On Djing...

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I am making my dj debut at my own farewell party early in June. Admittedly, there is little pressure on me to do anything other than inflict my own tastes upon others. However, I look to ILX for the dos and don'ts of djing, particularly as to any golden rules for opening and closing a set. I listen to lots of different music, and It's proving difficult to construct a set with any sort of consistency, and confine myself to one genre. I am also really concentrating on my first three songs - What qualities should these songs have?

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 08:58 (seventeen years ago) link

horns, plenty of

pete b. (pete b.), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:02 (seventeen years ago) link

Well, I WAS thinking of playing "Bitch" by the Stones...

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:05 (seventeen years ago) link

first song should be friendly/accessible but perhaps also in contrast, possess an essence of 'warning' or menace - to symbolise your arrival, har...the only example i can think of right now is something like The Avalanches' 'Under Inspection'

stevem (blueski), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:11 (seventeen years ago) link

that would probably clear the dancefloor tho, unless you were playing first/early

stevem (blueski), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm still not sure if this place is going to let people dance, it's more of a bar. I was gonna play the Melt Banana version of "We Will Rock You" (as a statement of intent), but then thought better of it.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:16 (seventeen years ago) link

Also wanted to play "Energy Flash"!!

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:17 (seventeen years ago) link

If I had to dj tonight I would surely open with Motley Crues's "New Tattoo" followed by something from Notwist. It think it could give a nice shape to the first part of the set. But please don't write down those infinite lists...you won't follow the schedule and you will have wasted a couple of hours. what kind of venue is it?

francesco, Friday, 16 May 2003 09:33 (seventeen years ago) link

If it's not for dancing then don't confine yourself to one genre or be consistent - see, peasy!

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:34 (seventeen years ago) link

That's what I wanted someone to say, Tom! ;)

what kind of venue is it?

It's actually a very long but narrow room with booths either side. The strip of hardwood inbetween could be used for dancing, were one so inclined. I'm not sure how London licensing laws about people "swaying rhythmically to a beat" may constrict us, or not.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 09:40 (seventeen years ago) link

So I could stick to my rule of thumb: there's nothing worse than banging music+ massive volume+small club = you're so free to experiment and entertain people in a sophisticated way: switching continuosly thru genres... in this kind of places I tend to perceive the thing as "what would I play to a group of friends in my house"... kind of relaxing...good luck

francesco, Friday, 16 May 2003 10:42 (seventeen years ago) link

play my 'Centraline Lounge mix' while you go to the toilet/bar

stevem (blueski), Friday, 16 May 2003 11:38 (seventeen years ago) link

All ILX0rs arew of course welcome, but it's going to be a bit messy.

And did I mention it's in Camden?

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 11:46 (seventeen years ago) link

Nordic, it's the lounge bar innit?

call it chalk farm, it sounnds classier.

I really shouold sort out that place for yoink!

chris (chris), Friday, 16 May 2003 12:45 (seventeen years ago) link


Spot on. My description was obviously v. accurate!

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 12:51 (seventeen years ago) link

How did you book it? I've been there twice to find it shut and the manager is never around whenever I call (admittedly not for a while now).

chris (chris), Friday, 16 May 2003 12:55 (seventeen years ago) link

Manager is hardly ever there, it seems. We went in and spoke to a very nice young lady with an accent. Seems there is no set rule as to deposit/fee/capacity, though someone recently blew the speakers there, so they were a bit edgy about deposit (originally asked £300!!). In fact, still waiting for manager to call back and confirm. We have to pretend it's a 21st birthday party so they can stay open late (?????).

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 13:00 (seventeen years ago) link

btw, the lady had an accent, that reads like I put one on to speak to her.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 13:01 (seventeen years ago) link

escuzze mee madam laaadie caan a av the privalig of a nite in ur cluub

james (james), Friday, 16 May 2003 13:39 (seventeen years ago) link

sorry i shall leave, btw play whatever you want, your party = dj's right to choose, personally i wouldplay disco to make ladies dance, get the ladies dancing

james (james), Friday, 16 May 2003 13:41 (seventeen years ago) link

Don't apologize, I love posts written in funny unplaceable accents. Ladies, yes. Disco, maybe, need more disco.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 13:44 (seventeen years ago) link

i believe james was adopting the accent of the sweaty fox

stevem (blueski), Friday, 16 May 2003 13:56 (seventeen years ago) link

the sweaty Pinefox?

