Nine Things I Learned From Being A DJ

Photo by Mayra Lentz

Photo by Mayra Lentz

After three years in the DJ arena, I noticed things I never realized before I became a DJ. Here’s nine of them.

1. DJs are treated like shit: Let’s just get this one out of the way. Forget the image of the superstar DJ playing in front of hundreds to thousands of people. Usually, that’s someone who produces his or her own music, music that brought more attention their way.

Also, most DJs don’t work in glamorous nightclubs either. Your typical DJ more than likely mixes music in a bar, wedding or an event. These spots are usually where people treat DJs like shit.

A DJ is there to provide a fun atmosphere. He or she is not a jukebox. How would you like it if the same people kept telling you to play this and play that all damned night? That shit gets annoying after awhile. Also, there are reasons why DJs won’t play or carry certain songs. For one, they may not have heard the requested song yet. Still, they eventually will. Second, the song may be inappropriate for the evening. For every time the whole place seems to enjoy themselves, I would really love to smack the fucker who requests a song that brings the whole energy level down. Believe it or not, your wonderful song request just might be one of those songs that shouldn’t be played.

2. Older people arrive early and leave early: This is when I usually play “the classics”. Don’t get it twisted. This does not mean the over forty crowd does not appreciate current hits. Yet, they appreciate older music too.

3. Younger people arrive later, and some will stay all night if you let them: For DJs who enjoy watching intense booty-shaking, this is the best time. Not only do the younger folks have more energy, they also don’t mind getting one hour sleep before having to work the next day. They’ll do intense booty-shaking all night if you let them.

4. Younger people love the classics: Sometimes, folks under thirty would ask for songs older than forty-something me. As long as they’re having a good time, I don’t mind it.

5. Sometimes, it’s best to cater to the older crowd: Anyone who don’t appreciate and recognize the spending power of folks over forty is a complete idiot who should keep their stupidity out of the nightlife business. Not only do older people buy more expensive drinks than the younger crowd, they also tip more. Only a moron would not notice that. Younger people buy the cheapest drinks and many don’t even tip. Yet, the younger crowd tends to be more demanding.

This isn’t always the case. Some younger folks do tip and buy expensive drinks. Also, some older folks are cheap as hell. Still, when it comes to spending money, the older crowd has the younger crowd beat.

(I say over forty. Yet, over thirty fits it just as well.)

6. White people are shitty tippers too: You usually hear the stereotype of black people not tipping. That’s because many black people don’t know you’re supposed to hand money over to people who are already receiving pay for their services. Yet, many white people do comprehend tipping. Still, after playing many of their song requests, some white people look at me as if I’m speaking a foreign language when I bring up tipping.

7. Some folks from “underground scenes” are full of shit: Let’s be real. Some of them ran to the underground scene because the mainstream rejected them. Some underground folks are as much of an asshole as the folks they rebel against. Some are even more of an asshole than the folks they rebel against.

My apologies for playing commercial music women want to shake their asses to. I know how it is. If only only folks would appreciate the important underground act only five people know about. Pat yourself on the back for being one of those five.

8. Only other DJs and their groupies bitch about a DJ’s equipment: Despite what other DJs told you, a DJ can still rock the house with just a laptop and the right software. As long as the DJ pays attention to the crowd, he or she should do fine. For vinyl DJs who don’t believe that, they can go fuck themselves and remain in the dinosaur age where they belong.

9. Everything I believed about people proved true, both good and bad: Most people are decent, if not extremely nice. If they enjoy your vibe, they will definitely come back and spend money.

Only a small handful of people are social fuck-ups. Yet, these types will ruin your whole evening…if you let them. Sometimes, it’s selfish shit. Some folks just want the DJ to lick their ass all night. To them, the DJ must lick their ass because they’re so special and so above other people. Some of these types insult the DJ when he or she don’t lick ass. All of a sudden, the DJ is now a shitty DJ.

Other types are just plain jealous. When they badly crave the attention the DJ is receiving, some envious types start criticizing the DJ’s skills and/or choice in music. All of a sudden, they know just the music the DJ should be playing. Lo and behold if the women like the DJ, that just adds more gas to an already burning fire.

Then there’s the small group of genuinely nice folks. They’re the ones who always tip or even buy the DJ a drink. Plus when folks talk shit about the DJ, these folks have the DJ’s back. It’s not even all about tips or drinks, a DJ gets happy when someone compliments their music. Genuinely nice people do it all the time.

I always thought most folks were decent, and that only a handful were truly assholes. My experiences as a DJ proved it.

These are the nine things I learned. Are there any other DJs who learned something during their gigs? You’re free to comment.

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4 Comments on “Nine Things I Learned From Being A DJ”

  1. eric carroll Says:

    Yeah i know what you mean brother i had a gig in a stripclub and it sucked ,the chicks wanted to play the music they wanted,the owner wanted to pay me at the end of the week and the owner said i could’nt conversate with the dancers ,i cound’nt drink or smoke no talking to the customers it was wack !

  2. Robert Says:

    You’re a night hero, go on doing your best bro!


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