DJing Discussion

This area is for discussion about DJing in general. Please remember the community rules when posting and try to be polite and inclusive.

Club DJ

DJ XTURNAL 11:26 PM - 9 April, 2006
What's good,
I'm thinking of changing the way I spin up in the clubs. I feel that scratching can really kill the mood of the crowd, so I think Drops, Mixes, and MC/Mic is the way to go. What do you all think?
DeezNotes 11:31 PM - 9 April, 2006
I agree. I usually do minimal scratching at the club. Sometimes because of the mixer (if there's a house mixer that won't allow it), or just because of the mood of the crowd. Some like it, most don't. If I do scratch, it's usually scratching in a song or scratching out of a song.
sixxx 11:40 PM - 9 April, 2006
Keep it to a bare minimum at the club. Always.
anewsome 1:12 AM - 10 April, 2006
I've saw a guy scratching at a club one time and the whole dance floor stopped dancing and basicaly looked at him like "wtf are you doing?". I remember thinking at the time,.. damn I don't ever want to be that guy. So everytime I think about busting some scratches in the club,.. I think about that guy.
Julls 1:27 AM - 10 April, 2006
I'm just curious, I've never done clubs. But how do you throw down a mix in the club? Can someone upload a small mix so I get an idea. I've always done mobile. When I do mix, my EDM skills take over. I mix all my music like my EDM tracks and most of the time it works.
DJ XTURNAL 1:29 AM - 10 April, 2006
In the club, everything you put on next has to get hotter and hotter until the peak, and then start dropping it, or thats how I do it at least. Start slow, get faster, move back, go up again, it's whatever drives them nuts. Most of the time music is just dropped or mixed quickly, but it flow perfectly. It's all about the crowd.
DJMuErTe 1:32 AM - 10 April, 2006
scratching at a club its a: NO NO! club owners will get mad!!
your job as dj its play good music get the crowed crazy and make them drink like mofos!! a good club dj must to have the dance floor packed but also must to have the bar packed as well. :)
Thundercat 1:50 AM - 10 April, 2006
I see no problem with scratching at a club with the following caveat: It absolutely can not overshadow or break the groove of whatever you are playing. You know, you gotta get just the right amount of Adobo on the chicken. Know what I mean? 99% of the crowd could give a rat's a$$ about your scratchin', and the other 1% are other DJ's that are going to say you are a scrub no matter what you do. =)

First verse, Dimples D - Sucker DJ:
I was at a jam the other night
I was feelin' real good so the feelin' was right
I came to the party for a different kinda action
The next thing I know I was doin' a Michael Jackson
I was thrown off beat and my feet got tied
And the sucker DJ just oughta be fired
He was flippin' and a slippin' even tried back cuein'
The Sucker DJ didn't know what he was doin'
Then I said to my friends this ain't the place to be
Half the fellas only came 'Cause the ladies were free
Then we left the place before the next cut was played
My girl said to me, I'm glad we never paid
So I called Marley Marl on the very next day
Then we cut a rap about the sucker DJ
sixxx 2:56 AM - 10 April, 2006
Tcat, 'the right adobo on the chicken.' Lol

I couldn't agree more.
Dj Ace 3:11 AM - 10 April, 2006
I think if your good at rythm scratches and limit it to bringing in the words you can definitely do it!!! Matter of fact people start getting more hype if done right...People in LA are used to because it is done frequently on all the local radio stations out here. Just do it without disrupting the flow, short and just takes experience
Dj Ace 3:12 AM - 10 April, 2006
If you are in the LA area come here me at Wassabi in Long Beach, matter of fact come get down with me!!!
Dj Ace 3:12 AM - 10 April, 2006
come hear me at Wassabi in Long Beach
DJ Nat 6:09 AM - 10 April, 2006
I'm going to start playing out soon and was planning on doing some scratching - glad to read this as its given me a better idea of what I sould be doing and more importantly not doing...

Any other DO and DON'T tips for club djing?

AKIEM 6:21 AM - 10 April, 2006
posting a mix will probably not really help understand whats going on a club. you have to read the people that are right there in fron of you.

the best thing to do is hang out in the club, dont drink to much, and pay attention to the DJ. check, is he/she just playing an arranged set, or are they playing to the crowd?

it takes time to learn the skill. and the lessor your name is the better you have to be at it. the bigger the name you have the more slack the crowd will give you
MusicMeister 7:08 AM - 10 April, 2006
your job as dj its play good music get the crowed crazy and make them drink like mofos!! a good club dj must to have the dance floor packed but also must to have the bar packed as well. :)

I posted something similar to this on another board and was told by one DJ I had no idea what I was talking about. But as a DJ you have to know what your goal is as an EMPLOYEE/SUBCONTRACTOR to the club. Just so you know, I was the manager at a local bar/club and handled all the marketing and hiring of talent (until the owner got busted for coke possession on his way back to town during a traffic stop and they closed the club).

