There may be a misconception about what DJs really do during a gig or if they ever do anything. I want to clarify the essential duties of DJs and what they do in the booth.
A typical club night or a party gig is about 6 hours. It starts around 10 pm and goes up to 4 am or later. For weddings, it’s like 7 to midnight.
Despite the fact that some say they just stand there and try to look cool, you must be doing something in 6 hours, right ? You can’t just look around and pretend.
A DJ creates a set of seamless music for the audience in order to make them dance. This is what we do at the first place. Play music for 5 to 6 hours.
Every audience is unique. You can’t play the same songs in the same order every time. You get young people in the club, a wide variety of guests at a wedding, older people at a private event and so on. Each event has its own vibe and atmosphere. Therefore, a DJ also reads the crowd and selects songs accordingly.
Whenever you choose wrong music for the crowd as a DJ, you get a reaction from them. This is inevitable. So, throwing a pre-recorded set on them does not work most of the time.
When you control the decks, you get only 2 minutes to pick the next song. In those two minutes, you need to look around and analyze your crowd, see if they like it and then make the decision for the upcoming one.
It doesn’t sound easy, does it ?
There is also a technical side of our duties and responsibilities.
First, smooth and professional transitions between songs. Your crowd would judge you with their eyes every time you mix into the next track. If they hear a glitch, they turn and take a bitter look at you.
A DJ has to maintain the musical and rhythmic harmony of his set so that people can enjoy it. He really needs to know where and when to mix into the next song. Lyrics can not clash. So many rules to follow for us in the booth.
Sound is another technical part we need to be careful about. You can’t just max out your volume and blast it. It needs to be clear and distortion free.
Hit music and the time you mix it in plays a big role on a DJ’s success. You can not play them early in the night or an event. It’d drain the crowd’s energy right away.
See, I can write another 5 paragraphs of what we do and take care of during a live performance.
I hope all these give you an idea of what real DJs do on stage and prove that they just don’t stand there, smile, hold their hands up and look cool.