As DJs, mistakes do happen as we continue learning about our careers. Like I have always said, no single DJ is immune to making mistakes, not even the most experienced ones. In the beginning especially, we make a lot of errors, but as time goes by, we learn from our mistakes and get better. So, what common mistakes should we avoid at all costs if we have to be on top of our game?
We all get excited with new hit songs, and we tend to jump at them as soon as they are released. Now, as DJs, we may also be fans of a particular musician or music piece, and we may want to play what we enjoy at a live gig. That should not be the way to go. As DJs, we play live gigs to entertain the fans, not ourselves. And just because we love certain music does not mean that the crowd loves them. Thus, it is important that we read the mood of the audience to know whether they are enjoying what we are playing. It just doesn’t matter how much we like a particular song; the crowd ought to have their way.
This is perhaps the worst mistake we ever make. We must not forget that we need to be in total control of our mental faculties throughout our live gigs lest we embarrass ourselves. What prevents us from engaging in a shouting match with the crowd if we are not sober? Nothing at all, but what of mixing mistakes? Alcohol can only increase our mistakes on the sound decks. Being sober will ensure that we move with the crowd at all times and that the decisions we make are logical. Yes, I used to feel nervous during those early years of my career, and I would have a little drink to help gain courage. Little did I know that I was making a big mistake until I met a senior DJ in town who put me back on the right road.
Learning should be a constant thing during our DJing career. And while we may have people around us to help correct mistakes, that does not mean that we can’t identify the errors ourselves and work on fixing them. That is why it is vital for us to film ourselves while working on the decks. Taking time to watch how we do things can help us see the areas we need to improve without having to wait for other people to correct us. Besides, people may not give us honest opinions. Filming is especially essential when we are just getting started.
It doesn’t matter what our level of experience in the industry is; recording our mixes every once in a while can help us spot areas that need improvement. Like I said in the previous section, DJing, just like any other career, involves learning all the way through. And the more we improve on our mistakes, the more we become better DJs in the business. So that instead of looking for gigs, the gigs will look for us.
Yes, we are there for the crowd, but that doesn’t mean we have to play every request people make unless it is a request-and-play event. We can take a few and fulfill them, but struggling to play every one may mean we don’t know what we are doing. We should not forget that requests are made by individuals, and that doesn’t mean that everyone in the crowd is pleased with the choices that other people are making. Hence, it is incumbent upon us as DJs to understand the audience and try as much as possible to play something that will move the majority. Unless we learn to control the crowd, the crowd will control us. God forbid!