11 Surefire Ways To Make Other DJs Hate You

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 4 mins
Last updated 5 April, 2018

Dj Booth Etiquette
“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:

  1. Set up your gear all around the other DJ while they’re playing – Nowadays we all use different DJ gear. But don’t pull the mixer out, unplug things, shove the current DJ out of the way and basically be a nuisance to get your gear set up. Do it earlier, or know how to do it in a few minutes and do it once the DJ has put their final record on. Same goes for packing away: A new DJ will be nervous enough as it is while playing their first tune – don’t pull the mixer out and start unplugging things to add to their stress
  2. Have a private party in the DJ box when it’s not your set – Standing behind the DJ air punching, inviting your mates in for a few shots from your “private bar”, treating the shady back of the DJ box as a secluded place to invite a member of the opposite sex for some fun – all will distract and upset the DJ currently playing, for sure. If it’s not your set and there’s no legitimate reason to be in the DJ box, stay clear or behave impeccably
  3. Use the DJ as a cloakroom attendant – Constantly asking the DJ who’s playing to pass you your or your girlfriend’s bag or coat, wallet, cigarettes and so on is very annoying. Yeah, DJ boxes are a good place to store your stuff. Just don’t pester the currently playing DJ to be your personal bag monitor
  4. Keep your drink near the equipment – We all know if you leave your drink unattended in a club it’ll probably disappear. And as you have access to the DJ box, you may be tempted to keep your (or worse, everyone you know’s) drinks in the DJ box. That’s bad, but keeping drinks near kit is an absolute no-go. So even if the only bit of flat space is right next to the DJ gear, don’t put your drink there. If it gets knocked onto the gear, you’ll be seriously unpopular, and quite rightly so
  5. DJ crowd
    Yes, everyone’s having fun. No, it’s not because you were born. So when your time is up, don’t plead for more from the next DJ.

    Refuse to leave the decks – So your crowd are loving it, you’ve filled the dancefloor, and there are three records you really want to play that you haven’t had time to. But don’t plead with the next DJ to let you stay on a bit longer, using the crowd’s enthusiasm as your weapon. “Look at them, they love me, just these three more!” No! Imagine someone doing it to you. Be respectful and make sure you play everything you wanted to play in the time you’ve got

  6. Change the record when the DJ goes to the toilet – So you may be asked to mind the box while the DJ disappears to the toilet. Incredibly, some DJs I’ve known take that as a cue to change the record! I don’t know if it’s drink or simple a #fail in the upbringing department, but if you’re ever tempted – just don’t do it! It’s indefensible
  7. Play something the other DJ has already played – This one often happens through turning up five minutes before your set, with no regard for the music that has gone before you. Just ask to see what’s already been played! It’s the least you can do, for the DJ and the crowd. It’s arrogant not to. Conversely, if you’re warming up, don’t play all the big tunes. It’s not big and it’s not clever to attempt to steal the limelight this way
  8. Ask the DJ something about every tune he plays – The poor guy has got enough to deal with just DJing and dealing with punters who want a piece of his time. Don’t hover excitedly behind him, talking to him about every single record he puts on. Let the man do his job! You can always ask later
  9. Tweak the EQ for him – Come on! OK, he may have left the bass out by mistake, or the treble may sound a bit harsh to your ears, but it is the ultimate in disrespect to lean over and casually tweak the EQ (or volume) of another DJ while they’re playing. If you’re the resident and you have a guest DJ on, and you know how the system sounds at its best but the DJ isn’t adhering to those settings, tell them, don’t just correct it having not been asked for your help
  10. Grab hold of him – So the DJ is playing a big breakdown, the crowd are going nuts, you’re lucky enough to be in the DJ box, and you get a sudden impulse to grab hold of the DJ and jump up and down, helpfully yanking his hands in the air as you do so. It’s just enthusiasm, right? The crowd love to see DJs having fun, yeah? Er, no. Complete #fail. Get out of the man’s personal space. He doesn’t know you very well, and he’s working
  11. Stop his final record before the end – It’s the height of bad manners to stop a DJ’s final record as soon as the controls are handed over to you (or maybe worse, to mess with it). Just let it play out! It’s OK not to mix into it if you don’t want to, but at least let it get to somewhere near the end. Conversely, don’t take advantage of this rule by putting your last record on at 11pm if your set is 10pm to 11pm – be respectful of the next DJ’s time slot

So come on, admit it – how many of these have you done? And how many have been done to you? Have we missed any? What’s the most annoying thing anyone’s ever done to you while you’re DJing? Let us know in the comments.

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