Just a Friendly Neighbourhood DJ Reminder…

STOP playing for jerk promoters that don’t give two $*#!s about you.

Hi, it’s me again.
Yeah I know, my articles have been almost non-existence this year. My head was focused so much in recording and editing videos for Disc Jockey News T.V. that it wasn’t until today, when I was about to go on a facebook rant that I decided this was far better as an article.

Why?

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Because I am SICK AND TIRED of seeing good people get used, that’s why! I want to scream if from the mountains, “CHARGE YOUR WORTH!”

The other day I was chatting with this super rad, hard working human in the rave music. They were asking for advice on a situation they had found themselves in. A promoter they’d previously played for was doing some more than shady iiiish with an upcoming event. They didn’t know whether or to take on the event or avoid the headache. Was it really worth the drama? One of the questions I asked right off the hop was, “Is this a paid gig?” In which they told me they hadn’t even paid for the LAST event.

This is what BLOWS MY MIND…

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There are hard working promoters, busting their butts, competing against people like this. The ones that aren’t paying their DJs, they are causing a mess of a situation meanwhile the promoter that ACTUALLY CARES is paying out of pocket; REGARDLESS OF ATTENDANCE.

Yes, that’s right.
You heard me.
Giving you cash, no matter what.

If we want to be the change that we want to see in our industry, it’s important to work with people on the same wavelength. Why? Because when we continue to support people that continue to USE artists, we ALL suffer. We are not only teaching them ‘this is okay…’ but we screw over the good people. The promoter, the artists, the club owner, go-go dancers, visual artists, designers etc. The only people that end up thriving are those that are literally screwing others out of their hard earned cash.

And yeah, I get it. Some people are sooo green, they just don’t ‘get it.’ And that’s okay. We can teach through what we allow. We can educate in kind ways. BUT… we need to STOP being desperate for ANY and all DJ GIGS. Start searching for the RIGHT events and people to work with. 

This article is clearly MY opinion. But the more artists I interview, industry people I work with, the MORE I see and hear about this standard and it’s importants. And while there are exceptions to the rules (Yeah, I know you’re already heading to the comments section to tell me…) definitely don’t be bending those rules for people who are making money off the backs of hard working artists. Don’t fall for the sob stories.

Playing a few gigs in the beginning of your career, great. Wanting to guarantee the quality of your work and offering a full refund and or  ‘try it out’ kind of thing, might work for you. Sometimes. In specific cases. I hear you!

It just hurts my heart to see exceptional artists get straight up USED. Spend their hard earned cash on new music, equipment, design work, and hours into practicing and branding, to walk away feeling exploited. This is NOT okay.

If you walk away with anything today, I encourage you to LEARN the difference between ‘means well’ and someone manipulating kind hearted humans. When you make the mistakes, learn the lesson. ALWAYS!

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And guess what? Been there, done that myself, too!  You’re not stupid. You’re still learning and we will CONTINUE to learn a lot of hard lessons in this industry. It’s just easier when we aren’t making the same mistakes all the time.

Work for quality promoters, EXPERIENCE the difference and then go tell your friends!

Here are some awesome articles to help you on your journey of educating yourself:

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN

BEING OFFERED “EXPOSURE” PAYMENTS

7 REASONS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO A DJ GIG FOR FREE

DON’T GET SCREWED! – A DJS GUIDE IN DEALING WITH BAD PROMOTERS

HOW TO NEGOTIATE A WAGE – YOUR DJ FEE

3 REASONS ARTISTS NEED TO INVEST IN THEMSELVES FIRST

Here is all that video stuff I have been business with:

Have a question for the series? Tweet me @KilmaMusic

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How To Throw An Event For Dummies

We’ve all been there. Throwing our first event, thinking we’ve got it down. The night of the event happens, the DJs are pissed at us and holy crap it’s because there is no gear to play on. Yet you thought all DJs provide their own gear and that the club would take care of sound and the event would pretty much promote itself. Even if it’s not your first rodeo you might want to follow this one because I’ve added a few pro-tips to help make your event more likely to success.

1.

Brand it.

