After you’ve learned about the history of downtempo music, and started experimenting with playing your own downtempo sets, you may be wanting to move up to the next level by learning how to get DJ gigs as a downtempo DJ. Getting gigs as a downtempo DJ is much the same as getting gigs as any other type of DJ, although there are some twists thrown in, as downtempo DJs don’t always fit people’s expectations of what DJs should do. So if you love downtempo music, or even if you’re thinking of pursuing downtempo gigs as a supplement to your regular gigs, here are some tips on finding work as a downtempo DJ.
Find the Right Venue…
The most important thing to remember when it comes to getting downtempo gigs is that not every venue will be the right one for you. In fact, many of the venues that other DJs regularly play at will be off-limits to you because your music is too low energy. That being said, there are other venues where a low-key vibe is exactly what’s needed, and those venues are the perfect places to start looking for downtempo DJ gigs.
By Looking in All the Wrong Places
While your chilled-out beats might not be ideal for a headlining set at the local dance club, there are plenty of other places that are always looking for DJs with an ear for atmosphere who can put a crowd in a perfectly blissed-out state. It’s important to remember that downtempo grew out of the chill-out movement in the ‘90s, and many clubs still have chill out rooms, although there are not as many now as there were during the peak of the chill-out movement. Still, if there are clubs in your area that have these types of rooms, these would be the obvious places to start looking for gigs. The great thing about playing downtempo music, though, is that your potential venues don’t have to be limited to just dance clubs. Some other venues that could work well for downtempo DJs might include places like art galleries, museums, retail stores, dinner parties, charity events, fashion shows, dinner cruises, etc. Once you start using your imagination, the possibilities really are endless.
Become Part of the Scene
As many have said before, the art of how to get DJ gigs is based more on who you know than what you know, and this statement certainly holds true for downtempo DJs who are looking to get booked. No matter what your skill level is, if you don’t know anyone in the local chill-out scene, you’re dreaming if you think you’ll be able to score any gigs right away. Downtempo scenes tend to be tight-knit communities, so once you start getting to know people, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty turning those relationships into performance opportunities. The easiest way to build these relationships is simply to start going to shows in your area. Even if you only get out once a month or so, promoters will start to see you as a true supporter once they begin to recognize your face. This creates the perfect opportunity for you to approach the promoter and give them your pitch.
Work on Your Pitch(es)
When approaching promoters, bookers, and anyone else who might be interested in hiring you it’s just as important to have a good long pitch as it is to have a good short one. A long pitch is not so much a pitch as an effort to get to know someone personally; start by talking about shared interests rather than talking about yourself. The majority of the time, this is the best way to get gigs, as the relationships you build this way will naturally lead to performance opportunities. On the other side of the coin, if someone asks you directly about what you do as a DJ, you need to be able to convince them in 30 seconds or less that you’re a professional who knows how to put on a great show. With your short pitch and your long pitch working together, you’ll soon start to see opportunities opening up for you.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The final step in how to get DJ gigs as a downtempo DJ (and a step that really never ends) is polishing your craft. You may be able to get your first few gigs based on relationship alone, but if you don’t perform well, you won’t be seeing many more gigs in the future. That’s why an online DJ school like Spin Academy can be your best tool for getting more DJ gigs. For only $19.95 per month, you’ll get access to all the lessons you need to become a great DJ – downtempo or otherwise. There’s even a whole lesson series on how to get DJ gigs, so you’ll really be set to take your chilled-out beats to the next level.