The Opening DJ Commandments

Breaking down the top five rules for every EDM up-and-comer

Earlier this month, there was some controversy over a local DJ who opened for Chuckie at the Yost Theater in garish fashion, playing a slew of hard-hitting bangers and even one of the headliner's tracks in his set.

"We have met with our in-house talent buyer and Johnny Shockey, the owner of LED Presents, and will be coordinating most of our bookings with them," says Lluy. "They have been doing this a lot longer and know plenty of Orange County and surrounding area DJs who will respect our headliners and play the correct role in our shows."

It's too bad it took Chuckie getting upset—tweeting, "Yo, playing ALL the hits in your warm-up set at 134 bpm is not gonna bring you anywhere"—to get people's attention. The opening DJ has an important role, so here's a list of five things opening EDM DJs should know before hitting the decks. And in case you're wondering if there's any validity to what we're telling you, the Weekly confirmed that since we originally posted this list on our Heard Mentality blog, a nearly identical version has been typed up, laminated and posted backstage at the Yost.

Don't mess with Chuckie. He'll scratch you
Shannon Nehls
Don't mess with Chuckie. He'll scratch you

1. DO NOT PLAY THE TOP SONGS ON BEATPORT
Anybody can play bangers all night, it's another thing to be creative with your time slot. The headliners reserve the right to play the songs of the season. Don't make them edit their set and go to different cuts because you don't know your role in the show. Have some respect and common sense.

2. DON'T PLAY THE ARTIST/ DJ'S SONGS
It's an honor to open for the artist and play in front of his or her fans, and you should support the show accordingly. Don't be the idiot who tries to steal the headliner's thunder. Show some respect to the those who have actually produced their own tracks, been picked up by a record label and put their music out on Beatport.

3. DON'T PLAY SONGS SUCH AS "PUT YOUR HANDS UP"
Between 10 p.m. and midnight, patrons are arriving, buying their first drinks and getting settled. They aren't going to be ready to throw their damn hands up until after they've had plenty of drinks and see enough people getting wild. Also, they aren't ready to "Save the World" before midnight. DJs who blow their loads too soon will leave the crowd wanting for the rest of the night.

4. DON'T DJ INTO THE RED
There's a real tendency for opening DJs to think they are the star of the show. When you play hard-hitting songs above 128 bpm into the red or put the volume at level 10, the system gets maxed-out and the room is way louder than it should be that early in the night. It's easy to get carried away with the energy and excitement, but you give the headliner no room to adjust the volumes properly.

5. DON'T UNPLUG ANYTHING
After you leave the decks, it's crucial to leave the RCA cable and any ground wire in place. If you are unplugging everything, then you probably need to find a new career path. Being an opening DJ requires a unique skill set. Please recognize your position.

This article appeared in print as "Slow Your Role: Top five codes of conduct for opening DJs at EDM shows."

 
 
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