It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. How many times have you heard that? The truth is in DJing, as in life, the more people you can count as friends, the further you’re going to go. Popular people aren’t always successful, but successful people tend to be popular.
But days are short, right? So who exactly should you make the effort to befriend? Well in a slightly tongue-in-cheek post, today I’m going to look at five people or types of people you really should have in your network to help make your journey up the DJing ladder a swift and fun one. Have you got the set?
1. The bouncers / doormen
This one is pretty obvious. It is really important to be on good terms with the (probably massive) people who are charged with the responsibility of protecting staff members and customers in a potentially dangerous atmosphere.I hope it never happens to you, but if things suddenly turn ugly at one of your shows, you need the security to have your back.
It is also much nicer to finish off the night with a polite gesture from the door staff to let you know its time for the last tune, rather than a stern giant intimidating you into turning the music off “immediately”! Bouncers are also handy to know when you’re on the other side of the door, looking in. 😉
2. Graphic designers
These folks are often going to be in your social circle, indeed there seems to be a correlation between designers and DJ/producers as I have met lots of people who are both. However, unless they are Tycho or Matthew Kyle they are probably going to be better at, or more focused on one of those pursuits. You shouldn’t expect your professional friends to do work for free, but it can be nice to trade in an economy of favours, for example performing at a design house’s staff party or installation launch in exchange for a logo or flyer.
In addition, other kinds of artists can offer interesting perspectives on your own endeavours. Feedback on your work is essential but good, quality, thoughtful responses can be harder to come by than you might think.
Even if you’re not the kind of person who is concerned with perfect grooming, hairdressing salons are a world of promotional opportunity for the DJ. People in this career usually have the uncanny ability to relax you while rapidly moving around the cranium with extremely sharp and/or incredibly hot objects. A widely accepted stereotype suggests in this situation the topic of conversation will eventually get around to weekend plans. This makes sense, since there is plausibly a specific reason for the customer wanting to look their best.
At this moment the hairdresser’s recommendations can be crucial (even better if partnered with a mix of yours playing in the background). Here you have your friend in a position of trust, giving some advice to a person whom might be feeling particularly good about themselves, open to trying out something new and ready to go somewhere cool to show off their trendy new hairdo.
4. Older people
Not to suggest that you should start dishing out your latest mashups at the local nursing home (although I’m also not saying that’s a bad idea), but getting a good rapport with people from different generations, perhaps only a few of years older, is another good way to gain a new perspective and it can keep you grounded. Perhaps it could be a friend of your parents, or someone that you work with, an uncle or that neighbour who once played with Carlos Santana. There’s good experience points to be gained by talking to these folks about what you do.
If you can successfully explain your musical position to someone out of your demographic, you will have a much easier time when it comes to conversations with indifferent nightclub bosses and bar managers. You might also find that your older friends often offer you access to their “stacks of old records in the loft” or other such treasures…
5. Other DJs
Well, duh! This might seem silly to mention but sometimes we forget that regardless of the media or the genre we are often reaching for the same goals. We can come back to the economy of favours here too; gig swaps and the lending/borrowing of gear will help to build a sense of unity between you and other local DJs.
Exchanging ideas and plans with your peers might just be the most important thing you can do, and having pals that “get you” can be a lifesaver. Those vital conversations about music and technology with your good friends feel great – as you no doubt are already aware as a member of the Digital DJ Tips community.
• Jon Paul Hill has been a DJ for around 13 years, He is also a music producer and writer. Now based in Louisville Kentucky, he’s originally from the north of England. Catch him on Mixcloud, Facebook and Twitter.
Who do you count as your most vital friends in your DJing life? We’d love to know if you have people you can add to Jon’s list. Tell us in the comments!