The 2 things you should do as a DJ in a night club:
1. Bring people in the door by playing good music - it helps if you have street cred or name recognition to help bring them in.

2. You need to keep the bar busy. If you're dropping hot tracks all night long with a packed dance floor you won't stay at the bar long unless you're good enough to bring in a large cover (to offset the lack of drink sales). Bars make money off the selling of drinks, bartenders make money by selling drinks, waitstaff makes money by selling drinks. If you keep the floor packed all night they don't make money. The only exception I've found to this is in a club that's so busy that everyone CAN'T fit onto the floor and they stay 3-5 deep at the bar even with a packed dance floor.

Other than the exception above, you need to learn a term called 'turning over the floor'. If the bar isn't busy (but the dance floor is packed) I'll drop the tempo, intentionally stumble the move (crunch the beats), or just about anything to upset the groove just enough to get some people out of the dance groove. They'll hit the bar for some drinks and I start ramping it back up with a HOT track almost immeadiately. My goal? To get them to buy a drink and then hit the floor almost immeadiately so the drink gets watered down and they buy another drink when I do it again later. If you get this down you can keep the bar fairly busy and the crowd never knows. They'll dance their asses off, buy lots of drinks, and have a great time. The best part is they'll keep coming back. It's underhanded but when I was managing a club that's what I wanted. The first time a DJ comes in and plays all night without keeping the bar busy it's their last night. If they get the crowd too pumped early in the night I'd kick 'em out the door. Why? They have to make the venue money. I can care less how good you are in the bedroom or even in the booth at beatmatching, scratching, or turntablism if you can't turn over a floor and recover.

the best thing to do is hang out in the club, dont drink to much, and pay attention to the DJ. check, is he/she just playing an arranged set, or are they playing to the crowd?

I agree wholeheartedly about this. Before I started DJ'ing at clubs I hung out at them a lot to see what they played. I asked myself why they played the songs in that order, think about if they had a goal for the night, or even for the next 10 minutes.

I've always said, and I stick with this, that DJ'ing is 10% technical (beatmatching, mixing, scratching, turntablism, etc) and 90% soft skills (salemanship, marketing, reading the room, etc). I can care less if you're the best turntablist on the planet and win every contest on the planet based on your technical skills. If you can't read a room and play the music that will get them dancing then you are a failure as a DJ in both the club and mobile scenes. If you can read a room, and have mad-skillz but can't sell/market yourself to let them give you a chance you are still at ground zero. Work on the soft skills to REALLY excel at your being a DJ.

So any other advice? (the worst vice is ad-vice).

1. Talk to the venue owner about what they are hiring you for. To push drink/food sales, your name draws them in the door, whatever. Be sure that your goals and the bar maangers goals are the same or at least you know what the manager wants out of you.

2. Watch other club DJ's and see what they're doing and why. If they don't know what they're doing but are lucky enough to keep the club packed try to figure out what they do that keeps the people coming in the door. Hell, ask the people in the club if you have to.

3. Work on your technical skills but also try to hone your soft skills. Read books on marketing, salemanship, networking, and self improvement. These can help you understand the people in the club and how to relate to them in a way that really gets them coming back for YOU.

4. Keep the BPM down early in the night. Give yourself somewhere to grow to as the night progresses.

5. Remember that BPM isn't the only way to affect the dance floor. You can use kill switches on the EQ, volume, and a variety of other things to create or remove energy from a room. USE THEM. and if you don't know how - LEARN.

6. If you have lights/fog they can create/remove enery as well. Think about the music you play, and what goes well with the song. Sometimes killing all the lights and ramping up the music can create a dramatic effect, just like adding intelligent lighting at just the right moment. Use it to your advantage to move the energy around the room.

I'm sure I can think of other things that can help you when DJ'ing in clubs, but talking with the owner about how you can impact overall sales and the methods they want you to use to do that can be a BIG help in getting you in the door and staying there.

BTW, you can't effectively turn over a dance floor with 4 couples in the room. It will happen naturally in those cases. But when you get the floor filled the mob mentality takes over and you need to force the floor to turn over.

