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:

 

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 

Good Night Out - Harm Reduction

“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

 

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:

 

Pro Tips For DJs During The Off Season

Right in the beginning of the year many DJs complain that there really aren’t enough DJ gigs coming in. It’s right after Christmas and New Years, Festival season is far away and the high time for weddings is months away. In this video I talk about some tricks and tips to preparing for the high season while you’ve got the down time now.

1. Make Playlist for EVERY occasion.
Whether it’s an art show, store opening or headlining an event. Make sure you’ve got a variety of playlists ready to go.

2. Organize, pre-pack and plan.
Think of anything that can go wrong or that you might need and pack it. Maybe it’s a couple of back up usbs, headphones, ear plugs and a power bar. Add in a few converters and headphone adapters.

3. Update your equipment and test your equipment.
Ensure your cords are sending sound both left and right, link cables are in good working condition and any updates have not only been done, but you’ve tested.

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