Resident DJs Share Their Secrets

Resident DJs Share Their Secrets

To become a successful resident DJ is the ultimate goal for millions of aspiring DJs. With a residency, you basically have a successful career mapped out...for the time being at least. Not to mention, the opportunity to showcase your talents on a regular basis and hopefully catch the eye of someone who could send your career through the stratosphere.

Being a resident DJ also gives you the opportunity to pick up on a whole bunch of secret tricks of the trade and to perfect your approach to putting on a show.

To put the whole thing into some kind of perspective, here’s a brief overview of five trade secrets shared by resident DJs; for the benefit of those looking to one day fill their shoes:

1. Resident DJs play ‘open format’

A resident DJ needs to be able to read the crowd throughout their set and know how to mix between different music styles and BPMs. This is because it is often important to switch music styles or genres to keep crowds happy and to prevent the prospect of people exiting the venue. Having a bunch of floor-fillers locked and loaded is essential – anything you can be confident the vast majority of those in attendance will go nuts for. Even so, you need to be prepared to make regular (and occasionally quite radical) adjustments in your output – irrespective of whether or not what you end up playing is a reflection of your personal tastes.

2. Their sets are very often recycled

Contrary to popular belief, being a resident DJ is not about stepping things up with something new and dynamic each week. Quite the opposite, as the whole point resident DJs are brought in is to bring some kind of consistency to the venue. This doesn’t necessarily mean playing the exact same tracks in the exact same order, but will indeed mean playing most of the same tracks you played the week before. In fact, around 90% to 95% of your set will feature the same songs as the prior week, only shaken up in a different order and with your own take on how you mix them. This leaves no more than around 5% to 10% for new tracks, but this is exactly what venues like these want.

3. Ask for written requests

Simple but essential, having people write down their requests instead of speaking to you directly will save you a serious amount of stress. A lot of DJs want to engage with their audiences and genuinely enjoy taking requests and discussing tracks. The problem is that when you end up with a queue of people all wanting to voice their requests at the same time, it can get massively disruptive. In addition, you’re almost guaranteed to forget the vast majority of the requests sent your way. Leave a notepad or an iPad in an accessible location and invite your audience to write down as many requests as they like. This will also give you a decent blueprint for the kind of set your audience expects, helping you up your game with future shows.

4. Use streaming technology

Streaming music (as opposed to paying for each and every track in your library) could save you a small fortune. Of course, this only applies in the instance of those who are willing to tear themselves away from vinyl. Even so, linking music libraries like TIDAL to your DJ software like Rekordbox could make your job easier and more affordable. You just have to make sure you take plenty of downloaded music along as a backup, just in case you lose your Internet connection at the worst possible time.

5. Brand your booth

Branding your booth is essential to make a name for yourself as a professional DJ. Take the visual presentation of your booth seriously, make sure everybody can see your name (or your stage name) from start to finish and regularly name- drop yourself throughout your set. Treat every performance like an invaluable opportunity to promote yourself and make sure everybody leaves the venue knowing your name.


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