The 12 Rules of DJing
I wrote this 2 years ago and decided to kick start my blog with it. I think it still holds true and probably even more so now. Again this blog is just my opinion. Don't like it, fine :)
Nice think is we all have a opinions. I can respect yours although not agree and I hope you can do the same with mine. Thanks for reading.
DJ Rule #1: Know Your Role: Know how to warm up a night. If you are playing before 11 PM don't play a bunch of bangers. Just doesn't make sense. Nothing frustrates the DJ after you to try to get to 132 BPM and it isn't even midnight yet. Play the music that sets up the night right. No need for huge builds when you are setting up the headliner. In other words, know what is appropriate for your timeslot.
DJ Rule #2: The Music Comes First: Check your ego at the door. Yes you are there to provide a show but it should be about the music and not the spectacle. Of course you can hype a crowd but it should be done mainly by your music and not because you wear masks or take off your shirt. There should be a balance of style and substance.
DJ Rule #3: Learn The Fundamentals: Computers are great. They can do a lot of things for you. They can even DJ for you. Yep, you too can be a DJ with software! Now I am not saying this is a bad thing but it is if you are relying on it to do your job for you. Even if you are a laptop DJ, spend some behind some tables and get to learn the fundamentals a bit. It can only help.
DJ Rule #4: Support The Artists: Unless I get promos from the artist or label directly I purchase all my music. I don't do the torrent thing. I don't file share. I support the artists that I play out. As an artist I would want that support so I give it in return. It is important to support the music with you dollars. Especially if you are getting paid to DJ, you need to support with your wallet.
DJ Rule #5: Press Photos: This one is more of a pet peeve then a rule. OK, NO MORE BRICK WALLS AND HEADPHONES NOT PLUGGED IN on your press photos. This is just a dumb look. We get it. You are a cool DJ. So cool that you need everyone to know it by wearing your headphones while hanging out randomly in front of a brick wall, downtown skyline, etc. No more of this please.
DJ Rule #6: Have Some Humility: I mean come on. You are a DJ. You play OTHER peoples music for the most part. You aren’t reinventing the wheel. Be humble. Be Gracious. You are lucky that people want to pay attention to you at all. If you want to get respect in this, give it…especially to those who support you.
DJ Rule #7: Know Your History: There was plenty of great music before SHM hit the scene. If you don’t know who Danny Rampling, Tony Devit, The Belleville Three, Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Lil Louis and countless others, then you don’t know the culture of dance music. You can’t be a part of a culture if you don’t fully understand it. Google some of these names. Learn about the creators of this music and scene.
DJ Rule #8: Is It You Or?: We all have our go to tracks. The ones that make the crowd go off. But is that all you are playing? Any DJ can play the hits and make a crowd go off. At that point your skill as a DJ means nothing really because a top 40 radio station can do your job better. There is no skill in that. Be creative. Push the crowd and push yourself at the same time.
DJ Rule #9: Intros: Another pet peeve. So you got the crowd going. Things are running smooth and you set up the next DJ perfectly. He gets on and decides to have a 2 min intro that is there to let everybody know that he has now hit the decks. WTF? Really? If the DJ before me has got the crowd, I will do what I can to keep it there and not have the ego to announce my fucking presence. The floor comes first.
DJ Rule #10: Programming – No amount of technology can teach you how to program a set. That takes practice. That takes playing out and losing a crowd and wondering what you did wrong and how you can fix it. When I was 18, a big DJ at the time told me about programming. I had no idea about the concept. Being able to tell a story with a mix is a sign of a great DJ.
DJ Rule #11: Don’t Plan Your Sets – I have an idea of what I am going to do but I generally go in and free form my sets. One of the reasons I record my sets so often is so that I don’t play the same tracks all the time. It reminds me to try something new all the time. Part of the fun of DJing is feeding off the energy and the crowd and being spontaneous with them. Now I am not saying doing have a idea of what you are going do do but don't be a strict "this song goes after this one" kind of DJ. Feel it.
DJ Rule #12: You Aren’t More Important – As much as your ego won’t allow you to believe it, you aren’t that important. We have all played for empty rooms. It sucks. What does that tell you? The floor is always more important than you. It's a symbiotic relationship. Feed off the crowd and give back to them. Take the cues you get from the crowd and use it make a better experience fro all. Remember, they come first.