good pair of headphones with a good sound quality.


A Sound System

By sound system, I mean speakers and an amplifier. You will need these for obvious reasons. These days many people opt for powered speakers, which could save some money and is also easier to transport. Personally I prefer a separate amplifier, but this is just a matter of personal preference. Do what is right for you.

And that’s it (although I might add a microphone to the list, if you do any singing as a DJ and a hammock if you need to travel a lot and are on a budget). That’s really all the equipment you need. Of course, just this equipment will run you quite a bit of money. That’s what I would say don’t discount secondhand equipment. If you can find good quality stuff that’s been used but not abused, go for it. It’s a great way to save some money.

One thing you want to avoid in your quest to save money, though, are the boxed sets. You know the ones: DJ in a box, DJ kit, etc.. Stay away from these. They’re often substandard quality and they don’t always include all of the equipment you’ll need. I can also pretty much guarantee that you have to replace everything as you get better and demand more from your set up.

As for brands, Pioneer and Technics are probably two of the best. These are also the two that I would recommend buying secondhand, since they’re built to last and there’s not a huge chance you’re buying crap. If you can’t afford the best equipment, I suppose you have to buy something cheaper. Just know that you’ll probably want to upgrade eventually so it does make sense to buy the best from the beginning. Of course, that’s only possible if you have the money to spend.

One thing I might add down the road if you plan on producing your own music is some instruments. Playing on your own instruments is so much better than using samples. The first thing I would get is a set of electric drums. They are so much better than acoustic drums for producing music and for practicing. Plus, a drum set is just fun!

There you have it: that’s the equipment you need and a few tips for getting it. The rest is up to you. Make sure you do plenty of research and know exactly what you’re getting and why you’re getting it. And once you have it play some music. Then play some more music and then some more. Never stop practicing…

Female DJ playing international club gig

To become an international DJ, you’ll need to do some traveling. To that end, it’s helpful to know something about some of the world’s top party destinations. I’m not necessarily talking about those places where people only go to party, like Ibiza or the full Moon party in Thailand, but about the gigantic cities that host some of the most famous clubs on earth. Let’s look at some of those cities:

Female DJ playing international club gig



I listed this one first because it’s my favorite. The world’s largest city, if you take the whole metropolitan area into account, Tokyo has over 35 million people. It can appear that it has almost as many bars. Many of those are karaoke bars, but if you like singing, that can be a good thing. It also has some amazing clubs that draw the world’s top DJs. And I doubt it one of Tokyo’s main clubs and experienced no one will forget. If you are interested in seeing the city, wikitravel has a great Tokyo travel guide for people on a budget.

The biggest drawback is the cost of accommodation, but you can save a lot if you travel with a hammock. Every place I stayed at was more than happy to let me hang my hammock on their property in exchange for a small fee.


New York

Not much needs to be said about New York. It is world-famous for clubs and for club music and the only thing that can make a night out in New York less fun than should be, is the price. Tokyo gets all the fame for being expensive, but New York is actually much worse. Here’s a guide to New York:


Las Vegas

Known as sin city, this place is naturally a great place to sin. Yes it’s got casinos and yes you can lose a lot of money. But the best thing about Vegas is the clubs. These days most are located within the casinos, but the best are probably still standalone places. For more on Las Vegas go to this page:



I haven’t been to London myself, but I hear the nightlife is pretty incredible. That said, it’s also expensive. Nevertheless any time you can party outside of the US, where the laws are not generally conducive to having fun, it’s a good thing. London is large and the something for everyone and all the famous DJs play here. You’ll want to do the same. Here’s a guide to London:



Beijing might be the capital and Hong Kong seems to be more famous for its nightlife, but Shanghai is by far the most fun city. The nightlife here is much better than Hong Kong and much much better than Beijing. That said, it still China. Most of the clubs is the city kind of suck and you have to figure out the few that don’t. If you do, you’re guaranteed a great time. To help you figure it out, try wikitravel’s travel guide for Shanghai.



Last, but certainly not least on my little list is Germany’s capital. With very liberal laws and ridiculous amount of clubs, this city boasts what is probably currently the best nightlife on earth. Berlin has a few clubs where a night out is not just a night out, it can be a life-changing experience. Even though the love Parade no longer takes place in the city, it’s spirit certainly still remains. Known as one of the coolest cities on earth, Berlin is a place you don’t want to miss. For more the city try this Berlin travel guide:

I know there are many more cities I could’ve and probably should’ve included on this list, but I just wanted to give you a little taste of to get you started. Get familiar with the cities and ideally visit them and spent some time there, and you’ve made a good start. Then you can move on to the next ones, like maybe Singapore, Miami, Los Angeles, etc. basically, if you want to be an international DJ enough to be international you have to travel. So get out there and see the world.

But you should also be aware that there are sacrifices. When you move around so much, you miss out on many of the things you take for granted when living in one place. You don’t really have “real” friends anymore. You don’t have things like your own bed, your own sofa, a nice stereo system. I also really miss my drum kit. It is my favorite from of stress relief and not being able to play my drums after a hard day sucks.

There are many more examples, but those are some of the things I miss the most. But what I miss most of all is actually the ability to have pets and houseplants. The plants are especially hard to live without. I used to have a full indoor garden and even had plant lights to really make them flourish. Now, that is all a thing of the past.