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 16 May 2003 14:02 (seventeen years ago) link

I am finding "Male Stripper" by Man 2 Man meets Mann Parrish to be a real crowd pleaser in many different club environments at the moment. That could be a good one to kick off with, but where to go from there, that's the problem.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Saturday, 17 May 2003 00:10 (seventeen years ago) link

Close with something brassy and deep. Open with something tart and sweet.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Saturday, 17 May 2003 00:32 (seventeen years ago) link

And in the middle, "Move Your Feet"!

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Saturday, 17 May 2003 00:35 (seventeen years ago) link

Don't know your crowd, but remember it's not what you have, it's what you do with it. Just don't get too drunk while spinning. A good DJ can play for the crowd and him/herself effectively if they gauge when people are movin' & shakin' or it's just headnods.

First three,

If you can scratch well(or not), here ya go:

1. Start it up with a sexy hip hop joint or a downtempo track. Nothing bangin', just sweet yet attention grabbing. Make it a track that people aren't exactly familiar with but you wanna make them curious. You must scratch/mix something with it you are sure of your abilities though.
2. Mystic Moods' "Cosmic Sea" is a massive cut to ease into as a second song. Flip it and mix/scratch with something comfy.
3. When the ridiculousness goin' off, the crowd should be into it, then really go into funky overdrive with something like "Theme from Blackbelt Jones" or your holy grail blaxploitation of choice. The party should be off to a good start at this point.

Then when they are getting drunk and frisky and ready to dance,"More, More, More" and "White Lines" are never disappointing spins.

Troll Archer, a Friendly Troll, Saturday, 17 May 2003 01:31 (seventeen years ago) link


Curt1s St3ph3ns, Saturday, 17 May 2003 02:37 (seventeen years ago) link

(nordique, got your email will reply at length soon)

try to keep it interesting, that's my only advice.

i opened my last set with the books' "enjoy your worries, you may never have them again" with robert ashley's "in sara, mencken, christ & beethoven..."... tried to keep it fun and strange.

closed with a bird songs record that i was messing with into the long intro to the colette no5 DFA mix of casiotone for the painfully alone's "baby it's you"... for me it's just something that makes my hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

gygax! (gygax!), Saturday, 17 May 2003 19:49 (seventeen years ago) link

the "don't get drunk" info is pretty good advice

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Saturday, 17 May 2003 21:03 (seventeen years ago) link


Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Sunday, 18 May 2003 09:41 (seventeen years ago) link

Just hold off until you actually start playing so you don't get tired.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Sunday, 18 May 2003 16:12 (seventeen years ago) link

four years pass...

i really want to do this in some form or another and i think i have a potential foothold at an older gay bar in town. i know/am casual friends with the manager and i've asked him a few times about an empty monday night slot. he's been a little cool about it so far but encouraged me to come on a monday and hear what the later guy was playing. i'm not really hip to popular gay classics or anything but i think some italo and etc. disco wouldn't bomb? (crowd is older gay dudes and random hustlers.) the manager is an ex-cattle-showing country guy who probably wouldn't get too excited if i talked to him in playlist-ese, which is how i'm used to talking to people about music. but i really think the bar (one of the oldest landmarks in the city but kind of "uncool" now) might benefit from something a little more interesting than what it plays right now -- bring in a younger crowd, etc., but also keep its current clientele psyched to come out.

really my question is how should i make this happen? (obviously the first step would be to go there on a monday night and check it out and talk to manager; i haven't yet because of the holidays and assorted stress.) any things to say / pitfalls to avoid? i really want to dj somewhere, somehow, and right now this seems like my best bet.

in general though, how pathetic and gauche is it these days to do the mp3jay thing with an ipod? i think at this particular bar no one would really give a shit, but if i want to keep it up / do something else... i need to invest in a turntable and start buying vinyl right?

