As DJs, we really enjoy our craft. We are happy to be behind the set and sometimes on the mic doing our thing. With this, however, comes a fair share of headaches. It is not all money, girls and fun.
We’ve been amazed by what people say to DJs while we’re cranking out vibes, so we’ve put together our top 10 list of ridiculous things said to Caribbean DJs.
Written from a foreign DJ point of view (This means that we play outside of the Caribbean)
10. You are of Indian descent, what do you know about Caribbean music?
Never assume that someone can’t play music because of their race. #SeriousTalk
9. Can you play Trap music instead of this soca stuff
Imagine this! You are in a full-on soca party. The vibes now start, soca pumping hard and a nice Machel tune come on. The girls now start to whine and all of a sudden Trap Queencomes on. Watch how quick the DJ will get fired.
8. I am leaving now, I want to hear (Insert song here) before I go please
Just because you are leaving the party early, doesn’t mean that you can get your tune by special request, especially if it doesn’t fit in with what is currently playing. When DJs play, we play for our client(s) (the person or group that hires us).
7. So I know we agreed on your price, but my cousin charges less than half of that.
DJs have bills just like everyone else. The price of gas or transport to and from the venue, the price of equipment, the price of insurance, laptop, mixer etc are all included in our bills… If you know you can’t afford to pay, then you probably shouldn’t have your party in the first place.
6. I don’t know the name of the song, or who sang it but it’s the one that everyone is playing
DJs are often amazing creatures blessed with many talents, but sadly we don’t have the ability to read your mind. I mean if we could, we would, so we can play the songs you want to hear. Hopefully in the near future there is an app that can detect what a song is by humming it.
5. Could you play this song off my phone please, I want to hear it now
Most times, DJs do not bring aux cords because a lot can go wrong with playing music through an aux cord. YouTube quality, inappropriate lyrics, incoming phone calls, mixing into it from our turntables, and the list just goes on. If the song is really that important to you, the best way to respect a DJ at work is to request it politely. We have no idea what you’re about to play because we’re so preoccupied with the task at hand. If the song kills the dance floor, it’s on the DJ and not on you. We do appreciate all genres, but there’s a time for everything. It can take away from what we’re doing and devalue us.
4. Can I try mixing too?
Now we know first-hand that mixing is fun to do, but only when you do it right. Especially at a gig, 99% of the time we won’t allow it. Trying to get the art form down takes time, practice, as well as trial and error, none of which are available for a DJ when playing out because we’re there to do a job and do it right. And unless it’s just the birthday person or bride and groom pressing the play button to start the party, better luck at your cousins basement jam!
3. DJ’ing is easy, I’ve watched DJs for a while
Sure. DJ’ing is easy. For a DJ that is. Now we all know it’s easy to count a 4-bar beat, but to spend hours of practice behind those turntables can take months, sometimes even years to get the art form down just right. The backstory of every DJ is different in terms of the path they took to get where they are. It is not just pressing play, switching the crossfader and going over to the next song. There’s sweat and hard work into getting your library just right, oil and grease to make your set work the way you want, learning basic music structure to understand how songs can blend into each other blissfully. It’s a science and an art that takes time to master.
2. Shut off the music, the cops are here
Imagine this scene: the vibes are stellar, you had a few drinks, your head feeling nice and the party now starting to get good. All of a sudden, you seeing bright red and blue lights. Police coming to shut down the party and force the DJ to take off the music. #PartyDone
1. I can’t pay you. I will pay you sometime this month
The words that no DJ wants to hear, Caribbean or not. Imagine spinning for 3 hours straight, you put in all the effort and the promoter doesn’t pay you. This epidemic is sweeping the industry like wild ants. This one takes the cake for us. Although we won’t call any names, we do want to let you know that this is a serious problem.
Remember what makes a party, food, music and vibes. Promoters would not consider not paying the caterer, so why would you not pay the DJ?