The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.
I DJ once a week at an old Italian restaurant, Mulberry St. I started DJing, primarily, because I couldn’t find a bar I liked to go to on Friday nights in downtown Fullerton, where I live. It’s all top 40, dub step, and stuff you are meant to “grind” to. I take a different approach to DJing. Here are some guidelines I’ve made for myself, as a DJ:
1.)Listen to other people. Take requests, unless that request is for a song that you don’t like, or one you don’t have.
2.)Only play music that you like. Some might call this selfishness. I call it integrity.
3.)Don’t play the music so loud that people can’t have real conversations. People, in general, are lonely and one of the reasons they go out is to talk to people and feel a part of something.
4.)Try to play music that people haven’t heard before.
5.)Don’t try to play what is considered “popular.” Popular music tends to be rather shallow. Instead, play what you love.
6.)Always be open and searching for new music. “New” might mean a blues record from 1934.
7.)Real records are preferable to digital files. They sound warmer and have more soul.
8.)As in life, seek to be different and unique. Try to create a “vibe” where people walk in and think, “This is unlike any DJ set I’ve heard before.” If someone walks in and thinks, “This place sounds like everywhere else,” you fail.
9.)Don’t do it for the money. If money is your main purpose, don’t be a DJ. That is the problem with music these days (people doing it mostly for the money).
10.)If a record skips or you “mess up,” that is okay. It lets people know that a human is playing the music, and not a machine.
11.)Invite friends to DJ with you. Sharing good music is something almost everybody loves to do.
12.)Above all, as in life, follow your heart. Seek to let the music channel and express a beautiful part of yourself.
Photo by Christie Yuri Noh