re general dj-ing advice: what's the best way for someone who likes music a lot and likes watching people enjoy music and has music he thinks people would enjoy to start playing enjoyable music for people in a public (or any kind of) setting? keep in mind i'm not very good w/ people or schmoozing but getting better and i feel like this is necessary for my future uh happiness. thanks

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 08:43 (twelve years ago) link

do you have a laptop?

download traktor and use that.

gr8080, Monday, 31 December 2007 08:54 (twelve years ago) link

Based on my experience I'd give two general pieces of advice:
1) Get used to people making ridiculous wishes for a tune, and generally not understanding you don't have every record they'd like to hear readily available in your bag.
2) Get used to people trying to hit on you.

I've DJed mostly in university student parties though, maybe your club is a more specialized setting so these things won't happen so often.

Tuomas, Monday, 31 December 2007 08:59 (twelve years ago) link

I am a rock guy that came to the DJ game pretty late. It's a fucking blast getting to play my records for other people.

Here's a few quick tips:

1) unless you are going to do dance nights, you don't need to learn to beat match, scratch, or show off any other "skills"

2) FLOW is the single most important thing you can provide. Don't fuck with the audience repeatedly, even if you're playing adventurous music. At least use the "punishment/reward" concept if you must satisfy yourself

3) Don't be embarrassed to pick up a really cheap and useful book called "How do Dj Right". I read great reviews of it, and was blown away at how simple and correct its methodology is.


Other than that, yeah--don't use mp3s if you can help it. That's gay.

Nate Carson, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:01 (twelve years ago) link

BTW, you don't need to own turntables unless you're going to do a lot of gigs at places that don't already have them. I do recommend investing in your own cartridges though. That will run you around $60 and will save your records from harsh needles on public decks.

Also, in case you didn't get it, my mp3 comment was a joke. I rely heavily on my vinyl collection because I don't beat match or whatever. So I fall back on two things: my great record collection and my immaculate flow.


Nate Carson, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:04 (twelve years ago) link

Oh yeah, one more thing I've learned: the more drunk the crowd, the less adventurous music the probably want to hear. If you're playing at some club centred around certain genre(s) it might be different, but in general clubs people just want to have a bit of fun and not expand their musical horizons too much.

Tuomas, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:08 (twelve years ago) link

i've got good flow, thanks. gr8080, no laptop :(. do you think a cheap-ish notebook/laptop w/ traktor or whatever is a better investment for all-purpose dance-ish semi-weirdo dj-ing than a turntable in the future?

tuomas, i'm not gonna be too weird. if anything i'm too sensitive to crowd moods--that is, if i take advice from upthread and don't do it drunk.

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:16 (twelve years ago) link

And Nate is correct about not needing specialized DJ skills: if it's not a dance or hip-hop club, people probably don't care shit about such tricks. Basically you just need to learn to use the crossfader and try not to follow one tune with another one in completely different tempo (no slow r'n'b jams immediately after a fast house tune). The only things people will notice are blatant fuck-ups, like accidentally pressing the pause button. Which leads to one more piece of advice - don't get drunk, even if your drinks are on the house. A few drinks might be good to ease the tension, but if you get too drunk the potentiality of such fuck-ups is very high.


Tuomas, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:18 (twelve years ago) link

thx tuomas, good advice.

p.s. manager told me cds were the operating media here so i guess that would be best (though i think i can get away w/ an ipod since the mixing "booth" is like above and hidden from anyone and i could probably find a stereo in and bring some jacks). what i really need to do is check out the set-up tomorrow and see how they're mixing em.

