By: AfroMonk (www.afromonk.com)
There have been a few things that have recently come to my attention that I can't ignore. I would like to acknowledge some things that have left a bitter taste in my mouth. When I decided to become a DJ, I made the decision so that I could share music with others and have fun. There are many Djs and producers who begin in a similar fashion, and, sometimes, they are fortunate enough to make it into a career. While it is my hope that most of these people started off with the idea of just doing it to express themselves or for pleasure, I get the impression sometimes that there might be a few out there that have been corrupted by some fame.
I play shows on a regular basis - sometimes up to 3-4 times a week. By that token, no two shows are ever the same: sometimes, the monitor is out; I am lacking proper sound; the crowd isn‘t digging the new music; nobody shows up…Other times, I play in massive clubs, at house parties with 500+ people; the bass ripples through your insides; the crowd is rowdy and raging; the light setup is insane... It’s all part of the music business. However, it has become very clear to me what things need to happen for me to absolutely get into my mix 100%. I can very nearly pinpoint which elements need to be there or not be there for the show to be a success. Despite being aware of this, I also know that I have to put my ego down and take on any show I can.
Because it's fun either way. Despite having a few rough nights where I'll start second-guessing myself, I feel that if someone heard at least one song they connected to, then the night was worth it. Who cares how many people there are, what type of sound system you‘re working with, or how much they charged at the door? Go out there and just do your thing. I'm tired of all the BS. You have one job: to go out there and play music. If someone took the
time to fly you in or agree to pay you money, you should be honored that you are given the opportunity. It’s a dream for some. Don't be greedy and demand to only play big shows in huge clubs. Respect the idea that many people do not nor will not know who you are. Unless you can sell out every single show that you play, you have no right to get cocky. It's an honor regardless of how many people or how good the system is... Or have you been infected by the virus?
Remember one thing, Djs and producers: if this is your career, respect the fact that certain people are your fans and that any new market or venue is good for business in the long run - even if it happens to be in some small town. You might have 50 followers, or 500 followers. It still doesn't make you different from the rest.
I'll never forget something that Dylan said at one of his workshops: It's not the job of the promoter to bring people to a show. It's the job of the artist. The DJ or artist is the one who is trying to build a fan base and shouldn't be alarmed if no one shows up and blame a promoter. What it comes down to is that it's your music and sound that only you can sell. The promoter is simply giving you the opportunity to do your thing and only grow your fan base for you.
I've been booking shows for a little while now, and it's been a pleasure doing what I love to do. Allow me to offer a piece of advice: don't make it difficult to book you. It leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and will eventually spread around and kill any more opportunities unless your music is really that good.
Remember don't let greed, fame or ego ever get in the way of creating and sharing your art.
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