The DJ booth can be a lot of different things. A perfect perch to overlook the club, a confessional, a dance floor or a VIP area, sometimes, it can even be a booth for the DJ. You have a perfect view of everything from the booth, and sometimes those things that are seen, you wish you can un-see. Ah yes, the good ol’ DJ booth. Sometimes the best epiphanies happen there, the best advice is born, and for some, it’s a safe-haven.
As above mentioned, one can be witness to some very real and very wild things from the DJ booth. But today, we are going to focus on what is heard in the DJ booth. More specifically, the questions people ask of the DJ. What’s more surprising is how frequent these questions get asked. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy conversations with people at the club, well as much as 2-3 minute spans between song transitions allow. But sometimes these questions can get out of hand. What I’ve decided to do, is compile a list of questions that have been asked of me and fellow DJs.
Along with this list of FAQs, I’ll add the answers both real, and hypothetical. I say hypothetical because in the moment you may want to be diplomatic, and not answer (but in your mind you’re Sparta-kicking that person out of the booth). Or maybe you’re so astonished by the question that you forget to answer the way your heart truly felt. Hopefully this gives my fellow DJs a sigh of relief to know you’re not alone, and fellow non-DJs a chance to rethink what they want to say as they approach the DJ booth.
Can I charge my phone in the DJ booth?
Hmmm, well in these booths now a day, I barely have enough plugs to plug everything I need, so … NO.
Can I make a song request?
This one is a little tricky. A lot of my fellow DJs gladly accept requests, others are very against it. My rule of thumb is this; Private event, yes. Club, probably no, just jam out to the DJ.
Can I put my purse back here?
Do I know you … if not, NO.
Can I put my jacket back here?
Please see prior Q&A.
Can I take a nap in the DJ booth?
Sure. Wait, did you say nap?! NO!!
Can you play this song off of my phone?
See, this is what I was talking about when I said “maybe you’re so astonished by the question…” Really dude/dudette?! I’d like for you to go back in time, go to a club in the 90’s, make a request of the DJ and when they don’t have it in their crate of records, ask if they can play if off your phone. I know, technologically this wouldn’t be possible, but you get my drift. Answer, NO!
If you don’t have the song, can’t you just play if off of YouTube?
This is when your inner King Leonidas comes out! What kind of a world do we live in, where people genuinely think that us professional DJs, let me say that again… PROFESSIONAL DJs, are playing off of YouTube? Yes, that’s a laptop, it has MY library of music, no I don’t have WiFi here. Answer, NO, with a Sparta-kick.
Why do you have headphones/what do you use them for?
Ok, I get it, some may wonder how headphones are actually used in this setting. Well, they are definitely used, and they are definitely a very useful part of the set up, just like everything else. I get extra sensitive with this question because I’ve had people tell me, “I thought they were just for show.” Really?! I just want to have these things on my head for show? Ok, let me bring it down a couple notches as I explain the use of headphones. Headphones are used to cue and listen to the next song. Us DJs want to hear the next song (before you, the audience) to make sure it sounds good, make sure we have it cued to where we want to play it, and to make sure we’re satisfied with the selection of the next song. In a crunch, headphones can also be used as a microphone. I just blew your mind didn’t I?
It’s 10pm, can you play (insert trending, hot track name here)?
Well, seeing how we just opened and started playing music, probably not. I know this concept is hard to grasp so let me give you a little background. Most DJs follow a strict “never play a song twice” rule. Obviously there are times where this rule has to be bent, but for the most part, it stands strong. With that being said, at 10pm, usually when clubs open, there is typically no one at the club. We usually reserve the hot trending tracks for peak hour, which, depending on where you are, is around midnight to 1am. The warm up hour is 10pm to about 11pm. This is when the DJ plays some older, but still good music. Sometimes newer music that hasn’t become popular. Either way, it’s this time that’s reserved for the music that’s going to get you in the mood for the night.
Can you play my song next?
90 percent of the time, NO. There are occasions that the song that’s requested just so happens to fit right in with what’s playing. I’ve had plenty of these instances, but I still usually wait until a couple songs later to play the request. Call me mean, but I’m trying to rid the world of the entitled “play my song next!!” mentality. There are certainly other times that your requests simply does not fit. Though you think it does in your head, it just doesn’t, so stop, please. There is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration about your request and why it can’t be played next. Things to take into consideration are the tempo, the beats per minute, the key of the song. the flow, oh and probably the biggest one, the beats per minute, did I already mention that? For the sake of humanity and the sanity of DJs everywhere, please rid the term “can you play my song next?” out of your vocabulary!
I don’t like this song, can you go to the next one?
Oh, I didn’t know I was your personal iPod. NO!
Hey, I’m a DJ too, can I spin a couple tracks?
Guy: You mind if I stand up here and watch?
I don’t know you, so probably not.
Woman: Is it ok if I stand up here?
Hmmm, I don’t know you, but you’re cute…..Ok, but stand over there. If you abuse your privilege, SECURITY!!!
Woman: Do you have a girlfriend?
Yes, she’s right there.
Can you give my friend a shout-out?
First time, ok, second time, NO!
Can you DJ my party/event/club/etc.?
Let’s talk money and business first, then I’ll let you know.
There you have it kids, a list of frequently asked questions that DJs hear all the time. I’m sure I’ve missed a couple that other DJs deal with, if so, let me know, and I’ll update the list. To my fellow DJs, I feel your pain, to the non-DJs, please take note, and have consideration next time you approach your hard working DJ.