Most people know by now that my main side-hustle is DJing weddings, parties and events. I was DJing a 15-year-old’s birthday party last weekend and encountered a young man that we DJs talk about from time to time. It’s the over-requester. There are many forms of over-requesters. This kid was an over-requester on several fronts. It’s not his fault. Most people don’t know party etiquette at 15. Some people don’t even know at later ages. So, I figure I’d lift the veil a bit and let you know a few unspoken DJ rules that might help you at the next party, club night or wedding you attend.
1. Most DJs don’t take requests. I do. Maybe it’s the radio DJ in me but, if the song is important enough to you to come up and request it, I’ll do my best to play it. That leads us to No. 2
2. I take requests; it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll play it. Like I said, I’ll do my best. A DJs job at a party or event is not to keep you happy (unless you’re the one who hired me, of course) — it’s to keep the crowd happy. You may LOVE Slipknot, and I’m a fan of some heavy rock here and there, too. But there’s a time and place for it. Unfortunately, this ain’t the time, and this ain’t the place. You may look cool to the couple of friends you’re hanging out with if you get me to play “Duality,” but it’s most likely going to clear the dance floor. For a DJ, this is like running out of tortillas at Taco Bell. It’s bad. DJs all have a general sense of what is going to keep the dance floor happy, so let us operate. I don’t come to your job and tell you to use a jack-hammer to change oil or to answer all your emails in Arabic. So don’t expect me to play a song that doesn’t belong at the event.
3. The reason we don’t take requests is because we’re pretty in tune to what works for the type of event for which we were hired. More times than not, your request — unless it’s something really obscure — will get played at some point before the night is over without you even asking for it. Just be patient.
4. If we’ve already played your request, we’re not going to play it again. So, don’t ask. We don’t care that you just got there and missed it. You’re going to have a good time with or without hearing that song. Just let it go.
5. We also don’t care that you and your friends are about to leave. So don’t say “Hey, hurry and play my song, ’cause we’re about to leave.” That just means I can cross your song off the request list without playing it. That’s what you get for leaving.
6. If you do happen to get us to play a request, don’t come back to ask for more. Unless you’re the one that hired us, you have a one request limit.
7. Be patient. If you request a song, it’s not going to get played next (if it’s played at all). We’ll have to work it in. Don’t come up after the next song and go “What happened to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’?!”
8. If you do keep coming up asking what happened to your song or re-requesting it like I don’t know that you’ve asked for it four times already, your song gets moved to the bottom of the list each time you come up, if there even is a list. Remember, I’m one of the very few who take requests.
9. If I have to download your song, the likelihood that I’ll play it diminishes greatly. It better be really friggin’ good. If the song you want is only available on Soundcloud or YouTube, save yourself the trip to the DJ booth.
10. And don’t say “this song will set this party off!” Every single time someone has said that to me, they ended up being the only person in the joint who knew the song.
11. No, I will not plug in your phone to play music from it.
I get it. I was always the guy requesting stuff from the DJ. I requested really obscure stuff because I thought it impressed the DJ. In fact, it’s my love for music that made me want to be a DJ in the first place (both radio and otherwise). Unfortunately, I can’t play most of the things I want to hear, either. But that’s what the ride home is for.
These rules are tongue-in-cheek anyway. DJs know that people are going to do all the things mentioned above. It’s just a minor work aggravation, like the people who drink the last cup of coffee and don’t refill the pot. We’ll make sure you have a good time. So, just relax and enjoy the night… and don’t bump the table.