Reader Sacha has a very common issue that he’d like some help with. He writes: “I am mainly a rave party DJ where the atmosphere is completely different to that of a club. But recently I have gotten an offer to start gigging at a particular club. So my question to you is, how do you deal with the anxiety and the butterflies in your belly before a gig, especially one that has certain expectations from you and which doesn’t exactly let you go mental with your preferred tunes!”
Digital DJ Tips says:
It’s all about the preparation.
- Go for a night out at the club. Go as an observer, not to go wild! Watch the crowd and listen to the music. Start thinking about how you would play to that crowd
- Ask the promoter or manager what works well and what doesn’t. You could phrase it: “Which DJs have done well here? Why? Who’s bombed? What did they do wrong?” This insight will be invaluable to you in planning your set
- Spend plenty of time getting your tunes ready. Prepare a set beforehand of two to three times the number of tunes you’re likely to need, but no more. Get a mix of current popular tunes, forthcoming hits and classics (all in the night’s style of course), but don’t be scared to use tunes from your normal set that fit in too. Learn them well. Play strictly from that setlist only at the club – forget about the rest of your records. That will focus you
If you do all of the above, it will help calm your nerves and allow you to play a better set, because you’ll have done all of your homework and you’ll be confident with what you’re going to be doing once you get there. You’ll still be nervous which is a good thing, but it will be more under control.
How do you deal with pre-gig nerves? Have they ever affected your ability to play or do they fall away after your first few minutes DJing? Let us know in the comments below.