There are so many industries out there where the same sort of message gets passed on – “it’s who you know and not what you know”. The club DJ industry can definitely fall in to this trap, which doesn’t always benefit the club, their customers and certainly potential DJ’s who are very good at what they do. You could have great technical ability, know how to read the dance-floor and play great music but there is a lot of tough competition out there.
There are a few points that you need to know if you want to get into clubs. You may need to offer your services for free to begin with, or know someone who can let you jump behind the decks early on during the night before the club gets busy. This is your chance to show your skills, but at the same time be cautious not to over do it. For example you could be a good at scratching but the club manager may not like this, so keep simple, seamless and make sure the music is what people want to hear (including the boss). Don’t forget that the best DJ’s around all started their careers playing for free, or for a low price.
Another way to get started is by going Freelance, which would normally get you in to weddings, birthday parties and other mobile disco type events. This style of DJ’ing is nothing like club DJ’ing, however it does teach you how to play to diverse crowds with different music tastes. You will also pick up the general know how nuances, along with learning what to play and when to play it.
The smaller private gigs are a great way to get to know people in the industry who include other DJ’s. Networking is great in this industry as it allows you to meet all sorts of people and you never know when you will meet the right DJ who will put you in touch with a club who may need a back up DJ or even better, a permanent residency!
Working in the night club is great and anybody who is on a night out will end up being there. When you reach the right level you will have a good understanding of what must be achieved and of course your skill and music knowledge level is high. Unless you know the owner of the club this is your only platform to prove your level and earn more gigs.
Any good and professional DJ should work out a unique style of playing that makes them stand out from others. A good tip is to practice technical stuff in the bedroom and not in the clubs. You have to remember tha people in clubs may have more of an ear for mixing and scratching. Once you have a style that you’re comfortable with other avenues leading to better things may open for you, if you do a good job that is.