Over To You: Share Your Office Christmas Party DJ Disasters

Office party nightmares.

Even looking at the picture is enough to fill any right-minded person with dread. But still they happen: Office Christmas parties are a reality for anyone who’s got a full time job. How was yours this year?

What is it about office Christmas parties? A mixture of people who don’t normally drink, pent-up hatred, low-budget food, plus of course sexual frustration and power games is certainly a dodgy recipe. Just add alcohol. Any wonder there are often disaster stories?

And then there’s the DJ. Either a terrible venue-provided “jock”, or sometimes “Dave from Accounts is into DJing, get him to do it!” can lead to highly inappropriate matching of DJ with crowd. Even more upsetting if Dave is, in fact, you. All of which can be a recipe for disaster. More often than not, of course, we all get swept along and end up having a good time. However, that’s not what I’m interested in here. I’m interested in the disasters!

Have you witnessed any terrible things at works parties this Christmas? Did you see Doubledecks Dave from Accounts mess up the music? Were you asked to DJ at one and against your better judgement said yes? And to be serious for a second, if you were indeed asked to DJ at your office party, what did you learn? What would you do differently next time? Or would you just say “no way”…

So, over to you. Please share your stories, make your confessions, spill your beans in the comments below. And take comfort in this one thing: It won’t be happening again until next year…

Comments

  1. I always say no, next time I will. Mainly because they want top 40 (which I used to play when I started into djing 13 years ago) and regional music (I live in northern mexico) I want house or techno; being that my main music in my dj gigs, i am not very updated with top 40 music; which I find as a requisite and please everybody, not only the senior crowd. Accepting a gig where the people will have different preferences and outdated music (you will also need a huge selection of classic hits) is a formula to a very hard nught for yourself. I also normally refuse to play at this office parties because they usually ask you to do it for free (if you are into mobile djing it could be a good way to promote a side bussines) and at the end you will be wearing your equipment and working overtime, instead of networking with your co-workers (very important)

    My advice: Kindly disregard invitations and suggest to hire a good dj friend -could be a business partner- or hire a karaoke machine. Remember, you’re also a guest, and you’ll want to enjoy the party too.

    • If only it were always that simple – I know of one DJ who felt obliged to play the office party because the boss asked them to. I did the same for my partner’s company (even though I really dislike mobile gigs), again just because we weighed up the pros/cons and decided I’d be better doing it for her (it turned out OK, actually).

      • I understand it if you work for the company and you just want to enjoy the night. especially if you re expected to do it for free. id understand saying no. at the end of the day why work for no money and carry all the gear when you could be getting drunk with everyone else?

        But, if i wanted to be in my bosses good books, id say: “Im really sorry i cant do it because of x reason, my controller broke or i lent it to someone or something. but what i can do is make a couple of mixxed cds for you, with different music to be played on the night.” that way your boss is feeling obliged because you re doing something for him/her, you get to choose what music is played on the night, you still enjoy the night like everyone else. so everyone is a winner. and at the end of the day if they re serious about the party they can all hire a mobile dj. surely it wont be much if they all chip in.

      • I know; my boss asked me to do it, but i refused anyway. You have to set your limits between what your position in your company and what’s your side bussiness or hobby. Don’t worry, they won’t fire you because of not djing, hnless they pay you yo dj in office hours.

    • Is a DJ someone to play music just for himself and doesn’t care about others musical favours? Or is he someone with a decent musical background who can handle a ‘hard night’?
      If the first is the case…then you can hire a karaoke machine or play a pre-mixed set. Everyone can mix some techno and house…nothing easier than that. On the other hand getting everyone on the dancefloor with different musical tastes for hours…

      I suggest you to try it, practice it…the techno & house scene is dead for years already. At my parties, no one wants tech-house, they want fun dancemusic, new or old tracks, doesn’t matter. No one visits clubs anymore (who are closing down by the way).

      • Where do you live mate? House and Techno are the biggest they have been in years.

      • Papa Sinist3r says:

        Where are you at. I am curious? Just got back from Japan and Europe and I have to say House, Techno and Dubstep is bigger than it have ever been in history and the clubs even more so. Where I live in Los Angeles and Vegas big parties 5 – 10,000 on the regular. See the world my brotha you may be surprised what’s out there. Happy New Year.

    • I agree with this Phil – office politics are lame. What if you rocked and got a promotion?

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      I kinda’ feel that anyone asking someone to DJ for their office party for free is minimizing your talents and skills to nothing. It’s not like they’re going to hire you for other events or share your info with others asking for a DJ, they’re straight using you. No thanks, put the iPod on and get the awkward over with faster.

      Partying with office friends stopped being fun when HR decided to act like the Gestapo. Office parties with live music and liquor have Lawsuit written all over them. Just because you’re not working at the time does not mean people will stop judging you as a person or the choices you make. Your boss will TELL you to play songs (and if you don’t they will remember your insubordination and take it out on you later) and invariably someone will do something awkwardly uncomfortable that you’ll be wishing you were not there.

      Just Say No.

