The majority of aspiring DJs have the desire to make the move from playing at house parties to performing at nightclubs. Almost every market contains a particular club that could be a perfect environment for you to make the transition, so how you do you find and seize that opportunity?
Every Great DJ Had to Start Somewhere
Whether the scene was a close friend’s birthday party or just a lonely bedroom, any great DJ knows you need a starting point from which you must work to achieve success. It may have been a local venue that you were fortunate to land a show at as an opener. The bulk of promoters, however, require that you get 100 or so people to come to an event just for you to play as the opening act. Unless my calculations are mistaken, most of us do not have 100 friends that are waiting to get invited to a small show. So how do you take the proper steps to gain notoriety? Many producers nowadays are simply looking to get their hands on some experience before showing the world their talents. You can land that local gig you’ve been itching for if you do what needs to be done.
Get to Know Your Ideal Venue
First off, you’re going to have to get a feel for the place you want to perform at. You will need to get a feel for the musical vibe, what the crowd is interested in, and who is in charge of the venue. You can have some fun with part by sitting back, enjoying the music, and maybe making conversation with some of the promoters. Since you are still paying to be at the place, you can grab a drink and simply enjoy your night.
Pinpoint the Promoters and Make Yourself Known
Next is the critical point of making your presence known to those who matter. An experienced promoter is used to deceit and can sense a scam, so it is important to be personable and upfront about why you are there. Be sure to spend some time with the promoters and let them know you are not just around to get something out of them. Once you have broken this barrier, you can now bring up the fact that you are looking for a show and would love to get in front of the crowd. And again, it is vital that you present yourself to the promoters as a trustworthy friend before you start asking for favors.
Be Prepared to Showcase Your Abilities with a Recent Mix that Fits the Vibe of the Venue
It is key to be in the right place at the right time. If you send a promoter an extremely impressive mix that is way out of context, you are still unlikely to receive as much as a response. Thus, you will want to cater to the preferences of the audience in front of you. Since you have been making your way around the venue and getting a feel for it, use what you have learned to give the crowd what it wants.
Now that you have made your mark at this venue and sent out your mix, the promoters are likely to book you for an opening to test the waters. Make sure you are as prepared as you can possibly be, for this is your opportunity. You should know how to perform using a mixer and CDJs, which will make your set more versatile as a whole. Get lots of practice in before the set, but still be ready to adjust to whatever gets thrown your way. The set will most likely be open format, and you need to know how to examine the crowd and adapt to what it wants to hear. It is important to get people dancing, which will then encourage more people to hit the dance floor and support your performance. Pay attention to song choice, get out there, and show the audience what you have to offer.
Now that you’ve established some contacts and impressed the crowd with your opening set, it’s time to start performing at this venue on a routine basis. You will likely be a routine opener, but you can move up from this position with hard work and diligence. Once you prove that you are a trustworthy performer and can get the job done, you just might start seeing your name pop up on the lineup more. You could even work your way up to being the headliner or featured artist of the night. It takes time and effort, but you can achieve your goals as a DJ if you take the proper steps and put yourself out there. So get up and get after it! You could be hitting the stage sooner than you think.