Over To You: DJing While Drunk

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
drunken djing
Last updated 26 November, 2017


drunk dj
Don’t try this at home, kids.

Reader Sasha Nevski writes: “I have a question that I think most DJs (digital or not) would love to ask, but are too shy / ashamed / proud to, and this is it: How would one go about DJing if one had had too much to drink (intentionally or without realising) – after all, it happens to the best of us! Obviously I’m not talking passed-out-wasted-on-the-floor, but you know, just ‘under the influence’. Would love to hear what you and the readers think.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

While it may be hard to DJ sober, it’s the best way to make a decent job of it. There’s nothing worse than a drunken DJ who can’t do the job, and you’re shortchanging yourself and your audience by impairing your ability to perform to the highest standard you can. Having said that, even some of the most serious DJs I know like maybe just a bottle of beer or two to loosen up – one once said to me that “I’ve been doing this 20 years and I’m twice as old as my audience – I like a beer to forget that and get into the swing of things!”

If you do it to excess or too regularly it becomes part of how you DJ, and your health gets affected in the long term – you don’t want to drift into the trap of doing a job where you expect/are expected to drink all the time, after all. But as you say, these things happen! Personally, I have two rules if I feel a bit under the influence: First, I never play anything outside of what I planned to play for that night: So I stick to the folder of tunes I prepared when I was sober! That means I don’t pull out some old Duran Duran thinking it’ll be really cool in an electro set. (It usually wouldn’t.)

Secondly, I consciously leave off the crossfader / effects / sampler and just play records. Tricks that need bang-on timing are in my experience the first to suffer when you’re a little bit wobbly. And of course drinking plain water is great, whether you feel tipsy or not – it stops headaches and keeps you functioning well, especially in long sets (ie typical bar gigs).

Do DJing and drinking mix? Have you ever got too drunk to DJ? How did you get through the night? Over to you! Please let us know your stories below. You can remain anonymous if you wish… 😉

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