Here on the blog, we like sharing failure stories. Why? Well, for one, because they’re funny. But also because failure is something all DJs have to deal with at some point in their career, and hearing about other people’s failures is a pretty good tool for making us feel better about ourselves.
We all screw up once in a while, and in the end, what’s the point of learning how to DJ if you can’t pick yourself up off the ground after one bad gig?
The Worst Ever?
Recently, in search of good DJ failure stories, I stumbled across this great thread on Reddit called “Worst gig you ever played?” (If you’re ever needing some encouragement about your DJ skills, just cruise around on Reddit looking for bad gig stories – guaranteed you’ll find plenty of people whose stories are worse than yours.)
One story in particular stood out from this thread. Here are a few excerpts for you to give you the gist of what happened:
“I cringe every time I have to think back to my first wedding I ever DJ’d. I straight up ruined what should have been the happiest day of this couple’s life.”
“I didn’t prepare anything beforehand. Not their playlist, not their special songs, I didn’t even look over their program. I just showed up and expected to play music like I usually do at the lounge I play at.”
“When it came time for their first dance I was just sitting there not even paying attention, probably messing with my controller or something. It got really quiet so I looked up, everybody was looking at me. What happened? Did something go wrong? The emcee made an announcement and filled in the dead air space. He tried to help me out and said something about the first dance. I panicked and tried to pull it up on YouTube (I tethered my iPhone before hand). It took me about two minutes, but I finally found the song and turned the volume fader up. When I brought up the volume, I forgot that I had some other dance song playing in the background on iTunes. Their first dance song and this dance song came blaring in at the same time. I brought the volume back down, turned off iTunes, and got their first dance in. I was so embarrassed, I wanted to leave and never be seen again.”
“I try really hard to block that event out of my memory. The very thought of it makes me sick to my stomach.”
A few things stand out about this story. One: this was the first wedding this DJ had ever played, and they were clearly not prepared. The person who posted the story later went on to say: “My piece of advice to inexperienced DJs, don’t take gigs that you’re not ready for.” This is a good tip for anyone learning how to DJ: know when the time is right to get out there and show your stuff, and when the time is right to stay in your bedroom and keep practicing. (By the way, if you want some tips on how to get prepared for your next gig, check out our lessons on getting gigs and promoting.)
The second thing that stands out from this story is that this DJ still feels sick to their stomach whenever they think about this gig. But think about it: is this story really that bad? Sure, the first dance was delayed by a few technical difficulties, but did it really “ruin what should have been the happiest day of this couple’s life?” Probably not.
For one, what can seem like an eternity of dead air space when you’re up on stage could actually only be a matter of a few seconds; it all depends on your perspective.
Secondly, is this couple’s whole memory of their wedding day going to be marred by what happened at their first dance? Again, probably not. They have had a few laughs together over the DJ that screwed up their first dance, but in the end, weddings are about family and the people we love, not about getting every technical detail right (or at least they should be).
The point is this: if you screw up as a DJ (which, guaranteed, you will) it’s probably not as bad as you think. And even if you do screw up really bad, just look at all the ways other people have screwed up, and you’ll know you’re not alone.
How Does This Apply to My DJ Education?
What does this all have to do with learning how to DJ, you ask? A big part of learning how to DJ is learning how to recover from failure. So if you want to be a DJ, you’ll just have to get used to the fact that failure is a part of life, and in the end, it should be something we all laugh about, and not something that makes us want to give up.
Another important aspect of becoming a good DJ making sure you know your stuff. We’ve got lessons on every aspect of DJing here at Spin Academy. Why not start off with some DJ basics to help prevent you from falling on your face at your next gig?
Do you have any good DJ failure stories? Share them with us in the comments below.