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:22 (twelve years ago) link

i'd stay away from using your ipod and use cds if you can. burn your best sounding files to cd at least.

gr8080, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:25 (twelve years ago) link

ok thx

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:27 (twelve years ago) link

if you're unfamiliar w/ the basics of using a dj mixer (or even if you are familiar but haven't used the specific type the bar has) see if you can drop in before they open and mess around for half an hour or so, so you can get comfortable with the basics of going from one cd deck to the next.

even if you don't plan on beat matching, the more comfortable you can get with compensating for volume variances between different tracks, minimizing dead air between tracks, perfecting your general flow, etc.

also, bring your own headphones if you have a pair with a 1/4" jack.

gr8080, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:32 (twelve years ago) link

also, nate otm. at least stop by the book store and spend half an hour thumbing through "how to dj right".

gr8080, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:34 (twelve years ago) link

ok. i'm not a total mixer n00b but i'm unfamiliar with dual cd mixers if that's really what they have. this is great advice + making me think about what i haven't actually thought about yet because i'm too self-deluded and arrogant. i'll check out the set-up tomorrow if i can and report back for everyone's reading enjoyment. and i've got to grab that book; it looks really really helpful. thx nate!

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:44 (twelve years ago) link

dont forget to have fun, too.

dont get too caught up in pre-arranging your music ("i'll play this track and then this track and then this track...") the best part of deejaying, even at a bar w/o a dancefloor, is connecting with the room and seeing where they're at with regard to what you're playing and how that influences your next selection.

if someone makes a request and you have it, play it. if you don't have it, be honest, but use their request as a springboard to a different topic, musical or otherwise. if people are super annoying and complaining about what you're playing or making vague and non-specific requests, tell them that the next deejay plays the kind of stuff they're into and he goes on in an hour.

also don't listen to tuomas; if you get to drink for free take advantage of that shit! its a bar, not a dance club, right?

gr8080, Monday, 31 December 2007 09:59 (twelve years ago) link

always play 'you make me feel mighty real' by sylvester.

haitch, Monday, 31 December 2007 10:04 (twelve years ago) link

haha yes! sylvester will not be MIA

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 10:13 (twelve years ago) link

yeah gr8080 i just need to check their set-up and make that work w/ what i have +++++ the flexibility axis. this place is definitely NOT a dance place. people are drinking, eyeing other men and occasionally playing pool. some nights the bar just plays an xm radio station. monday is 'oldies' night but god knows what that means (general '70s/'80s). if anything i need to educate myself on some mainstream (gay) shit from that era to keep the crowd alive. and i am NEVER one to turn down a free drink.

strgn, Monday, 31 December 2007 10:20 (twelve years ago) link

if you ever want to play vinyl, needles are essential, as not all clubs even have a house pair and you're expected to bring your own...and if they do have a house pair they're usually crap.

Depending on the quality of the dual CD players, you'll likely find it much easier to use than mixing with your ipod, though having the ipod as back-up won't hurt.

If you're going to burn a set of CDs, make 2 copies of each, that way you can mix from one song two another on the same comp.

Use a short fade or do a quick fade on the first song and fade in or even just start the second song from zero. For instance, when you're cueing the second CD you'll start getting used to finding the beat and even when not beatmixing, you can still make for a smoother transaction by starting on beat. You'll also find yourself getting really bored back there and you'll play around with beatmatching in your headphones because there's nothing else to do. That's how I learned to DJ at least.

dan selzer, Monday, 31 December 2007 23:15 (twelve years ago) link

ok that makes more sense now that i've finally checked out the two-cd deck. the guy who drops it there monday evening (6-9) is gonna school me on the decks next week (hopefully). and in any case i think i've got a night, or something. thanks everyone for the info and encouragement.

p.s. what sounds as good as "inspiration information" by shuggie otis?

strgn, Tuesday, 8 January 2008 07:03 (twelve years ago) link

eddie kendricks - 'date with the rain' y/n

strgn, Tuesday, 8 January 2008 08:07 (twelve years ago) link

definitely practice a bit beforehand. it's actually quite scary, even in a bar or something, suddenly being in control of the music that's playing. stuff like volume levels is actually really important too especially if you're using music that's come from bought cds and mp3s etc, just make sure you stay with the lights at the same level on the individual channels and use the gains to help you with this.

it can be sort of embarassing if you are not beatmatching and the track you mix in is way too loud (or way too quiet)

I wouldn't bother using the crossfader, just volumes up and down, it's more logical when you start off.

if you can practice on the soundsystem even for 45 mins or an hour beforehand that's pretty good too. I know it's a bar but some records sound much more manic and loud when you play them on a bigger system: you may have stuff you planned to play early on that is like this and you'll think "oops" when you play it.

if nobody is dancing, don't be afraid to make things more mellow rather than more intense.

