If you fancy yourself a music producer, especially an electronic music producer, chances are you probably also have the urge to DJ. Not saying you need or have to be, or even should be for that matter, but typically they go hand and hand. For one, it is the easiest way for people to hear your productions without getting other DJ’s to play it. And two, if you have the passion to create music, many times you have the desire to share that passion with other people.
The question is though, especially for you beginners, how do you get these DJ gigs? Especially with so many DJ’s flooding the market. We’ll, here are five ways to get you started.
Play the Part
First thing is first, if you want to be a DJ you better act like it in every way possible. Because anything worth doing, and worth your time, is worth doing well. Otherwise if you’re not going to give it your all, you might as well quit now. And just an FYI that doesn’t mean you have to be a world famous DJ or you failed. There are plenty of successful DJ’s who make a good living that aren’t named Afrojack.
Start off by honing your craft. No one wants to hire a crappy DJ. Practice, practice, practice. You don’t have to be the best DJ in the world to start getting gigs, but you better have a good idea of what you’re doing. Furthermore, you better have an exceptional music selection if you want to stand out. So start searching. And for god sake don’t just go off of the Beatport Top 100. Find some tracks no one has heard of, there are literally millions to choose from. Chances are if you like it, people will too.
Walk the Walk
This goes in conjunction with playing the part and might be the most important and effective one of all. If you want to be a DJ, do DJ shit. Get yourself some DJ friends, promoter friends, get out into the clubs and bars. All the people that can assist you with getting gigs are going to run in the same circles, this is where they will be. The quicker you start doing this, the quicker your network will spread, and the more gigs you will get. Simple as that.
Ask and you shall receive. Believe it or not this is very true. You can’t get something without asking for it. And you will be shocked what you can actually get just by asking. I mean there are books written entirely on the art of asking.
Pick up the phone, go visit the local clubs and bars, get peoples emails. Whatever you have to do to get in front of the right people and ask them. Even think outside the box. Maybe go to your local mall and ask the trendy clothing company if they would let you play in their store one day. It will get you exposure, and you can use it for promotion. Especially when you go to get other gigs.
Play for Free
I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but you have to start somewhere. And if playing for free is that somewhere than you better damn well do it. This again goes back to playing the part. If this is what you truly want to do, then playing a few free gigs at the beginning to reach your dreams and goals, is a very small price to pay.
Believe me there are plenty of places that will take a free DJ, especially if you are somewhat skilled. So once again get out there and ask, anywhere and anyone that will have you. A restaurant, a charity event, a block party, a friends house party. It’s also a great way to get experience and practice, which is priceless.
Be A DJ
Last but not least, be A DJ. What does that mean? We’ll if you want to be a DJ you need to start building your brand. That means getting yourself out there, mostly digitally, on all relevant platforms. This is not super important right from the start, but as you get bigger, and want to get bigger gigs, this will be very important.
Get yourself a logo, get on soundcloud, mixcloud, instagram, twitter, etc. Start putting out DJ mixes and give them away for free on Hypeddit so you can start building your fan base. Put together an electronic press kit that you can use when contacting bigger venues. These bigger venues are going to want you to have a little bit of a following, and you also need to come off professional.
At the end of the day if you just aggressively and persistently follow the path of being a DJ and actually live it in all ways, you will get there, we have no doubt!