Already put in the hours honing your skills on your DJ controller, turntable, or full DJ-set-up and built yourself a massive collection of floor-fillers and bangers? Then it’s about time you booked your first gig and took your set into the booth. Courtesy of our in-house DJ-specialist, Matt (AKA DJ Konna), we kit you out with some tips and tricks for booking your first gigs.

How to Get Your First DJ Gig

Record a Set to Show What You can Do

Club-night and event organisers obviously want to be assured that the DJs they’re booking actually have a little talent. One of the best ways to show bookers and promoters you’ve got what it takes is to offer them a great mixtape. With a mixtape, you can show off your music knowledge and give people the best idea of what you play. Since anyone can play a set of top-40 tracks one after the other, you need to make sure that you stand out, so try out some original ideas and show that you have a unique and fresh perspective on music.

Social Media

Having a social media presence is a must, especially since a DJ will do most of their promoting via social media. If you’re just starting out, then consider setting up an Instagram and Soundcloud page. Instagram opens up the opportunity to get your name out to as many people as possible, while using Soundcloud, you can upload entire mixtapes, original tracks, and create a purely fan focussed page that people can visit or discover.

DJ Competitions

So, you’ve already made a solid mixtape. Besides sending it out to promoters, what else can you do with it? Sign up for some DJ competitions! Many festivals set up DJ competitions every year so they can sniff out the freshest talent. Most of the time, these competitions will ask you to submit a mixtape, and since the organisers receive hundreds, maybe thousands of entries, it’s your job to make sure that yours jumps out during the pre-selection process. Once you get through the first round, you’re usually invited to play a live set in front of a jury of professional DJs and the organisers, which is as scary as it gets, but you never know, it might be your big break!

Seek Out the Places You Want to Play

The best way to show a promoter that you love the club nights and parties they organise is to go to them. Be present, and get to know the people that work there and the DJs already playing, so you can get a good idea of the vibe. Sooner or later, you’ll come into contact with the right person who will be willing to give you that chance. Building a DJ-ing career is a long, drawn-out process and demands work, so don’t expect to be playing your favourite spots immediately, or even within your first year.

Build Up Your Network

You might have the talent of Tiësto, Martin Garrix and DJ Isis combined, but if you don’t know anyone in the music world, then it’s going to be tough to get booked. Reach out to other DJs, producers, promoters, or even just people that are busy with the same sounds as you. This won’t just introduce you to new tracks, artists, and labels, but who knows, it might help you get that first gig.

Organise Your Own Festival

If you haven’t been able to find the right people or promoters to give you that chance, then you can just create the chance yourself. Many DJs organise their own nights, whether it’s at the local pub or club, all you need to do is invite enough friends and the word will get around quickly enough. Setting up your own parties also means you can book a few of your fellow DJs, offering you the perfect opportunity to keep building that network!

See Also

» All DJ gear & Effects
» How to become a DJ

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