I need to start off by saying, if you are a customer or client of mine or have ever been to an event where my services were hired as a Mobile DJ
or with DJ Prievo Entertainment
, this does not pertain to you. I have been a DJ for coming on nearly a decade now. Starting out with a Dual Disc CD player with Display and a Controller, a 19″ Rack Mounted Mixer, and a small sound system with over 400 CDs of several different genres, a request for a song was one of my least favorite things to receive from people. WHY? I was the most unexperienced and UNORGANIZED “DJ”, probably in the market. To find the song you wanted to hear was as hard as trying to find a curse word in the Washington Post. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to take your requests, it was the fact that I was an unorganized and unexperienced DJ and wasn’t able to just “type” in the name of the song like today and have it appear on my screen.
At the time, mobile gigs were all I did. And with that, although I didn’t enjoy it, taking requests helped me become a better DJ by learning what people wanted. Whether it was on my “Best Of” Collection of CDs or a particular song found in the latest Nelly CD, I was able to learn what people wanted to hear and wanted played. Fast forward 7 years from when I first started and put me in a nightclub and in the bar scenes. Now, I am a syndicated radio mixshow DJ for The Border 106.7 (New York) and am in the early stages of becoming a live-on air mixshow radio DJ for Clear Channel Radio. I’ve been involved in mixshow DJin’ in radio for just over a year but have been involved in nightclub and bar DJing for nearly 5. My job as a dedicated and full time DJ, especially for the younger generation, is providing you with the best collaboration of music in a form that motivates people to stay at the club or bar, enjoy themselves, and purchase drinks. Didn’t know that did ya? I remember being asked (obviously at a bar not nightclub) to “switch up” the music before, by a manager, because no one was purchasing drinks, but rather dancing the entire time. When I had this request asked of me, I said, “Hey Mike, You Do Realize the Dancefloor is JAM Packed right now with about 700 people on the first and second floor right?” His response was that they weren’t buying any alcohol and therefore I wasn’t doing “MY JOB.” Well, that is an “OK” request in my eyes. Why? Because it comes directly from management and as an establishment you do not make profit with scuffed up dance floors and half filled garbage cans. Progressing with my DJin’ career I’ve had the opportunity to work at many great places and some of the busiest bars and clubs in the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia). Some of these venues want the attraction of females to overcome the dance floors and wall to wall wave of movement with the sounds of the DJ. EDM or Electronic Dance Music, has taken over the “Mainstream” sound and is the majority heard in the Pop Culture today. Almost every new “Pop” track on its way out has some sort of electric sound within and many have the big builds that place them directly on point and club ready as soon as they hit the record pools. When a song isn’t “Club Ready” what happens is many remixers will take the vocals from the track and create their own edits in order for the track to be “Club Ready”. This allows for a variety of sounds and remixes of one individual track that can be played by me and other DJs at our venues. For the longest time Usher and Adele took the most storage space on my hard drive between OMG and Rolling in the Deep remixes. These remixes are different and have different builds but when a track is HOT and its getting the mediabase spins (radio) (and in radio are called “POWERS” & “Uppers”) and the promo chart spins (clubs/djs) these tracks are what we call PEAK HOUR tracks. Meaning the time of the night when MOST people are in attendance at the venue and when you really get to get into your sets and just let it loose. Most of the time for a nightclub that opens from 10pm-3am, this would be anywhere from 11:30-2:30 and that really varies depending on different places. Some places I’ve DJ’d at and didnt even start DJin’ until 11pm and the peak hour wasn’t until 1230-2am which is most nightclub peak hours. Why am I telling you all this? Here’s why. These peak hours are set up by us DJ’s strategically. It may not be planned out song by song or prerecorded like some bigger named “DJ’s” do, but we have an idea of how we want the night to go and how to get into it and out of it. Its also the job of the DJ to bring the crowd back down after the peak hour, but that is another topic. Im here to discuss WHY I WONT PLAY YOUR FAVORITE SONG RIGHT NOW AT 10pm WHEN I FIRST START MY OPENING SET. I had a girl tonight, well its now morning for normal people but tonight, ask me at 9:32pm (I took over from the opening set DJ at 8:50pm because he had to go from DC to his night venue in College Park, MD). So I’m 42 Minutes in, I’m just getting my opening set started and this girl comes up to me. Now granted, yes, if you are a sexy attractive female, you probably have a better chance of getting your song played. PLUS, if it is DEAD or NOONE is there yet and we are just starting out, sure maybe you’ll get your song played. But let me set the scene for you. This place that I am DJin’ at is voted #1 Happy Hour in DC…yea, its kinda busy!! So the place is full, people are “dancing” and by that I mean I’m playing some 2010/2011 Pop Music and they are enjoying it, but there is no fist pumping action taking place. This girl whom, yes, was attractive, wanted her songs played…NOW!
Here was our conversation:
Girl-“So me it’s my friends 21st Birthday tonight.”
Me-“Oh thats great, happy birthday to her. Why don’t u go get her and bring her here and we’ll all do a birthday shot together!”
Girl-“No she doesn’t want to do shots.”
Me-“Oh ok, well did you need something?”
Girl-“Yeah, we want you to play Birthday Sex, Birthday Cake, and that new Calvin Harris song cuz we’re getting ready to leave.”
Me-“Your leaving? Where are you going?”
Me-“Oh yea? Well I can probably get you your Jeremih track in, but not the others, its not even 10pm yet…”
Girl-“That doesn’t matter what time it is and she wants to hear it, its her 21st!”
Me-“Well if the DJ at ________ is any good, I’m sure she will hear those right around 11-12pm tonight but I’m not going to play them I’m sorry.”
Girl-“Well then whatever just play birthday sex.”
Me-“Ok. I’m on it I’ll get it in for you.”
Girl (stands there and waits like I was going to play right then and there like she was MY priority and I had to drop everything I was doing and working for to slowly bring the entire venue into the mode for the evening, and do what SHE wanted to, because its her friends 21st Birthday and they were leaving soon.)
THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! DJ’s know this, but many people in the public do not. But here is the bottom line, when you hire a DJ, your hiring him for yes, his music collection, but you hiring him for his talents and skills involved with the art of DJing and his ability to improvise and read a crowd to motivate them into having one hell of a night. If you just want a music collection that takes request, BUY A DAMN JUKEBOX.
In closing, because I don’t want you to have to keep reading about this because the DJ’s already know and are already sick of these requests, its just that the public may not be aware. So, I have created the perfect song request form that can be download in PDF form (see the link below), printed off, and copied and used at these venues to help spread the word to the public about what it is like for us to sit and take requests behind the turntables. Flip the chairs around and find me at your place of employment requesting you cook my fries and halfway through the fries being cooked, pour me a coke, then make my burger, toasted bun, put the lettuce on first, then the pickles, ketchup, cook my burger well done, and then add it to the bun…oh and then go get me extra ketchup…in that order and NOW because I have to leave. Sound familiar? Those people PISS OFF the waiters and waitresses, guess what, the vicious circle of the whole thing is those waitresses and waiters are probably the ones pissing us off at the booth. Don’t request songs from your DJs at establishments that have a resident DJ and if you really want to because you really want that song played, pucker up or bring some shots because its not going to work without.