If you’re trying to get your first DJ gig, or maybe land a few more, there are some things to consider. Nothing is free, but anything is possible! You just need to sharpen your approach.
Networking is a huge part, and the best way to network is to start genuinely supporting other people.
#1 – Attend and support the clubs you want to play at
This is the most effective yet most neglected strategy!
Make your face known. You should really be interested in being a part of the nightlife as a punter anyway – even if you’re not a party animal you should be keen to see other acts play and support your peers.
You should be genuine about this – don’t just rock up to throw a mix at the promoter and expect a gig on the spot. Show some genuine support over time, you might even want to join the promotion team – this is a great way to get some opener slots as you’re actually offering something in return.
Good clubs are built around a community of like-minded music lovers. Become one of them!
#2 – Start from the bottom
Like any industry, you’re probably going to start at the bottom. You might not have to sweep the floors but chances are you’ll start playing very early (or very late) set times.
You’ll have to earn your place on the roster and work your way up – just like in any other workplace. Nothing happens overnight, and nothing is free.
#3 – Learn how to open
As above – you’ll probably start as an opener. I’ve seen some arguments in Facebook groups about how people should be able to play whatever they want regardless of set time, but I’m here to say this just isn’t the case.
Dance floor energy is a thing. In most clubs it is built up slowly throughout the night, gifting the headliner with a primed crowd ready to turn it up a notch. You need to leave some gas in the tank. The headliner has earned his or her turn through years of hard work.
Entitlement has no place here, openers are booked to serve a specific purpose, and it’s your job to know what that is in whichever club you’re playing. If you followed tip #1 – you should know exactly how the energy works in that club.
#4 – Make a name as a producer
Yes you can purely be a DJ if you want to, but just know that most headliners these days are producers first and foremost. This is how they build a name, a following, and differentiate themselves from everyone else.
Building a name for yourself as a producer can ultimately make the bookings come to YOU. Promoters and bookers are often big music fans themselves and like to book artists they listen to.
They also want to book an artist with a following, so they get enough people through the door to cover your fee.
#5 – Do all the above at the same time!
These tips aren’t exclusive – I suggest doing them all at the same time. Your chance of being booked will increase tenfold!
As always, don’t just sit in your bedroom waiting for a record label, booking agency or manager to come to you. You can take your career into your own hands and start making those moves!
LOLO BX <3