3 Common Mistakes To Avoid at DJ Gigs for both Beginners and Advance Artists

The absolutely worst time to have you vibe killed is during your own DJ set. These are situations both  beginner and experienced DJs can find themselves in. Below each example I’m going to touch on how this can effect BOTH seasoned vets and those still trying to hit that learning curve. Starting with one of the more obvious issues we note first.

1. Your Levels Are All Over The Place

If you haven’t been educated on the distortion followed by redlining your mixer, listen up now. If the sound on your mixer’s master output or even the channel in which you are mixing is hitting the red, the sound of your music is being compromised. We find this happens in few situations. The artist can’t hear their monitor and turn up their master output instead of their booth or maybe they simply do not know what is going on.

Solution: Find the loudest part of your track and see where the levels are on your mixer BEFORE you mix it in. This way you know that when at full volume your mix will not clip because you’ve change the level to match below 0.

2. Messy or lack of Eqing

 

This can go one of two ways. You’re not allowing for your tracks to breath or you are over EQing causing some uncomfortable sounds like harsh highs. Sometimes you’ve got both tracks match up perfectly and as you’re bringing in your next track the bass drops. Even though everything is in the same key you’re noticing your mix sounds muddy. In very active music like drum and bass and dubstep (the robots and dinosaurs fighting kind) the bass or multiple sounds can compete which is how you can end up with a unappealing sound. On the other side over eqing can also create some sharp even painful (for some of us) noise.

Solution:
This video is a simplified explanation on eqing.

3. Being under prepared

 

Whether you have a 5 hours gig at in a lounge where you’ve got to keep the atmosphere swanky or you’re at the club and have an opening slot for the headlining act. Being prepared is something most DJs aim for, but we don’t always think of the ‘what ifs’ and make assumptions about how the night may go down smoothly. In those situations when things go the wrong way, we are thrown off and suddenly our vibe is seriously killed. From technical issues with the software to a hardware cord snapping in two. Being prepared can start with the music, having the right vibe to ensure that if things to go awry there is a back up but it doesn’t end there.

Solution:
Make a list of things that could go wrong and then plan for it. From cords to ensure your programs are updated but also tested in advance. Double checking on the gear being supplied, even speaking with sound personal if your set ups are more extensive.

At the end of the day we’re human, we make mistakes and all the preparing in the world doesn’t mean you won’t run into issues from time to time. In our opinion and experience these are the common ones, so if you find this helpful please share with your DJ friends so we can all enjoy more smoothly run shows!

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How to STOP Missing Out On Paying DJ Gigs

It blows my mind the amount of times artists miss out on opportunities to make money. Not because there is something wrong with their talents or even something out of line with their style of music. As you’ll soon see for some of the silliest reasons disc jockeys around the world are missing out on quality, paying gigs. There may even be a few you didn’t think of yourself. I know number 3 surprised me the first few times. Let us start with something obvious but often missed.

1. You are simply not reliable

skill action man alone feet street

You have a business opportunity and you pass it by. Not because you can’t do it, but because you don’t make it a priority. A potential new client sets up a meeting with you and you never show or come too late and forget to bring that DJ mix you promised.

2. You are too slow to reply

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I’m sure you’ve heard that saying that the early bird gets the worm. If you respond quickly, execute on what you SAY you’re going to do; you’re already a head of the game. You’re showing that you are both reliable AND you are eager to work with them. But if you take your time, watch out because someone else WILL rise to the occasion and scoop up that gig.

3. You’re not charging enough
pay invest money 1

If you think putting your price too high seems pretentious, imagine what charging too little looks like. Why is charging a fair price important? Imagine purchasing discount clothing and you get tired of it before even wearing it. When your not invest you won’t feel bad about throwing them items away or forgetting that you ever own it. In the DJ world, sadly you become easily replaceable with too low of a price. Why? You won’t be the only one offering too low. If you can add value to your service, you’re talking a whole other game that I get into here. 

Need some help to figure out how much to charge, check out the DJ fee calculator here.

4. You rely on them for things that are your job

How to deal with haters

Unless you’re the IKEA of DJs you wouldn’t expect the newly weds to set up your equipment at a wedding you’re djing at. Or maybe you are a club DJ would you expect the bar manager to be responsibility for your evenings playlist? Extreme? I’ve have more than a few DJs playing after me asking me to help them figure out how to set up their Virtual DJ at a live gig.

