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DJ Tips For Playing Gigs

by Matt · 0 comments

in DJ Gigs

Many of you who want to become DJs are needing a quick fix of hot DJ tips, tricks and best advice.

Whether you’re experienced or a beginner, a few hot tips can still be beneficial, especially right before a gig.

Like a magic bullet which boosts you before that important first set, you’re all hot and bothered and looking for advice to boost you.

So here’s my multi steroid booster, magic bullet little blue pill designed to make you perform like John Holmes hot list:

1. Be the Master of your equipment

Don’t think you’ll somehow get by without enough practice.

You may not want to hear it but you’ll need to know your DJ gear inside out and like a real pro.

Read the manuals, look up the best video tutorials, practices and advice on how to use it and try some little tricks with it yourself in the weeks and days leading up to events.

Develop your own little techniques and wizardry. Take it to the max.

Be the geek who knows all about how to make the most of your gear.

Make sure it’s 100% reliable and carry out all the maintenance checks you’ll need. Take a back up solution if you can.

Back up gear

For example: if you have no back up for your laptop, burn some tunes onto CDs. At least if your laptop crashes you’ll be able to play from them.

Know exactly how everything works. Be relaxed with it. This’ll free you to think about other things, such as..

2. Know your music

Knowing exactly what tunes you’ve got in the bag, case or on your hard drive is a huge bonus.

Knowing when to play the right tunes and who to play it to is just as important.

A deejay who cannot perform should either not be playing or has forgotten to check through his or her music recently.

See all my pro DJ tips on knowing all about your music.


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3. Watch the crowd

Now, you can master your DJ equipment perfectly well.

You have the best tunes in town.

But if you’re not paying attention to the heart and soul of the party, thennone of that matters.

A real pro will be watching the crowd every few seconds.

He or she won’t be just looking up every ten minutes, they’ll be feeling the dancefloor out, connecting with them.

A top deejay won’t be so immersed in their mix that they can’t look up. They are comfortable enough with their mixing techniques that they can afford to check out who’s dancing, who’s going crazy and they’ll see if people start to sidle off the dancefloor.

Reading reactions

You’ll be able to gauge people’s reactions. Maybe they’re happy, drunk, drugged up, boys or girls, black, brown, white.

All of this is important when deciding how to react by choosing your next tune.

It’s the intuitive part of DJing and it’s why some make it and others don’t.

Luckily you can find out much more about DJ Tips to read the club dancefloor 

4. Look great when DJing

Like it or not, how you look is part of your image and impact.

Some people even prefer a good looking guy or girl to someone who puts on the best tunes.

No really, it’s true.

Ask your image conscious friends some tips on how to dress and adapt to the venue you’re playing at.

People will relate better to you if you at least make an effort.

I’m not saying you have to look like Brangelina, but be smart, adapt and make the most of what you have.

When I say adapt, I mean that you’ll need to know about the people who hang out there and they’ll react better to you if they relate to your image.

You’ll go further if you do that.

Now get your hair did.

And follow my DJ tips on should what clothes to wear when playing out.

5. Don’t get distracted from your set

It’s all to easy for the weak willed boys amongst us to get distracted by a hot gorgeous girl coming up to the booth with a flirtacious smile and asking for Lady Gaga right this minute, because it’s her birthday, she says.

Be respectful, but remain in charge

Be polite, but don’t get distracted. Speaking to her is not more important than getting your mix right.

Now, maybe it’s just me but people always seem to ask me for stuff right when I’m lining up a tune and I need to concentrate.

I just ignore them until I’m set and satisfied. Then I’ll answer them, quickly.

Remember your priorities

Don’t let them distract you from your set. Listen, be nice, but they can’t change the course of a night that’s going so well.

The priority is your set. You need to remember that before some big breasted dolly puts you off.

If you find that you have difficulties with saying no to requests then see exactly how best to handle them with my tips on dealing with booth requests.

6. Play the music they want and not what you want

Now let’s get this straight.

While it’s hard not to think this is all about you, numero uno, number one son of a gun and the king of the booth, it isn’t.

I know I just said you shouldn’t get distracted by hotties asking you for music, leave that until the end.

