If you are giving some thought to becoming a professional or semi-professional DJ it bodes well to start off on the right footing. There is a lot more to become a successful party or event DJ than purchasing equipment such as the turntable and mixer. Even those who have been DJing for some time might have picked up bad habits along the way.
If you want to stand out from the rest and become successful here are five things that you really should avoid doing:
- Putting yourself ahead of the crowd you are playing for;
- Having poor mixer skills;
- A lack of presence behind the decks;
- Showing rudeness to the crowd;
- Failing to choose a DJ name that stands out.
Thinking the crowd is there for you instead of you are there for the crowd
Unless you are headlining a huge event in Ibiza or you are commanding a high salary the chances are that the crowd is not there just to see you perform. When starting out, you have to remember you are there for the crowd, to give them what they want to hear coming from the turntables. Put the crowd ahead of yourself. While you might prefer to play hip-hop, techno or trance, the crowd might want more current, classic music or a mix of both. Therefore, you really must read the crowd and know your audience. Avoid giving them what you think they want to listen to, instead give them what they do want to hear.
Failing to learn how to use your mixer properly
There is nothing worse than a DJ who doesn’t know how to use their equipment properly and many DJs are guilty of not learning how to use the EQ on their mixer. Failing to get the hang of this leads to the tracks sounding tinny with the mid-range all over the place and bass being maxed to the limit. There is no excuse for failing to know how the controller works, including the secondary functions found on most buttons, accessed through using the “Shift” button.
Don’t be boring but don’t overdo it behind the decks
Crowds do not want to see a DJ who is standing still behind the decks with no emotion on their face, looking as though they are bored with what they are doing. At the same time, they also don’t want to see someone who is strung out and dancing crazily all over the place looking as though they cannot stand still for a second while pumping the air with their fist. You should not be boring but at the same time don’t overdo things.
Not behaving like a professional
Never lose sight of the fact that you are a paid professional at gigs and act like it no matter what the crowd is like. You might inwardly want to pour your water over that girl’s head that is continually asking you to play requests but always put on a smile and be polite. Whatever happens during your set take it on the chin with a courteous smile. Another thing to keep in mind is not to guzzle down alcohol to the extent you become inebriated and forget all about being professional.
Choose a DJ name that is generic
Give a lot of thought to choosing your DJ name and don’t choose a generic one. You really need a name that stands out among the crowd. Bear in mind that your name will be on promotional material and no one wants to see “DJ Deejay” as your name. Be unique and never use your real name. If your name stands out people are going to remember you so always use your DJ name, not your real one, when applying for positions.