5. You do the bare minimum
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You are either uninterested or don’t think do go above and beyond for your clients and or fans. It’s unfortunate because even the smallest of things can make a HUGE difference for those in support. For example you may consider doing a sound check before a dinner rush in a lounge to ensure you will not interrupt the dinner service. As a wedding DJ and master of ceremonies getting to know the wedding party before making introductions is a biggie. And if you are a DJ booked on a line up with many other artists, promoters and even fans tend to take note when you simply show up, play and then leave the event.

Think about the time you had exceptional customer service. People remember the employee that went above and beyond. The person noting even the smallest of details. Even with artists, people remember the talent that came up and spoke to them after the show or asked about their day. Fans remember the artist that took the time to support the other DJs that came on before their set.

Now I’m not saying put on a phony smile and make nice with people kissing babies and shaking hands. At the end of the day you’re going to do what works best for your brand. I think it’s worth consider your experience as a fan of other artists and what sort of treatment meant the most to you. Think about how you can implement it in your industry and then DO IT.

Enjoy this article? There is a hell of a lot more where that came from.

How to Become a More Confident DJ

I can and can’t recall my first DJ gig. I got drunk. It was about ten years ago. I was nervous as hell and thought alcohol would help my nerves. One drink turned into five and by the time I hit the decks, well… it was messy. Clearly it didn’t work for me. For my next few shows out I decided to just stick it out sober at least until after my sets. I choose to feel the uncomfortable feelings and play anyways. It didn’t instantly make me some flawless mixer of music but I did learn some valuable lessons in becoming a more confident DJ. Watching Mel Robbin’s recent workshop reminded me why this worked so well for me and even taught me some new things I’ve been using in production.

The three points she made that sent this message home were:

“1. Confidence is a skill – Mel Robbins”

skill dance man

No, I wasn’t confident going in but over time it became a skill. I knew that if the music was starting to slip, what to do. If I was having a difficult time mixing I’d double check and see if turning my monitor up would help, or if it was facing the right direction. If I couldn’t hear my music through the headphones, I’d take a breath, stop the panic… and realized they weren’t plugged in. As time went on the skills in calming myself down and just taking a moment to trouble shoot any issue helped me build the confidence that I could deal with whatever came at me and the rest was out of my hands.

“2. Confidence is situational – Mel Robbins”

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Even TODAY in some situations I feel more confident than others. If I am playing a club I’ve played at before or a piece of equipment I am more comfortable on, it’s no big deal. Hell sometimes just looking out into the room and seeing people I know and care about make all the difference. In the past I might looked up and see someone that I wanted to impress in hopes of a future booking and allowed it to make me nervous and throw off my game. While it may now actually get me excited about showing a new tune I think they’d enjoy.

“3. Confidence begins with action- Mel Robbins”

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You can’t think your way to confidence. You really just have to DO IT, take action and build it as a skill. Yes you’re going to feel out of your element and uncomfortable but the more you do it, the better you’ll get, which will build confidence and eventually you get so confident that you stop letting the little or even the big stuff throw you off.

So how can you apply this to your life, TODAY?

Start DOING, now. Get messy, make mistakes, do things you are unsure of and learn as you go. It’s how we build confidence. We built the habit of doubting ourselves, we weren’t born that way. How many times did we fall when learning how to walk and how many times did we get back up? You get it. Just start with where you are at.

Mel Robbins wrote an amazing book on taking action called, “The 5 Second Rule.” You can purchase here. I’ve also left a video below that dives into the science of why her rule works.

Find more awesome content here:

Why You Should Keep Doing The Thing People Are Making Fun of You For

I may not be the next Mark Zuckerberg but there is an important message to note. Facebook, Amazon and Paypal were considered ‘crazy’ ideas back in the day. And look who is laughing all the way to the bank about it. It may not be far from your own story.  I explain more in this video here with a few personal examples.

Enjoy this video? Maybe you have ideas on subjects you’d like to hear next. Send me a facebook message here. Or you can always Tweet at me here.

