So in review of last Thursday’s gig at Passeport in Montreal, I’ve concluded that i really, really love being a DJ.
Not just because I get to make people dance, stay up all night, get paid for it and drink on the job, but for reasons that aren’t so obvious at times.
Let’s start with how and why I love opening.
I love walking into an empty club, lights on, with a coffee sometimes, and greeting all the other staff, just like any normal day at the office. Next, I love standing in the booth, looking out over the dance floor and imagining what will go on later, who will be there, how crazy it will get, what vibe I will create and what I will play.
After that, I love getting my first drink from the bar, while I still have drink tickets in my pocket. In most cases this involves a nice quiet chat with the bartender, as the lights slowly start to dim. Once they’re as dim as they can go, and the club lights come on, I can sense my cue to head back over to the booth and start playing. On my walk to the booth, alone, I always look around one more time, and realize how odd it is to be in a completely quiet (except for the clanging of bottles and cash registers) and dark club. I start getting excited about filling it with sound, and sound checking.
My first track always sounds the best to me because it’s so exciting to finally hear something in the room and on the system. It’s something I play mostly for myself, and is usually really slow and groovy, to get the club staff bouncing a little and ready for the night.
Now for headlining/the middle slot.
I love making my entrance acknowledged, whether I’m well known in the club or not. Starting with something heavy, after creating a long break before dropping. Long enough that almost everyone who hasn’t gotten too high or drunk yet looks up at me. Once I do drop it, I love the reactions of various kinds. They usually range from: You dirty bitch and JACKIE SPADE YEAH! to Ohhhhhh and Woo woo woo!
One of my absolute favorite things about DJing, is what happens during my set. Most recently at passeport, I was given roses while playing, and had a girl drop into the splits on the dance floor, which I think is one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten. Other funny events include, girls coming into the booth and knocking me, or something else over. The high guy that just won’t stop trying to talk to me no matter how many times I tell him I can’t hear him, the fan declaring their love for me, or people shoving all kinds of weird things into my pockets. And of course, the odd time a really drunk college girl comes and asks me to play lady gaga. Oy.
Now for closing.
Closing is my favorite, (provided this doesn’t mean the party is winding down too much). it’s hard because even if people love you, you still have to keep them there, and by that time, you might be tired too. But what I love about closing is that I can take people anywhere I want to. I can manipulate them more than any time of night because during this time I like to change the vibe quite a bit. Depending on what time of morning it is, I will go darker, deeper, more hypnotic, or more emotional.
I love feeling the energy change in the room. There are times when I mix something in that just makes everyone shut up and put their heads down. Or other times, you see everyone grab a partner and break it down as hard as they can. At more intimate parties, I love bringing the vibe to a chill place and having people kind of sit on, around, in, or hang off the booth and face me.
It sounds a bit cheesy, but I also love looking around the room after going a little bit melodic or emotional, and seeing some people sitting in corners, head in their hands, having a life changing/incredibly memorable experience. That is actually the thing that makes my heart sing the most while closing, and i’ll usually try to have a chat with that person later on.
Another great thing about closing is, for me anyway, getting people to remember you the most. It takes some extra creativity to close a set, and the last thing I’ll mention for this section is the feeling in the room when I finally finish my last track, and people clap. There is a sense of triumph in the room (especially if it is past 3am) that makes me feel like “we did it” we feel satisfied, and accomplished something, we got through another night of life. Not just me, but the dancers and bar staff as well.
Another thing that must be mentioned, is how much I love having my girl on the dance floor. She breaks it down so good so hard, and is my motivation to keep pounding it out. She also helps me when I need it, however I need it, and nights like that always make me feel a little closer to her each time.
I must say though, my single, most favorite thing about DJing, isn’t something you find on the surface. Sure I love just hearing the music. I love playing with technicalities, frequencies, sound waves etc. I love making people party, have a good time, and party myself. But the best feeling, is being able to manipulate peoples thoughts, feelings and emotions, with something you can’t even touch, smell, taste or see. You can feel it though, which is part of what makes sound truly amazing.
I always feel like people just don’t know enough of what’s it’s really like to be a DJ, so I wanted to share my experiences. We’re not just pressing play up there, or even playing a list of songs. We’re creating an experience, a memory, an atmosphere, a vibe, and a place you can go where (just about) everyone, in our scene anyway, is drawn for the same reason. To listen.