The DJ Life And Timeslots: Creating Your DJ Write-Up
I have been lucky enough through the years to see some incredible DJs and Live PAs perform at numerous events and parties all over the U.S. Some have been superstars worldwide and others have been local up and comers on their way to national and international acclaim. Like many of you, I’ve discovered these artists through various forms of media like online forums, blogs, social media, youtube channels, music websites, and even in print via club flyer.
Well established acts need little introduction really, just a cool photo, their name in their own unique font, and a brief write up describing their latest single or label affiliation. Other artists or acts that are in support usually require a little more information in their write-up in order to educate what style of music they play and what type of record label or DJ collective affiliations they are associated with. Basically, a “these guys are really cool too, and you’re going to go bonkers when you hear them if you haven’t already” kind of write-up.
These write-ups are necessary to educate and inform music fans on what to expect from the event so they can hopefully decide to get there earlier to check them out. Ultimately, a DJ’s write-up just sets the table. The live performance is the delicious meal that keeps you coming back for more. Here are some points to consider if you are just starting out and you are creating your DJ write up for the first time. This also might help you if you’re trying to revamp you’re existing write-up.
Depending on where you will be publishing your write-up will determine how in depth you need to make it. You don’t have to include your vital signs or marital status but you want it be thorough enough to represent you as a DJ, Remixer or Live Act. The basic info should start with the style of music you play. Try not to get too obscure or inventive when categorizing yourself. I know some of you may not want to put a label on what you play but for the sake of communication you probably should. This gives the audience and your future fans an idea of what to expect. You can always change it for different types of events where you might play a different style, but for the sake of your permanent bio try and decide on one or two styles.
You can also add an adjective to your genre to further describe your style. Well known styles like Tech, Deep, or Disco House, or Indie and French Electro are commonly used to further define you as a DJ or Remixer. Getting too obscure with your classification will only confuse your audience and you might come off as being wishy-washy. I have actually seen a DJ’s classification as POST-ELECTRO FIDGET DRUMSTEP. Really? No offense to PEFD connoisseurs, but it’s just too long. Anyway, keep it simple and relevant.
Try and keep this listing to a minimum as well. Those of you who are just starting out don’t even need to list any thing after your style of music but if you have a crew or production company that you are affiliated with you’ll want to list it. It could be a DJ collective, promotion or production company, record label, or night club residency. List the most relevant and current. It’s very easy to go overboard with these embellishments but the rule of thumb is to list no more than 3.
When I started seriously DJing during the 90′s I had hoped to become part of my favorite promoter’s DJ collective and become a resident at their best events. That typically doesn’t happen overnight, so my great friend DJ Ich-E and I formed our own collective and Quiet Storm was born. We played house and breaks through some really fun parties. The word eventually got out, and when we played abroad our crew was associated with Hampton Roads, VA and funky breaks. We eventually earned residencies and were able to build our brand.
The point is that if you’re just starting out, it’s not uncommon to start your own affiliation to help define you as a DJ.
BACKGROUND AND PHOTOGRAPH
Sometimes these may not even be needed for a flyer or e-flyer write-up, but it is important to have them written, on file, and ready to go. Your background info often times is an abridged version of your DJ bio that should give a very brief description of what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you’re going to do. Sometimes you can let the promoter write this for you but you’re better off always having something prepared that you can submit after you’ve been booked. It also shows that you’re professionalism, which should bode well for future bookings.
Your press photo should always be in a resolution, size, and format that is simple to upload or send via email. A 600×800 pixel, 2 Mb .jpeg or .png is pretty standard and should offer good enough resolution for print or website display. Now, what your photo looks like is entirely up to you. We can obviously discuss the current state of “douchiness” when it comes to stereotypical DJ photos, but that’s a completely different blog altogether. Anyway, you’re a DJ who creates brilliant music and I’m sure you can create a brilliant photo. Just do it and have it ready to go.
To be clear, there is a difference between a DJ write-up and a DJ bio, although they share many of the same elements. I am writing “how to create your bio,” that I will post next week. An effective DJ write-up is necessary to keep and maintain particularly if you are playing gigs regularly and you want to keep everyone up to date on your DJ career. Hopefully this helps and please feel free to comment if you have any thing to add or post your own write-up as well. Until then, have a happy gig!