One of the best DJ tips is for you to pay attention to the whole crowd, not just one person asking for Lady Gaga.

You see, people are there to have a good time and very few of them will actually be looking at and wondering about how cool the deejay actually is.

It feels grand to lay down tunes that make people dance from a club booth, but you’re here to make people dance. You’re not playing to jerk yourself off in a booth.

The more people that dance, the more successful the night will be and the more chance you have of getting bigger and better paid future gigs.

So it’s up to you to adapt to the crowd and not the other way around. 

How can you tell what music they like? My best advice.

7. Vary the tempo and the energy

This isn’t always an easy one for everyone to get right.

I personally always found this difficult to master. The big question is: how often do you make changes to the tempo and the style?

Even for techno, pure house and trance nights this is relevant. For any other style it is hugely important.

It ties in strongly with the reactions of your dancefloor too.

Don’t stay on the same BPM all night or exactly the same style. Even for techno. It gets boring, repetitive and people won’t feel the energy.

You should vary your tunes and make it a richer experience for your punters. The extent to which you can do this depends on the night and on the theme.

Drop bombs, then follow them up with a few more dancefloor bangers and then suddenly calm the game down a bit, change to a tune with more emotion, different sounds, a faster or slow beat and with or without vocals.

Then hit straight back to another dancefloor banger a couple of tracks later.

Variety’s the spice of life

Vary between more masculine and feminine tunes.

Are you starting to get me? Tease people up, make them explode and then take them down a peg. Let them get a drink at the bar, chill with their friends and appreciate different sounds. Then take them back up again.

Try not to stay stuck in genre or style. You may have your particular genre and that’s fine, but within that genre, vary it and chop it around a bit.

Give them breaks and then bring them back on the floor

This not only gives the dancers a break but also gets new people on the floor. Hardly anyone dances non stop, although now and again, some people manage it.

By changing the style and varying it, you can get a different crowd onto the floor in no time.

If you see the energy in the crowd dipping, then surprise them.

Change direction.

8. Have some secret weapon tunes

You should really be taking as much music as you can with you to prepare for the crowd.

After all, they may be different to what you expected on the night. The mood be also be the opposite of what you thought it would be.

You might well have to think sideways and change your style to adapt. This can be a bit stressful to begin with, but it gets results.

I make it my best practice to have secret weapon tunes that I know will bring the dancefloor back up.

Rescue it

As DJs, we often experience periods during our sets when we feel the energy is leaving the dancefloor and the people are not quite as into it as they were half an hour ago.

Sometimes this can create a bit of tension in you. We’re all different, but I like to make people dance and enjoy themselves and I’m sure that you do too.

So when I see people leaving the floor I know something has to be done.

Don’t panic!

Just make sure you’re ready for it. And breathe.

On occasions when it gets like this, you need to have some secret weapons up your sleeve.

These are tunes that are a dead cert for making everyone dance.

You’ve thought about it and you’re sure about it. Now wait for it, and slam it on.

9. Take them on a trip

No I don’t mean give them punch drinks with magic mushrooms.

By this I mean that not only do your party animals need to dance, but they need to learn something and discover too.

This applies more to places where people know their music and like to hear tunes not played everywhere else.

Having said that, even clubs where they like to dance to top forty hits, you can still get away with trying out stuff they don’t know.

Once you drop tunes they’ll dance to, they’ll be in a groove and you can feel a bit more free to slam in something they’ve never heard.

Be adventurous

Regardless of the style of the night, make the whole experience an adventure for everyone.

Take them through warming up to peak dance time and through more emotional tunes after that for example.

Drop some hits they don’t know and keep them on their toes. They’ll love you for that.

Be conscious on how to shape your set properly.

Build up tempo, provide variety, mix up known and unknown and inject some feeling and emotion.

The people who were there all night will come up to you and give you a sweaty hug at the end.

10. Enjoy it

There’s something about a guy or girl enjoying mixing that is infectious.

Even if he’s the only guy or girl in the room dancing away behind his decks, it’s still pretty cool.

So relax. Have a drink if you have to, but don’t get trashed or anything silly. Just have one and maybe one later.

If you enjoy your mix and take as much pleasure as you can, you’ll sync more naturally with the people there.

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