DJs are badass. Life is funtastic. When people think of DJs they see club lights, long nights, thumping beats, screaming crowds getting down to drops, smoke machines, and good times. I’m not going to say any of this is a lie (it’s quite apparent this is part of the job) but there is also the down time. The beginning of the night.
What’s the real deal on that? Before the people show up, and the lights are layering, you’re gonna walk into a club that looks like a dungeon with the lights on. The majority of these place have chipped paint on the walls, dirty floors, the place stinks like stale beer and alcohol that was spilt from the night before, staff are nursing benders from the night before, and the sound system could be left in a state of horror.
It’s your job to be on time and do a proper sound check. A lot of DJs like to stroll in a minute before the doors open, but if you’re a professional in your field you should be making sure that everything is copacetic – even if there’s a sound man. Some of the most successful DJs on the planet, and of course the best bands in the world, show up earlier in the day for a sound check. You should be no different. Make sure your Serato or Tracktor lines are up and running, CDJs, turntables, and midi controllers are latched, and you know your maximum sound levels – including the positioning of the speakers, lighting and check if there are any deficiencies in sound (there is nothing worse than blown speakers and torn tweeters).
Give yourself a sufficient amount of time to rent stuff additional equipment should you have to, after all, you’re the person people are going to look at if sh*t goes down, not the sound and lighting guy (no matter how much of a confused look you give the crowd when everything stops)… you know that look. 🙂
Always keep this sample in mind (that you may recognize from an old reggae tune, sampled into a few house tunes): “Now sound boy! Every time I hear the sound, the sound, the sound… the sound a sound good!”