Pick a theme, genre, demographic. Know what you want to do so you can figure out how you’re going to market this event and to who.

PRO-TIP:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Look at other cities / countries with a simular theme and event style. See how they are marketing their work.

2. Secure a venue and date

I’d say do one before the other but it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you’ve got to dig around and see what dates are available where, first.

PRO-TIP:
Check out what other events are happening around that date. Better off putting on an event that isn’t competing with another night on the same day, or the same type of event the following day at the same venue.

3. Secure your artist / DJ line up.

Know what DJs you want to book and start confirming them, what their requested fees are, or make offers NOW.

PRO-TIP:
Find out all equipment requirements during the conformation stage. This is also a great time to set up your set times.

4. Promote your event

You’ve got all the details set in stone, now it’s time to put out the word. Flyers, facebook event pages and or videos.

PRO-TIP:
Give yourself PLENTY of time to do this. Events that are marketed farther in advance have better chances of doing well. Especially when there is a push for ticket sales.

If you REALLY want to go above and beyond find a local space (facebook page or forum) that shares dates of events and ensure other promoters in your area are made aware of your upcoming show. Working together as a community is a great way to help everyone win. Understanding this might not always be possible, it’s at least nice to try and consider other events in your area.

Other great articles and vlogs:

 

2018 Canadian Festival List & How To Set Yourself Apart In DJ Applications: According to Festival Promoters

Have you ever wondered how you could set yourself apart among the many artists submitting to music festivals? We talked to the pros, the people review submissions, fully invested in booking and running these festivals. They gave us some valuable information on how to get on their radar, stand out during the submission process and how to ensure a lasting positive impression once actually performing at these festivals. Leaving the kind of impact that gets you booked year after year. 

This is what Garret Friesen aka J.A. DJ, co-founder of Truespin Records, owner & operator at Smash n Grab Records and co-founder of Emotion Festival, had to say.

Emotion Music Festival - Stoney Ridge Campground
How can an artist get on your radar outside of music submissions?

Continue to work on their brand and get their name out there on shows, radio; anything to show that you’re serious about the music.

How can an artist application stand out among the rest?

A personal message to the festival is nice, proper media kits, links and fresh music. I don’t want to hear a mix from 3 years ago.

How can an artist ensure to leave a lasting impression both on the promoters and the audience?

Be professional, thank the promoter, audience and make sure you get that one on one time with the promoter or crew of the festival. I always ask my crew who they thought was great and who they connected with. We tend to bring those people back.

Kaeli Khaos manager and CEO of Enter Sandman Festival had a few things to add.

I guess the best way to get on the radar outside of music submissions would  be showing interest in the event itself. And for us personally  we are a grassroots event.  So its especially  important  to have support  from artists who would like to see it grow and  become a local spot for said folks!

I feel like an artists application can stand out the rest by being genuine. Playing from the heart and playing your own music, even if it may not sound quite as crisp. Really enjoy the time you spend making a mix/tracks. But most of all, playing for you. Don’t play for other’s expectations, as you don’t tend to do your best.

As for the last point: a lasting impression may not necessarily be a good one. Some say bad publicity is still good publicity. Don’t get too drunk. Lol. That leaves an impression. But seriously I feel like a performer has to captivate the crowd. Moving around and having stage presence is important. Showing the crowd you really enjoy the music you are sharing. Im sure there is much more but I feel like this is an
important one.



Fozzy Fest

Talent Director Adam Bradley at Fozzy Fests and co-founder & CEO of Truespin Records, points out a couple things that really stood out to me. 

How can an artist get on your radar outside of music submissions?
First thing would be if you are in the area then coming out to events and showing support. Volunteering at our pre-parties when we need and helping out around the scene in general. We like people who care about what we do and want to help bring things to the next level.
Also of happen to not be in Calgary then volunteering at the main festival goes along way. A lot of our artists started out as stage hands, front gate or even security back in the early days.
Finally being present online with posts, shares, comments, & just being excited about FozzyFest in general. We are a close knit, and very passionate team and like to welcome like minded individuals to play. 

