Sometimes it seems like our DJ blogs and articles are bursting with so many “expert” DJs clamoring to impart wisdom to the huddled masses of less experienced DJs, one might wonder who exactly we’re imparting all this wisdom to. Teachers teaching teachers, all looking for students. Put your ear to the average DJ blog and, like that creepy “voice of the sea” seashell from those cruise line commercials imploring strangers to “swim in me” or whatever, you can almost hear the cries of multitudes of DJs who clearly didn’t get enough attention as children. Oceans of forums and lifetimes of videos scream “notice me!” through their advice and tips. Of course, I count myself among them…you….us. Take a look at my body of work for Mobile Beat and it’s clear that I also must think my experience and/or opinion is worthy of…..I don’t know…being worthy, I guess. I mean, I just used the phrase “my body of work” in reference to my own DJ articles. Who am I? Shakespeare?
So in the spirit of trying to deflate my head a bit and to encourage some of you other know-it-alls out there (you know who you are) to do the same, I have a confession. I screw things up sometimes. I really can get tired of hearing my own voice talking about all the things (I think) I do right. So now – with tail tucked firmly between legs – I present just a few of the things I know I do wrong. Hopefully to save other DJs from fumbling in my footsteps. But certainly to try and fix some of this crap myself!
*Disclaimer: A full list of my screw-ups would crash the internet and will not be attempted here.
I Don’t Practice Mixing Enough – As a musician, you would think I would fully embrace the concept of “PRACTICE and Enjoy”. I guess I do GET the concept, but I often let other things gobble up my dayplanner. I really want to get in the habit of firing up my mixer every day because I really do love getting lost in music, even for little bits of time
I Need to have a better Knowledge of more types of music -Specifically Hip Hop (yes this “whitest” of black DJs needs to brush up on his rap) and Country. There are so many new Hip Hop jams coming out every day and then remixes of said jams it’s challenging to keep track of them all. In my defense, I will say neither genre gets huge amounts of airplay at most of the weddings I’ve DJd. But still, there’s no denying the overwhelming popularity and importance of both and so I have satellite radio stations programmed for them and tune in all the time. The DJ is supposed to be the music authority on site. How embarrassing is it to ask a person requesting a tune “Umm…who sings that”? BTW, if I get in a wreck it’s not because I’m texting, but probably because I’m “Shazaming” the tune on my XM to figure out what the hell that song is!
I take too long to set up and tear down – I don’t (or haven’t yet) worked with an assistant and it seems like no matter how much time I give myself, I’m still plugging something in mere minutes before the guests walk into the room. I keep trying to shave time from my set-up and I do time myself. I have learned some time saving techniques like having things pre-wired into my mixer, etc. but I still feel like I could streamline things. Likewise after the gig, I invariably get annoyed looks from some venue staffers dying to run out the door as I carefully wrap cables. I’m just a bit anal and can’t stand just throwing stuff in a case or bag and running out the door. I’m sure the banquet managers are not impressed.
I definitely say “Ladies and Gentlemen, at this time” too much – Even though I’m used to public speaking and think pretty quickly on my feet, this still seems to be the default host statement that comes out of my face when nerves kick in or when things need to be adjusted on the fly. So now I just say “Wassup ya’ll? They ’bout to get all first-danced up!”
and probably the most humbling admission…
I think I’m a know-it-all – Being an entertainer since childhood sometimes lulls me into a false sense of knowing all there is no to know about this business. Obviously I don’t (see everything above). Thankfully, the fates never fail to remind me of that. When I’m feeling fullest of myself, they dish me up a hot, steaming pile of humble pie, usually in the form of an open fly, a blown electrical panel or setting up in the wrong room. It’s usually at those moments I realize you never stop learning and I quickly log on to search for helpful advice from some of you.
Obviously, this list could go on indefinitely, but another one of my weaknesses is being long-winded when I could just as easily say, I’m a screw-up…and a damn good one.
Filed Under: Exclusive Online News and Content, Performing, Weddings
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