Monday, April 20, 2009

10 Excuses to Avoid DJ Requests

10 excuses to avoid DJ requests
Written by: Terry Church of

Here are 10 ways a DJ can dodge having to play a request without resorting to a fist fight. These are tried and tested excuses from out in the field and Beatportal has tried every one (maybe).

No DJ wants to be seen as a jukebox

1. “I’m just the warm up”

The golden answer to any request from a complainer is “I’m just the warm up DJ”. It’s a blanket answer that can be used for any request, be it hip hop or classical music.

The reply suggests that you’re deliberately playing records they don’t want to hear, so that the DJ after you can come on and play what they really want. That should keep them away from the DJ booth for a bit. But the real beauty of the reply is that it keeps the complainer in the club listening to your set, because they will be waiting around for the next DJ. No one likes an empty dancefloor, even if it’s just full of whiners.

2. “How long have you been here? I played it just before you arrived.”

When asked for a particular style of track, immediately reply with “How long have you been here?” Then, regardless of their response say, “damn, I’m sorry I played that track or that sound just before you got here.”

Your answer shifts the guilt back onto the complainer who will think they should have come to the club sooner, and the wonderful thing about that is that the next time they’ll be the first through the door. Then you’ll be really screwed.

3. “The guy after me plays that.”

An alternative on the “I’m just the warm up” excuse, except this one can be used to screw over the next DJ quite nicely. Afterall, a little rivalry is healthy for the scene.

You could even take it further and ask the whiner to write down their requests onto a piece of paper which you swear you will pass onto the next DJ. Then when changeover happens, point at the next DJ whilst winking at the whiner and then run home before the fireworks begin.

Another excuse that uses ‘time stamping’ to hoodwink the complainer into staying for your entire set is to count how many tracks you will need to finish your set and then say, “After X tracks, I’ll play it.” (Thanks fballoni!).

4. “The manager won’t let me.”

Shifting blame elsewhere is an old schoolboy trick, and if you say the manager won’t let you play whatever the complainer wants that should satisfy them enough to leave you alone.

You could even be really sympathetic and say “Yeah I know, I have the new Beyonce and everything, but the guy is such an asshole he only wants this underground techno shit.”

Look out for the ones that have a big sense of entitlement though, as they might be savvy enough to go straight to the manager to complain and then you’ll be forced by the venue to play Beyonce’s new one and you’ll have to smile through gritted teeth pretending that you’re really happy to do so.

Blame it on technology

5. “The CDJs/turntables/laptops are broken”

Another rainbow excuse is to blame it all on technology, because everyone has experienced a computer crash, a skipping CD or a faulty wire at one time or another.

The great thing about today’s modern DJ booth is that there’s so much that can go wrong. In the old days, it would have been difficult to use the excuse “the turntables are broken” if you were banging out mixes on the 1210s as you were saying it.

But with CDJs, turntables and laptops frequently all having a place in the booth, you can isolate one of them to the requester’s music eg: “Have you got any hip hop?” “Yes I do, but only on CDs and the CD players are broken.”

6. “Sure, I’ll put it on in just a minute.”

This little beauty was by far the most popular excuse, and it is a favourite for many DJs including Jesse Rose and Paul Woolford (both have told us they use this one a lot). It’s short and sweet, and is likely to lead to very little confrontation.

By immediately submitting to the requester it will fill them with a sense of power and satisfaction. They will walk away feeling like they run the club, and might even buy you a drink (which is a bonus).

They’ll go back to their table or to their friends happy and content, and most likely they’ll forget they ever asked you for it. But on the rare occasion they realize you haven’t actually played what they asked for yet, you can just respond, “it’s coming up next” and then keep going as you are.

DJ Q-Burns told us that he’s a big fan of this excuse too, and favours the more direct “Coming right up!” line. “Nine times out of 10 that’s the last I hear of them,” he said.

Another, perhaps safer option, is to have a girlfriend, friend of retarded monkey take the requests enthusiastically for you thereby rendering you all but innocent (Thanks jessetelluss!).

Take the money and run

7. “I’ll play whatever you want, if you pay me $100/$50/however much they’ll give you.”

Requests tend to come most when the dancefloor isn’t busy, as club pretenders like to exercise control over their environment when they haven’t got anything better to do. But if the club really is lame, and your deep and dirty mix isn’t being appreciated in the slightest then why not take the money and run?

Every DJ should carry with them a mix CD of commercial hip hop and pop, so when the whiner requests you to play that type of music, you can demand $100 (after all they view you as a jukebox already) and then slap on the mix CD. Then you can either fake your DJing for the rest of the night, or even better, just leave the club. By leaving you’ll be silently sending a signal to the whiner that if they want shit music, they might as well just plug in their iPods.

8. Fein injury or illness

Basil from the 1970s British comedy Fawlty Towers used this trick a lot to escape all sorts of uncomfortable situations. The idea is to fake an injury that’s so concerning that the requester forgets all about the music and worries about you instead.

Fainting is a good one, puking is better. No one likes seeing somebody puke, and the smell should hopefully discourage anybody else from coming near the booth again.

If you’re really desperate you could pretend that you have cancer and only found out about it today (*sniff). No one likes to talk about cancer.

Think Frankie Wilde

9. “What was that? What was that?” (Twitterati’s favourite)

Nightclubs are loud environments and DJs are likely going deaf, so use these two facts to your advantage and pretend you can’t hear a damn word the complainer is saying.

If you keep shouting “What? Sorry. Can’t hear you!” to everything they say, eventually they will leave you alone. It might take 15 minutes, it might take half an hour, but in the end guaranteed, they will walk away.

10. “Do you know who I am? I’m Steve Angello.

The Steve Angello/Paris Hilton incident pricked up the ears of the entire tacky celeb world, so the story has traveled rather far. Hilton’s publicity machine did a good job of portraying the Swedish House Mafia man as an ogre who wouldn’t hesitate to glass a small child in the face for looking at him, but still very few people outside of the dance music scene know what he looks like. So you could actually be him, and that should probably be enough to scare most wannabes away from the booth.

THANK YOU Terry Church of

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