Hey Mr. DJ...Here Are Some Tips For Your Jar
|By Jose ValdesGeorges MusicOrange Park|
Whether youre a brand new jock, or a seasoned mash-up artist, getting behind the decks and walking your beat is always easier with some good advice.Here are 8 helpful tips for you, Mr. DJ:
1. Know your audience
Investigation and research are key. Use the internet for songs and musical styles that will appeal to your patrons. Dont bring your obscure knowledge of the punk scene to a wedding unless the person who booked you specifically told you to. Its imperative that you listen to the party planner or promoter when choosing your music for the night. If you are playing a childrens party, you definitely want to pre-screen your music so that their parents (the ones paying you) are not upset that Little Johnny learned some colorful new expressions.
2. Know your venue
This is primarily the promoter or party planners responsibility, but since you are the one who will be standing behind the decks playing the wrong thing if you dont do some investigation, never underestimate the power of the internet as a research tool. Most clubs have a website - visit it. Visit the club itself if you have time. If the party is planned at a rented venue, try to visit their website as well. Find out if you must obey noise ordinances or have a rain-plan (if the event is outdoors). Never assume that the venue will have everything you need. Bring your mixer, your decks, your own headphones, power, stereo, or computer cables. Nothing looks sillier than the DJ standing behind decks beat-boxing into a microphone because the clubs mixer was unwisely stored below a leaky faucet all night.
3. Know your music
If you know nothing about Goth-Industrial music, dont book a Goth-Industrial night. This kind of goes along with knowing your audience, but in this case, you should not accept a gig unless you can deliver what the audience wants. If you have a huge collection of music, you should definitely be able to discuss what you have and what you dont have with the promoter or planners. If they are expecting you to play Dexys Midnight Runners, Come On Eileen during an 80s night and you dont have it, then youre the one wholl be going home sticky to clean the egg off your face.
4. Know your style
If you are not a beat-matcher, dont use your audience as guinea pigs to try it out. Test-mixes and practicing should be done at home. Period. Theres nothing wrong with making mistakes or botching up a mix occasionally, but dont make a habit of it or you wont get booked anymore. By that same token, if you are booked as not only the DJ, but as the MC, then make sure you have the Talkover feature on your mixing board mastered. Theres nothing more embarrassing than finding out that your spiffy new wireless microphone that you forgot to turn off just broadcasted your outspoken opinions about the brides mothers dress to the whole venue during the Chicken Dance.
5. Know your mixer
Do you have effects? Is your mixer quirky? Did you remember to set the Master volume before the first person got there? Keep in mind that you shouldnt be using the Master volume once youve started. Make sure that you have plenty of room to play in each of the channels as more patrons arrive and start soaking up that heavy bass. Volume Creep is a common problem with club jocks who end up blowing an amp because they have the Master volume on eleven because its louder than ten.
6. Know your effects
Its a slow dance. The couples are gazing into each others eyes lovingly. The song is the perfect accompaniment to the soft swaying of the lilies and the gentle caress of the spring breeze at sunset. Then from nowhere, FLANGEREVERBPHAZER!!! I will say no more, except that this has happened hundreds of times and its actually happening somewhere right now. Somewhere all the Happy has left the Hour. Dont be that DJ. Know your effects.
7. Know your other equipment
Are your decks quirky? Do you need to press the Play button on one of your players especially hard to get it to actually do stuff? Does your coffin case have just stereo out and a power cord, or are you going to have to wire a bunch of separate equipment into the venues sound? You need to practice at home until setting up and breaking down is second nature, not to mention you need to be able to discuss your specific needs with the venues sound technician if something does go wrong.And it will.In fact, according to Murphys Law, you will, at some point in your DJ career, be faced with a huge dance floor full of people with great throwing arms having a good time, who will, at some point, have all purchased brand new cocktails when the music suddenly stops and a horrendous squelching screech comes out of your speakers and nothing you do will make it stop short of pulling the breaker out of the fuse box; which, due to Murphys Law, will be downstairs in the flooded basement which is currently being used to house poisonous reptiles.So be prepared and know your gear.
8. Know your worth
This isnt about getting paid. Sorry. Its about what you need. Getting paid is just a happy surprise when youre first getting started. You will need, at the bare minimum to begin spinning:A DJ MIXER
- I suggest Numark
for the first time DJ as it is intuitive and simple to become an expert on.HEADPHONES -
These play music just for you! Do not go cheap on these. Headphones
are a vital tool in your box. Make sure they are high quality and have your name all over them in permanent marker or they wont be your headphones
for very long.SOME KIND OF MUSIC STORAGE MEDIUM
- Whether this is vinyl records, CDs, an iPod, a laptop or other computer with mp3s, you need music to play.A WAY TO HOOK THE PREVIOUS TWO THINGS TOGETHER
- This is usually cables, although Numark does a cool CD DJ hard-wired case for beginners. Dont be scared of outgrowing it, either. I happen to know for a fact, that the Top-Rated industrial DJ in the world, Wilhelm Curse, was using it until about a month ago.A WAY TO MAKE ALL THAT STUFF MAKE SOUNDS
- This is usually the venues PA system, but not always. Some mobile DJs have powered mixers that run a couple of speakers, others use lightweight PA systems like the Yamaha Stagepas
series. No matter what, if you arent playing music, youre not doing very well as the DJ
So, DJ Frazzy Mix MC Phat Bass, break out your tip jar and get ready for some fun. Crank up the Chicken Dance and ask the brides mom to hitch up her magenta skirt, show us all some fancy footwork, and try to ignore the sounds of rushing water and angry lizards coming from the basement.A lot of people say, Its Happy Hour somewhere! and they should be talking about wherever youre spinning tonight.
Jose Valdes is a DJ gear expert at George's Music Orange Park and is a gigging DJ in the Orange Park, FL area and beyond.