You’ve Never DJ’d Before

Bored DJAs I write this, we are probably over the half way point of the busy Summer wedding season.  For those who have created great entertainment at a lot of different events over the last couple months, it’s right about this time that a DJs energy and enthusiasm can be in short supply.  The usually sharp edges of precision and accuracy can feel  dulled by habits and complacency and the spark of creativity can grow dim under the shadow of boredom.  If you let it.   To succumb to DFABS (DJ Fatigue and Boredom Syndrome, a disorder I just made up) is to invite in nasty things like bad reviews, diminished referrals, empty dance floors, disappointed brides and grooms and probably worst of all, disillusion with DJing in general.    Much like a marathon runner who must go beyond her depleted physical ability and plumb her psyche for the strength to dig deep and win the race, DJs must also dig deep and make every event a winner.

Of course that’s easier said than done.

I know…I know, I can hear them already.  The anointed ones who’ve never accidentally pressed stop on a playing deck or blew a circuit breaker.  Those perpetual “up with people”, “I love what I do because I work with people on the happiest day of their lives” kind of DJs who claim to always be in some euphoric state of reception happiness.  You know – the kind you’d like to kick in the teeth.  To those denizens of the DJ Mount Olympus you’re certainly welcome to stop reading. Or better yet, share your secrets of endless freshness.

The truth is most of the time I do feel like DJing can be the best gig in the world.  And I’m grateful for as much business as possible.  Client meetings and gigs are what we live for.  But we all get tired sometimes don’t we?  So for anyone who may be feeling less than inspired about your umpteenth bridal consultation or programming your next event, keep this in mind…

You’ve never DJ’d before…

…at this event….with these people…in this place…right now.  THIS energy that’s flowing between you and THIS dance floor (if you’re letting it) is something that has never happened before.  It always helps me to think of the events I’m the DJ for in this way.  No matter how many years of experience may be behind you, it’s what’s in front of you that is always new and unknown.  And new and unknown can be fresh, exciting, scary and fun. And THAT can lead to a great performance.

Actors in theatrical productions always face the challenge of keeping their performances fresh.  Imagine having to do 8 shows a week of the exact same show day in and day out. But much like our amazing DJ community, they are performance professionals who realize that the audience in the seats tonight is seeing the show for the first time. They have paid for a show that looks and feels like it’s being performed for the very first time.  Unlike movies which are locked in time and don’t interact with an audience, theatrical performances and certainly ours as DJs are interactive.  So much of our performances depend on the energy of THIS audience right now.  That means that our gigs are unique communal experiences every time.  Now that’s exciting.  Actors use many techniques to keep performances fresh.  Diet, exercise and rest before a show are critical of course, but good actors also explore new things about their characters and about the other people they share the stage with.

DJs should find new ways to do what they do too.  Pay attention to the uniqueness of the guests and the environment they are creating in this venue.  Use that to inform how you navigate THIS event.  Your music programming should be unique.  Play something different.  Wear something different.  Use different lighting or set up your rig a little differently.  Sometimes it’s enough to just be aware of the energy you’re putting out to the party.  Audiences will only give back what performers are giving them.  Sometimes an empty dance floor has nothing to do with the music being played.  If you seem bored or disinterested chances are your guests will be too.  Ramp up your energy to fight through the mid-season blues.

A wise theatre director I worked with recently shared this thought: a miracle is simply a change in perception.  If your gigs are feeling like the same old same old routine and your clients are starting to become faceless, change your perception.  You’ve never DJ’d before.  Excited? Nervous?  Good.  That means you’ll be sharp and back on your toes where you should be.  Because this is the first, and hopefully, last wedding reception for THIS bride and groom.  They paid for it and they certainly deserve your best performance. Give them that miracle.
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Comments

  1. Great Blog Article! Something all of us can take from this. Often I think of this after 20 years in the industry it is easy to slip into the DJ Coma so to speak and I think your thoughts are right on.

    DJ Christine Oster , Atlanta GA

  2. When I first started, I never thought about what you mentioned here about every gig being unique. A few years ago I came to the understanding that I am completely playing for a crowd I have never played for before. So, I have a “bag of goodies” in my mind that I can put to use that fits different scenarios at a wedding or corporate gig. For me, I have the opposite effect as the year goes on. Detroit Tiger’s ace pitcher, Justin Verlander actually throws pitches faster as the innings progress. I am much like him. Once I get into “the Zone” I do better later in the year than I do early in the year. I get into a groove. I look at every wedding or event as a new challenge to improve myself and provide something unique. Thanks for writing this, it reminding me of what it is I do and what I hope to accomplish. Very good words!!

  3. Fantastic Geoff. Again, I’m amazed by your approach and writing. This just makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing!

  4. TRUE! your words are true. I have not had a steady club / bar gig in a couple of years. when working that type of gig, the crowd is the same and you play the same music over and over week after week, It can get borring. With weddings and mobile work the crowd is different each event.

  5. Thx so much for sharing. It s always great reading the different blogs over here. Even I m from Switzerland – music has no bounderies. No colour. This one I love most : quote : Audiences will only give back what performers are giving them. unquote
    this is what many DJ s now a days have lost – just plug in their laptop with some MP3 and “you re a dj”

    I will come back for sure

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