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Lexx Decibel’s Ultimate DJ Booking Guide

“You’ve probably never hired a DJ before and you probably never will again. Booking a DJ is a black box to most people, so please ask any questions you have, no holds barred”. This is the first thing I say to almost every new client when I first speak with them. And it’s true! Unless you’re an event professional or a talent booker you probably don’t know where to start when thinking about booking an event DJ. I’ve been a full-time club and event DJ for nearly 20 years now and I’m going to give you a flashlight to shine light into the corners of this black box.

Get a Referral, Oldschool Style.

First things first, Google is not your friend. Shocking, I know!! Think about it like this: Do you want a dope, experienced DJ, or one who’s paid for google AdWords and has good SEO? I don’t know any good DJs who pay for advertising, and I know a lot of DJs…. most of them good! DJing is a 100% referral-based business. In the process of planning an event, you will meet many event professionals who share your vision: your venue, your caterer, event planners, and AV companies. All these people will have either preferred vendor lists or a more informal recommendation for you. They have worked intimately with the DJs. They’ll know if they’re flexible, professional, and most importantly if they crush dancefloors.

Forget a Sample Mix, Have a Conversation.

It’s 2022. Let’s be honest, with all the technology available and the progression of djing, any dj can mix 2 songs together. That’s not the skill and art of djing. The skill is playing the right song, at the right time, in the right way again and again and again, all night long. Asking your potential DJ for a sample mix is like asking your lawyer if they can read. It’s a basic skill required for the job. You need to get on a phone and feel them out. Every event has a different vibe, different activations, twists and turns, and unexpected occurrences. You need a dj that can work through that with the rest of the team, read the room, adapt and set the vibe appropriately through it all. Listening to a mixtape doesn’t tell you any of those things!

I’ll Ask Twenty-One Questions, And They’re All About Us…. A.k.a. Who Do You Think You Are? What Gives You The Right?

Hey Lexx, I have this DJ on the phone, what the heck am I supposed to ask them?! Great question! There’s not a set of specific questions to ask and if answered “correctly” means the DJ passed the test. There are many DJs with different styles. One might be a perfect fit for one event, and a flop for another. So first off, you need to define your event, for yourself and for your DJ, and then see how the DJ might complement it:

  • Describe your event, ask them if they’ve done events similar, and ask them how it went and what worked and what didn’t.
  • What public and private venues have they DJ’d that they think compliment or share a vibe with your event?
  • