How do DJs find clubs to play with

Important: What you as a DJ should have clarified before the DJ gig

Concrete tips: organizational matters, social media and music at a glance

The weekend is approaching, the next DJ gigs are coming up and the anticipation is growing. Lots of new tracks are waiting to be played by you. And maybe you always wanted to play at that festival (Open Air Essentials: That belongs to the DJ and music festival) or you still have very good memories of your last gig in this club.

No matter whether you play the latest techno, house or hip hop in a club, conjure up a stimulating soundtrack for the after-work audience in a bar or as a mobile wedding DJ sweeten the most beautiful day of a bridal couple with the perfect selection of songs: every gig is a new challenge, a new place and new people (10 things you should definitely have with you at the DJ gig).

For the globally touring star DJs, the booking agency usually arranges all the details weeks or months in advance and sends the artist a rider promptly with all the necessary information: travel connections, addresses and telephone numbers of the hotel, location, shuttle drivers and organizers. If you do your bookings yourself, it is worthwhile to have the necessary things clarified in good time so that you can only concentrate on the essentials: the music and the guests. Because you can only give your best if you feel good all round.

Mijk van Dijk lists 10 things that you should have done before the DJ gig

1. Communication & organization

DJs receive requests for performances on all channels: at the gig, by phone, via Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter or email. So that you don't lose track of all the inquiries, queries and agreements, it makes sense to write down the most important points. On which channel did who offer what and when? I use the Trello organization app for this, which is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android and is also purely web browser-based.

Here I can embed JPGs and PDFs, record chronological comments, plan the texts for social media posts and even let other people such as e. B. let my booker help and have access to everything from laptop and smartphone. Caution: Since Trello, like many other organization apps, only works online, it makes a lot of sense to note the final points on the smartphone so that they can also be viewed offline, e.g. B. in the calendar or in the notes. And to be on the safe side, you can also print it out again: If you are standing at the airport without being picked up, the battery is empty and you no longer have the 13-digit telephone number of the organizer in your head, you know why.

Trello is a multiplatform-based organization app that can be used alone and in a team.

2nd fee

If you don't hang up just to have fun with Freud, you have probably already settled your fee in advance. Of course, you can always make shake-hand deals with good friends, but the most important details should always be recorded in a contract signed by both partners or at least a short agreement. This not only gives you the security that you will receive your wages in the end, but also gives the organizer the assurance that you will actually appear at the gig as agreed.

Very often it is common for DJ to have half of the fee transferred to his account six weeks in advance and the second half to be paid in cash on site. Check whether 50% of the money has been received in your account and make a note of it so that you don't get confused about which organizer has already transferred how much and which has not. Any assumption of costs for the hotel and travel to and from the hotel should also be clarified in the contract.

Very often it is common for DJ to have half of the fee transferred to his account six weeks in advance and the second half to be paid in cash on site.

3. Plan your arrival and departure

If you take care of the trip yourself, it makes sense to check during the negotiations how expensive the trip will be. Arrange a cost assumption or offer to book the ticket yourself for a realistic lump sum. If the organizer would like to book your ticket, you should provide clear time frames for your arrival and departure requests. Also clarify whether you will be picked up from the airport or train station, the name of your driver and how you can reach him or her by phone. It makes sense to let the organizer know how much luggage and people you are traveling with so that there is enough space in the driver's car.

By the way

There are DJs whose rider expressly states that they only want to be picked up by trained, sober chauffeurs in clean limousines without additional co-drivers and that the driver is only allowed to talk to the artist if he has been asked to do so. If you've often been picked up by four druff ravers with Laberflash in the littered Opel Corsa, whose sparse trunk was crammed with flyers and energy drink pallets, then you know why.

If you drive to the gig in your own car, it is often possible to arrange for fuel costs to be covered. In this case, it is essential to fill up the car beforehand, refuel at the destination and give this receipt to the organizer. If so agreed, you will then receive double the amount of the gasoline bill, fill up again after driving home and then send the receipt to the organizer. Drinks and chocolate bars do not belong on the gasoline bill.

