Okay, so you think you want to be a DJ. The excitement and glamour of the club scene seems like the perfect work environment, not to mention being able to spin and mix great music all night. To top it all off you get to meet thousands of people, maybe even a few celebrities and actually get paid to do what you think you love. While all of this sounds great, and trust me it can be, it takes a lot of time, effort, disappointment and even money to be a DJ successful enough to make ends meet.
I first started DJing right out of high school and it took me several long years to get where I am right now. Even though I might have gigs in several “hip” clubs, I still remember going through long periods without any money coming in. If you are determined to try your luck, and skill, at DJing here are a few tips to help you get started.
Show up for your gig early
Showing up at the club early not only shows that you are a professional, it also gives you plenty of time to set-up. You can run through a couple of sound checks, and have time to troubleshoot any problems that might come up. This will also give you some time to settle your nerves before the crowd arrives.
Plan out several playlists
Almost any professional DJ will tell you to start and end your set strong, but the in between time will depend on the crowd. Just because your gig is at a hip hop or dance club, doesn’t necessarily mean that that is the type of music the crowd wants to hear through the entire set. Pay attention to the crowds reactions and be ready to change to another playlist if their attention, and most importantly their enthusiasm seems to be waning. Keeping your audience happy is the best, and usually the only way you will be able to make it as a professional DJ.
Double check that all your gear made it to the club
Before you even leave for your gig take the time to go through your gear. The last thing you want is to get to the club only to find you left an important piece of equipment back at home. If you’re lucky enough to have nabbed a gig next door then this won’t be a problem, but since the chances of this happening are basically zero it definitely pays to double check that you have all of your gear.
Always have a “Plan B”
After DJing for several years I have learned that something will go wrong on occasion. Whether it is a short in the club’s electrical system or your laptop crashing in the middle of your set, having a Plan B that you can fall back will keep the party going and improve your chances of being hired again.