A FEW TIPS ON WHAT MAKES A GREAT DJ

If you feel your music, most times they will too.

Read the Crowd

  • What is the general demographic? Acknowledge: 1) the general age of your audience, 2) the theme of the specific night/event, and 3) the vibe of the venue that you are playing 
  • What genres do they promote as the reflection of their establishment? Be observant. Always. Everything you take in is an opportunity to learn more and apply to your performance. Nothing great happens by chance. If you play a great set based on venue genre, as well as give adequate attention to the demographic as mentioned above, you will be asked to play again. I can nearly guarantee it
MBE Djing

Match the Energy of Your Music to the Energy of the Room

A DJ who aligns the energy of the room with his own energy as the night progresses, can gradually bring audiences to the next level up, then up to the next, and up again (which is usually the idea of every night). Don’t be the selfish DJ who only plays for themselves. Yeah, we all know it’s exciting to finally play out, but if you put out bangers early in the night, you will have less luck getting asked to perform again. 

Be a Good Opener 

Knowing what to play before a closer is critical. You need to set up the night so the headliner can enjoy your set and play their role for the evening as well. Most times they will praise you if you build up an energy that aims audiences in the direction of the genre they play. It also makes you look great to management and staff. That is not to say that you can’t play your heart out, but rather, save your bangers for either a night that calls for bangers from start to finish, or play one or two right before the closer goes on, and position them to take the energy all the way up if that’s what the night calls for. I can’t tell you how good it feels when you set them up just right instead of merely getting on and playing whatever compels you. The headlining band looks to the crowd, feeds off the audience, and claps along with them. And when they give you that hand gesture to thank you for being a great opener, it's the best feeling in the world and you know you did your job well. <3

Master the Art of Blending 

Different genres call for different styles of blending as a DJ. If you are dealing with genres like techno (that don’t involve heavy melodic presence), then playing two tracks together for longer blends will usually work better than if you were playing, say, progressive house or other genres that are melody driven. Also, perfect pitch is a must. If you don’t know the key they are in, you might run into the problem of having two tracks that clash and will surely thicken the vibe in an awkward, undesirable way.

Be Cognizant of the Energy in Your Presence

If you feel your music, most times they will too. Be enthusiastic about it! After all, this job isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s more like baking. You take the right ingredients, mix everything in precise proportions, heat them all up to the right temperature for a set amount of time, and PRESTO! A tasty treat for all!

 

My Boy Elroy
Contributing Editor & Chicago-based DJ and Beat-Boxer with 20+ years of experience in the music industry

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