I have been a professional DJ for a long time…over thirty years, in fact.
During the mid-2000s, I was taking so many bookings that I made the bold decision to quit my steady day job and go headfirst into the world of mobile DJing full time. And I’m still here. Despite Covid and despite competition for business increasing tenfold from amateurs with a laptop, my business is still alive and kicking! In all that time, I have heard many comical (and sometimes insulting!) observations about mobile DJs…and I’d like to share a few here, to hopefully give you a laugh (and to hear what we have to put up with!)…
- “Being a DJ is just a licence to chat up girls and go home with someone different every night.” – Ha! Ha! Ha! I think, for starters, you have to be good looking, so that rules me out! I did have one colleague who was a bit of a ‘player’ but subsequently he was a bloody awful DJ! Any DJ worth their salt is too busy concentrating on their work to worry about flirting and heavy petting behind the decks! Besides, it’s all a bit cheesy nowadays to chat up a DJ, isn’t it?
- “What a great job you have, getting totally drunk and getting paid for it.” – This really grinds my gears! Just ask yourself, would you get hammered at work and still have a job? I know that we’re in an alcohol-fuelled environment, but a good DJ will always abstain from anything more than the odd shandy.
- “Most mobile DJs are too loud” – This one is a bit of a grey area…after all, sound levels are subjective and different for everyone. However, there are some guys out there who do love a red light on their mixer (denoting overdriving or distorting sound levels!)…but ALL DJs have a volume control that magically works both ways… I always try my best to keep levels comfortable whilst retaining atmosphere, and the most common complaint is nearly always from older folk who race over to the DJ booth seconds after you’ve started playing a dance music track, yelling “Turn it down!” even though it’s playing at the same volume as the 60s & 70s songs you’ve only just finished with!
- “The DJ doesn’t play any requests, he only plays what he wants!” – This one I can’t argue with where some DJs are concerned, but certainly not me. As a mobile DJ, we have to play to very mixed audiences, thus requiring a variety of tastes. However…..some requests are pretty awful and a good DJ (i.e. me!) will be able to filter them out or play only when appropriate according to the dance floor. Ultimately though, a DJ not taking popular requests at a wedding or birthday gig full stop is counterproductive. And they’ll soon become unpopular with the audience!
- “You must be minted earning THAT much money per night” – Oh boy, if I had a pound for every time I heard that one, ironically I would be minted! What most people do not take into consideration is that we’re often limited to working just two days (a combo of Fri, Sat & Sun) as it’s the major party nights of the week, we have expensive equipment to buy and maintain; liability and kit insurances to pay for and of course the increasing costs of vehicle fuels and associated fees. Oh, and new music to buy! For comparison, try booking a plumber for seven hours on a Saturday night!
- “You can just copy your music off the internet, or use Spotify” – Here’s a new one for the 21st Century! I started this career in an era where music actually cost money and in return you had something tangible to play. All of that has now been replaced with subscription-based agreements, which would be ideal if you didn’t have to rely on patchy 4G connections, leaving the dancers on the floor waiting whilst their favourite song buffers midway through! Luckily, all my legit CDs and downloads are stored on huge hard drives so they’ll be no jittery connection issues at my events!
- “I wish the DJ would just shut up and play the song!” – I think this idea of a chatty, banal DJ comes from the 70s radio jocks. And on radio, chat is necessary…at a wedding, not so much! I had a friend who used to introduce and ‘outroduce’ every single song. It wasn’t because he loved his own voice though, it was actually due to his lack of confidence and mixing skills. Granted, there are a few mobile DJs out there who do love to witter on and they are best avoided if you’re hoping for a full dance floor!
I hope that gave you a little insight into the life of a mobile DJ!