DJing: 10 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong

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So your dream is to be a superstar DJ? Well, why not. Think of the money, the international travel, the adoring and pliant fans of all persuasions, the 24/7 party lifestyle, the whole ‘getting to make and play music for a living’ thing. It’s a pretty sweet gig. But as chill as a career path in EDM can be, there are still some things that you should absolutely never, ever do. These are the ten clear signs that you’re doing the whole DJ thing wrong. Beware.


#1 You over-react to DJ requests

DJs – if someone is irritating you with their inane song requests, we recommend you seek inspiration for your vengeance from here, rather than here. Atlanta’s DJ Outlaw obviously didn’t heed this advice – when he got into a scuffle with a punter over a song request, he retaliated by shooting the guy five times with a shotgun. Seems fair.

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#2 All your equipment is unplugged and you just DGAF

It takes a certain level of chutzpah to stand in front of two CDJs and a mixer that are plainly not switched on or plugged into one another and pretend that you’re actually controlling the music – fiddling with the EQs and even throwing in a bit of faux scratching – it’s the DJing equivalent of playing air guitar on stage. So props to DJ Shone, who must have the biggest bollocks in the game to appear on a TV chat show blatantly ‘air-DJing’. Still, it hasn’t stopped him getting bookings – if you want to see DJ Shone ‘air-DJ’ in the flesh, he’s playing in Serbia, Germany and Switzerland in the next month.

Wait, what? Turns out DJ Shone is a repeat offender – and he posted this one to his own YouTube channel.


#3 You use Pauly D’s ‘Night Of My Life’ video for DJ inspiration

Pauly D knows more than you do about hair product, spray tan and courting the lobotomised masses on Facebook. If you’re looking for a mentor in these areas, then he’s your man. If you’re looking for advice on being a credible and respected selector of music, you’re better off looking elsewhere. To save you the shame of having to watch the below video yourself, let us summarise the six key pointers for being a DJ according to Pauly D.

Pretend your jet is private by filming yourself boarding before any other passengers. Wear your headphones back to front on your neck, and never ever actually put them up to your ears. Spit cheap champagne all over the crowd – they love it (and make sure said cheap champagne has your name on the bottle). Why fist pump when you can double fist pump? And headphones must be diamante-encrusted.


#4 You DJ like this…

If your DJ routine consists of dressing like an action figure in a futuristic Leather Daddy bar, drop mixing every track with ‘wikka wikka’ hand movements and hyping the crowd through a Madonna head-mic, you might be doing it wrong. Then again, you might also be stupidly rich.


#5 You are an experimental, forward-thinking, dancefloor-clearing DJ genius

There’s an art to introducing new records to a crowd and expanding musical horizons. There’s also an art to not completely alienating your audience and bringing the party to a grinding halt within the first 15 minutes of your set. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to push the envelope – but if your dancefloor ends up looking like this one, best reconsider how much those rare demos you got from a zip file link posted in the ITM techno forum in 2005 are really resonating.

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#6 Your phone is more interesting than the dancefloor

“YO REDFOO MAN CAN YOU LIKE WETRANSFER ME THAT REMIX OF IN THE HOUSE WE DID TOGETHER I TOTALLY THINK IT WOULD KILL IT RIGHT NOW ALSO HOW DO I TURN ALL CAPS OFF?” (Basically: don’t follow will.i.am’s lead. Ever.)

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#7 You haven’t quite nailed the basics

If you can spot what’s wrong with this photo then you’re already halfway to becoming the next Sasha.

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#8 You’re always in the red

In DJing, as in finance, being ‘in the red’ is bad. There are a couple of simple tests you can do to tell whether the sound coming out of your speakers is too damn loud. One is to check if your mixer’s volume levels are reaching into the red zone. The other is if people are covering their ears, looking at you in pain and disgust, and throwing full bottles of beer at the booth.

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#9 You do this to your records…

Eats Everything, Juicy Music and Delicious Vinyl are all excellent dance music names. Here’s the crucial point, though – they’re NOT DIETARY INSTRUCTIONS. Plus, press shots like these probably aren’t going to help you get booked…because nothing screams ‘competence’ like slobbering all over your records.

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#10 You’re DJing at this club

As much as we want to do a Jagger [sic.] Bomb (they leave you with “sticky fingers”, you know), the very thought of setting foot in the physical realisation of this Livejournal-circa-1997 explosion of fonts and glitter makes us feel ill (much like we imagine the €4 “Stiffys” will.) Is it just us, or do you reckon the DJ booth at this club has chicken wire around it? We can’t even imagine what DJs Enda and Dermot G play, but we’re praying it isn’t worse than this.

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