The REAL Reason DJs Dislike Branding And How To Get Past The Marketing Myths

If you’re like I was, you probably cringe at the word “marketing.” It sounds so damn corporate. But what I if told you it doesn’t have to be? That it’s not about saying, “buy my latest record” or “listen to my newest mixtape.” Promoting your brand can be authentic, it can bring value to others and even make you feel good about what you’re doing. But there is just one thing you have to do first. Get out of the mindset that marketing is a bad word so that you can take control with ease and STOP making excuses. Yes, I said it. Excuses about why you aren’t putting the effort into marketing. Let’s start with something easy.

1. The myth about marketing

Here is the good news. Marketing your brand doesn’t mean spamming people. Here is the bad news. It still takes effort on your end. Which should actually be good news to you because you can stop feeling like paying for likes is enough to get you a dj gig. It’s NOT. Stop telling yourself this is what people do, just to justify not trying. We are the rule not the exception and if  you focus on the exception of your perception you will feed into those beliefs.

2. You have more time then you think

djs need More time

It takes 5 minutes to check out a few local promoters, show your support and DM them on Instagram. Heck, you can do this while pooping. I’m not saying you should tell them to book you, (nor run your marketing from the bathroom) but start off by getting on their radar. People notice when you’ve just subscribed to their pages, commented on their recent content and show up to some of their events. It’s about focusing on the effort not the outcome. Keeping it small but in motion.

Pro tip: Take inventory of your time. How are you spending it and how can you spend it better? Are you on facebook too much? Read this article about what a social media detox could do for you.

3. You can create marketing content by doing what you love

Yes that’s right. You’re making radio a mix? Film it. Put it on your youtube channel. Boom, you’ve just created content for your video medium and guess what? It took 20 extra minutes of your life to set up a camera, record, upload it and write in a description and tags. You can get savvy and super creative with this. Think of producers that literally make tutorial videos out of music they are producing. Imagine gaining the kind of traction that gets these companies paying YOU to review their swag? Which leads me to number four.

4. Helping others IS promotion of your brand, too

Dj Investing in yourself FIRST

Do you like to help people? Does it make you feel good? Awesome! You’re able to market your brand this way too. When you give people something of value, you’re giving them a reason to come back to your brand’s pages. You’re someone they are going to think of when they need a DJ or knows someone that might need one.

Having trouble getting started? Read this article on how to STOP procrastinating STARTING now. 

5. Start being patient, now

Get it out of your head that people are overnight successes. Those are 10, 20 even 30 years in the making and you don’t know the full story about how someone got where they are. Heck you don’t know what crap they went thru to get there. How many failures they had to make, just to get that ‘big break.’ I know for me I’ve been a DJ for over a decade, I’ve had my ups and down and loads of experience. But when I rebranded 3 years ago, people that never knew me before the changeover were shocked that I already had a bit of a following seemingly, ‘overnight.’ I didn’t. And there is a lot about the new image that put me at square one. So don’t judge a brand by its facebook fanpage and then give up before anything really had a chance to happen.

6. Less really is more

If you have 10,000 facebook friends but rarely anyone comments, likes or shares your content; let alone comes to your shows, it doesn’t mean much. But if you have 100 fans and 70% of them show up at your events, share your mixes and stay in touch, you’ve hit the jackpot! It’s always better to find your niche rather than try to make EVERYONE happy. So stop worrying about the numbers and start executing on the things you can control.

All you can do is focus on yourself. If you focus on others but you don’t dive into their story or you allow it to prevent you from ever working any harder, well… that’s on you. Not them. It’s not our responsibility to change others. All we can do is be the change we want to see in this world. And don’t feel bad if after reading this you STILL don’t want to market yourself. Not every DJ wants to tour the world or get their music out there. Some just want to play music and chill with friends and that’s totally cool too. Just try to remember there are those that want more and that is okay too. That doesn’t make all marketing, bad marketing. So if anything please remember to encourage your friends and their dreams. You never know who might be the next big act and you don’t ever want to be the person that motivated them by saying they couldn’t do it.

Do you think you may have a fixed mindset? Do you need a psychological adjustment so you can let go of what you can’t control and start taking action today? Read this article here.

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

You meet another DJ and think, “Cool we have something in common. We are both disc jockeys.” But as you get to know this person they may not be on the same page. Maybe they aren’t very passionate about music or maybe they are totally business driven. Whether you decide to add them to your good vibe DJ tribe or not, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself FIRST.