How can an artist application stand out among the rest?
Be as original as possible these days. We know it’s tough with there being so many artists out there but just digging for those extra special couple tracks that set your sound apart from the rest can go along way. Also original material. Even if it isn’t the best production, the fact that you are putting your all into your craft and trying to better your music means a lot, shows passion & dedication. And finally if you play any live instruments then see if there is a way to incorporate them into your set / sounds. Be the next K+Lab with a keytar type idea. I personally love seeing artists bring new things to the table that I wouldn’t have thought of that work so so well.

 

How can an artist ensure to leave a last impression both on the promoters and the audience?
I’d say again, try and be as original as possible, whether it be instruments, visuals for us to put in the screens, or just showing that little bit extra of confidence in your abilities goes along way, but careful not to be arrogant cause well, we all know we’re that’ll get you haha
And that brings me to my final point… Just have fun! Audience’s love being interactive with the artists and if the artist is up there jamming out with a big smile on their face and right with the crowd and not have their heads down staring at the decks or look out of sorts / not having fun, then the crowd will keep coming back to you for more.

Bass In The Bush

Jordan Chappel festival organizer and talent booker of Bass in the Bush reminds us that:

An artist can get on our radar by either having friends tell us through the grapevine, or seeing artists play venues close to town or music festivals.

How an artist application can stand out is by having a more professional style email sent in, with a little write up about yourself and the style music you play. Make sure its the right style for the venue or show you are applying for. EX. If its a real heavy bass show don’t apply saying you a psy trance dj.”

Last but not least, when it comes to lasting impressions:
“Humbleness is key for me. We deal with a lot of djs throughout the year; with shows in Saskatoon and our festival. The djs that stick out most are the ones who have good stage presence. Stickers are always key in making people remember you and get lost in the crowd, make friends with your audience and promoters!”


Agata Raymond Photography

Dylan Havok aka Sevnde production manager of Odyssey Gathering had the last words on this as he prep for travel overseas:

Getting on the radar?

– Play out
– Throw events
– Produce music
– Build a following.
– Be more active on social media ie. status posts, page posts, group posts, shared community posts

Standing out on submissions?

– Keep is short but personalized (unique) have relevant music links (newish mixes or tracks that will reflect what you will bring to the event.)
– High quality photo, a set up Facebook page and a soundcloud (mixcloud), evidence of a dj/ producers activity, visible tour dates or fresh material.

Be familiar with the festivals vibes – check out previous lineups. If we don’t have any of a specific genre in previous years chances are we might not have that genre next year. Apply for events that you would be a good fit.

And finally here is our electronic music festival list for Canada. Did we miss any?

Song & Surf Feb.09-11 Renfrew, BC
Bass in the Bush May 18-21 Sask, SK
Vibrant Music Festival June 01-03 Invermere, BC
Cosmic Dream June 01-03 Alberta
Odyssey Gathering Jun.01-03 Alberta
Festival D’ete De Quebec Jun.05-15 Quebec
Ever After Jun.08-10 Kitchener, Ontario
SolSask Fest June 21-24 Saskatchewan
Escapade Fest June 23-24 Ottawa. On
KAMP Fest Jun.29-Jul.02 Kootenays, BC
Curiosity Festival June 29-Jul.02 Okanagan Valley, BC
RBC Bluefest July. 05-18 Ottawa. On
Bass Coast July 06-09 Merrit, BC
Evolve Festival July 06-09 Moncton, NB
Astral Harvest July 13-16 Alberta
Future Forest July 26-30 Fredericton, NB
Center of Gravity July 27-29 Kelowna, BC
Emotion Aug.02-05 Manitoba
Electric Sky Aug.03-05 Sask, SK
Osheaga Aug.03-5 Montreal, QC
Veld Fest Aug.04-05 Toronto, On
Chasing Summer Aug.04-05 Calgary, AB
Shambula Aug.10-13 Salmo, BC ( Near by)
Memetic Aug.16-19 Winnipeg, MB
Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival Aug.18 Lethbridge
Mutek Aug.22-26 Montreal, QC
Motion Notion Aug.24-27 Golden, BC ( Near by)
Enter Sandman Festival Aug. 31-Sept.03
Fozzy Fest Sept.13-16 Lake Koocanusa, BC
Wicked Woods Sept.27-30 Fairmont Hotsprings, BC
Piknik Electronic Summer Montreal, QB

Please keep in mind that some festivals are not listed because they have either not posted 2018 dates or are not running until 2019. Please double check before you send us a request to change the list. Thanks!

