I often help out my mate when he DJs (DJ Mayhem for those interested). It’s usually a bit of a laugh and I help out where I can. Sure, I cannot do complicated mixes, but it’s easier to set up the lights with two pairs of hands and I can supervise the decks, in case something goes wrong when Malcolm, the head DJ, needs to duck away from the stage.
Sometimes, I deal with the crowds when they request songs, acting as a buffer between the party and the DJ, so requests don’t become a distraction. I thought I would write about a few of these requesters and where a few of them annoy me. Sometimes they are not to know what they are doing wrong (and sometimes they really do), so maybe if you are having a private DJ function, or maybe you are just hitting the clubs, then pay attention. You might learn how to make things easier for your local DJ – and the best way to get your requests actually played.
4 – THE ‘DIFFERENT GENRE’ REQUESTERS
Let’s start with what I would like to hope is the most obvious. If you are in a club that’s playing your mainstream dance music, do not try to request a rock band. Maybe you genuinely think that you are doing the club a favour by asking the DJ to throw some Linkin’ Park or Foo Fighters into the mix, but trust me, you are not. Sure, I like these bands as much as the next guy, but when you come to a nightclub that is designed for chart music, we are only playing chart music. No matter how good your argument is, very little is going to change that.
Here’s a little secret: the DJ doesn’t have that much control over the songs as you might think. The DJ has a boss much like everyone else – the guy who owns the building you are dancing in – and it’s his choice what gets played. Sure, maybe the DJ actually reckons you are onto something by asking for ‘Lonely Island’, but at the same time, the owner doesn’t and will fire the DJ’s ass for putting on such a request. Therefore, even if your genre jump is met with a nod of agreement, there is very little he can do.
If you really want your song to be played, try picking a song that matches the genre being played. Maybe you can’t get the rock song you wanted, but you might get lucky and convince the DJ to play ‘Airplanes’ which features Paramore’s lead. Also, another small note: don’t bother requesting something from the top ten in the charts. Of course, the UK number one is going to be played at some point of the night, but the DJ probably has a plan for when – usually when the dance floor is heaving. He knows the exact moment he wants to drop ‘Party Rock Anthem’, so a persistent request could ruin that.
3 – THE ‘IT’S MY BIRTHDAY’ REQUESTERS
This is a sub-genre of the above and next entry. You might think you are being clever by pretending it’s your birthday – the birthday boy/girl always gets a song played right? – but trust me, you are not. Again, the DJ has such a strict limit on the songs he can play that, unless the request is a genuinely inspired one (which will probably be played regardless of if it is your birthday or not), it will not be played.
The amusing thing is that if it is a private function, like the ones me and Malcolm are used to, then we are told whose birthday it is. If someone turns up claiming it is their birthday, there’s a good chance they are lying. The worst of this lot are the ones that try and push it, acting all high and mighty. Even if it does happen to be your birthday, don’t pretend that it is my job to your personal playlist for the night. It is not going to happen.
2 – THE IMPATIENT REQUESTERS
OK, every now and again, someone will suggest a song that kind of works, but not quite. For example, ‘Macarena’ is the kind of song that gets people on the floor, but doesn’t really fit the mood. You often have to build up to it, getting slowly cheesier with the music, rather than just jumping from Ellie Goulding to S Club 7. Quite often at private functions, the DJ will have a little slot saved for this kind of music. In these cases, sure you will get your request, but it won’t be for the next couple of songs.
This is where people get impatient. The amount of times I have to deal with the same person coming up to the request booth and reminding me about their song. Sometimes, it is just a friendly reminder, like we cannot do our job properly and it’s your duty to make sure the masses hear ‘Blurred Lines’. Other times, the requester gets a little angry, as if you are playing everyone else’s requests yet ignoring theirs. Again, if a request suits the current mood and works, then we are more than happy to play it, sometimes shoving it to the top of the queue, but most of the time, there’s a bit of a wait. Just make sure you aren’t too impatient with the DJ, as it’s a quick way to get your request ‘binned’ out of spite.
1 – THE ONE DIRECTIONERS
This is a current trend with the new One Direction movie and usually happens at family parties, when the kids get their teeth into the request booth.
You know what! I have nothing against One Direction. If the kids are the only ones on the floor, and at the start of the evening, this is usually the case, then I will play a One Direction song. It’s the fact that they tend to ask for three at a time. I would have just played ‘Kiss You’, gone to the request paper (where you write the song you want) and there will be four more One Direction songs queued up. It looks bad on the DJ if every song he plays is by the same artist, especially if that artist is Harry STD Styles. This isn’t just One Direction. If you want an artist to be played, ask for one song. Don’t get greedy.
I usually find as well that the adults aren’t really the requesting type until the end of the evening. This is fair enough – they bought the DJ, so they should be able to assume we know what they are doing (usually our customers give us a ball park of the songs they want). But if the kids are hogging the request area and every song played is either 1D or Taylor Swift, the adults – the actual clients – will get bored fast. It’s a fine balance and one that we find we are often having to make.