1. What sort of vibes does this person give me?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Do you feel energize after speaking with them or do you feel emotionally drained? Think about it. Maybe you went to a business meeting and you thought you were both on the same page about things, but when you walked away from the conversation you felt exhausted maybe even a bit stressed out. This is likely your gut telling you, slow down. Something is off here. Whether the vibes are electrifying or not try number two.

2. Can you learn from this person?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Do you feel like this person has a lot of experience and knowledge to share, maybe on a topic you’re not quite sound on? Do they seem open to share that information or do they hold their cards close to their chest? Maybe they ask you questions about the way you run your business that gets you thinking about something you haven’t really dived into before. But don’t forget in turn to ask yourself the third question.

3. Can this person benefit for YOU?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Relationships need to be a two way street. You need that balance of give and take or else someone’s going to feel taken advantage of. (Yes, could be you.) So show people the love, help where you can and see how you can make this relationship mutually beneficial. No matter how much more experienced you feel they are,  you still have something to give. What is it?

4. Does this person motivate you?

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

Now this doesn’t have to be a direct act of someone trying to push you towards your dreams nor cheer you on, “You can do it!” But it could be someone that strives for greatness in themselves, someone that will keep you on your toes in trying something a little out of your comfort zone. Sometimes for me it’s just being around someone that it always interested in learning and trying new things. Maybe it’s an instrument or taking a production workshop. It gets me excited and thinking about what I can do next. How I can do MORE.

But Kilma, why must I feel incentive?
Look, you may think you’re doing well because out of all your friends you work the hardest… but if the hardest is just an extra hour of practice here and there it’s not really enough. When you have people around you doing more or simply things you’re not doing it’s incentive to learn, to ask questions and to make you weakness your strength. And to add to that, sometimes we keep certain people in our life because it makes us feel like we are doing well because we are doing better/more than them.

How To Find Your Good Vibe DJ Tribe

The last note to keep in mind; sometimes the people in your tribe are NOT djs. Maybe they are a sound engineer or restaurant owner. Some of the people in your tribe may just be industry influencers that you watch from a far, read their books and take their webinars. There are many different ways to create our tribe, but mostly it’s about keeping that good vibe going while surround ourselves with people that are just as if not MORE driven then us so we can continue to strive for greatness. 

The Power of Accountability and Steps To Taking Responsibility Even When It’s Not Your Fault

Part of being a professional business owner is to hold your team and yourself accountable. We do this by acknowledging customer complaints and trying to make right of a bad situation. Unfortunately this is something that is easier said then done. Where a lot of people get stuck is when they truly do not believe they’ve done wrong and or it actually is someone else’s fault. So how do we know the difference and how do we deal with each?

1. Acknowledge, apologize and ask for more information

The Power of accountability

Even if there is little chance that this issue is on you, it’s important to acknowledge the situation, apologize that this person is experiencing it and get more information. Ignoring the complaint can actually result in someone thinking there is an issue when there is not.

2. Take Action and let people know you are.

The Power of accountability

It is time to investigate the complaint. Talk to all involved parties, get the facts and try your best NOT to be bias. Maybe you have a lovely employee that makes mistakes but you let it slide because you like them as a human being. If they are inconveniencing customers a change needs to happen. The client needs to know that you are addressing the situation and you need to make sure you in fact do!

3. Take responsibility for your part and make things right

The Power of accountability

Maybe you hired a company to set up sound at an event and they were late. Or maybe one of your team members forgot to bring the proper equipment and one of your headlining artist’s set has been delayed. If you blame those people and don’t bother to fix the situation, you’ll quickly become a part of the problem. However if you take responsibility and try to fix the situation post haste you can gain back he confidence of your client.

STOP: Ask yourself, “How could I make this situation go more smoothly next time? What should I have done differently to ensure this hadn’t happen?” This is NOT the time to become a victim. This is the time to take control of the situation and do the best you can with what you got.

4. Follow up

The Power of accountability
Do not skip this step! It’s important that the complaint has not only been resolved but that you are able to tell the customer how you will be implementing a new system in the work place to avoid future issues.

Consider this. People are more likely to share a bad experience with their friends, then to actually share a positive review of a business. Taking steps like these can change those numbers. Not only that, but you are the type of business people will want to work with.

Dare say, accountability is sexy?