In any case, you should plan enough time when you arrive in your own car. Take a close look at the route to be driven beforehand and do not blindly trust the GPS. If you are still in the end of the day, but should actually already be on the decks, most organizers consider this a no-show and your fee and a possible follow-up gig are a long way off.

From Berlin to all over the world - and in Germany by train - relaxed and climate-friendly

4. Déjà vu

Have you ever played for the organizer, club or in the region? The cards are often reshuffled and you might meet familiar faces, even if the club is now called differently and is now officially run by the girlfriend of the former boss. When was the last time you were there? Did everything go smoothly or did you have problems? Which tracks did people partake on the hardest? I can understand the former from my notes, the latter with a look at the playlist saved after the gig.

I also like to remember the names of the resident DJs and the bar staff in my biological or better still, my digital memory (aka smartphone) so that I can immediately assign the people I meet.

Have you ever played in the same club? It's good if you remember what the permanent staff is called

5. Technical rider

OK, the days of DJ Booth Confusion are over, when every DJ showed up with a different setup. Mostly Pioneer CDJs and Technics turntables are waiting for you in the DJ booth. But maybe you also prefer the new Denon players or do you really want to find an Allen & Heath desk? Many clubs also offer "smaller" DJs some options and it is advisable to explore them beforehand. In a technical rider linked to the contract, you should tell which media you are playing with (USB stick with Pioneer Rekordbox or Denon Prime, vinyl, CDs, your own laptop) and which devices you need from the club for this. Absolutely offers alternatives: Not every club has three CDJ-2000nexus2 in the basement and if you play directly in front of the headliner, the organizer may suggest that you use the same equipment as the one ordered by the star DJ.

A short sketch of the desired structure of the devices makes sense so that the technician knows that z. B. the CDJs should be left and right of the mixer and the two turntables on the outside, but in a horizontal position, because you are a mix DJ and not a scratch DJ.

If you bring your own equipment, be sure to let us know how much space you need for it and whether you might need a separate mixer - important for live acts!

If you bring a recording device or an external effects device, you should also announce this and ask that the appropriate cables are already connected to the mixer. In any case, this is better than looking for the corresponding sockets on the rear of the mixer while the party is in progress.

Here, too, a sketch can say more than too many words. A technical rider signed by the organizer is also the best argument against an annoyed technician who claims that he was not informed at all.

Otherwise, of course: The technician in the club is your friend. Treat him well and he will be happy to help you if the turntable is buzzing or a mixer channel fails.

The organizer should already know how the DJ would like the setup before the performance

6. Hospitality rider

“Every night with my star friends

We eat caviar and drink champagne. "

(Miss Kittin & The Hacker - Champagne)

When you have reached the upper floors of the DJ guild, the organizer may ask you not only for the technical rider but also for your “hospitality rider”. Everything comes up that is worth knowing about your optimal hospitality, e.g. B. how many stars the hotel should have, in which you intend to stay the night, which food may be served before the performance and which drinks should be available in the backstage. I've seen superstar DJs whose drink riders were already easily 500 euros and the management made the appearance of their artist dependent on the presence of crystal champagne and a very specific brand of vodka.

For us normal DJs, the following applies: A reference to your eating habits (and especially "non-eating habits" such as no fish, no meat, no gluten) make it easier for every organizer. It can also be helpful to negotiate a certain amount of free drinks beforehand. I have already seen friends who were DJs who received two drinks tokens for the whole evening and who had to offset additional drinks with their already low salary.

In the hospitality rider it is noted which food and drinks the DJ wants - in Japan always Japanese

7. Guest list

You may also know that: On the evening of the gig, the SMS and PMs come with a request for a guest list. It is good if you have already clarified with the organizer how many guest list places you are allowed to allocate. In addition to a guest list, some organizers also like to keep a half-price list, which your guests can use to get in for 50% of the entry price. They are also popular because your friends don't have to wait in line for so long.

