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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The Key to a Good Night and Festival Out

With a background in nursing and a recent switch to urban planning, Stacey Forrester is both fascinated and passionate about the role space plays in healthy outcomes. This comes into play in the night life and annual festivals. Working alongside Bass Coast for the past 6 years, while also starting the Good Night Out project with her feminist soulmate, Ashtyn Bevan almost 3 years ago, it’s clear she’s on a mission. Her motive to make the nightlife and festival a safe a space.  Make sure you check out their guide to safer spaces and how touring artists can get involved HERE!

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Can you share a bit about your background in Harm reduction and how that plays a role in your current work?

“My educational background is in health care and I worked in harm reduction for almost a decade so with Bass Coast, it emerged as  a natural extension of my work passion, allowing it to  spill over into a community I care deeply about. Festival harm reduction allows me to explore my fascination with the built environment and health / well-being….what happens at festivals that results in people feeling connected, creative and safe to express themselves?  Is it the people? Is it the “container?” is it both….How can that translate to life outside of the festival? What  education can patrons receive here, that will help them to  keep themselves and each other safe at events the rest of the year?? These are all things I am constantly  trying to explore  in my approach.” – Stacey 

In your opinion how do art and music influence social norms?

“Great Question….

So …space (a be it festival,bar, family holiday dinner)   is never “neutral” and how it is decorated,(not just literally – but what we fill it with) influences how people feel – about themselves, about each other, about their community-  so at a festival if you have art and music  and performance that patrons are not just encouraged to be entertained by – but rather to co create, share, contribute to – I feel that has that a direct impact on people’s sense of connection – and people who live with a sense of connection are more likely to seek out supports, more likely to intervene when they see someone acting problematically in the group.

I have always said that one of the components of Bass Coast’s Harm Reduction is the art. The art grants allow people in the community to contribute to the experience of the weekend and it helps prevent sense of entitlement from becoming a norm. A dangerous norm at a mass gathering  is the entitlement to  be “ entertained” or to just be consuming the event passively.” – Stacey 

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“Also art and music  and performance by diverse gender expressions, bodies, cultures helps prevent any one group from becoming a prop for the party, which is a great norm to have.

I think we are heading into a new time in society where we can really explore  arts role as messenger and educator. Historically art is often positioned as a reaction to culture, but I am drawn art that sits at the nexus of  aesthetically pleasing and informative. Think of how HEINOUS literally all public health information is – drug and alcohol or safer sex pamphlets – like is there not a way to deliver this information that is also nice to look at? That is one aspect of Bass Coast’s harm reduction program that I enjoy – it doesn’t have to be cheesy. We have made it our own.

Last April I collected messages of support for sexual assault survivors from the public  and projected them down town on buildings, kind of Jenny Holzer inspired – I think that reflects my interest in where those things can intersect.” – Stacey 

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Why do you feel it is important more festivals get involved in these types of projects?

“All mass gatherings need harm reduction in some capacity. There are many different ways to approach it, all of which can be worked into the “brand” of the event.  To not put plans and interventions in place to mitigate the harms that come from a bunch of people 19+ creating a small village to party in ( which may involve the consumption of drugs and / or alcohol in) is VERY dangerous.  If you are all about “community” it has to include offering supports for that community to access to help keep themselves safe.” – Stacey 



You also run a very important mission, Good Night Out. What motivated you to start it up?

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“I do Good Night out with an amazing woman Ashtyn Bevan. I was already doing a different project around street harassment and Ashtyn reached out wanting to do something to talk about harassment on nights out. It came from a place of experience of having (too often) had someone being creepy ruin what was an amazing night out, and wanting less bad nights out, more amazing ones.

And here we are, nearly 3 years later running a street team in one of the most MACHO club districts ever and partnering with the Junos.  Its about wanting a shift in the nightlife economy to one where consent culture prevails, masculinity can deal with rejection, and where women / femmes / non-men are not just safe but fucking celebrated instead of made to feel objectified or unsafe.” – Stacey 


If someone were to use Good Night out, what would that look like?

“We work with anyone who has connections to shows, raves, concerts festivals – so whether one is a promoter, venue owner or patron, we offer workshops for all sectors .It covers what is happening, why this stuff happens (spoiler alert: patriarchy, heteronormativity and racism),what risks exist at your event and practical ways to address them.

That whole package sounds super like buzzkilly, but I promise it is delivered in a way that also acknowledges all the fun reasons about why people go out. It’s a fun workshop. ” – Stacey 

Where do you see your work going in the future?

I think that we are living in a watershed moment both in harm reduction (thanks to fentanyl) and sexual harassment / assault  (thanks to #metoo). I think I have found a niche in making both of  these topics “cool” and easy and waaaaay less daunting than they appear.  So hopefully I get to ride this out a bit and have this conversation a lot more with people who want to implement change at their event or in their community.

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How can people get involved with the Good Night Out?

“Like us on Facebook to see what we are all about – Good Night Out Vancouver. If we speak to you and you want to be connected to volunteer opportunities shoot us a message from there.” – Stacey

How can festivals get in contact if they are interested in working with you and knowing more about what you offer?

Going through Good Night Out is best for that too – just shoot an email:
Vancouver@GoodNightOutCampaign.org. 

Make sure you check out their guide to safer spaces and how touring artists can get involved HERE!

Final words or question you think I should asked?
“No – thank you for this!” – Stacey 

Check out there website here: GoodNightOutCampaign.org

Other website Festival related articles here:
2018 CANADIAN FESTIVAL LIST & HOW TO SET YOURSELF APART IN DJ APPLICATIONS: ACCORDING TO FESTIVAL PROMOTERS
2018 FESTIVAL APPLICATION DJ CHECK LIST
WHAT DJS SHOULD HAVE LEARNED DURING FESTIVAL SEASON
DELIBERATE, COINCIDENCE OR LACK OF EFFORT FOR DIVERSITY AT FESTIVALS
HOW TO LAND DJ GIGS DURING FESTIVAL SEASON

 

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:

 

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Planning for the New Year

Before planning for the new year, I like to reevaluate the previous year. I do this because it gets me to question just how efficient I am being with my time, money and energy. It’s not an easy task mind you, because it’s one where we must be TRULY honest with ourselves and it’s easy to make excuses. If however you can be direct in finding those answers, the benefits will far outweigh the slight discomfort. Moving forward you can really start to change the behaviours that are not working. I find it best to write these answers down starting with the question:

1. What did you set out to accomplish this year?

2. Why or why didn’t you achieve these goals?

3. How can you do differently moving forward?

 

More awesome ADVICE 4 DJS

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:

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!

Awesome helpful articles: