There’s a lot of ways to learn about DJing. From video tutorials to articles on the Internet, there is no doubt that there is a lot of information around. That said, there are a few books for DJs that are worth having on the shelf (and reading them too, obviously).
Top DJ Books every music lover should read
We’ve put together a list of essential reads for DJs. In this list you will find books about the technical aspects of electronic music, but also stories that have gone down in the annals of DJ history: night clubs, DJ biography books, musical genres…
Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques – Rick Snoman
If you had to choose one textbook to know everything about electronic music, this is your book. In fact, it is used in many electronic music production classes simply because of the wide variety of topics and genres it covers.
Beware, it’s not an easy read. It’s a huge book that’s aimed primarily towards DJs and Producers, diving into a lot of different topics, from audio fundamentals to synthesizer programming to remixing and sampling, waveforms, and more.
If you want to get started in music production, this is a great starting point.
Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The History Of The Disc Jockey – Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton
The book tells the story of the figure of the DJ and everything that surrounds him, from his underground origins in the scenes of London, Paris and New York to become international superstars of the first level.
An evolution that goes hand in hand with the birth of new genres such as techno, disco, hip hop or house, including a walk through legendary clubs like the Peppermint Lounge, the Cheetah or the Ministry of Sound and interviews with DJs.
Energy Flash – Simon Reynolds
Another essential book that should not be missing on the shelves of any dance music lover.
Relying on interviews with some of the key figures of the scene such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Jeff Mills or Richie Hawtin, Reynolds addresses some of the most radical sounds of the music of the last decades and the most groundbreaking musical movements that gave rise to a hedonistic culture and one of the great revolutions in the history of music.
It is more than an essay on electronic music. It is a thorough and passionate review of the history of techno using as an axis the rave phenomenon and all its multiple and almost infinite mutations.
A journey from the origins with Detroit techno, through Chicago house, the rise of raves and acid house in the UK or the birth of the Balearic culture in Ibiza to the generic dispersion of postrave and its different variants. The last edition of the book includes new chapters about the 21st century, and describes from the arrival of Dubstep to the current moment where EDM seems to have been installed on the scene.
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Electroshock – Laurent Garnier, David Brun-lambert
Electroshock is the autobiography of artist Laurent Garnier, put together with writer and journalist David Brun-Lambert. The original book was published in 2003, but in 2017 an updated reissue was made with eight more chapters.
It tells the trajectory of the Frenchman and his passion for electronic music since, being just a child, he was totally fascinated when he heard the classic ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer when he went to accompany his brother to a discotheque.
A journey through the artist’s life that is, at the same time, a journey through the history of the Paris, Manchester and European clubbing scene from the end of the last century to the present day.
The Haçienda: How Not To Run A Club – Peter Hook
Hook humorously recounts his experience not only as bassist for Joy Division and New Order, but also as co-owner of one of the most influential clubs of all time: The Haçienda.
The book recounts how mismanagement, the violence of Manchester organized crime, problems with public administration and a host of rookie mistakes ended the life of a legendary club whose legacy still lives on today.
They say that learning from mistakes is the key to success, so this is a particularly suitable gift for promoters or those interested in event management.
DJ for Dummies – John Steventon
We could not finish the list without adding the famous series of books. According to the description of the book itself, it is “a practical guide to understand the basics of the art of mixing and versioning any kind of music from dance to wedding music”.
Here you will find basic technical notions and learn about essential equipment and accessories, resources for mixing and professional tricks to progress as a DJ. As you can imagine, it is a book focused on amateur DJs, if you are one of them is your best choice, but if you have been DJing for some time and you know something about this world we recommend some of the books mentioned above, which will certainly complement your knowledge perfectly.