Ronan, Tuesday, 8 January 2008 10:27 (twelve years ago) link

i had a recurring and cliched dream where the track is about to finish and for some reason you haven't and can't get the next one going.

blueski, Tuesday, 8 January 2008 12:01 (twelve years ago) link

we talk about that a lot on a DJ mailing list I'm on. I don't know if it's specifically anxiety about DJing, or just your mind using that as a way to express anxiety in general. I've been DJing for well over 10 years and in every situation possible, and while I still can get a little nervous, I'm pretty comfortable DJing, yet I'm constantly having these dreams where the song is about to end and I don't have my records with me or I have records but they're all the wrong ones or the equipment is working...

dan selzer, Tuesday, 8 January 2008 13:46 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

i have been teed up to play a party tonight. i'm not actually a dj and i'm out of practice!! is this going to be a disaster???

the party is a 'P'-themed party. i am going to fudge it with paradise garage-y records, ie: the disco and house in my collection

eau de humanity (haitch), Saturday, 20 February 2010 03:40 (ten years ago) link

my first thought:

one time gaffled 'em up (one time), Saturday, 20 February 2010 03:56 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

So, I'm thinking about buying a CDJ, as I don't intend to stop buying CD's, and as I have/buy a lot of straight up dance albums, which have many a track that it would be nice to be able to mix.

This all makes me nervous, though, since I've always been rubbed the wrong way by CDJ's, and I can't help feel it'll be an affront to my vinyl (I would really hate to start neglecting it as a neglect). Keep in mind I have no intention to, and don't really want to, use this to play burned CD's.

These aren't cheap, even on craigslist, so I have no idea if it'll be worth it?

Where Time Becomes A Loop, Where Time Becomes Aloof (EDB), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 04:33 (ten years ago) link

must admit i've toyed with this idea in the past - and never followed it up due to a) not being a working DJ, b) the cost.

the polka-dot jersey shore (haitch), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 05:10 (ten years ago) link

(party refernced upthread was excellent - tho i finished up lost in a k-hole somewhere - then i played another party a couple months later and it was terrible. never again.)

the polka-dot jersey shore (haitch), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 05:11 (ten years ago) link

Hmmn. Well I might able to get a good pioneer one for as little as $400 on craigslist, but even still, $400 doesn't just come out of nowhere.

Where Time Becomes A Loop, Where Time Becomes Aloof (EDB), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 12:55 (ten years ago) link

i guess if you already have enough cds with enough music unavailable to you on vinyl then it is definitely worth it

i think once you've made the leap though, it might be difficult to resist the temptation of buying mp3s and burning them to cd-r, and in that case you'd probably be better off with a copy of serato or whatever

不合作的方式 (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 13:12 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, I'm kind of afraid of that, but I'm kind of weird in my resistance to burning mp3's (see: "lol teenage guilt over stealing music"), most notably in the fact that a week ago I deleted all the mp3's off my computer (backed up of course) to focus on listening to my acquired music more.

It seems like there's all sorts of pressures to move away from vinyl, and I hope this wouldn't be a push in the wrong direction (though having only one would prevent that).

Where Time Becomes A Loop, Where Time Becomes Aloof (EDB), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 13:17 (ten years ago) link

i think once you've made the leap though, it might be difficult to resist the temptation of buying mp3s and burning them to cd-r, and in that case you'd probably be better off with a copy of serato or whatever

This is exactly where I am at right now.

my opinionation (Hamildan), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 14:50 (ten years ago) link

Hmmmn. I see a pioneer CDJ 800 mk1 for $400. The inadvertently nice thing about the mk1 is that it can't play Mp3's (I guess you have to convert tracks to wav's first), which would be an extra barrier against the potential temptation to play mp3's.

