As I mentioned before, we were at a party on Saturday night. The venue had a dancefloor, and the hosts had hired a mobile DJ to come and play some tunes for us to dance to. It was a good evening! However, the DJ did do one or two things which annoyed me slightly, and it put me in mind to write a post about mobile DJing.
Now, I should say before I begin that – although I’ve done my share of DJing, mobile and otherwise – I’m not a professional mobile DJ. However, I’m not writing this as a DJ – I’m writing this as a punter: someone who comes on these nights out and just wants to have a good time. I’m writing this because generally people might moan about a bad DJ to their friends, but they would never actually say anything to the DJ. So, the DJ just goes away believing he (or she) has done a good job and never actually realising that, well, they could improve.
So, this list here isn’t comprehensive, but it will help with some of the more common errors that I’ve seen DJs make in my time. Remember that this list is composed from the point of view of one of the punters, not as a DJ!
- GET OFF THE MIC. Seriously. I don’t want to hear someone talking over my favourite song, especially not when I’m in the middle of dancing to it. The only time you should be on the mic are when you’re announcing a request, or giving out some other information (e.g. “The bar is now open”, or “ten minutes until last orders” – that kind of thing). Let the music speak for itself.
- DON’T CUT SONGS SHORT. There is nothing more annoying then having a great time dancing to a song, only to find the DJ cuts it short. It’s especially bad if they then (a) start talking on the mic (see point 1), or (b) cut to a really awful song. This is especially important if a song is getting a good reaction.
- DON’T PLAY MEDLEYS / MEGAMIXES. They are the spawn of the Devil. I’m not joking here: they should be banned, and the people who created them lined up and shot! I’ve heard a Beatles megamix before which took a load of Beatles songs you would never dance to, and strung them all together in quite a soulless way with a beat underneath. Not surprisingly, no-one danced to it. If you’re going to play an artist, play the original version – not a megamix!
- LEARN TO MIX (BEATMATCH). This one is only important if you’re going to be play ‘dance’ music – house, trance etc – and you want to try and mix it ‘properly’. To be honest I thought this one would be self-evident, but at the party on Saturday night the DJ played a couple of songs back to back and tried to mix them together without beatmatching – i.e. getting them running at the same tempo – first. The end result was that the people on the dancefloor didn’t know which beat they were dancing to. Now, you could probably get away with this once or twice so it’s not the most important element on the list, but I’d still recommend avoiding mixing songs until you know how to mix them properly.
- DON’T ‘GO RANDOM’ WITH SONGS. What I mean by this is playing lots of different genres consecutively, with nothing in between. So, for example, playing a rock song, followed by an rnb song, followed by an 80s song, followed by a 60s style song, etc… now I’m not saying this would always be a wrong move, but I would say in general it’s good to try and ensure a smooth flow from one genre to another, rather than jumping erratically. That’s not to say you should never change genre suddenly, but I would suggest maybe doing 3-4 songs of one genre (at least) before moving to another one.
- THERE IS A VOLUME LEVEL BELOW ‘EAR-BLEEDINGLY LOUD’. Speaking as someone who suffers from tinnitus – volume is important. As in, low volume. Just because you have the capacity to turn the volume up to an incredible volume, doesn’t mean you should! I’d say as a general rule, if after two minutes of listening to music at a particular volume you feel the need to go outside and get away from it, it’s probably too loud. I should point out that a decent sound system will help here – a decent system will give you decent bass and highs without the need to crank the volume. If you cut corners with your sound system, you will run into these kind of problems.
Phew. I don’t think I’ve ever been so preachy! Even when I’m preaching… I hope I don’t come across as too much of an idiot here: I genuinely want to try and help, and sometimes these things are not obvious.
That’s all for now. Maybe one day I will create a new page specifically with this kind of information!