Over To You: What Was Your Very First DJ Gig?

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playing your first gig your questions
Last updated 30 August, 2017

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My first gig was at a rave in the middle of a forest in the outskirts of Moscow, a real baptism of fire.

Alongside this week’s launch of our 7 Ways To Get A Gig series, we want to hear tales of how you landed your first gig and how it went. What bit of advice would you give a beginner DJ before their first gig that you wish you had known before yours?

My first gig was bizarre to say the least. I had moved to Russia a few months earlier and after spending some time networking and building my friendship group, one of my new friends, Misha, mentioned that there might be a slot for me to play at a forest rave. I jumped at the chance and it was agreed that I would close the event in the early morning.

I was told that I would be playing on CDJs, which I hadn’t done before but not to worry, as I would be given a quick tutorial before my set. Having spent all week preparing my CDs, Saturday evening finally came. We went along to the rave and I really wasn’t prepared for what I saw upon arrival. It was a drum and bass / hardcore rave, exactly like the one here. Absolute mayhem, with fire shows and dancers to boot. Russians really know how to party!

I spent most of the time wandering around, struggling to take it all in until it was time for me to play. Just before I got on the stage, I felt something on my neck and went to grab it. It turned out to be a wasp, which promptly stung me. Before I could take stock of the situation, I was on the stage and then I saw that there were wasps all over the joint. Something I should add here is that I have an irrational fear of the little blighters, spheksophobia, for those who don’t know. As if things couldn’t get any worse, the promised quick run through of how the CDJs work that I mentioned earlier never came, with Misha telling me: “It’s easy mate, you’ll figure it out,” before walking off. Ace.

Having been stung already, the surrounding wasps bothered me less than usual and I put my CDs into the CDJs. Not having any idea of how to use them, I hit play and by hook or by crook, bungled through my one hour set with barely a matched beat in sight. At first, it was pretty frustrating but then I loosened up and just went for it. As I was playing the last track, some of the guys who were running the bar and other stalls on the sidelines came over and said it was the best music they had heard all night. That was really cool and made everything completely worthwhile. It was only when I got off the stage did I start to feel where I had been stung!

I came away relieved and in a way proud that I had managed to take the first step of playing for the public. I learnt a lot from my first gig, mainly to find out what sort of event you are playing at and to be absolutely sure of how to use the equipment before you play.

So, over to you: What was your very first DJ gig? How did it go, and how did you get it? What did you learn from your experience? Let us know in the comments below…