A few weeks ago a guy by the name Dave Lander, AKA DJ Digital Dave, posted the following on Facebook. It's so well written and spot on, I wish I had written it myself. Although I didn't I still felt it needed to be shared. So with Dave's approval, I'm posting it on my blog. Read, absorb, and enjoy!
Ladies and Gentlemen of the DJ class of ’14. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, always taking your backpack out of your car would be it. The guarantee of not having your laptop stolen is a provable and beneficial fact whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.
Be yourself. As you go through time you will realize that you'll never be able to impress every promoter and every other DJ and in the end you'll be unhappy for not staying true to yourself.
Value yourself. There is no benefit to undercutting others. The result is making enemies, working for substandard pay and supporting a system that will eventually result in someone else undercutting you.
Don't take gigs that don't fit you . If you are a hip-hop DJ taking an EDM gig will only lead to frustration, butting heads with the promoter and no matter what you won't even have fun.
Don't play bangers in your opening set.
Play music for the vibe of the venue where you are performing. Playing DMX in a hookah bar is akin to an Italian Restuarant having General Tso's Chicken on their menu. It will only make you look like a fool.
Try not to let narcissistic customers get you down, not only do they not care about you, they don't care about anyone else in the venue but them self. Whether you play their song or not, let what they say go in one ear and out the other.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind, the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults. If you
succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Listen to Chromeo.
Don't ever "fake it." You'll only make enemies and in the end you'll never win the race.
Enjoy your gigs. You are blessed to be paid to play music. Do not take it for granted.
Don't play airhorns. Avoid hype mixes at all costs. Don't play mashups in clubs. That all got burnt out by 2008. Realize it and don't fight it.
Play one song every night that most of your crowd doesn't know.
Don't work at clubs with metal detectors. Every club I have worked at with a metal detector someone has always brought a weapon into the club and used it.
Listen to old soul music. Most DJ's never try, those who do try always love it in the end. You will not regret it.
Play for your crowd. This doesn't mean play every request. It solely means to leave your crowd with an overall positive experience.
Maybe you'll play in Vegas, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll produce a number one record, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have to play polkas at a wedding in a VFW. The race is long make sure you enjoy the trip.
Don't put yourself in a box. If you wanna play something play it. Don't let arbitrary intangible musical boundaries constrict you. Some of the most successful DJs are those who have broken down musical boundaries.
Help your friends and root for them to succeed. There is far too little of this in the DJ world right now. Do it and you can make a positive difference for your culture.
Learn your history. If you don't know Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash, Frankie Knuckles or Larry Levan, look them up. You live in a world where information at your fingertips. Don't forsake the opportunity to learn. Those who came before you spent more time and effort to learn that you can ever imagine. You don't know life without the internet.
Go to a record store at least once in life.
Accept unfortunate realities. Some DJs will always undercut, some owners will always screw you and some customers will always be rude. Don't let it worry you too much, you'll regret not living more carefree in the end.
Some of this advice you may not listen to, some may not apply to you, some you may view as my personal invalidated musings, which is fine. You have every right to do so. But trust me on the backpack.
Dave is a great writer in general, if you'd like to follow or learn more about him, here's his Facebook page: