“A Big Name DJ Treated Me Like S***. What Would You Have Done?”

Steve Canueto
Read time: 3 mins
Last updated 3 September, 2018

Note from the editor:

This was a post in one of our private Facebook Groups for students of our courses, which I share here with the permission of the poster, who we’ll call “Jim” (cos that’s his name, lol.) I am sure many people reading this have been in similar situations, so we thought it would be interesting to repost it here to see what you, our readers would have done. So, let us know below!

Jim writes:

I want to share a recent event experience of mine and see what you all think. I’ll leave out any names to keep it professional.

I was hired to play an event within a certain music/dance community. I was one of three DJs at the event. The other two DJs are big names within this community and are regularly hired for gigs all over the US, so I was definitely the no-name opener.

Given the event, location, and other DJs on the lineup I was really excited to play there and rub elbows with these other well-known DJs, and hopefully learn from watching these guys first hand.

I set up my gear to start my set. The house provided a surge protector that was a piece of junk, that was strewn across the side of the dancefloor, and that the dancers were plugging their cell phones into. I wasn’t about to use this so I pulled out my own extension cable and Monster power conditioner and went on to play my set.

During my set the headliner shows up and starts throwing up his gear. I notice him plugging into the house surge protector, so I interject and tell him he’s welcome to jump onto my power conditioner which is stashed under the booth and away from the dancefloor. He doesn’t say a word, plugs into my conditioner and carries on.

Now I’m getting to the end of my set and close to his start time, so I start trying to communicate the transition.

“Hey I’m rolling this song at so and so RPM with this much time left on the track, are you set and ready?”

“Yes, I’m good to go”.

I give him a two-minute warning, then a one-minute warning, thirty seconds, mix in – you’re on!


I see him scrambling with the transport section on his board.

OK, I already set a backup track and jump to it to keep the floor moving. No big deal, it happens to all of us.

So I’m preparing more tracks to keep the house busy until he’s ready. I’m halfway through this song, the dancefloor is full, and bam! Out of nowhere this guy reaches over and drops my channel fader to silence and slams on his first track.

Now, that’s twice the promoter and dancefloor are looking at me like, “WTF?!”

This guy never says anything to me or even looks me in the eye. It’s like I’m there to serve him hand and foot and I can piss off if I think even a simple “thank you” is in order for covering for him!

I’ve never felt so close to a straight-up physical altercation with another DJ. I debated something fierce whether I should explain this to the promoter in my defence afterwards, but in the end I decided it would just seem like petty drama to the promoter, so I kept it to myself.

Since we’re all looking to be our best, what do you think? Should I have said something to the promoter? Any other promoters out there, would you want to hear about something like this?

Needless to say this experience was a big let down for me, but also I stark reminder that just because a person is really good at what they do, or at least has a big name for it, doesn’t mean they’re a good person or any kind of “professional”.

Amusingly, I watched his set and walked away thinking he didn’t have the skill set to justify the ***hole attitude.

Some responses from other students:

What would you have done? Any advice you’d like to add? Share below!

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