Over To You: A Quick Rant About Clueless DJs…

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
Pro shocking DJs
Last updated 27 March, 2018


Er, why did you just put your headphones down on the record that’s playing? AGAIN?! Our reader today has a rant about DJs doing ridiculous stuff in the booth… Pic: Nick Flicks

Digital DJ Tips member DJ Jimmy G writes: “So, recently I have seen some distressing things in the DJ booth. I was hired by a promoter to play peak time, so I got there early to chill out and network. So I’m in the booth and the DJ keeps putting his headphones down on the platter (which of course stops the music).

“So I say to him after the third time of him doing it: ‘Why don’t you just put them on your head, bro?’, to which he replies cockily… ‘No, I don’t need need to, I know every song.’ I actually melted inside a little bit.

“Another one is where the DJ kept spinning the tune back while it way playing. To make matters worse he would look me in the eyes and grin at me as he did it in the club. I kind of said to him, ‘I wouldn’t really do that all the time,’ to try and deter him. But I also thought, ‘who am I to tell him?’ I’m no Roger Sanchez. Furthermore nobody ever told me what and what not to do in a club; I just learned. But what kind of new-level ignorance is this?

“When I was learning as a DJ, I would see people better then me, and yes it would knock me a little but also give me a boost to get better. Now that I feel I am catching up with the better ones, it is knocking me seeing people abuse the craft and get regular gigs. Please someone reassure me this isn’t the way the art is going. I think the main thing here is the promoters might have been paying very little, or not even paying at all, for the warm-up kids…”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Because there’s no exam, or licence, to DJ, there will always be chancers. Also, as you charitably point out, people have to learn at some time or other, and frankly, you learn more playing in front of a crowd than at home.

That said, if you’re really not “getting it”, that’s sad. Likewise, if you really don’t care enough to want to improve, no amount of playing in front of a crowd will help you. Again, no licence/exam means this will happen. and yes, it is sad and can be frustrating.

However, I’m not for a second suggesting there should be barriers to entry: Everyone should be allowed to try DJing, as it’s an art form as much as a discipline, so this kind of thing is basically inevitable. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head highlighting promoters not paying for decent DJs. You do get what you pay for, at the end of the day.

And by the way, while some people blame technology for making it somehow “easier” to DJ, that’s not our view at all. Our forum moderator Terry 42 says it well, when he says:

“Those are usually DJs at the low end of the scale that only get spots because they play free or are friends with someone… but this is not where it is going. In fact the ways to express yourself creatively increased hundred-fold when controllers came along compared to old CDJ stuff.

“It takes some time for those things to catch on, but the DJ booth will be very different in 10 years (except for backwater clubs…). Look at the new Denon Pro gear, it is basically a modular controller with build in mini-laptops…”

So take heart DJ Jimmy G: The world is full of talented DJs, who love music, are diligent in learning the skills, who are passionate about rocking dancefloors, and who are keeping the flame alive. We know: We are lucky enough to have taught tens of thousands of them here at Digital DJ Tips.

These DJs are being paid from pennies to tens of thousands, they are playing on everything from iPhones to Pioneer pro Gear, and they are everywhere from Cape Town to California. For every DJ who makes you feel like these two you spoke of above do, there will always be one who you’ll be expecting nothing from who completely blows you away. Keep the faith! 🙂

Have you seen a DJ doing something truly shocking recently? Do you look at the floor and blush a little when you think back to something you may have done right at the start of your DJing career? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…

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