Review of Rock the dancefloor – Phil Morse’s book

A review of  “Rock the Dancefloor” from Phil Morse

Hi everyone,

In this article, I will make a review of “Rock the Dancefloor: The proven five-step formula for total DJing success” that I read in about one week with more or less intensity.

This book is, in my opinion, addressed from beginner DJs with no experience to average DJs who would like to recalibrate their knowledge. It gives the big picture about DJing in general and helps understand it.

Let’s dig in.

"Rock the Dancefloor" from Phil Morse

"Rock the Dancefloor" from Phil Morse

The author

Phil Morse is the founder of Digital DJ Tips. It is a website for DJs that offers many services. There we can find courses, articles, affiliated products, etc. Their approach, even if it’s not the one I prefer, is very good. They also offer a lot of content and a lot of advices for free. One can only be thankful for that.

Under his hat, Phil seems to have quite a strong experience of gigging and mixing. And even if no music comes out when taping his name on Youtube, I guess that his advice will one day register him in the domain of the ultra-known DJs.

One last thing that I would add, is that Phil seems to be a technology optimist. Which makes him being pretty open-minded on new gears. While we are more of a movement open-minded here in Lesk. We mostly mix for dancing, for the sensations, and less for the technology. 

This is notoriety that pushed us to make a review of “Rock the Dancefloor”.

That said, let’s continue to the book’s review.

Phil Morse, Dj who wrote the book "Rock the dancefloor"

Phil Morse, Dj who wrote the book "Rock the dancefloor"

The structure of the book

To start the review of “Rock the Dancefloor”, let’s analyze the structure of the book. Here are the chapters in order:

1- The gear

2- The music

3- The techniques

4- Playing out

5- Promoting yourself

The advantage that it offers is that it gives the big picture of DJing. From buying the first piece of gear to market yourself. It can even be too generalist for someone that has already started. But still, it’s good to know to at least have generic knowledge. It is also useful to trace a virtual path on where one would like to go.

It helps to situate oneself on the path of DJing and where to get orientated.

Ok now, let’s review the different parts.

A DJ mixing at an event

The gear

In this part, the author reviews which different types of gear it exists to DJ. Without entering into deep details, Phil dresses the portrait of what is existing. From controller to vinyl passing by tools few people use, everything is more or less mentioned. 

The important aspect I am taking out of this chapter is that, as long as you have the essentials, don’t bother buying more. Follow your budget and your heart, and don’t try to reach too high. In other terms, if your budget is 100$, you better buy something second-hand and use it, than dreaming about something which costs 1000$. And he is right. Djing money will come after (and we explain how to do it on this website), but before you need to practice.

For instance, I have a Traktor S2 MK3, and I think it’s way enough. I could have an S2 MK2 bought second-hand (around 200$), and I would be as happy. I know I still have to practice, and that’s ok. Yes, I dream about CDJs, but if I want to play on CDJs, I can go somewhere else to use them, so that’s ok.

He also explains that as long as you have two tracks of audio, a mixer, and something to hear music, you’re good to go. So DJing doesn’t need to be that advanced. Even if we see the contrary on videos and so on. This is the most important stuff I remembered for the review of “Rock the dancefloor”.

If you are new on the world of DJing and want to know how to start DJing, we have made some articles about it. Here on turntables, here on vinyls and here on the controller.

DJ gear


The music

In this chapter, Phil explains how you should approach your music gathering process. In other terms, how can you create a system where you automatically gather music?

As DJ, you need to listen to more music than the average to filter them and create a DJ set. So you need to automatize it. From listening to the gathering to the filtering and your playlist.

What I think is interesting to add in the review of “Rock the Dancefloor”, is this state of mind that you have to have. You need to create your own system for gathering music. For me, the system is a bit messy, but I shazam as much as I can, I save on Youtube playlist, and I take a screenshot of Spotify. But sometimes it’s not enough. So it showed me that I needed to be more systematic.

The techniques

In this chapter, the author describes what DJs do. How do they mix, and what is their job. Again, you have learned those principles you can find that it’s a bit boring to go through it again. But for a beginner that is very passionate about mixing and has never touched a mix table, this is the right step.

Going through my notes again, I have a hard time figuring out what is essential to know. However, I have found this note which was:

“you need to fade it good to people to not understand that it’s faded”

To do so, you should analyze your music and do the job. Don’t hesitate to use pieces of paper to do the job, it’s ok. The important is that your analysis skills would develop to be accurate during the mix. You need to know the bars and how the music structure works. Or that one can call the phrases in a music.

Also, in the book we have five types of transition that I guess are worth training. Even if one might do them instinctively, it’s always good to have them in mind when trying to improve.

