How I Perform DJ Gigs

A reader told me he learns about DJing from reading my blogs, a big fuckin’ surprise to me.  Because of this, I shall inform people how I perform my DJ gigs.

First, I prepare playlists using iTunes.  Most of my music is set-up by decades and genres.  Therefore, I have 80s pop, 80s hip-hop, 90s rock, 00s hip-hop and so on.  Sometimes, I break the lists into specialties like Funky Lounge and Old School Drum-N-Bass.  At the gig itself, I use my playlists in Virtual DJ.

I do my playlists at home before I come to the gig.

First thing I do at my gigs is observe the people.  During the early hours, usually older people attend bars and clubs.  Around this time, I play older and slower music.  I usually start with music around 80 BPM and slowly move up.  As the current song plays 85 BPM, the next song may be 86 or 89.

At this time, I never play the current hits unless asked.  Rock the house too early and things burn out quick.  Before you know it, after one drink, patrons are gone.

During my music selections, I use harmonic mixing.  Every song has one main note.  Some notes mix well with others and some clash.  People usually associate harmonic mixing with electronic dance music.  Yet, I use it with all genres of music.

Warning: harmonic mixing is a blue print.  You don’t have to follow it.  Also, it won’t transform  a shitty DJ into an awesome DJ.  Also, software sometimes gets the notes wrong.

As I observe people, I look for signs.  I look for toe tapping or heads grooving to the beat, indications folks  are enjoying the music. Also, I watch drink consumption.  If people are buying more than one drink, that definitely is a good sign.

When someone criticizes my music, I always point to the grooving heads and feet tapping, an effective way of showing the critic they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

When it comes to requests, I rarely play the requested song next.  If people can’t wait, the hell with them.  Especially when they don’t tip.

What I try to do is find the appropriate spot for the requested song.  If it does fit next, I’ll play it.  If not, the person requesting the song is going to have to wait…especially a non-tipper.

Any DJ using YouTube should be slapped.

In past blogs, I’ve mentioned the next subject plenty of times.  STAY OFF THE FUCKIN’ INTERNET!!!  I do not play requests from YouTube or Grooveshark.  As the house is rocking, having my computer freeze is not a wonderful experience.  Also, folks run the internet requests in the ground.  Soon, I’ll be playing a bunch of shitty songs I hate with extreme passion.

When I bring up freezing, some folks tell me I should buy a Mac.  Mac or PC, I still am not playing requests from YouTube or Grooveshark. I’m a DJ not a goddamned jukebox. If someone personally buys me a Mac, my mind MIGHT change.  If not, suck my dick.

Current hits usually gets played after twelve, mainly because younger folks are the majority.  Still, don’t get it twisted.  Sometimes, the younger folks requests the classics, meaning older music.  I’ve had younger people ask for music dated two decades before their birth.

At the end of the night, I end with songs like Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” and T-Pain’s “Buy U A Drank”.  Sometimes, I might even end it with Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”   The object is ending the night with a feel good song.

So, that’s how I usually operate.  I don’t always go this route.  Yet, I use it most nights.  If this helps someone, I’m thankful for it.  If not, so be it.

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One Comment on “How I Perform DJ Gigs”

  1. kaleokualoha Says:

    Good info! If you would like free access to our work-in-progress harmonic mixing online database (www.camelotsound.com), containing over 65,000 tracks keyed by musicians (not software), please email camelot@gte.net.


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