I have been a DJ for some years specializing in heavy metal gigs and clubs. I am often asked what makes a good Disc Jockey, from the equipment that people often need dj finance to get to begin with to how to learn to spin well at the club. What everyone needs to realize is that presenting a rock night or playing tracks at clubs is all about putting on a show for the audience.
The one thing I know that I must do is to entertain the crowd. As much as a live band needs to impress its fans, then a DJ needs to please everyone all the time. Rock enthusiasts will all have their favorite groups, and as such, I need to know the type of music they expect to hear. Since heavy rock fans can be notoriously fickle, I need to ensure that my music collection will suit even the most ardent enthusiasts. I often used computerized setlists if I am sure that I know the tastes of my audience. For example, if I play a weekly residency, I will already have an appreciation of the types of songs and tracks they will enjoy. Above all, I expect a reaction from the regulars in the form of dancing, headbanging, and singing along to tracks. If the local crowd are happy and have a great night, then I know I have done an excellent job. The club’s owner will be pleased, and the same people should return time and time again. This ensures a steady income from my profession and will enable me to extend my extensive catalog of rock music. I like to be friendly and approachable so that fans can come to me with their requests for tracks.
This genre covers a wide range of different music, such as the classic rock tracks from Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest to more contemporary bands such as Korn, Metallica, and Slayer. This is why I will do some research to find out what the audience expects and what types of music to play. If this is a new venue, I will have a word with the owner, who should have an idea of what types of audience the place attracts. If I am supporting a live band playing a gig, I will speak to them beforehand about what groups and rock music inspired them, and also if they want any tracks, in particular, playing on the night. I know it makes sense to please both the band as well as the audience, and this is likely to lead to more bookings on subsequent tours. I often play their favorite tracks and announce them like this so that the crowd can understand their importance to the band and why they were chosen. Partisan fans will usually enjoy anything recommended by their heroes, which in turn leads to a better atmosphere.
Here are some handy tips that I will share with you:
- Know the audience and play the right music for them
- Brush up on rock knowledge and keep up with new bands and releases
- When looking for new gigs, it is better to share the entrance money than demand a large fee
- Play everywhere, no matter how large or small the venue is
- Put on a great show and entertain the guests
- Be vocal, introduce each song clearly stating what the name of the band and track is
- Set up a website and appropriate social media channels for self-publicity
- Record a few gigs so that potential clients and fans know what you can do
- Don’t play your favorite records. This gig is not for you.
Overall I enjoy being a rock DJ since it is the next best thing to being in a band. I keep my feet on the ground and go out of my way to put on a good show. The feeling I get after each gig is one of satisfaction and exhilaration, so why not try it for yourself?