Make sure you hand in your guest list in good time, the organizer will thank you, because he often has to enter the names into the system. When the deadline is approaching and I am still waiting for feedback, I will complete the list with imaginary names, which I will then communicate to the stragglers via text message. Who wants to have to run to the entrance during the event to add names of friends to the guest list?

The USB stick should be loaded with the new tracks before leaving for the gig.

8. Social media

A blessing for one, a curse for the other, but social media is an integral part of the DJ biz. The fact that there are organizers who only look at the number of followers of the booked DJs when booking is a bad habit, but on the other hand Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Co. also give us the invaluable opportunity to communicate directly with our audience and create a bond to build up. Treat yourself to that! Ask the organizer about the links for the events on Facebook and, if necessary, also the Resident Advisor. The latter is a good source of information for anyone who is not registered on Facebook.

Share the link and add a few short, personal thoughts to it. Although the individual platforms rate original posts higher than redirects, I still use e.g. B. IFTTT (If This Than That) as a tool to automatically share my Instagram posts on my Facebook artist page and Twitter. I prefer to use the time gained to tag the organizer and the other DJs of the event so that my post can also be seen by the others and, if possible, spread. Share the love!

By the way: Since Instagram, as an image-based social media channel, does not display post images from URLs, I like to take a screenshot of the FB or RA event and garnish it with a few personal words, suitable hashtags and - very important: the URL of the event, above that interested people then get directly from Instagram to the party information page. Also very important: Post a thank you to your fans after the party. Respect is not a one-way street!

IFTTT is a useful tool to share an original post on other social media platforms.

9. Music (finally!)

But it's actually about music, isn't it? If you are known as a club DJ for your own sound, you will certainly always take care of new music, listen to promos and regularly buy new records or audio files in the shops you trust. The playlists on your USB stick are well sorted so that you can quickly find the exact track that you will drop next. Before most gigs, I create a preparation list in which I put all the new tracks that I would like to play at the next gig. And that can vary from time to time: do you play at prime time or do you do the opening? Closing set or after hours? Techno hall or house floor? I just like to have a few possible intros and current tracks ready in a dedicated playlist before I drift through the endless expanse of my USB stick or my record bag. After all, there is usually not much more time left when transitioning from the previous DJ than the last track he or she is currently playing.

Rekordbox / Prime DJs can of course maintain their playlists on the train or in the flight, program cues and loops and transfer the result to the USB stick. But be careful: synchronizing Rekordbox USB sticks takes time. And reloading can take hours, depending on the size of the library. And when the plane is about to land, the train arrives at the destination station, but the Rekordbox synchronization is only at 50%, the effort was often in vain. So if possible, transfer all of the tracks before you leave. Subsequent submission of the cues and playlist sequences is usually quick.

With good preparation, nothing stands in the way of a great party.

10. Music again (mobile Dj Edition)

If you are on the go as a mobile event DJ, you have to take care of the music much earlier. Bridal couples, anniversaries and companies often have very clear ideas about what kind of music should be played at the wedding, birthday or Christmas party. Often more precisely which music should NOT be played. In this case, it is advisable to look for targeted conversations with the responsible persons very quickly, in which a small coordinate system of genres, songs and artists is tapped. Do not overwhelm your clients, after all, YOU are the music professional and not the HR manager.

Nevertheless, almost everyone has a few favorite songs and if you know them, you should put them in your playlist specially created for this event and enrich them with other suitable music. Which band did the bride and groom meet at the concert? Which song is the first kiss to? Assume that once the ice has broken, you can bring the party to a boil with your favorite songs. At more official events, companies also want so-called "walk-ins", i.e. short but concise music to which the boss is responsible her speech comes on stage. My mobile DJ friends always have their own playlist with corresponding hot cues ready for such purposes, so that Tina Turner really sings "You're Simply The Best" at the push of a button.