How To DJ Without Becoming A Party Animal

Tips For Avoiding The Common Hazards Of The DJ Scene


Norway Shooting Hero

This is a post on a very touchy subject for many DJs and people in the DJ / nightclub scene. Its something I feel very strongly about and I hope you feel the same.

I’ve seen so many DJs complete the same learning curve. They start excited to learn how to DJ. They nail DJ mixing and create a demo CD. They hit the clubs and the rave scene and pass out their demo CD to anyone with ears. They are young, fresh and full of spirit. Then I see them a year or two later and they are full on wasters. They look pale and you quickly see why, its because they’re snorting lines and getting so drunk that they have to be pulled out of the dj booth.

The sad fact of the DJing scene is that there are a TON of people with drinking and drug problems. People that love to drink, party and get messed up are drawn to the nightlife scene. And while all of this may seem glamourous at first it has a VERY ugly side and dangerous repercussions for your health and your DJ career.

To be blunt, I’ve seen more cocaine than a Coloumbian drug muel. Not because I’ve been into it myself. In fact the opposite. I’ve never gotten into the drugs or intense partying for a number of reasons and I’m thankful that I’m the type of person that can say no. I attribute it to my incredible parents and also growing up as an athlete (hockey player). I digress.

I’ve seen all of the drugs because they are everywhere in this scene. And they turn those young, hungry new DJs that are eager to share their music with the world into pale faced, face chewing party animals that are self destructive. Those same new DJs that I met early on in the club nights or at raves were just a year later, sneaking off into the back room of the night club to do god knows what and staying out until 9am.

Now I’m not saying that a good all-nighter is a bad thing. Everyone has a few of those epic nights where you have an incredible time with friends and you end up watching the sun rise. Thats part of life and it doesn’t have to involve drugs or getting overly wasted. But too many late nights fueled by different substances can quickly mess up your life.

Once you’re buddy-buddy with the nightclub promoters that you need to befriend to get gigs they’ll invite you into the back room to “hang”. This is a lot less glamourous than it sounds. Its just a bunch of wasters hanging out in a room with janitorial supplies and the overbearing smell of alcohol from many party nights past while doing drugs, drinking and feeling exclusive because nobody else is allowed in.

When you’re DJing you’ll just have different substances offered to you as well. I remember during my first club gig I was playing early in the night. The club was pretty empty and I was playing vinyl records (the good old days) and someone came up to see the record I had just played. I was stoked because I thought he liked the song so much that he wanted to see the name. So I passed him the vinyl and I turned back to adjust somethign on the mixer. I look over shortly after and saw him doing a line of cocaine off of my record. He said “thanks man. I got one for you. Here…”. I graciously declined.

And you may try a few of these things as you find your way through the nightlife scene. Experimentation is part of life. But don’t be mistaken, you don’t have to partake to fit in. I was respected as a DJ because I wasn’t ever fucked up. I was reliable. Nobody had to pull me off the decks because I was too drunk or high like so many other DJs I’ve seen.

There are other benefits to being sober (with a drink or two) including being sharp enough to chat up cute girls. Nothing turns off a girl more than if you’re messy drunk or obviously really high.

The sad fact is that a lot of the new DJs in the scene will follow the path of the party animals thinking they need to fit in. The result is that they’ll a few years later burn out from the scene and DJing. Intense partying and super late nights isn’t sustainable and doesn’t lend itself to a successful DJ career.

Look at all of the top DJs in the world. Do you see Armin Van Buuren falling out of the DJ booth? David Guetta passing out from too much cocaine? If you offered a substance or asked them to party after the club most of these artists will politely say no. Some might partake on occasion but they pick their spots. Partying isn’t their priority. DJing is their priority. Music is their priority.

So as you learn how to DJ get out there and have fun. Take advantage of the many benefits DJing offers and let loose. Be yourself. That being said, don’t feel that you’re ever obligated to party or do drugs to get ahead. The opposite is true.

Avoid slipping into the same rut as so many of the new DJs I see. I don’t want to see you pulled off the decks at your gig and find you sitting in a corner speaking in tongues chewing your face off. Seriously!

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