It’s funny how attitudes change.Â Last year, when DJ’ing at clubs was becoming a very real possibility, I told myself that I would refuse to “sell out” and play stuff that I didn’t like – shitty rap, pop club bangers, etc – just to get jobs.Â I had a party coming up at the end of the year, and I swore to myself that there was absolutely no way I would play Flo Rida.Â Inevitably about 5 people at the gig asked me to play the damn song, and in my tastes (far superior, of course, to any one who could possibly want to hear Flo Rida at a party), I hadn’t burned it and had to disappoint.
These days I am approaching gigs much differently.Â This isn’t just a hobby I’m doing for fun anymore – I love what I do, and I know that if I want to continue doing it and have further success, then I have to be a ‘professional deejay’.Â So how does a pro DJ a gig?Â Quite simply, he reads his audience with skill, and plays to them.Â Sure, people want to hear new stuff (if it’s good) – you’re the DJ because you take the time to research, listen, and sort out the good from bad.Â But people want to hear that new Britney Spears track, or that one by Weezy (even if it does talk about menstruation and vagina cheese).
A regular reader asked in a comment if a couple tracks were good for his party, and despite what you think my response might be given this article, I’m going to say almost definitely, yes.Â While I always play it by ear, I also make a point to plan a few different segments ahead of time, and at least have a few big hits in reserve if a song flops with my audience.
If the 12+ black tie events I’ve been to in the last year are any indication, people want to dance no matter how they’re dressed.Â Sure, at a white tie, the night will probably open up with a 4-8 piece band, but later in the night people are going to want to dance – a DJ almost always comes on around midnight or so at these things (I assume this is why the reader asked, right?)Â These tracks are pretty safe bets for an unknown audience, though you can bet that it’s going to be 25+. They’re funky, not too hard, and most importantly (in the Bee Gees’ case) you can expect good song recognition.[audio:Sia – Buttons (CSS Remix).mp3,Sia – Buttons (Jimmy Vallance Remix).mp3,Sia – Buttons (Chris Lake Remix).mp3]