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More Helpful Articles & Video for DJs:

 

Building Better DJ Habits You Can Actually Stick To In The New Year

It’s 3 days into the new year and you may already be feeling off track from your goals. In this video I am going to talk about the 6 ways you can build better habits, ones you can actually stick to. I’ll go into more detail in the video.

1. Focus on the baby steps
2. Make it easy
3. Remove distractions
4. Build your like minded tribe
5. Utilize your creative hours
6. Reward yourself

More fantastic content for DJs and Producers:

 

2018 Festival Application DJ Check List

The snow is on the ground (depending on where you live) and the last thing a lot of us even want to think about is leaving the house. Well I’ve got good news for those of you that are DJs and Producers. This is the perfect time to utilize my free festival check list for the 2018 festivals (Download Link Here.)

1. Latest DJ Mix

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If you haven’t recorded one in the last 6 months or you simply don’t feel it’s a good example of what you would be playing at the upcoming festival, it’s time to update yours!

2. An up to date biography

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Make sure your biography lets the promoters know exactly what you’ve been up to, your accomplishments over the years and how you kept busy during the summer months, maybe an upcoming winter residency and previous music releases.

3. Get your social media up to date and or signed up

 The Power of accountability

Insure you are easy to find on social media, have your links updated and your profiles looking good. But “Why?” You ask? If you gain the booking, you’ll want somewhere to share the news. This will also showcase how active you are online as well! Are you engaging with your friends? Are you supporting other artists and promoters?

4. Have your up to date press-photos and logos ready to go!

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Making the promotional process easier for the promoter is always a bonus. If your press-photos are ready to go it’s an easy way for the marketing team to showcase YOU on their press releases for the event.

5. Check list of festivals to apply for

 Is their business practice of value?

Maybe you’ve apply for a festival already but in all the madness of applying, you’ve forgotten which one. Event planners are already bombarded by an intense amount of artist and volunteer applications. Make sure you’re only sending out one application per event. This is also how you can keep track of which applications are due, when. Some festivals have already closed the window for applying. So make sure you don’t miss out on anymore!

Bonus tips:

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What sets you apart?
Think about that ‘it’ factor. How are you different from other artists? Are you a producer that can also offer a workshop at the festival? Maybe you’ve recently joined a great label or audio company that could also become a sponsor or co-producer running one of the festival stages. Think inside the box, then think outside. What are people not ALREADY offering.

Selectively follow, support and engage!
If you apply for everything it may seem like your chances of playing goes up, but when you select the festivals that you feel most suit your style and you really believe in what they are doing, you can take time to really follow, support and engage with their pages. Festivals are a space where we are trying to build up our community and support the acts and vendors that are trying to create these spaces. Let’s not just apply but show what that community looks like.

More awesome articles:

3 Red-flags For DJs That Means It Is Time To Lean Into Change

Do you feel like you’re making headway however something is off? You’re not quite sure if it’s time to make some changes in your career? Well let’s jump into the #3 things that tell you it’s time!

1. If you’re waiting to be happy

“As soon as I get that first big break, I’ll feel successful.”
“The moment I get my track released on that label, I’m be rolling in it.”
“When I finally get that world tour book, I’l be happy.”

2. When you feel like this is all you’ve got coming to you

What’s worse than waiting to be happy? Thinking this is as good as it gets. YUCK!

By the ways here is an article on the mindset that is holding you back. 

3. When you start feeling jealous about what other artists are doing

Hello! I know I’ve been guilty of this myself. It’s hard not getting you’re ego in the way. The first thing a lot of us want to do (especially when we are getting jealous) is to blame them, “They are kissing up!” or “They probably paid for plays, likes, reactions.”