  2. I’ve DJed 13 gigs this month, with most being corporate Christmas parties. There’s something to be said about the amount of drink consumed at these parties. Maybe disgruntled employees sticking it to their bosses by drinking as much as possible at an open bar perhaps? Anyway, at one of my gigs earlier this month I had a particular drunken mess of a girl who kept sitting on my fairly unstable DJ table and mumble-requesting Bruno Mars over and over. This all came to a head when she spilled an entire jug of water all over the table and I had to quickly move my equipment to prevent further damage. I had to make an emergency announcement to the entire party asking everyone to please take care of this lovely girl and keep her away from me or else I’ll have to shut down for the night. I was told she was the office crazy so that made me feel a touch better but it mostly made me think about the amount of insurance I was covered for hahaha. Ah, the joy of Christmas parties…

    Can’t wait to hear more stories from everyone. Great post Phil!

    • Your point is valid; the good thing about not depending on your dj income is that you play what you want. why risk your equipment and your dj name (I am well known in my city, where house and techno are not dead), Why work when everybody else is having fun?

  3. Here’s one for ya. I got book to DJ a Christmas party this year and they told me ahead of time that they were not dancing people. So don’t expect many people do dance. When I got to the venue the bartender also told me know they’re not a dancing crowd at all but they do you like to drink. Both people hit the nail on the head with their description. The most people that were on the dance floor at one time was 3 people doing the cupid shuffle … till the end of the night when 2 grown men (employees of the company who hired me) strip down to their underwear and started to sumo wrestle in the middle of the dance floor. Needless to say that ended the night – True Story

  4. squarecell says:

    I get the feeling I might get roped into doing the wife’s party next year. The DJ they hired this year dropped a bunch of dubstep at the start of his set, then after twenty minutes of turning down requests, packed up in a huff and left.

    I don’t like being a jukebox either, but you’ve got to know your crowd. This group was mainly middle-age and necessarily hard to please, but dubstep just wasn’t going to do it.

    • Middle aged aren’t hard to please, just throw down wedding pleasers and classic rock. Not every party is meant to make people dance – sometimes it’s just making people happy.

      • squarecell says:

        Sorry, that was a typo on my part.

        I meant to write that the crowd was middle aged and *not* necessarily hard to please.

  5. I think this is about an office where you work, not working for others office. If you mobile dj, you shoukd have your musicnipdated and have a huge selection of music too.

  6. I play a lot of party/christmas gigs & it is all about playing to the crowd as has been mentioned above. Last year I played an outdoor gig with people from all different age groups and so played everything from the 60’s, 79’s, 80’s, 90’s to now. They loved it. Then another DJ came on & played full on dubstep. They asked him to leave after 15 minutes. As mobile DJs we are there to please the crowd, not ourselves. I will take requests & gladly play them if I have them & they fit the mood at the time. Some DJs need to get over themselves & realise they’re entertainers: to entertain the crowd, not themselves. So many people are scared to approach me because of this “im the DJ, I’ll decide what I play, not you, now go away” mentality. Sure there are times when a request isn’t appropriate & I’ll let people know it doesn’t fit in atm but I might try & play it later. Its time we realised we’re there to entertain others & lighten up a bit.

    • Papa Sinis3r says:

      I don’t think it’s always a case of being a high and mighty DJ. A mobile DJ and a club/ rave Dj play to different crowds with different sets of rules. peace

  7. I DJ’d my office party this year and it was fantastic! I work in VFX so my co-workers are all talented artists that really appreciate a diverse range of music. I found it very fun and challenging playing for an audience that doesn’t normally go to dance clubs.

    Before doing any gig you really need to know your audience. That’s what it’s all about!

  8. hi, I’m Tony Stork and living in Berlin Germany. We had on our office a small party with approx. 65 people. Atmosphere was nice and also decorations. Problem was that I only could play x-mas songs and getting people dancing on this only is not easy. At the end I manage to do with Cd’s from west indies X-mas style and so on. Everybody was amused it seems. Normally I do not have to many gigs and make mixes at home. now and then I have a gig. No strange stories this time only fun.

  9. I do the very occasional Christmas party, and its fun. The difference with weddings/Christmas parties/birthdays etc is that you have a mix of people that want mainstream familiar singalong/dancealong music and that’s what I give them. Its their party. I’m happy to do requests but luckily I didn’t have any Nickelback that one guy requested.

    As I’m older I know the 70s & 80s stuff best but still happy to dig out some new cheese (borrowed it from son) and let everyone have a good time. I have to admit I even played Gangnam Style twice.

    I just reckon have fun, play a mixture and be careful when you play anything that isn’t very well known. That said, if you can choose the cheese that you like, you won’t feel that you have sold your soul to the devil.

  10. Yeah! Office parties are the best because you know the people so well. And when people crash their promotion dreams by saying incredibly awkward things it’s hilarious!

  11. Where’s all the crazy stories?! I returned to this thread for a fun read, not DJ advice. Phil wanted some stories, guys. C’mon! Probably too late now, but here’s mine:

    At one of my work parties, the CEO of the company waited till his wife left, and then had sex with a secretary who happened to work in my department!!! She quite openly confirmed it on Monday when everybody was whispering. The divorce and harassment suit happened later. True story.

    OK, that wasn’t an Xmas party, which is why I didn’t post it initially, but this thread needs some pizazz!!

  12. Last December, I was DJing a Filipino Association Xmas Party, and they were watching the Pacquiao fight on December 8th, 2012, and if you were watching that day, and were Filipino, you know exactly why your party just ended.

    People still danced, but the cheer had definitely faded away as people turned to their phones and tablets, posting away status updates.

    The elders didn’t take it well at all.

    …overall, it was a good fight.

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