Musicians' Resource Directory
1. Pick a Catchy Name
Fucking in the Streets and Pretty Titty are taken, but there're still plenty of great, memorable, and just plain vulgar DJ names to be had. Nobody's going to remember DJ Mark, so add a "(blank)-Master" to your name or come up with something else altogether. You're creating a brand for people to associate with your parties, your style, and your sound, so make it sticky.
2. Play Music That You Love
So says Clayton Vomero, AKA DJ Pretty Titty, and it's absolutely the best advice for any DJ, new or old. "Chris Devlin, Ronnie Darko, Flosstradamus: These are dudes that have a genuine love for music, dancing, and partying like fucking animals," Vomero says. "There's a reason that these guys fly all over the world and it's not solely because of their skills. It's because no matter how many people are there or what type of crowd it is, they'll be jumping around clapping their hands and making you feel like this is the best party you've ever been to."
3. Get Involved
Sadly, no matter how banging your mix CD is, you won't get a DJ set based on a demo alone. You have to be a part of the scene you want to play in. Meeting other DJs, bookers, and fans is the best way to get connected to the kinds of parties and club nights that might eventually pay you to play.
4. Throw a Party
Vomero again: "If people have fun, they'll ask you when you're going to throw another one. I had a very specific idea of what kind of music I wanted to be played at my party and realized that instead of trying to explain that to every DJ, it would be better for me to just show them. I DJ[ed] my own parties, which then led to me being asked to DJ other people's parties."
5. Make That Dollar!
"I can't divulge the secrets of how I get paid, but I can tell you how DJ Funk gets paid," says Vomero.
VOMERO: So, the date is the 16th?
DJ FUNK: Let me tell you something about Funk Daddy: Funk Daddy will sell out a stadium for $50,000. Ya feel me? We're gonna need months to promote this. Months. Now, if you had your shit together, you would've contacted me a year ago, cause you and I, we're gonna make hit records together motherfucker.
VOMERO: Right, I just want to get you out here for the 16th. Is that possible?
DJ FUNK: Is that possible? You a fuckin' white boy ain't you. [To someone else in the room] Got another white boy on the phone! Listen here. I will do the show, but you have to UPS me a check for $1,000 tonight.
VOMERO: I need a contract to do that.
DJ FUNK: Superstar DJ Funk does not do contracts with white boys from Seattle.
"So, that's how one DJ gets paid."
If you're not DJ Funk, you can still usually find clubs that will pay you at least a flat $50 to DJ all night, or if they're willing to charge admission, you can always take a cut of the door.