Musical integrity and dealing with picky club managers
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  1. #1
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    Default Musical integrity and dealing with picky club managers

    Hey all,

    I am sure this conversation has been had, but after about 45 min on searching for wisdom on the DJTT forum I've yet to read anything...I've talked to several larger local DJ's here that I look up too and I wanted an opinion from you all as well. (Hint: Their opinions are split)

    Long story short, I'm playing at a brand new venue...It's a restaurant till dinner service is over then a bar/ultralounge after that. It's a very, very nice venue...The owner brought me in and I was told to spin Deep House/Tech house and a little progressive should the mood call for it. All good, infact hell yeah, no top 40!!!

    I was playing last night, and after playing two hours of deep house, the manager (Who is new) asked me to play daft punk..."NOW".

    OK, I don't take requests, but uh you got it boss...time to get lucky....But then he wanted me to go top 40 mashups, and not 30 min later came by and asked me to play Hip Hop for a birthday party that came through...

    I have a confession to make, I don't have much top 40, much less any hip hop in my library...I entertained his request, killed the room and made him happy, but it has me bothered today. I am an engineer by day and I play for fun, not really interested in making money here. Should I be prepared (and willing) to play that stuff, or should I be stern and say no to playing stuff I don't like? How do I open the conversation up with the manager and owner about not being another top 40 venue?

    The purist I am, I am willing to walk way from the nice ($$$) residency on the grounds that I don't play top 40 or hip hop, is this a bad attitude to have? am I being a douche? Should I get to loading top 40 into my library?

    Any wisdom would be welcome here.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor DeanOakley's Avatar
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    Personally I'd tell him where to go.

    It doesn't sound like you would enjoy doing that week in, week out and considering you're not fussed about the money then it's a no brainer for me.
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  3. #3

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    I would talk to him and explain your side.

    That behavior is what ruins a new bar.

    He may have pleased a few people but he doesn't know he lost even more future clientele.

    Tell him this a few times "I want you lounge to be better than the others out there."

    >

  4. #4
    Tech Guru 031999's Avatar
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    WELCOME TO THE BUSINESS.....! lol the manager is under the thumb of the patrons. Which if he continues to let that happen, will be very bad for you and the bar in general. He will kill the vibe, and within 6 months loose the crowd he is looking for. Loverocket gave some good advice, its really all about communication in this industry, if the patrons know that they wont always get their way, they will STILL come, but they wont bug you or the manager anymore.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru Kwal's Avatar
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    Happens to me too on my Friday gig. I can play minimal and shit for hours and have people all over the place, then some ugly broad from the back comes up and wants to hear Aerosmith...

    Most of the time I play it in since I bring my iPad out as my "Jukebox" for the crowd.. But at a certain point I will make it known that the crowd is feeling my tunes, no I won't flip the script 100% and kill the vibe because you want to feel 17 and young again. Sorry.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKA Havok View Post
    The purist I am, I am willing to walk way from the nice ($$$) residency on the grounds that I don't play top 40 or hip hop, is this a bad attitude to have? am I being a douche? Should I get to loading top 40 into my library?
    Ultimately, the manager doesn't have a say in the matter. If the owner has set policy, it's their job to enforce that policy not to contradict it. Speak to the owner (sounds like you get on with him well), and have him bitchslap the manager into submission.

    If the House purism angle isn't working with the customers (you still have to remember that that's the main thing when you're doing a paid residency in a non-music specific venue), get yourself some Top 40 house remixes and mix it up between those and the pure stuff. Will keep both you AND the clientle happy.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    I'd have a chat with the person who told you to play commercial stuff and relay your disappointment, before going over his head to the owner. Management are often just the guys who get to pass on owners wishes and regardless of his original of deep/tech housey stuff so he may just not wanted to talk to you about music policies on the night.

    Dj'ing stuff you don't actually like, or cant stand in (Being Rap/RnB/Dubstep/Commercial Dance for me) can make DJ'ing as much a chore as packing boxes 9-5, once off event sure I could do it, but if it was expected of me week in-week out I just couldn't.

    If you do decide to pursue the top40 angle (and maybe more gigs) you might end up finding it hard to be taken seriously for non-commercial gigs.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor P4ULSON's Avatar
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    The guy that writes the check is the only person that gets to make request.... period. All DJ's need to understand that. ok now good job on rockin that night you did what your suppose to. Let the owner know the situation and how he wants to proceed from now on so everyone one is on the same page.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Nicky H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKA Havok View Post
    ....... is this a bad attitude to have? am I being a douche? Should I get to loading top 40 into my library?

    Any wisdom would be welcome here.

    Thanks
    No it's not a bad attitude to have.
    You were asked to play one style then the manager has decided to alter that.

    You need to speak to them together to straighten it out - then you need to decide if you want to continue depending what they say.

    I have a feeling the owner will side with the manager though - music policy is usually one of the things they employ them for - so be prepared to find something else - but stick to your principles mate - no way would I change what I play for anybody.
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  10. #10
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    I know top40 gets alot of hate on this forum because DJTT is mainly EDM focused, I would even go so far to say that good hip-hop doesn't get much love.

    When I started Dj'ing a few years ago I was all about the EDM scene, I took some years off from actively finding music and then when I heard the sounds Rusko was making I got into dj'ing. But honestly, growing up I always liked hip-hop...

    So when I was only in my bedroom I was playing all EDM stuff, I enjoyed it so why wouldn't I play it.

    Then I started getting club gigs and realized that unless if your at a known club in a big city, it will be hard to play one style of music and consistently make ppl happy....(in smaller cities there just isn't the population to have a large group of ppl absolutely love a niche style of music).

    So anyways, started playing out, startied playing more and more top40/hip hop and started to enjoy spinning more kinds of music. I got way more enjoyment playing dead prez on stage than I ever got playing deadmau5.

    Moral of the story, I would invest in SOME 'pop/top40/hip-hop' tunes and see if you can get enjoyment out of mixing them...if you don't enjoy it then you will have a few songs in your library to satisfy the girl that is turning 21.

    edit: I will be in your situation in a few months when I start full-time work, I have my undergrad in engineering and finishing my masters. So maybe my perception will change to align with yours once money is not as big an issue haha.

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