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  • Writer's pictureAndy Przybyla

An Honest DJ Log

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

I'm sure there are many out there who think that the life of a DJ is a glamourous one. If its a career your looking to get involved with believe me nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a day in the life of me DJ Andy P doing a gig.

I get up around 10-11am as I have normally worked the night before, most of my gigs are a Saturday and Friday night is Karaoke residency night, which is a bit wild and active. I normally have a coffee and an hour to relax playing a game or two till I'm ready to start the preparations.

Job one is to get into the planning system and make sure I know the venue, the route and my timings for the day. Google maps will help me find how long travel is what the route options are and if there are currently any traffic issues. I work backwards so start time, then take off set up time, then travel time. This gives me my time to leave which I add to depending on how far I'm going. I'll bathe, prepare my clothing and have some late breakfast or lunch the its back to the planner to see what the music choices are and if there is anything additional I need to pack or plan for. I will make sure I acquire any songs I don't have from the record pools I use then pop them on a usb for transfer to my gig laptop. Then I have a read back through any email or messages I have with the client to ensure I am fully prepared. I've normally have to swap some gear over in the van, so I pack what is needed for the rig, clothes and some drinks. This can include a pop to the garage or shops to top up if I'm low on fuel or drinks (and tic tacs). It's probably getting on for 3-4pm by now so I recheck the route to see if traffic has changed.

My average drive to a gig is about 60 mins, but this can be anything up to 2.5hrs so I tend to listen to an ebook as I drive and visualise what the night will look like, If I know the venues how do I normally park, load, setup. If I don't who am I going to look for and alert to my arrival. I like a nice coffee for longer trips, and I always try to keep relaxed and don't rush.

It's worthwhile noting that even the most experienced of us get a little nervous before gigs. Let's face it this is someone's wedding or party and we want to get it right. It can be different for everyone, some DJs I know get real bad post gig nerves, some a knotted stomach, some barely anything. For me I'm normally fine with a venue I know well but can get a little anxious if the drive is long or the venue is new.

On arrival I need to find a sensible parking space to load and this can be a nightmare when guests have arrived first but again each venue is different so its deal with differently each time. I load in using my trolley when the room is ready for turnaround. Its normally between 35 and 50 mins for me to setup if I'm left to it. Obviously from time to time people will try to converse such as photographers or venue staff, or event guests trying to get in an early request.

Once setup the soundcheck is fast, light test is fast then it's time to take a photo or 10 and get something on social media. Then I'll head off to get changed and freshen up for the gig. I try never to rush the setup as I'm not going to be able to shower again and don't want to be a stinky mess when performing. So having read this far I'm sure you can see all the glamour and were now at about 7pm.

The next 5 hours are what I get paid for, everything gone before is just to enable this. I'm begging for a great crowd and client(s) that want to dance. I'll be either working from a playlist and requests or some guidance or just doing what DJs do and play to the dancefloor testing and taking them on a journey. Surprisingly on an average night i'll only get about 5 clients come for requests and will perhaps speak with the clients and venue staff.

People never believe me when I say it's a very lonely job. Nothing like working in an office or factory. Once the time is up you get reemed to play one more song but the venue staff have their eyes on you wanting to start packing up. This is a no win situation and often causes the most tension and anxiety for a DJ. Believe me we want to play more, but also we need to retain good relationships with venues, especially if we are frequent suppliers.

Without extending this longer than it needs to be, next is packing down, loading back in the van and driving home. I tend to get home around 2am tired and exhausted but unable to head to bed because I'm still wired. It takes at least an hour to unwind and relax. It probably ends up a good 12hr shift we got paid for.

So yes I love the job, but it takes dedication and passion, and every now and then people want an all day service which we have to start even earlier for...

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