Have you ever come to a point in your musical career found yourself saying “fuck this, _________ is just ruining music for me”?? I have and many of my music friends have as well. I don’t want this to be confused with the common case of writers block. I am talking about doing something for so long and all of the things that used to make you love music have just started annoying you. I have found that a common occurrence of this can be found among club DJs. Being forced to play music you really don’t enjoy playing because 1. either you need the cash or 2. you just want to play so bad it doesn’t matter what they want you to play. I have been a victim of this phenomenon myself and later on in this post I am going to give you my advice for this.
For those of you who love the more underground styles of music (ie house or bass music), it is hard to walk into a Top 40 bar every weekend and get requests to play stuff like Rihanna, Sammy Adams (whoever the hell that guy is lol), or stuff like Shania Twain or Solja Boy. Yeah there are some crazy requests out there. Not only are the requests often bad in these venues, but the people requesting are often times annoying as hell. One time i had a guy request six songs in a row without skipping a beat. Then you have the belligerent ladies spilling drinks all over your gear or attempting to dance up on you from behind. These things tend to get repetitive and annoying because if you are anything like me you tend to stay relatively sober.
If these kinds of things get to you and you find yourself hating what you are doing, just take a step back and revisit what it is you truly love. We all need to remember who we are as musicians as well as who we are as individuals. Somewhere inside of you is a talented musician waiting to get out. Music is about love and sharing. Every time I get on stage to play I remind myself that I am sharing songs that I love with the people around me. This is what is important. Don’t let the things that annoy you while playing affect your love of music. Some day you will find an event that wants you to play what you want to play and you will kill it! Don’t let pushy club owners or f&#@d up patrons ruin it for you. Remember music is what you love, so try to play what you love and love what you play.
I hope this helps some of you get out of the funk you are in!
Peace Love and bass
Every so often I come across a club owner that just has absurd requirements for their club. Most of the time it just has to do with their taste in music and what genres of music they want played in their club. Most don’t care because most clubs in my neck of the woods are Top40 oriented, which I am totally cool doing because we all need our practice am I right? Well I recently had a very strange experience with a local club owner regarding payment for the night. Now usually either I charge a flat rate or take a percentage of the cover, pretty simple right? Nope. This was one offer i don’t think i will ever take and still wrinkles my brain frankly.
So I walk in and tell him who I am and that I would like to play in his bar. I explain to him that I am just getting home from finishing up my schooling in another province and that I am looking to start booking myself around the city and other close my cities. I tell him about my playing experience and how I am booked to play in a couple of the major music festivals in our area as well. You would think that the thought “oh this guy must be pretty good if he is playing in those” might go through his head at least once, but I don’t think it even registered because he was too concerned with making himself money. Next logical thing to do would be to ask me for a mix and to just go from there. Nope. Instead he tells me he would have to pay me from the cover (which is fine) but that he would have to hire four bouncers for the night, which he would have to pay from whatever is made from the cover. Still, not totally unheard of. But then he decides to tell me that if not enough money was made to pay the bouncers that I.ME. WOULD HAVE TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE!! Meaning if not enough people came in that night that I would be the one responsible for paying whatever is left that is owed to the bouncers. Needless to say my jaw dropped. i said “wait, excuse me?, hold on here, so you are telling me that there is a possibility that I will have to pay you to play in your club?! Dude you are crazy. that is totally not my responsibility. That is your responsibility to pay your bouncers man, not me.” My mind was BLOWN. All I can say is i will never work with someone who is so concerned about making money that he is WILLING TO CHARGE THE DJ if not enough is made on the door.
WORDS OF WARNING:
To all you new DJs out there, don’t ever let someone like this take advantage of you. It is much better to just walk away from a gig like this. No matter how badly you want to play, just walk away. There are always people out there looking to rip you off, but for every douchebag there is a saint willing to give you an opportunity.
Peace Love and Bass