I hope this makes sense. I know there are those DJ's out there that will say that they're told to keep the dance floor filled - period. And for some venues that's what they want, but you'll find that if you talk with the bar manager and ask them to track sales on before and after you start turning over the floor you'll likely find that the clubs will make more money AFTER you start doing it.

Side note: If you work in a club with low alcohol sales (usually because of large numbers of members on recreational pharmacuticals - ie E, X, etc) then turning over the dance floor is not applicable. For heavy alcohol-based revenue clubs this works and works well.
AKIEM 7:12 AM - 10 April, 2006
excellent post b
DJMuErTe 7:36 AM - 10 April, 2006
wow! thats exactly how i think! :) hehehe if you dont know how to read the crowed then you dont belong as a club dj, i dont think this applys to mobile djs though since your job its entertain 100% that means play all the hot tracks all night and keep the costumer happy, at the club (latin club) its very easy for me to change the energy in the room and turning the floor, since i can play slow music at any giving time (music that alot of ppl dances too) so i dont have no problems turning over the dance floor, but i have work at clubs where they dont play nothing but house , techno and trance and still you are able to do the same thing as long as you choose the right moment to do it, djs that think that ppl goes to the club to watch them mix are djs who dont know the system on how a club works! club = drink sales no drink sales no club period! thats why i hate to spin at clubs where is 18 and over! because you get 75% of non drinking guests, and all they want is dance! + fights are very comun at this clubs! so no more 18 and over clubs for me! :)
DJ Nat 10:50 AM - 10 April, 2006
Thanks guys, all great advice!
mister iLL 12:19 PM - 10 April, 2006
4. Keep the BPM down early in the night. Give yourself somewhere to grow to as the night progresses.

to me this is one of the most important tips for a beginning dj. in general keep it steadily ascending until the peak hours
DJBlisk 7:08 PM - 10 April, 2006
one word.

nola darling 7:18 PM - 10 April, 2006
Damn MM....where were you a year ago? (I learned #5 the hard way)
DjWoody 7:37 PM - 10 April, 2006
People dont generally go to a club to hear DJs scratch. Unless its a special show. Otherwise, hip hop wise, they go to dance and have a good time. Usually they dont care who the DJ is as long as the music is good. For EDM (house, trance, techno, etc) it's different, they usually go for the DJ.

When I used to be all into hip hop, I used to listen to what the girls had to say. They're usually the ones on the dancefloor shaking their booty. They wanna dance. One time a girl came up to me and told me to tell the DJ to STOP SCRATCHING cuz it was killing her vibe. She was a really HOT GIRL too. The DJ was overdoing with the scratching.

Another thing I hear from girls all the time is to not do doubles as much. They want to sing, dance, and find their groove. Doing doubles throws them off.
djxatl 7:46 PM - 10 April, 2006
yeah keep em comfy with what they know heh, but in the end it depends on the crowd
hologram 8:20 PM - 10 April, 2006
.. and yes there are some DJs with a lot of gigs who scracth more then they play the songs. Don't be fooled. Don;t be that DJ:)
DJ Nevoc 8:24 PM - 10 April, 2006
MusicMeister - That is right on, For all you club DJs, or up and coming club DJs that want to get a great insight on your soft skills I recommend subscribing to Nightclub & Bar Magazine

It will deffinatly change your mind on alot of things you thought you new about being a DJ.

As far as scratching...

and I am a firm believer in this statement

"Scratch, Scratch and Scratch again." Yes there is an over kill point, but if your just mixing and not doing anything else, WTF are you getting paid for... Honestly, you may as well go home Record a 4-5 hour set, that is perfect and press play on the CD player.

Sorry Guys I dont pay DJs that dont earn that $$$

And as far as Girls on the dance floor not liking what you play... Well First of all 99% of people that go to clubs are F***ing stupid. So use that to your advantage. Like MusicMeister Said earlier if you need to turn over the dance floor, go crazy with your mad scratching skills!!!

Ok Now really I believe in making the club owner money. So whatever works for your club works for you. but MusicMeister Has it right, if you dont believe him, check out Nightclub & Bar Magazine. It'll back him up.

Keepin it Rippin

DJ Nevoc
djgrandpa 8:26 PM - 10 April, 2006
I agree with MusicMeister, keep the floor/bar moving, that's the name of the game. The club owner doesn't care what you are capable of doing with ttables, he wants to make money.