You just finished downloading your favorite tunes, took a shower, found the freshest clothes you could find then hit the road. The journey from your house to the club is all about mental preparation.
You're going through the several bangers you just downloaded to see how you want to start your night. Finally, you make it to the club and of course it's the last thing you wanna see. An empty venue with exception of the 6 regular patrons in their favorite corner. This has happened to all of us at one point in our careers. The unexpected happens, and the nights goes from what you would think is an epic night of body shots and raging fist pumps, to your new practice platform for your opening sets. We've all been there, probably the most depressing thing to ever happen right? You can do one of two things. Be the diva DJ and complain or you can make the best out of your situation.
Unfortunately, this happens to alot of DJs. Is it lack of promotions? Shitty DJ lineup in the past? Is the venue wack? Bad weather? There are obviously several factors that come into play when it comes to executing a party. I've learned to make the best out of my situations no matter what. You're there already, might as well get paid right? Besides, as a Dj, we're constantly learning and trying different things, why not use the time to be creative.
This actually happened to me recently at a venue where I was supposed to make my debut and the night was supposed to be crazy but the weather wasn't working in my favor. I was on the way to the club, I pulled up and all the lights were off. The place had no power! I eventually waited it out until the power came back on but it was already 11:30 and the damage already done was done. I ended up playing to a giant room filled with about 20 people. I used that time to try new things out, take a few risks and it worked out just fine. Was I mad? Maybe. But I made the best of my situation and used my time there to practice.
Here's a list of things I normally try to do when this ever happens:
- Remix on the fly - I've always been a fan of taking risks and doing things creatively. Do I do it as often as I'd like? Maybe not, but now is probably a good time to try it out.
- Clean Mixing - This is a topic on its own but in all honestly, being clean is one of the best ways to show that you're a great DJ. I take pride in my sets knowing that I'm not sounding like sneakers in the dryer. Making sure that all of your blends are perfectly on time and you mix sounds like perfection speaks a lot. You might not notice but others do. When I'm in the club, as a DJ thats all we do. We listen to transitions to see if the DJ is a train wreck or if he knows what he's doing.
- Word play/Tone play - I know this isn't the most important thing to focus on but when you're playing noone, why the hell not? There's so much music out there to mess with it's insane.
- Scratching - This isn't the DMC or anything but It wouldn't to practice your party scratch without sounding overbearing.
All of this won't make a crowd magically appear but it'll help for the next time. I've learned that you're always a student in this game, there's always something to learn and there's always someone better than you. Practice makes perfect.