December 13th, 2012
News & Opinion
Do you take steps to hide your song titles from others, or are you happy to share?
Should DJs share the titles and sources of their music with other DJs or with clubbers? Is it a surefire way to make other DJs hate you if you choose to cover your laptop screen or take other measures so other people can’t see the titles of your tunes when you’re DJing?
I’ve always been more than happy to let people see the titles of my music (in the “old days”, I’d often pass a record sleeve across the booth to show people what I was spinning), but I recently had a conversation with a DJ who’s the opposite, and who takes steps to stop this happening. This got me thinking not only about exactly why I am so enthusiastic about sharing the titles of my tracks, but also about why others don’t.
July 22nd, 2012
Having a DJ mentor can be great, but what happens when you get offered their gigs?
Digital DJ Tips reader DJ Godspeed (name changed by request) writes: “Seven months ago, I had just bought my first controller and was pretty new to the DJ scene. I had previous knowledge of beatmatching and stuff because I had been playing with Virtual DJ but I still considered myself a novice.
“Anyway, I was so passionate about DJing that I read stuff, watched videos, listened to mixes and practised as much as I could. I also had a DJ mentor who helped me get a grip really fast.
June 11th, 2012
News & Opinion
A culture of "you can get what you want if you spend enough", encouraged in some clubs by expensive bottle service, seems to be contributing to DJs being seen as jukeboxes... and getting booted off the decks if they don't play along.
The battle between DJs attempting to assert themselves as artists, and being expected basically to be jukeboxes (especially for high-spending, low-taste bottle service clientele), seems to be waging full-force stateside, leading to some high-profile DJs being removed from the decks recently.
Last week Mark Farina tweeted from the Marquee Dayclub, Vegas, “supposed to be going on now… but got the boot, apparently too much house for this Vegas crowd”, and Dennis Ferrer was allegedly removed from the decks at Mansion in Miami for “not playing enough commercial music”.
June 9th, 2012
Would you let this man have a go on your DJ equipment? You might have to if he's the brother of the girl whose party it is...
Digital DJ Tips reader Dannyboy writes: “A friend of mine asked me to DJ her graduation party, which is great since I can get my name out there to my market since I’ve only been DJing for about a year. The downside is that her younger brother also wants to be a DJ, and they want us both to play.
“I don’t think this is a good idea because I just did a party last weekend and it is difficult enough having my own brother ‘help’ (which he does sometimes) and the old saying about having too many chiefs and not enough indians comes to mind.
May 15th, 2012
by Forced Hand
Busy DJ booths can be creative and fun places. If you know and follow the etiquette, you can help to keep them that way. Pic: Flavorpill
When you DJ with other people, you’re on a team, and that team has to play well together in order to perform effectively. The crowd doesn’t really care about the individuals as much as the whole. If all the DJs on a night can make it work as a team, it benefits everyone.
So if you’ve got a gig coming up where there will be lots of other DJs playing (especially where you all have your own gear), and you want to be sure you’re contributing to the whole and not treading on any toes, here are some time-won rules for being a good team player in the DJ booth:
May 6th, 2012
News & Opinion
Should DJs ask for tips? And if so, how?
Reader Dusty writes: “Something I’d like to ask is: Should DJs collect donations (ie ‘tips’)? And if so, how do you get people to tip?”
“I’m half of a duo that gets paid to DJ at all-night bars (Nevada, USA has no last call). We also like to receive donations from patrons to pad this income. The bar ownership/management is fine with this practice but the patrons are a bit tight-fisted when it comes to dropping a buck in the big and obvious tip fishbowl that sits in an accessible location.
December 23rd, 2011
It's one of the necessities of life even for the DJ... so learn how to visit the restroom while playing with our handy guide.
Every single DJ has at one time or another been in this situation: Damn, I need to visit the bathroom, and I’ve got an hour left to play. There’s no way I’m going to be able to make it! Drinking doesn’t help, but hindsight is a great thing…
So from hard-won experience, here are my five tips for successfully getting that “toilet moment” out of the way and getting back to you decks with the music still happily playing – and feeling 100% better!
August 19th, 2011
"And another thing, I'm tattooed on my bum too, want to see? Yeah? Oooh, I love this one. Giveusahug!" DJs have enough to deal with with the public - don't add to their DJ booth woes. Pic: Lomo-Cam
If you’re booked to play in a club or bar, the chances are you may not be the only DJ playing that night. You may be warming up for someone else, or you may be lucky enough to have someone warming up for you. Or you may be playing a night where there are several DJs, of which you’re only one.
