Every DJ knows how important it is to be constantly playing gigs.
Nowadays you can find a huge amount of people claiming to be DJs with very little skill to show for, and that might get in your way if you’re starting out.
If you already have your thing going, you will still find obstacles and you have to stay smart to keep your wave going and growing.
Whether you are a professional DJ looking for more gigs or you’re starting out, be sure to read our best advices for every step of the way.
DO I HAVE A PLACE IN THE MARKET?
This part is destined to those who are still shaping their identity as a DJ.
Think of yourself in a number of fronts: image, performance, presence and so on. Contractors will look at you as whole when considering you for their party, so let’s look at how you can work your professional profile to increase your chances of getting that gig you’re looking for.
This is not about shaping you into any kind of market, this is about showing your best self, because you definitely have a place to fit in.
1. HAVE A VISUAL ID
You will link contractors to your website or social media page, and whether he checks one link or all links you sent, they must show you as one. This means having a logo, promo shots, release covers and others that will be on the front of these pages.
You can make your own logo, but in order to get the best results it’s better to hire a graphic designer, because this professional will be able to capture the essence of your work and translate it into something visually fitting.
Another advantage is that you can bring your input to the table so that the final result is of your liking. Don’t forget to have more than one option, mostly your logo on different backgrounds or colors.
Your promotional pictures must also express your concept as a DJ, so find a good photographer and discuss the possibilities. Look at Marek Hemman, for example.
He’s a deep house producer from Germany with a discography of calm, soothing and groovy tracks, and his press photos show exactly that.
In that sense, his music, his logo and his picture match perfectly, showing his best self as an artist.
Check out one of his sets to get an idea how Marek sounds.
2. HAVE YOUR OWN KIT
Now that you have your photos, your logo, and, of course, your music, let’s look at how to put it together.
The piece of material you need to send contractors is a press kit. It will have every information needed to facilitate your gig hunting and the contractor’s life.
Have some short but engaging text talking about your background in music, your style of DJing or how unique are your selections.
No need to go telling your whole story, be concise and put together selected information that highlights your best artistic self.
RELEASES AND APPEARANCES
Leave a page to link the contractor to your releases. You can put the cover arts in a visually fitting order and make them clickable or list them with links.
Singles, EP’s, collaborations with other artists, remixes, features, mixtapes, appearences on radio shows, or even that set recorded at an important event: those are all to be shown, and don’t forget to select a picture or two for this section.
Look at this section from Ms Mavy’s press kit:
Here’s a dope track by Ms. Mavy as well to dig into.
If you’re just starting out, you may end up playing at smaller clubs with less structure in general, and having a technical rider ready for the contractor is part of being one step ahead.
This basically consists on how many outlets and space you will need in order to perform, plus giving specifications about your equipment.
For example, Marek Hemmann is a house DJ from Germany and he has a solid career, so he has higher standard requirements, but you can look at his technical rider as a model.
3. HOW TO GO AFTER GIGS
With your material in hand, you now have a few options to start filling your DJ agenda.
GO THROUGH YOUR CONTACTS LIST
Start out by people who are closer to you and can introduce you to club owners and promoters, or they can personally put in a good word for you while handling over your material, which is now ready to go and totally professional.
This is a little old school, but maybe it’s time to have a little black book. Unless you are old school enough to already have one.
You probably have a friend who is a party animal, or you probably even nome the hostess of a club from going there yourself, there are many possibilities here, and some people might be surprisingly helpful if you show them a well put press kit.
Professional and instigating material are always considered.
Your next step is to go online and find out the names of club owners and promoters so you can reach them via e-mail and/or social media. Remember to be polite!
These are people to whom you are introducing yourself to in a professional environment, not your crowd who’s expecting something artistic and probably very exciting, this is job searching.
Also if there is a scene going on in your city, reach out to collectives who promote musical events in different places outside of nightclubs.
MAKE YOUR OWN SCENE
If your city or area is kind of bleak musically, there’s still an option for you. Make your own scene! Sure it sounds hard, and it will definitely demand you more work hours, but promoting your own event can make you the hot item of the next big thing.
Go after that bar owner who has a nice space and negotiate a first night for your event, if this first one is a successful endeavour, you can bring to the table a monthly residency, and now you have a solid ground on your area to start fishing for more gigs outside your region or state.
This option requires not only more hours put in, but also more responsibilities to deal with, and maybe you’re not the “DJ Entrepreneur” kind of person, but if you execute well, your name you get a solid start on any scene.
4. GOT SOME GIG? SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY!
If you followed the steps given here and it led you to some gigs being scheduled, here’s how to completely seize the opportunity.
BE PREPARED ON ALL FRONTS
This is prior to your gig, so you probably have time to go over a few things. Have a checklist for your equipment, including cables and adapters, and always have a spare one of the irreplaceables.
WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH
From start to finish, be a professional. Make sure you get to the club or venue with enough time to have a sound check, and if you have a big wait between that and your spot don’t waste all your energy before going on stage, stay sober and focused on the set ahead of you.
Be friendly and kind to the whole staff!
These people are working together with you, not for you, and together you make an unforgettable experience to the public, plus they will all remember you as “that nice DJ who played here” and that can only help you.
FINISH BY GETTING SOME MORE
After you played, be sure to post pictures from the gig on your social media and keep them on your hard drive for any professional needs in the near future. Tag the club, the party, the photographer, and show appreciation for the great time you had working with these people.
Then, find out the right time to contact the person who hired you for the job and ask for feedback.
If you get a positive response, that’s when you can introduce a proposition for a monthly gig, not only because you are a great DJ, but because your act will bring more people to the club, given your professional posture, your concern in engaging the professionals involved after you played, and the respect you showed.
We hope that with these tips you can find more gigs to play and further your career as a DJ!