Ask The DJ: What’s The Biggest Misconception About Being A DJ?
Toronto, ON/Vancouver, B.C. – In HipHopCanada’s 2nd installment of Ask The DJ, we post the question: What is the biggest misconception about being a DJ? With a talented cross-section of DJs from Toronto and Vancouver, we get opinions from the people who typically do their talking on the turntables. Click the jump for the rest of this story.
DJ Wristpect (Toronto)
I feel like people think DJ’ing is all fun and games and that DJ’s just show up to the club and just play songs and that there’s free alcohol and women everywhere and it’s not ‘real work’ or ‘a real job’. No one takes into consideration the countless hours one spends working on music outside of the club, the years and years put into practicing and developing your skill/style, the art of actually being able to read a crowd and figuring out what people want and then catering to them on the spot.There is a lot of psychology involved with being able to DJ well. There is a lot more to it than people realize.
“There is a lot of psychology involved with being able to DJ well. There is a lot more to it than people realize. ” – Wristpect
That it’s our job to make artist famous. We can promote, plug, market and or advertise a specific artist’s movement, but it boils down to the overall appeal of their music. Our job is to service your sound to a wider audience either it be online, club events or parties.
“We can promote, plug, market and or advertise a specific artist’s movement, but it boils down to the overall appeal of their music.” – DJ Gutta
DJ Dames Nellas (Toronto)
I can’t speak for anyone else but in my opinion, the biggest misconception about me being a DJ is “He’s A DJ”. In my line of work, I’m a performer, entertainer, entrepreneur, sales associate, brand developer, booking agent, promotions director, personality and whatever else I need to be in order to get work as a DJ. Dames Nellas is me, The Official DJ is Dames Nellas when I’m Djing. Outside of the DJing, all the other attributes come into play. Dames does the marketing and promotion for The Official DJ, Dames handles the bookings for The Official DJ, Dames creates content and ideas to make The Official DJ relevant. It’s a work in progress you know, everyday I realize I have to do something else outside of DJing in order to spin records in front of people. Whether it be doing a blog, getting a photo shoot done, taking meetings with potential clients etc. There is always something else other than actual “DJing” that needs to happen. In my current situation I don’t have somebody else taking care of all the other things so I have to wear all the hats. It’s OK though, I like fitteds.
“Everyday I realize I have to do something else outside of DJing in order to spin records in front of people.” – Dames Nellas
DJ Mel Boogie (Toronto):
The biggest misconception is that it’s so easy. People see caricatures of DJs on TV or movies and think all we do is a little scratch here and there and throw our hands in the air. They also tend to think that they can purchase the equipment one day, and shazam they’re a DJ! That’s when it’s time for a reality check.
DJ She (Vancouver)
The biggest misconception about being DJ is that it’s a glamorous job! It’s amazing to be able to communicate with people through music but at the end of the day it takes a certain type of person to know how to move a crowd, read a room and keep a dance floor moving. You can’t just plug in your iPod and play your favorite songs and expect to get paid!
DJ Lissa Monet (Toronto)
That we’re superstars? Don’t let us fool you, we’re just regular people that have an abnormal love/obsession for music.
Jay Swing (Vancouver)
That we are human jukeboxes. Just because you request a song doesn’t mean we are obligated to play it. 9 times out of 10 the request is either really shitty, a song we would play anyways, or 50 Cent’s ‘In The Club’.
DJ Kemo (Vancouver)
That we like to take your requests!
DJ Supa G Swift (Vancouver)
People think DJing is easy until they step behind the decks and I show them what to do and they get all awkward and uncoordinated. Skills -cutting, scratching , beat juggling and mixing along with the ability to create a vibe and build a set take a lot of practice and having a good knowledge of the music is important.
“People think DJing is easy until they step behind the decks and I show them what to do and they get all awkward and uncoordinated. ” – Supa G Swift
DJ Coco Fresh (Vancouver)
The biggest misconception is that it’s super easy to DJ and that anyone can do it from beat matching, scratching, juggling, being able to read a crowd and being able to create a vibe that makes people happy. For a female DJ the misconception is that we can’t play or we only play R&B.
DJ Miss M (Vancouver)
That our job is easy. People don’t realize the amount of time we spend diggin’ for great music. There is also the time spent crating and planning sets (what song works well with the next). Lastly, it’s reading the crowd and catering to different types of people all in one night.
DJ K-Rec (Vancouver)
That DJs are not “musicians” or that DJs aren’t doing anything but playing pre-programmed playlists. Sure this may be true for some DJs but most DJs I know are incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to music and most are musicians in the traditional sense as well. Being able to read a crowd and play to them is also a huge talent that not many people have.
“That DJs are not “musicians” or that DJs aren’t doing anything but playing pre-programmed playlists. “ – DJ K-Rec