Where Time Becomes A Loop, Where Time Becomes Aloof (EDB), Tuesday, 20 July 2010 18:11 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

To those out there who DJ...do you enjoy having a sparring partner in the booth? Is it a hindrance?

the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Friday, 10 May 2013 15:23 (seven years ago) link

depends on the person. mostly a hindrance imo. i only ever had one setup where i used to come back to dublin once a month and dj with a mate and we did 3 and 3 the first night and it went great so we continued doing that.

it's very hard to find someone whose music complements your own even if you think you have similar tastes, imo.

... (LocalGarda), Friday, 10 May 2013 15:46 (seven years ago) link

I love doing it, but it can be a frustrating if with the wrong person.

Chewshabadoo, Friday, 10 May 2013 16:10 (seven years ago) link

seven years pass...

so i think i'm gonna go full mobile dj in 2021. i know it's early and my hopes are probably high wrt vaccination but still feel like it's looking likely that "events" are back online within a year.

the only thing is i'm gonna have to get some kind of small business loan together for equipment, 5k or so. i can't stop thinking about it. has anyone in the us done this?

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 18:47 (one week ago) link

You mean, including a PA? Because a controller and a laptop are cheap if you're going that route.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:01 (one week ago) link

yep, speakers.

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:07 (one week ago) link

and i want to switch from traktor to pioneer, get the xdj-rr or xdj-rx2. though i still haven't totally decided on that yet, it would be a lot cheaper to stick with traktor and upgrade to an s3 or s4. also it might be preferable to bring the laptop to gigs anyway for requests and such.

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:11 (one week ago) link

Ah ok. Last summer I DJed a friend's wedding a borrowed a PA from a lawyer, two Yamaha mains and a sub, and it worked out great. He offered to sell me the whole system + a Mackie powered mixer for $700, so he could upgrade to some Bose tower speakers. Idk, that's all I know about the PA part.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:12 (one week ago) link

I have these powered PA speakers and love them, but you might need something a little bigger:


howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:17 (one week ago) link

woah nice. i'm looking at new but it's probably smarter just to piece it out from classifieds. i don't really know how hard it is to get a loan for something like this, it's a side gig but i'm somewhat confident i could make it pay $200-$400 a month. sweetwater (i know they're trumpies yuck) sell this mobile dj rig that includes a nice scrim and carrying wagon + qsc mains and subs and pionner xdj-rx2 controller for 4.7k. i'm poor though so maybe i should get the bare minimum used (a sub and some speakers) and go from there.

the tower speaker thingies look nice, ev makes one (evolve 50) that gets very good reviews. i could probably get away with just one of those but it's 1.7k.


love the evs sleeve, 12 is perfect actually

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:21 (one week ago) link

Yes the wagon is the most important part of the PA, this saved my back & my night:

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:25 (one week ago) link


fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:28 (one week ago) link

man, I wish I had one of those for record shows

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:29 (one week ago) link

yeah it's funny how after doing it a few times your priorities shift a little from "are my speakers the best" to "how long are my cords, how easy to use is my power strip, i need cases and covers, i need some way to carry this in ONE trip that isn't going to kill me," etc.

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 19:30 (one week ago) link

if you're going to be a real mobile DJ you'll need some inflatable guitars, funny hats and novelty glasses to pass out




the late great, Friday, 20 November 2020 20:08 (one week ago) link


fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 20:16 (one week ago) link

as far as "making a little money back" goes which is necessary for me at this point it's my best option, since i've decided i don't want to deal with the bullshit of djing at a gay bar, and the trve kvlt dj scene in my area is led by total assholes.

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 20:21 (one week ago) link

i'm only half-kidding. we have a family friend who is an extremely successful mobile dj. he has been doing it full-time for like 20 years now and owns a mobile dj business with 4-5 other mobile djs as employees. he does big weddings, graduation parties, corporate events and bar mitzvahs all over the ritziest neighborhoods in southern california. and afaict it seems like his success is 99% about his ability to get ppl to participate and have fun w/ props etc vs having any sort of stand-out talent or taste.

the late great, Friday, 20 November 2020 20:21 (one week ago) link

yeah it is definitely a proposition of being an entertainer

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 20:22 (one week ago) link

thanks for sharing that info, interesting.