A few good manners can go a long way, and conversely, there are things you can do that will nearly always result in you becoming unpopular, fast. So, slightly tongue-in-cheek, here’s our list of 11 surefire ways to upset another DJ:
April 23rd, 2011
What should a DJ do when his dancefloor is intimidated by inappropriate behaviour from a group of people?
Reader Guillermo Orbegoso in Lima, Peru, writes: “This happened to me one night recently: Some ‘rude boys’ came in and took over the dancefloor. They weren’t exactly violent, but they were occupying a lot more space than they needed, pushing and pulling each each other around (as well as anyone near their area). This made girls walk away from the dancefloor and other guys feel intimidated about their presence.
“I know that I’m not responsible for their presence, but I, somehow, felt (or knew) that there was something I could or should do to stop this, by throwing the right songs. Have this ever happened to you? What would your advice be in this circumstance?”
April 17th, 2011
"Big it up DJ, can I get a rewind?" Erm, maybe not at your friend's parents' house party, no.
Reader Khashayar Lotfi writes: What should I do and expect at my first ‘proper’ DJ set (I consider myself a bedroom DJ)? You see, my problem arises from my friend asking me to play some dubstep at a house party he will be having over the Easter holidays.
“Over the five-year period that we have been friends, I have grown to realise that he is not the most considerate or event-organised person in the world. So when I asked: ‘Are you sure you want dubstep? What about everyone else?’ all I got was (and I quote): ‘Er, they won’t mind.’
April 16th, 2011
DJ Earworm's United State of Pop - is it OK to play other DJs' mixes and mashups in your own DJ sets, asks DJ BDK?
Reader DJ BDK writes: “I’m rather new to this DJ thing. I’ve spent numerous years in pro audio-visual for bands and conferences, but am just now trying out DJing, more for fun and a little side cash than anything else.
“I’m curious if you know the legal/customary rules for playing other DJ mixes when you’re DJing. Obviously, playing someone else’s hour plus mix while you pretend to move the knobs is bad, but what about a mash-up somebody else did – like the DJ Earworm United State of Pop? Is that illegal? More importantly, am I going to offend every professional DJ I meet? Some etiquette would be helpful here.”
March 22nd, 2011
Unless you're a superstar DJ/producer, the truth is you will at times have to handle requests. It's a fine line between respecting your audience and becoming a human jukebox, though. Here we show you how to deal with unwanted requesters. Pic: spreadshirt.co.uk
Some DJs refuse to take any requests and others won’t even talk to anyone making them. But my take on requests and people who approach the DJ booth is that you should treat them case by case. Being open to requests can sometimes even help you if you’re having an off night or playing at a new venue that you don’t know so well.
However, being too soft and playing anything anyone asks for is the ultimate way to ruin your set and look weak and foolish. After all, surely a DJ is more than a human jukebox? So from my experience, here are 10 types of people who tend to approach the DJ booth, and how to deal with them.
June 12th, 2010
Soccer and music definitely do mix, at least as far as French international Djibril Cissé is concerned.
Regular readers will know my views on bar-type gigs – for digital DJs, turning up with your kit in a backpack and playing in places that aren’t nightclubs (such as sports bars, cool cafes etc) gives you valuable tune-time in public and accelerates your mastery of the art of DJing. Bar DJing is where many, many good DJs learn the ropes and you should definitely be doing it as often as you can.
However, consider this scenario: You turn up for your regular gig oblivious to the fact that there’s a big game on tonight, then feel mighty uncomfortable not knowing what to do about whether you should be letting people watch the game, whether to put the music or the commentary on, and indeed whether you should be DJing at all. This is often made worse if the venue manager or owner isn’t around to tell you what he or she wants you to do.
June 3rd, 2010
By the time 3 or 4am comes around, nightclub rules apply and can be bent - if you know how...
It’s great when the night has ended, the lights are up, and the crowd are stomping and screaming for one more. I’ve DJed in places where it’s downright scary to stop playing, such is the passion for more music at 3 or 4am (miss you, Manchester).
The music plays forever on and on…
So what do you do when it’s “one of those nights”, the tunes are a-flowing, and you just know you’re going to have to push past curfew time?
April 7th, 2010
It takes more than just hot mixing fingers to cut it as a DJ, especially in the brave new digital world. Here’s a quick, fun, personal opinion on what it takes nowadays, with an opinionated guess as to the relative importance of the various skills.
Have I missed anything? Do you think that cutting and scratching are the be-all and end-all? Let me know…