7 effective habits that have landed me hundreds of gigs.


5 minute read

I’ve played hundreds of gigs and encountered many scenarios that have put me on the hot seat.

Playing after a DJ who’s smashed all the hits, performing on malfunctioning equipment, going overtime because someone hasn’t showed up, not having the right music and dealing with interesting personalities are some of the scenarios I’ve encountered. Knowing how to handle these situations will boost your confidence and paint you as a reliable DJ in the industry.

I’m going to share some tips that I’ve learnt through my experiences playing gigs, working with touring agencies and receiving advice from MixedByAli, Simon Green (Manager for Wu-Tang/Pusha T) and Coach K (Manager Migos, Lil Yachty).

  1. Be easy to work with - people will remember you for the impression you leave, especially if its a first!

  2. Be on time - come early to your sets, suss the crowd, atmosphere and the DJ before you so you can formulate a game plan. This will take a lot of the guess work out and help you hit the right notes.

  3. Meet deadlines - deliver what you promise with quality, don’t make any excuses and just do what it takes to get the job done.

  4. Be adaptive and flexible! If a promoter has come to you with a problem be understanding of the scenario, formulate a game plan and work with them to make the event a success. This happened to me when I opened up for Pusha T, the next DJ did not show up so I had to go past the set I had initially prepared. Push’s manager was extremely thankful that I could fill in and keep the crowd happy.

  5. Team work. Be supportive of your team mate. If the next DJ has a problem setting up, stay there until they’ve successfully set up - they will remember you for helping them. I’ve had DJs walk off on me whilst the switch over song was ending and my computer freezing up.

  6. Be honest with yourself. Know when you’ve played a bad set and where you went wrong so you will be better for the next. This trait has helped me come a long way!!!

  7. Have respect for promoters and please their crowd whilst maintaining your integrity. An example of this is following a music brief. Most recently I opened up for an artist and we were asked to not play any major hits because we needed to save them for the main act. The support DJ after me went on and disregarded the brief - they instantly blew their opportunity for future support slots.

  8. BONUS TIP!!! Patience and consistency… Have respect for the process, keep doing what you love and your time will come. This is a long game and success doesn’t come over night. My friends who are successful artists tell me hard work overrides talent any day.

Jaden Smith and myself after a show in March 2019

Jaden Smith and myself after a show in March 2019

Phil Y