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Book review: 'Everything You Need To Know About DJing And Success' by Danny Rampling

By Mark Devlin | 15 December 2010

When it comes to presenting a guide to the art of DJing, there are few who come with better credentials than Danny Rampling. Occasionally dubbed 'the Godfather' of acid house', his track record is well-known to dance music followers. That life-changing visit to Ibiza in 1987, the establishment of the Shoom club night back in London, then global superstardom and a long-running Saturday show on Radio 1. Anyone expecting a lively collection of anecdotes and outrageous stories from the field won't get it here, though. Rampling's book is very much a 'how to do it'-style manual covering every aspect of the DJing profession, from scoring a first gig, to learning to match beats, to producing chart-topping, stadium-rocking anthems.

Danny has, by his own admission, produced his guide in conjunction with an assortment of other experts and industry insiders. As a result, it's a little clunky in places, and its scholarly feel may take readers back to their school classroom. But, given the ease with which music is now available to anyone, and the low-cost simplicity of getting set up as a DJ, the game is more competitive now than ever before. Those truly hungry for success will doubtless consider a resource of this kind invaluable in imparting practical information all under one cover. 

The passion that DJing creates is reflected in Rampling's own story. In 2005, after 15 years of relentless global touring and sleep deprivation, he announced his retirement from the business to concentrate on other ventures. One was a London restaurant which failed to take off. Others involved his interest in personal development subjects, an approach which clearly spawned the idea of the book; indeed, the general ethos of 'believe in yourself and you can achieve anything' permeates throughout the pages. After only a couple of years, however, his name was popping back up on festival line-ups, and by 2010, he was fully back in the game, stating quite simply that he'd missed it like hell. 

The book comes with a DVD featuring more than four hours of Rampling interviewing assorted industry veterans. With most in their 40s or 50s, it would perhaps have been advisable to have included some of the younger new A-listers like James Zabiela, Kissy Sell Out or Jaymo and Andy George, to strike a chord with the youthful hunger at which the book is primarily aimed. Nevertheless, Kiss FM founder Gordon Mac's insights into the machinations of the radio industry are highly engaging, as is a chat with Radio 1 legend Pete Tong, who gets momentarily misty-eyed as he recalls his earliest days as a jock. 

'Everything...' is undeniably well-researched, laden with follow-up resources and references, and with soundbite comments from leaders in the field. For anyone who's not put off by the idea of some hardcore studying, it makes an ideal addition to this year's list for Father Christmas. 

'Everything You Need To Know About DJing And Success' by Danny Rampling is published by Aurum Press Ltd. at £20 RRP.

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