Blogmas 7 – Dealing With Your DJ: A 10-Point Guide (Part 2)

Hey folks,

Welcome to Part 2 of my guest blog post for Wunms. If you haven’t already, make sure you read through Part 1 for points 1-5 before reading the points below!


6. Contacting your DJ

When is the best time to contact your DJ? The vast majority of DJs work full- or part-time alongside DJing. Therefore, the best time to contact them is generally on Sunday to Thursday evenings. On Friday and Saturday they are usually DJing. Although they may be used to late nights, it’s good to be courteous and avoid contacting them in the early hours of the morning or late at night. You can contact them by phone call, Whatsapp/text message, email or via social media messaging. Might sound like common sense but you would be surprised how often I get calls at strange times.

I would recommend having at least one full conversation with your DJ. Especially if it’s a big event like a wedding, you should even kindly ask to meet your DJ in person. It’s in the DJ’s interest to get to know you so they can best cater to your style. It’s also in your interest to get to know your DJ so that you can get the best out of them. People often assume that DJs are really outgoing people who like to be the life of the party, but I find often times DJs are generally quite cool-headed, friendly people who just love music and making people happy. In summary, different DJs have different daily availability and personalities to factor into establishing effective communication with them.

7. Before the Event

Following on from contacting your DJ, it’s good to make your DJ aware of anything that will impact his/her ability to perform at your event. Let them know any song requests that you have (more on this in Point 9). Send the DJ a copy of the running order if you have one so that they can plan which music they are going to play at each section of the event. It’s always good to let them know who the host/MC will be if there will be one, as they will likely be working closely together. Think about where the DJ will be positioned in the venue assuming you’ve seen it: they need to be able to see the crowd (ask them for advice if you’re not sure). Agree a time that they will arrive, depending on how long they will need to set up and when you have told guests that the event starts. If in doubt, ask them if they will need anything.

8. During the Event

Focus on getting the best of your DJ. Your conduct can directly impact your DJ’s ability to perform. You want their performance to be optimal so that you get your money’s worth. Encouraging your DJ is a good way to set them at ease and allow them to focus. A DJ set is a performance for the sake of entertainment, and DJs feed off of positive feedback in the same way as any music artist or sportsperson would. Check if they are ok periodically so they have the chance to let you know any issues. Apart from that focus on having a good time.

One mistake that people make sometimes is putting excessive pressure on the DJ. Some pressure can be ok but too much can be highly counter-productive. I recall an event I did where the celebrant started freaking out on the day of the event. They started calling me to bring 6 speakers, even though it was just a house party and one or two speakers was enough. Their anxiety affected me, and this resulted in me being overly cautious about song choices and playing my “floor filler” tracks too early in the night. This resulted in the party peaking too soon and the flow of the event wasn’t so smooth. Yes, I shouldn’t have let the client’s anxiety affect me, but the point here is that once you’ve made your choice, you must trust your DJ.  People love it when DJs get incredible reactions from the crowd and send them into a state of euphoria (which I call “the Zone”). But, DJs aren’t mind controllers (though they are quite close!) and not every event is destined to be super hype. If you followed the steps in my previous blog post, then the chances are you’ve got yourself a capable DJ who will have a plan for the event, so don’t panic if it’s 6pm and no-one’s busting a sweat on the dancefloor yet.

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DJ Tomiwa providing music for Chinny’s Kitchen pop up Nigerian restaurant. (Food review here)

*Bonus Tip* Feed the DJ. A fed DJ is a happy DJ. A happy DJ performs better. You do the maths 😉

9. Making Requests

This is traditionally a tricky one. If you’ve followed my previous steps, and you would still like to make a request, then it’s likely a good request. DJs like good requests. What DJs don’t like is bad requests :). Making a bad request is one of the most effective ways to get the worst out of your DJ. Wisdom is required. I’ll try and highlight the different between good and bad requests here:

A Good Request 🙂 … A Bad Request 😦 …
Fits the genre that the DJ is playing/will play Is random and confuses the audience/DJ
Is liked by a decent portion of the crowd Is only liked by the requestor
The requestor passionately wants the song to be played The requestor doesn’t really care that much if the song is played or not but they just wanted to make a request
Is for a song that hasn’t been played yet Is for a song that the DJ has played but the requestor wasn’t listening and wants to hear it again
Is for a party track that people can dance to Is for a track that is more appropriate for listening to at home
Includes the accurate song name and artist Is vague and unclear, probably just singing some lines from the song
Is made once and the requestor goes back to enjoying themselves knowing that the DJ will play it when/if they deem appropriate Is made over and over again and demanded to be played immediately
Is a popular, well-known song Is a song that only the requestor knows
Makes the DJ happy Causes the DJ to lose focus and decreases performance
Helps the party go well Kills the party and causes everyone to lose trust in the DJ

DJs tend to factor so many things into their song choices: genre, tempo/bpm (beats per minute), key, song length, client’s preferences, state of the crowd, stage in the event etc. However, don’t be overly discouraged from making requests. Some DJs play all requests whereas some hate them. Personally, I don’t like rejecting song requests. Sadly, there have been countless times when I’ve got hilariously bad requests which distract me unnecessarily. However I have also received many great requests which have enhanced my performance. Moral of the story: think well before requesting!

*Bonus Tip* The most popular request I get is for a socket/charger for people wanting to charge their phones. Personally I don’t mind as I understand that people’s phone die quite quickly nowadays. However not all DJs will agree to this so take note. Also don’t expect the DJ to take responsibility if your phone goes missing afterwards lol. The DJ is focused on their job, which is not taking care of your phone.

10. After the event

It’s nice to thank your DJ for their services. It’s also good to give any honest feedback. If the DJ has done a good job, capitalise on this by developing a relationship so that you can use your DJ for future events and refer them to your friends and help someone else out. Giving consistent business to a DJ could potentially lead to them giving you discounted prices in the future.


Thank you for reading my guide on Dealing with DJs. And thanks to Wunms for allowing me to contribute to her blog!

Do you have any thoughts on these tips? Or maybe some situations that you’ve encountered in the past with DJs that you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments below. I’m also happy to answer any questions.

 

James 3:17 – But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

God bless y’all!

DJ Tomiwa


You can follow DJ Tomiwa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check out his latest mixes at www.soundcloud.com/djtomiwa.

Listen to his new 80’s Party Mix here: 


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*There are 2 days until Christmas!*


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