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 20:24 (one week ago) link

i'm thinking of tapping into the "gay wedding" market so the pride glasses are a good idea

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 20:25 (one week ago) link

$4.20 Each


fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 20:53 (one week ago) link

Ah ok. Last summer I DJed a friend's wedding a borrowed a PA from a lawyer, two Yamaha mains and a sub, and it worked out great. He offered to sell me the whole system + a Mackie powered mixer for $700, so he could upgrade to some Bose tower speakers. Idk, that's all I know about the PA part.

― change display name (Jordan), Friday, November 20, 2020 7:12 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

Jordan if you come back to this thread, would you mind sharing more info about what you played and stuff, if you did any mc-ing, etc.?

there is a part of me that's worried that if i do this i'm going to have to turn into a human jukebox. i don't mind doing some of that, because i like seeing people smile and dance, but i also want a chance to play some left-of-center stuff sometimes. i guess that's the whole deal though - you gotta be flexible. it's part of why i don't like the trve kvlt djs in my area - they're very focused on playing their "thing" which is often kinda boringly tasteful. the international "star" djs are the only ones i've seen who are both tasteful and electrifying...

i think i would stick to weddings and adults events. definitely don't want to do kid parties, bar mitzvahs and stuff, entertaining kids is very much not my thing and sounds like a nightmare. also have to deal with the whole mormons being 50% of the population here, i'm gonna need to turn down heavily mormon events i get recommended for through family members.

godamn i miss dj-ing even though i kinda hate it sometimes.

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 21:05 (one week ago) link

hi gonna de-lurk real quick to say a friend & i have a mobile dj company as a side business & we started out renting equipment, then purchasing used equipment on craigslist, and now we've upgraded to all new equipment. on one hand renting equipment can take a large cut of out of your profits & some of our early used systems were pretty bust, so if you can afford to skip those steps you may want to. on the other hand, we were still making money with those systems & if you can't get a loan it's a route you could take. (we never looked into loans ourselves.)

right now we have a pair of Yamaha DXR 10 powered speakers, which we're really happy with. they're only 34 pounds, which is a back saver, and they're louder, have a richer sound & give more punch than the used 12"s we were using previously. they have an onboard mixer on the back panel too, which is very useful if you're doing an event with multiple locations & you don't want to lug the rest of your equipment to each location. the QSC K series is supposed to be very similar to the Yamaha DXRs & they seem pretty popular with other mobile djs.

guitar center will price match online deals, so we went through them to get a better deal & still have the benefit of dealing with a local brick & mortar if we wanted to return, repair or use the warranty on them.

ime subs are not necessary unless you're trying to create a club kind of experience. they're also hella heavy & in our case would just take up too much space in our vehicle.

if you're doing a lot of weddings, you'll want to invest in some good wireless mics too. handhelds are the most useful, but some couples will want lavaliers for their ceremonies. we're still renting lavs when we have to, 'cause a good set is expensive. (note: wireless microphones are setup to work best in specific geographic regions. make sure you're using mics designed for your particular region.)

stphone, Friday, 20 November 2020 21:34 (one week ago) link

cool, thanks for sharing!

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 21:43 (one week ago) link

the last event i did (and really it was also my first "pro" event) was a private party on a ski mountain in february of this year before all the shit hit the fan.

for a first "me doing an event by myself" experience the whole thing was a bit of a shambles and i made it happen by the skin of my teeth, lots of bumps along the way, a lot of stress setting up, etc. i rented the sound system beforehand (you're right that this is a good way to go when starting out, it wasn't that much $ and i definitely recouped the cost). the wireless mic set the sound guy had to set up beforehand using the geo location info you mentioned. i thought i could just turn it on and it would work but it was really a nightmare and wouldn't pick up any sound so the drag queen had to shout at everyone :(. she was like "it happens" though and the party went over pretty well and i got paid a few hundo. got to play "love at first sight" really loud for the drag performance :).

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 21:49 (one week ago) link

stphone, i'm curious, did you do any marketing or did you just start with some word of mouth?

