DJ Reflections: 5 Things To Do Before Every Gig
Playing for live audiences has always been a thrill for me. As exciting as it is, it can also be frightening. Although there's no foolproof formula for having a great performance, getting comfortable in your skin and on stage can affect how the event goes, even if you're a highly experienced DJ.
To make sure you know you're not to blame for your performance going sideway, try to do these 5 things to increase your success rate as much as you can.
You got that. Practice. There's not enough practicing that can be done enough before an event. Know what you're about before you mount that stage. Have an idea of the kind of performance you want to have, and try to prepare the kind of set you want. Try to get in a 2 hour set of just going full monster mode. If you want to get in a killer routine that'll make the crowd go wild, get that in. No one sees all the preparation you have to do before you get up there and in front of them. Give yourself the space and chance to make mistakes and tighten your mixing and techniques. Play in front of your friends if you have to. If you've been provided with a music guide, practice around it to make sure you have what is required of you. Just make sure everything is covered before you go up. Las las, if you can, leave some space for improv mixing. Always comes in handy for me.
Get Familiar With The Equipment
In the case where you're not taking your own equipment, ask your contact person what equipment will be provided, and if it has any defects whatsoever, so you can mentally prepare yourself for the event. If you're not familiar with what's being provided, ask for what you're more familiar with, or take your own stuff, so you don't have any issues on the day of the performance. Working around whatever you're given is a challenge you're going to be paid for overcoming, dear performer. Make sure you're comfortable with what you're performing with.
Find Out Who Else Is Playing
I usually advice this because I really am concerned about the flow of music at events. You should know your playing style and know when you ideally think your set should come up. A common misconception going into an event is thinking the last set is always the one who shuts shit down, but trust me, I've had people walk out of events with 2 or 3 more sets to go, saying they think they've heard the best music of the night already. Approaching events with a 'collaboration over competition' mindset always ensures a bigger win for everybody. Unless you have a specific set time that can't be disrupted for anything, try to find out who else is on the bill, and try to arrange the flow of the night appropriately.
Social Media Promo
Your loudest voice as an entertainer is arguably social media. Get on your Snapchat, Twitter, IG, Facebook, TikTok, Triller, wherever you engage your audience regularly and let them know you have an event coming up to keep them aware and updated. Aside your fans patronizing you and your events, other event organizers are on the lookout to see who are getting booked regularly, and what kind of events they're doing. Get your clout up with pre, during and post-event media and share on your socials. People are watching even if they're not vocal about it.
Rest & Eat
Las las, chale you can't perform properly if you're not fit or on the edge of getting angry about any small thing because your stomach is not full. I've done events on little amounts of sleep or food, and it really isn't the best. I found myself not being as engaged as a I usually would and this obviously affected how I felt about missing some of my transitions, or just being generally absent minded behind the decks. Put in a request to be catered for, or make sure you do that yourself. I started paying more attention to this to resist burnout, and having maximum concentration to make sure I give my all every night.
Now you know what to do before you hit any event. It really is the little things that you stay consistent at that take you a long way. Stay committed to your craft, stick to your goal, and put in the 10,000 hours of work. You'll get to the top.