Digital DJ Tips forum member Shawn writes: “I’ve been DJing for three years now. Started overseas in Japan. I usually play most weekends, top 40, EDM, hip hop and old school. Now, when I go to the clubs round here in Idaho, all I see is a guy with a laptop and Virtual DJ and no controller basically just waiting for the song to end then hitting play on the next song. Not even mixing at all!
“I find this very irritating because I was raised the ‘right’ way, in my opinion: handed two Technics 1200s and if I so much as reached for the sync button I got slapped into next week. So it’s very aggravating for me to see these guys getting the jobs with basically zero skills and I’m sitting in the corner drinking my beer and crying myself to sleep with jealousy. So my question is: Do I just give up on it and move on to doing my lifelong dream of producing music, or suck it up and wait for the stars to align and hopefully get a gig?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
There’s certainly nothing wrong with using sync or laptops, per se (it ain’t the tools, it’s what you do with them that counts). However, if you think you can do better than some lame DJ who’s doing nothing more than hit “play”, then it’s up to you to show your skills and why they should hire you!
The bar I DJ regularly at at the moment had just such a laptop DJ and they told me, “nah it is OK what he does”. Yes, the people in the bar were only semi-entertained, but it was mostly background music for them, the manager explained. I then told him: “OK, well you give me 15 minutes. If I can get people to stand up and dance, I get a gig and 20% more than he gets.”
The owner of course thought I was joking but he told me to do it, so I grabbed my controller from the car, hooked it up… and 15 minutes later all the ladies were standing, the room was pumping and the cocktails were flowing like water down the Niagara Falls… so I got the gig.
Sometimes you have to play it with some balls, do not feel sorry for yourself: Take action and take matters in your own hand. It cannot get any worse can it?
Do you find yourself in a similar situation to Shawn? Have you ever had to persuade a venue manager to let you have a go in order to prove your worth? got any more advice to add? Please do so in the comments.