Playing your first gig is probably something you're very excited about. You might be a little nervous and not sure about what to do. This blog will guide you through it and make sure you're ready to rock the crowd!
Table of Contents:
1 - Preparation
Most of the work needs to be done before the gig. Make sure you are prepared. The best way to prepare your music library is with Rekordbox. First, import your tracks by dragging them into your Rekordbox window. Then, create the playlists you need and add hotcues and more to your tracks. Make sure you have a FAT32 formatted USB drive plugged into your computer, and then export the playlists from Rekordbox to your USB (right click on playlist > export, or use the sync function). Before ejecting your USB, make sure to hit the eject button in Rekordbox.
Another thing we highly recommend is to have your playlist(s) on two USB sticks. Sometimes things aren't working and a second USB stick usually helps. If you're a traveling DJ and you use the clubs' setup, you probably have to work with hundreds of different setups. If this is your first gig I would recommend watching some videos that explain the top 5 most used DJ controllers and setups. Just so you have a general overview of things!
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2 - Audience
Before you start collecting songs and creating a playlist, make sure you know what the club is looking for. Most clubs or festivals want you to play a specific style. Feel free to ask the promoter what type of music he wants to hear. If you're not familiar with the club you can also check their socials and see the kind of music they are looking for. However, make sure you also enjoy the music you're going to play. This not only makes it more fun for you, but also for the audience as your joy spreads into the crowd. It's all about transferring that energy, happiness and enjoying the moment.
3 - Engage
Especially if you play your first gig it probably will feel weird or unnatural standing in front of an audience. That's why it is important to practice things at home. When you're practicing, try to act as if you are playing in front of a huge audience. Try to use the mic and act like you hype up the audience. When we're talking about the audience, you have to understand that you're probably the first one in the club. So don't freak out if you just play in front of a small audience at first. When you see all those huge crowds online, you might get a wrong view of how it is if you just start. When the crowd isn't as active as you want them to be, don't be afraid to engage with them. When you're standing on the stage and you look like you don't have fun, the audience will notice it. It's your time to shine so hype up everyone!
4 - Read
This tip is something you learn over time but when you start to notice it in the beginning, you will become a master quickly. Try to read the audience, and see what they want to hear. Learn to listen to criticism, and understand your audience! If you get any requests, use those to figure out what your audience wants to hear. If a certain record really makes the crowd move, use that as a reference for what to play. And so on. It's all about anticipating to the crowd's reaction.
5 - Bring a friend
A thing a lot of people miss when they play their first gig is that they can't just leave for a minute or two to go to the toilet or something. And that's completely normal because that's not a thing you think about when you're preparing. My tip here is to bring a friend who can jump in for a couple of minutes so you can go to the bathroom or just chill for a second. You could also create a minimix of a few songs to use as a bathroom track.
Another great plus of bringing a friend is that you feel a bit more relaxed, and when you see them in the crowd they will hype you up and support you.
6 - Show up early
It's always better to show up early than too late. Fixing things last minute will ruin your performance. Maybe you got traffic problems on the way to the club or you got some technical difficulties with the DJ gear. All these things can destroy the whole experience, so make sure you show up early to avoid difficulties like this. It's important to do a soundcheck beforehand to make sure everything works. If you're early you also have the chance to connect with the promotor, other DJ's, the bartenders and the security. It can help a lot if they get to know you and are on your side.
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