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How To Prepare For A Club DJ Gig

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Know You’re Crowd. I can’t stress this one enough guys. That’s why I’m putting it here on the top of the list for your prep guide to DJing. Think about it. You were booked as a DJ by the party planners because they are predicting a crowd will roll through to the venue, space, dorm room, club, festival,  orgy, or wherever the heck you’re playing at. This crowd needs to get satisfied, musically speaking that is, and the only way you’re going to be able to satisfy the crowd is by knowing their music taste in and out. You need to know what they want to hear that will get them excited to go out on the dance floor and have fun, not sit on the sidelines tree-trunking it and , because this will most likely turn out in them leaving the venue early, calling it a shit night, blaming the DJ, and not wanting to hear you spin again. If the crowd likes pop music, play Top 40s. If the crowd wants rap, give em’ rap. Shit if smooth jazz is what gets them off, play that. You get the idea. You can still mix in some good tracks from outside of the genre that the crowd wants to hear, but I’d recommend you follow the 80-20 rule here. 80% of the time play crowd pleasers that is geared towards what most people will want to hear and then 20% give it your own spin. Add tracks you like, remixes, and music that will make your DJing style your own. If you don’t know the demographics of the crowd you’ll be DJing for, like what the general likings of their music taste will be, age, theme to the party if their is any, this is something you must find out. Do research on this by asking people who will be going to the venue or asking the party planners who hired you to give you inside on the type of demographic and what type of music they would want to hear. People only want to hear songs that they know and can sing the lyrics to. As much as you may want to play the music you like, realistically Top 40s tracks and pop music in general is what is going to make the crowd have the best time because they know this music.

Play what girls want to hear. As a general rule of thumb, play tracks that will get chicks up and on the dance floor. This always works in pleasing a crowd and this should always be a rule of thumb for you. Once girls are on the dance floor, guys always will follow to dance and meet girls they see. This will double the size of the crowd dancing to your music as guys join the dance floor. I’m not saying play Taylor Swift all night long, but make sure your spinning music the majority of girls will want to hear at a club, usually this is going to be Top 40s hits.

Have An Internet Connection Ready. As a DJ, you seriously should already have loads of top hits ready to play to please the crowd, but we all know it's impossible to have downloaded, pre-cued, and prepared every song that could be a good track to play. You’re most likely always going to get requests when you DJ, unless you have an invisible shield guarding you from all the drunk party goers, even then somehow the hopeless drunkards manage to break through and come up next to you even when you think you’ve completely barricaded yourself from the crowd just to ask if you can play their favorite song. If your venue has a wifi connection, hook up to it, or use your phone as a hotspot if the venue doesn’t have a high enough speed connection for you to hook up to. If someone requests a song and you think to yourself holy shit I can’t believe I didn’t download that track and get it ready for my set, you’ll be glad to know your connected to quickly browse for the track, download it, and cue it up in a matter of minutes. Trust me this has happened to me tons of times and happens to every DJ, and we all agree it has saved our asses so many times and has even led to us playing tracks that really made a difference that night.

Practice. DJing is a third song selection, a third reading the crowd and a third transitioning. You need to know how to do all of these well. Practice transitioning between songs at the same tempo/genre and songs from different tempos/genres. Learning how to mix a wide variety of songs will help prepare you for when you need to figure out how to transition a track on the fly.

Know and Organize Your Music. Your the DJ! Your music is why you were hired. Not every track you play during the night will dance up a storm. That would be too much, there has to be some variety in the set list, a mixture of songs that make the energy levels of the crowd skyrocket and some more low key songs too. To know what song to play when, it's critical that you know your music inside and out. You need to know which songs are hype and which ones aren’t, where good mix in and mix out points are, and if the songs are meant for the beginning of the night or at the end of the night. I’d recommend you organize all of the songs you could play into different playlists. I like to have a playlist that’s good for playing songs mainly at the beginning of the night, this would a lot of popular songs usually ones that have already been out for a year or so, but not dancefloor smashers. This playlist is meant to house songs that you can pick from and play when it isn’t the busiest time of the night. Next should have another playlist made up of the most popular songs and remixes to date that you know will get the crowd wild. These are the songs you play as the hype crew enters the club and when everyone is initially crowding the dance floor looking for partners to dance with. Because these are really popular songs, people dancing tend to be more open with each other which often leads to couples forming in the crowd. (When you see your first couple make out of the night, it's always a funny fealing haha) And then finally you should have a playlist dedicated to ending the night. No these aren’t supposed to be lame ass tracks, they can still be popular and fun, but since at this point during the gig people will be starting to head home, you best hope you’d already played your dancefloor smashing records already, because the crowd size will only decrease from this point out in the night. The best types of tracks for this portion of the night tend to be songs that allow people who’ve paired off with each other on the dancefloor to continue to get to know each other and grind the night away.

Have a Spotify Account. If worst comes to worst and your equipment breaks or you get nervous as fuck and have a breakdown and can’t mix anymore (I only say this because this happened to me) then make sure you have a spotify playlist available to play if all else fails. This can be some pre-made popular playlist already, those tend to be just fine.

Know How To Use Your Controller. This probably sounds obvious to most but if you don’t know your controller inside and out, your simply not ready for the gig your about to play at. You should know what every button does, how to troubleshoot your system if it crashes, and of course, this includes knowing the ins and outs of the software you are using to DJ with.

Look Fly As Fuck. You’re the DJ after all, and all eyes are on you. This trade is fun as hell, it's the best high I’ve ever felt in my life, but confidence is key to smashing a good set. You need to feel excited, be alpha, and be ready to give it your all. I’ve found that having a pair of fresh clothes on and looking good when your on the decks mixing gives you more confidence throughout the night.

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