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DJ to a Nightclub

If you want to become a successful DJ, night clubs will play an important role in launching your career and later in building your reputation. But playing a nightclub involves much more than simply showing up and spinning music. You have to spin the right kind of music for the particular club and more than that you have to spin the right music for the time, the crowd on that day, and the type of set you are playing. Of course you can just show up and play music, but if you do so, it will likely be the last time you show up at that club to play music.

When you get a gig at a new nightclub, you will probably be dealing with the general manager first and foremost. You need to meet with them well before your gig and get an idea of what they’re looking for and what kind of people you be playing for. The basic rule to remember is this: if you help the club make more money, you’ll likely be asked to return. Keep them happy and you’re set.

To that end, you need to find out what type of music they’re expecting you to play, what music they absolutely don’t want you to play, when the club usually gets crowded, when you will be playing, the design of the club, the personality of the owner and with him or her, the personality of the club. To get all the information you need, it is recommended to show up early on gig night. Talk to the general manager of course – or in some cases you will be dealing with the owner – but make sure to talk to the rest of the staff as well: the bartender, the wait staff, the doorman, etc.. Not only will they provide valuable information to help you play a successful gig, but if they like you, they will also help you secure another gig.

One of the biggest factors in how to approach a job, is what role you are being asked to perform. Are you DJing an opening set or are you headlining? This makes a huge difference in the type of music you want to be playing.

For opening set, you are expected to set the stage for the headliner. As such, you need to build the excitement of the crowd and get them ready for the main act. You absolutely don’t want to play headline material for opening set, as you risk upstaging the headliner. Even if your set is amazing, you will not be asked back, if you disrupt the flow of the night. This is a very important point. Many young DJs will play tracks and energy level that is much too high for opening set, disrupting the flow of the night, which in turn will upset the headliner, confuse the crowd, and piss off management. They will not be asked back.

For this reason, opening sets are often more difficult than headlining sets. But you can see them as a great opportunity to practice reading the crowd. That’s the key to playing an opening set. Every track you play, observe the crowd’s reaction and base your next track on what you see. Of course you also need to take into account who the headliner is. Your opening set will vary greatly depending on the main act, since it is your job to set the stage for that main act.

If you get a gig as a headliner, you also need to read the crowd, but you get the pull out your best stuff. Again, see other crowd reacts and play the next song accordingly. One thing you’ll need more as a headliner that an opening act is stage presence. Interacting with the crowd can help pump them up, but only if you do it correctly. Nothing is more annoying than a DJ who distracts from the music by either talking too much or just being a tool.

When you get your first paying gig as a DJ at a nightclub, take special care to get these points right. You’re probably still make a few mistakes, but if you do a good job overall, you’ll get more gigs. And when you’re trying to become a DJ, nightclub gigs will be your bread and butter. Not only will they pay the bills, it will also help you improve your skills and build your reputation. Nightclubs may well be the most important tool to help you become a DJ.