Words from a LEGEND: real talk with Fergie DJ.
Being able to DJ and get paid is amazing, plain and simple. The feeling of being behind the decks, orchestrating the party, and controlling the energy is something only a DJ can experience. I'm talking about that feeling of when you do a sound test and finally get to hear your speakers after all the hauling and setting up you've done. I'm also talking about that feeling of, "it's go time" once you select that first opening track and find a rhythm for the next hours on end. Its' the feeling of people coming up to you and telling you how you killed it and lastly, the feeling you get when you look up from the decks to find a packed dance floor and feeling the vibe that you've set across the room.
There's other feelings that only the DJ experiences as well. Feelings you don't hear about or know unless you've been there yourself. Those feelings don't show up in the flashy insta posts made by the DJ or venue. I'm talking about the feelings that make you question how and why you became a DJ in the first place...
You haven't really DJ'ed until you've been pushed to your limit both mentally and physically and by the end of your gig, you are completely spent. Whether you're coming off no sleep from gigging the night/day before or you've had someone just relentlessly bugging you, we've all hit that low point and let our minds wander into no man's land---a land nobody likes to visit. Let's face it: you can't please everyone and this is especially true with music and being the DJ. When someone isn't feeling your music selection, they typically aren't shy to tell you and they paid a cover to get in so they ain't goin' anywhere until you cater to that "one" person.
When you have a gig like that, and we've had one at some point, you need a friend or a mentor, someone to hear you out and be your voice of reason. Best case scenario: you have a friend who is a legendary DJ who has been in the game and seen it all. Find this person and latch onto every word they give you and that is exactly what I was able to do. Fortunately for me, I've become acquainted with Fergie DJ who is a Northern Irish DJ that's been a touring DJ and producer for over 20 years. He currently plays at the largest clubs in Vegas and is an all around professional, on and off the decks.
I messaged him after a tough gig with a tough crowd and knew that he could throw some wisdom my way to help get my mind right. I'll share his words here because I know there's other DJ's out there who have gone through these same nights and had discouraged thoughts.
I began my chat with him about this one individual who seemed to make it her entire mission of the night to harass me, this is what he said:
Fergie: "There's always one, whatever it is in life-it does't matter if it's in your normal day job or whatever, there is always someone that thinks they know better and unfortunately they will spend the rest of their life doing that and there's nothing you can do about it. But just know that you're supposed to be up there, they booked you and there's no right way or wrong way to doing it but you cater to your audience. Everyone in your audience, like you, is also not perfect and you're not going to please everybody but aim to please the majority and the ones that you can't please, just smile and realize it and move on, don't let them grind you down because you're never going to win with those people and it's just the way it is".
He went and told me about the opportunity that we have and how amazing it is:
Fergie: "What you have that we never had, is that when we started, we were doing this as a hobby, not a business. its grown into the business-it never started like that and nobody thought it would be the size it is today. There's opportunity out there and it's amazing. You have to go into each gig and not be lit, and not be stressed going into your gigs because going stressed into any act in life won't get you the right result no matter what it is and DJing is just another form of that. Going into these gigs, you can be prepared as much as you can and you still may not have as much of the music people are asking for, that's just the way it is but what you can do is make sure you go in there with a clear, calm mind and honestly mate, the best way I've found to do this is to meditate and keep your head clear so you can keep goin and enjoying what you're doing".
There you have it, a clear recipe on what it takes to deal with a difficult crowd and what you should focus on when you're preparing for your next gig. Realize you aren't the problem, you were chosen to perform, and go into your gig with a clear mind ready to lay down an amazing set while having fun doing it.
After all, you could still be at home in your bedroom wishing you were getting booked and out DJing...