The DJs how to #1: Get your first club gig

The music is all sorted and ready, the mixes are perfect. You’re ready for your first show. But how do you land your first gig as a DJ?

Everything I’m going to tell you is based on my mistakes (and believe me, I’ve made a few) and things I’ve done that actually turned out great.

Don’ts

Don’t hand out your mixtapes unless your contact person/booker at the club/bar asks for it. Time is something we all struggle with. To push your 60 minute mixtape in the hands of an already stressed booker is 9 out of 10 times a bad idea. If you on the other hand already have a good relationship with that person and he/she asks for it, go right ahead.

The e-mail, that famous e-mail. We’ve all sent it, ”Hi, My name is X and I would like to play a gig at your club”. It’s not a bad idea, but not unique and personal in any way — avoid it.

Facebook — No. No. No. Facebook is ONLY ok if you already have a good relationship with the booker. If you don’t, just don’t.

Do’s

Networking and shaking hands are everything in our business. You have to be the right person at the right place, at the right time. It’s all about shaking the hands of the people that matter, and make sure to be the ”nice guy”. Tip: Staff Sundays.

Keep your social media-accounts under control. You don’t have to have thousands of followers on Instagram and Facebook. But it’s all about being smart with those accounts. A picture with your friend farting on a lighter might not be the greatest of ideas. It has been said before: Treat your DJ:ing as a business. Put yourself in the bookers’ position.

Be patient. Don’t expect to already be playing at the club the coming weekend, or the weekend after that for that matter. The most likely scenario is that your name’s going to ”pop up” when the booker’s in a jam because their Resident DJ had to cancel. That’s the time when you need to be ready and on your feet. Forget the fact that you promised to go out partying with your friends, or that your boy-/girlfriend wanted a late dinner. This is your shot to prove yourself. If you turn this down, this might be the end before it even started.

Other tips:

Being humble and down to earth is always a good idea in the long run. Don’t. Ever. Forget. That.

Think a lot about how you position yourself in the world of music, and DJ:ing. It’s so easy being labelled as the nostalgic-DJ. I have many friends that are great Club-Dj’s but (not willingly) is being known in the business as the DJ that plays the ”Nostalgic Gigs”.

It’s good being flexible with your music, but too much can do more damage than good. That of course depends on what image you want to create for yourself and your business; your brand.

Do you have any more tips that you would like to share? Please let me know in the comments.

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