STOP! time to REASsESS 

When I find yourself doing this, it’s a great time to investigate. That hard part is not letting your ego get in the way. It’s easy to want to shift the blame and think someone had it easier. But this is the time to REALLY dig deep. What is it that someone else is doing that is working for them? Why are other people happy, healthy, successful? What does that look like for me?

Here are 3 articles and videos that dive deeper on each topic:

How To Be A Happier DJ
Why You Need to Dream Bigger
What to do When You’re Not Getting What You Deserve

6 Ways to Gain Trust and Decode The Needs of Promoters

Not every potential client is looking for the same skill set or experience when booking a disc jockey. It’s important not only to ask the right questions but decode the needs of these business owners so you avoid wasting time and focus on what will help your clients. So how can we gain trust while figuring out their needs?

1. Leave your ego at the door

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Our ego LOVES to get in the way. You know the feeling, That need to correct people. Not only does this put most people into a fight of flight mode when it goes against their belief system, it makes us less likable. Yuck! And if that’s our first impression, well… you get the picture. While we all want to show our confidence in the business, check yourself before you wreck your chances.

2. Ensure Your Potential Client Is Heard

Are you in a business meeting and thinking about what to say next? Stop! Listen to your client. Hear what they are saying and think about what you’d like to know MORE about. If you want to gain trust they need to KNOW your invest and fully understand their needs. You can’t do this if you’re trying to finish their sentences or heaven forbid ‘correct’ them.

3. Ask Questions Regarding What You’ve Seen & Heard

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Dive into a comment they made. Maybe a potential client is talking about how they’d like to gain more notice of their new club. Keep it light but positive. “I took a look at the reviews online and it clear people really love coming here. Can you tell me what you’ve found has and hasn’t worked this far?” Or, “Why do you think you may be struggling to bring in more clients?” Instead of guessing, ask what their thoughts are, first. Maybe they are a new business and they haven’t considered hiring someone to market their brand? If the client it open to consider additional options to benefit the business, instead of promising them the world by booking you (which likely wouldn’t help in the long run) the questions open up the conversation about possible solutions.

4. Offer New Information In The Form of Questions

We did this a bit in number three however this is where you may be thinking about how this will effect your own live DJ Gig, for example sound. If you straight out tell a client that the quality of their sound is awful, after they just spent all that money on their new system, chances are there will be push back. However if you ask, “Have you thought about hiring someone to run sound for your establishment?”  If they’ve never thought about hiring someone to run this, here if your opportunity to sneak in the benefits of having an engineer to keep things running smoothly throughout the night. Or maybe they are thinking about doing top 40 bar music in a swanky lounge. Ask them if they’ve considered house music and what sort of mature, higher paying clientele that may bring in.

5. Avoid wasting energy on things they don’t need

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Some events don’t want nor need your help bringing in a clientele. This might sound odd at first, but if your doing an opening for a store, or maybe you’re a mobile dj doing a wedding, getting the word out about the event might not only be unprofessional but may clash with the marketing teams ideas. Maybe they’ve got an in house designer and that saved you time coming up with a new logo for the event you’ve got coming up.

6. Focus On Setting Yourself Apart While Adding To Your Clients Experience

We can’t do it all. I mean, we can but we just end up being, ‘okay’ at a bunch of things, instead of REALLY GREAT at one or two things that set us apart. To be a great DJ is to know what you can and can’t do so that you can delegate the rest. Maybe you are not the best at marketing a business, but you know a few great businesses that are. Maybe setting up sound is something you can do, but it time consuming and takes away from your performance. Hire or suggest a business hires someone. If you’re up front about what you can do but also give they client references, you’re giving them options they may have not considered so you can focus on the end goal. Putting on a fantastic DJ set.

Note: If you are just faking it through these interactions, people will see right through it. Practice this in your everyday life, with people you care about and you’ll soon see how your relationships can change. In turn it can make these business relationships and meetings go much smoother. So practice, practice, practice!

Speaking of promoters, you may want to avoid these nightmare ones or at least know HOW to deal with them.

More awesome Advice: