Don't they just take other people's music, and alter the sound, and mix in some other sounds?
Most Helpful Girl
No. First of all, you need to distinguish between remixing and sampling. The first describes taking an existing song and altering it. The second describes taking elements or snippets from an existing song and using them for your own song. A new song is created here. Both can be done in very creative and ways, and both can take quite some skills.
As for DJs, there too are different kinds. A DJ can be someone who just puts on records. But a DJ can also be someone who creates electronic music himself, even life. Using synthesizers, computer software, drum computers, loops, samples, and and and.
As with all types of music, there's such and such. Some - like David Guetta for instance - do this in very simple ways that don't require so much skills, while others are very complex and technically quite impressive, let alone creatively.
So, it doesn't really make much sense to put all "DJs" or "producers" in one box. You might as well put all rock bands in one box. There are brilliant rock bands who are very talented, and then there are ones who play very simple music.
Most Helpful Guy
Avicii was a producer... the production, the music and beat and most/everything behind the singing? Avicii wrote that.
David Guetta, Gareth Emery, Tiësto, etc. Yeah they all DJ and whatnot, they might remix others' music but they write, remix, and produce their own music primarily. They're artists and DJ'ing is simply how they tour their art.
A lot of people like to say "ohh, well don't DJ's just hit Play and twist a few knobs and stuff?" In reality, they do a lot more than that, because they aren't just DJ's...