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Top Five Codes of Conduct For Opening DJs at EDM Shows

Last weekend, local selector Deone opened for Chuckie at the Yost Theater in garish fashion, playing a slew of hard-hitting bangers and even one of the headliner’s own tracks in his set. While it seems like a small thing to get riled up about, it prompted us to speak to one of the venues owners, Dennis Lluy, about the dilemma we have seen all over OC.

“Being new to the EDM scene what I have learned is that opening a show is an art on it’s own,” says Lluy. “We have met with our in-house talent buyer and Johnny Shockey, the owner of LED Presents, and will be coordinating most of our bookings with them. They have been doing this a lot longer and know plenty of Orange County and surrounding area DJs who will respect our headliners and play the correct role in our shows,” assured Lluy.

It’s too bad it took Chuckie getting upset and tweeting “Yo, playing ALL the hits in your warm up set at 134bpm is not gonna bring you anywhere” to get people’s attention. He’s not the first DJ we have seen tweet about this in OC, but we are glad people are talking about it. We’ve seen this going on for way too long where openers think they are Swedish House Mafia or Afrojack. The opening DJ has an important role so we decided to put together a list of five things opening EDM DJs should know.

Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly


1. Do NOT Play the Top Songs on Beatport 
Anybody can play bangers all night, it’s another thing to be creative with your time slot and still get the crowd pumped up. The big guys have earned the right to play the headlining spot and thus reserve the right to play the songs of the season. Don’t make them edit their set and go to different cuts because you don’t know your role in the show. Have some respect and common sense and use it as an opportunity to be creative with your artistry.

2. Do NOT Play the Artist/DJ’s Songs 
It’s an honor to open for the artist and play in front of their fans, you should support the show accordingly. The hundreds or thousands of people in the crowd are most likely there to see the headliner play their songs. Don’t be the idiot who tries to steal their thunder. Show some respect to the those who have actually produced their own tracks, been picked up by a record label and put their music out on Beatport.

3. Do NOT Play Songs Like “Put Your Hands Up”
Between 10pm-12pm, guests are arriving in the club, buying their first drinks and getting settled. They aren’t ready to throw their damn hands up until they’ve had plenty of drinks in them and they see enough people getting wild. Also, they aren’t ready to “Save the World” before midnight. Any DJ who blows their load too soon will leave the crowd wanting for the rest of the night.

4. Do NOT DJ Into the Red 
There’s a real tendency for opening DJs to think they are the star of the show. When you play fast, hard-hitting songs above 128 bpm into the red or put the volume at level 10 the system gets maxed out and the room is way louder than it should be that early in the night. It’s easy to get carried away with the energy and excitement, but you give the headliner no room to adjust the volumes properly and effect their sound.

5. Do NOT Unplug Anything 
After you leave the decks it’s obviously crucial to leave the RCA cable and any ground wire in place with no excuses! If you are going to do this then you probably shouldn’t be an opening DJ and need to find a new career path. Being an opening DJ requires a unique skillset and venues need to be screening them to make sure they recognize their position and follow these simple DJ codes.