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 21:50 (one week ago) link

I'm not a pro, I only got into djing through producing, so I'd generally rather not play than have to please a crowd of civilians. :) Of course this means I don't play out at all now, except for the occasional radio mix. But this was a one-time-only favor to some close friends, and it was actually really fun to put together a set of solid gold radio hits that I could also blend/beatmatch, to make it fun for myself.

Of course most people there didn't notice or care that it was mixed, and had just as much (or more) fun later on in the night when we set up a tablet to play stuff off Spotify. I didn't get on the mic much because I hate being on the mic (although it does seem like 90% of the DJ's job is just to provide PA + mics).

I found the google doc with my track list, here's what I played for a hipster-ish mid-30s white people wedding:

Jackson 5 - I Want You Back (99)
Jay-Z/Radiohead 99 Anthems (94 bpm)
Paper Planes - DFA remix (95 bpm)
Beyonce - Crazy in Love - (99)
Beyonce - Single Ladies? (97)
James Brown - Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul (98/99)
Amerie - 1 thing (100)
Missy - Work It (102)
Beastie Boys - Shake Your Rump (103)
Beastie Boys - Intergalactic (106)
Prince - DMSR (109 - 110)
James Brown - Give It Up or Turn it Loose (115)
Janet Jackson - When I Think of You (116)
Beastie Boys - Brass Monkey (116)
Destiny’s Child - Lose My Breath (119)
The Time - Jungle Love (119 / 120)
Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody - 119
Missy - Lose Control (125 / 126)
Cajmere - Percolator - 126
Rod Lee - Get Up On it (130)
Salt n Pepa - Push It (130)
Beyonce - Run the World
Finn - Sometimes the Going Gets a Little Tough
My Boo - 130
Cupid Shuffle (144)
Joy Division/Missy mashup (148)
Outkast - Hey Ya (159)

It was surprisingly fun, but I'm glad I didn't have to play all night or do it every weekend.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 20 November 2020 22:02 (one week ago) link

nice, that looks like a really fun set!

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 22:06 (one week ago) link

thanks for sharing :)

fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 22:06 (one week ago) link

to start it was just for friends then friend of friends and then yeah a word of mouth thing. but when we decided to invest in it, we made a website, made some business cards & paid a few hundred to be a vendor at a hip-ish wedding show, which paid for itself shortly after through several gigs we got. if i were doing it again, i'd probably focus first on a solid social media presence. wherever you believe your audience to be. but yeah something you can point potential clients to. i have some past experience with seo, which i've been able to use to build a decent web presence. we now get a lot of gigs through google.

reviews help a lot too. pick a platform you want to focus on (yelp, google business, the knot, etc.) and send clients who were happy with what you did that way. if the event did not go too well, well... maybe don't send them to your review page.

also make friends with other vendors you work with, particularly the planners. they'll get you gigs.

& as to music & type of events you do, i think it all depends on how you market yourself. if you want the most gigs possible, yeah you'll probably want to bust out the party hats & whatnot. but for a side gig, i've found you can make decent money with something more niche too.

stphone, Friday, 20 November 2020 22:15 (one week ago) link


fleet doxes (map), Friday, 20 November 2020 22:40 (one week ago) link

I have a pair of QSC K12s and they are CRAZY loud, but if you want to play bass-heavy music outdoors, you'll need a sub.

DJI, Friday, 20 November 2020 23:54 (one week ago) link

agree that 12s are very loud! i think i'm going to do it like stphone did and rent sound for a while, starting out. especially since last february i rented two qsc 12 mains and a sub for about $100. more than enough sound (it may have been 15 inchers now that i think about it). for that gig i think i charged another $400 (there were extra logistics involved). a year or two of doing that and then i can look at buying my own sound.

i think that realistically, in the next 6 months, i can focus on:
getting my music back. external hd failed. $500 to a recovery service, IF it's technically possible (always back your files up everyone).
upgrade from s2 to s4 (not essential but high-priority)
get a basic web presence, start looking at marketing / ways to get back out there and get those first few gigs.

thanks again stphone for sharing your experience, super helpful.

fleet doxes (map), Saturday, 21 November 2020 00:17 (one week ago) link

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