To finish, Phil advises you to record yourself. The goal of it is to understand how you’re mixing and how you can improve yourself. As you can’t judge yourself when you’re mixing, you need to have a trace of it. Recording your mixes will provide you this trace. I did it, and I have to admit that he was right. I saw that I rushed too much into changing my music while if I took my time, I could have something cleaner and less stressful. For my review of “Rock the Dancefloor”, I thought this advice was the best one could receive.

Ok, so that’s everything I took from this section, let’s move on.

Playing out as a DJ

Playing out

In this chapter the author emphasize on the need for any DJ to play out and confront himself with the crowd. So the objective of getting a public gig is what can help you improve as a DJ. Also, you need to see how people react to your songs and how you can manage to entertain them. In other terms, when you’re a DJ, you need to get out of your comfort zone and play publicly. 

I agree with him on the fact that playing publicly is a life-changing experience. Quitting your bedroom for something more real-life is what you need. So get yourself ready and go hunt gigs. Yes, you might fear being rejected. We all have this fear. But that’s also the process. Not everything can be easy, and not everything can be accessible.

Another subject that the author is speaking about is how to behave in terms of music and attitude. Musically speaking, you will have to please 3 types of people: You, the manager and the crowd. You should be aware of that. In terms of conduct, Phil advises that you should be easy and respectful. You should be the person that doesn’t cause any problems and mind his own business. Be polite and respectful to all the other staff members. Also, don’t get taken away by drugs and alcohol, it’s never good. 

For the author, the more experience you’ll get from there, the better your DJ journey will be. We agree with him in this article that dresses the review of “rock the dancefloor” by Phil Morse.

Promoting yourself as a DJ


Promoting yourself

In this section, Phil Morse gives several tracks to follow to help people getting to know you simpler and faster. Without going deep into the details, let’s list some steps that are, in my eyes, pretty important:

Make a good online profile

You will have to get an internet presence if you want to get known. Not something perfect, but still. To do so, you’ll have to create a website and make all of your social profiles. You’ll have to put up mixes, be able to gather email addresses and be contacted.

Be implied in your local scene

It will help you to network and create a base of people following/knowing you. Being active in your local scene is the best one can do. You will interact with people and see more opportunities. Either get invited to some parties, small festivals, bars and so on. People who DJ just for pleasure will share tips with you, and everything will make your routine better.

Making your events

That is what we are prone to here at Lesk. Like Phil, we believe that making your event will give you credit and bring you enough money to pay back at least your material. 

We will speak more about this chapter in another article.

Becoming a producer

It’s not something you have to. But still. Becoming a producer will help to extend the frontiers of your music if you’re good enough. You don’t need to be the next David Guetta, but sharing your music with the world will have more impact than playing locally.


my critic on the book rock the dancefllor

My critics

Here are my thoughts about this book to finish with this review of “Rock the dancefloor” by Phil Morse.

The book gives the big picture of DJing. I think it’s convenient if you’re starting as well as if you have been DJing for some time. If you’re a professional, however, you might think it’s not worth the time spent. However, it can also be a great tool to recalibrate his skills and reorganize our way of approaching DJing.

The book explains the different types of DJing that exist and doesn’t prioritize one type over another. We then get a realistic overview of the work that I believe is also great. The author shows a lot of modesty and respect towards all types of DJing. One great thing is that Phil Morse is enthusiastic and speaks to and for anyone.

This book confirmed what I learned about DJing as I mostly did it on the go. Reading this confronted me with my habits, and it helped me improve my workflow. I was also able to take a step back and look at my position to figure out how I was acting and what I should correct. The ability to change perspective because of this book is what makes it worth buying.

For instance, after buying, I changed this:

  • How I was gathering music
  • How I was analyzing my sets
  • Why I should get gigs soon
  • How I should market myself
  • and a lot of other small details

Now, as it is a critic, I feel forced to address some negative comments.

I would say that you won’t find a revelation in this book, mostly if you have experience. That can be frustrating if you’re expecting this. I know few DJ evolve reading books and might think that if they do the effort, they should find the magic formula. This won’t be the case here. Instead, you’ll have small little advice that you should apply.

Another critic I would address is the lack of stories. I love to learn through stories, and it felt as if the book lacked them. Maybe it could be a suggestion for the future, for another book, But for now, it seems like it wasn’t enough.

Otherwise, I recommend this book for sure. It’s easy to read and can always help you.

I hope you like this article. Don’t hesitate to comment and tell me if you would like more of those in the future.

Benoit Dervieux mixing

The author

Benoit Dervieux is the initiator of Lesk. He started DJing around 14 years old, bought his first pair of vinyls at 22 and started organizing parties at 25. He has a master in entrepreneurship and is developing Lesk hoping the product will enter the market. You can contact him directly on instagram @lesklights.