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

 latest dj mix

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

 limiting your time

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:

 live dj producer speakers music

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.

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5 Habits of The Happiest DJs

Have you ever wondered what the happiest of DJs are doing differently from the rest? You see some artists successful however… miserable. Meanwhile others really seem to have it together. In my personal search for happiness, while also trying to find that work-life balance that fits a family, I really had to dig deep on a personal level. So I sought out the research while checking out what some of the happiest artists are doing. What I found across the board was that:

1. They are optimist about their future

 5 habits of the happiest djs

What holds you back from sharing that new DJ mix or pursuing the music production world? It seems the common theme here is, ourselves. When you feel the possibilities are almost limitless there is nothing stoping you. Self-doubt however ( a learned habit) really seems to the the #1 thing people allow to stop them from taking action, even when they seem to be pointing the finger at everyone else.

2. Can and do savour the present moment

 5 habits of the happiest djs

When we become present, something really amazing happens. We aren’t dwelling on the mistake we made in our last track transition nor are we worried about whether or not we’ll have a great review on our mobile DJ facebook page. We are able to appreciate the fact that right here and now we are getting to make money doing the thing we love, that we are present with our  crowd experiencing the music we love and enjoy.

3. are deeply COMMITTED to their life ambitions and goals

 5 habits of the happiest djs

It means that even when you’re not rolling in the money and are spending countless hours working on a new track, you are fully invested in the bigger picture. You work hard at the things that you find tedious so that you can continue on with your passion in the long run.

4. show STRENGTH & cope well while face challenges

 5 habits of the happiest djs

Understanding that one bad situation with a promoter is a learning experience and doing differently moving forward, is huge. It’s adjusting to a situation where maybe things weren’t probably set up in advance but you’re making the best of a situation and keeping a professional manner about yourself. It’s being a supportive DJ and producer when those around you need that strength.

5. devote time to family & friends

 5 habits of the happiest djs

Last but definitely not least, making time for those we care about. I know both for my family and myself, being able to be present and spend quality time together not only builds stronger bonds and intimacy but it keeps us grounded. Even when we absolutely LOVE the work we do, we thrive on connections outside of business, too.

Did we miss anything on this list? Share your thoughts on facebook. What habit really stood out to you?

More great Articles and vlogs here:

 

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.

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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

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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
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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”

Skill action man street

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”

skill street feet man alone

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.

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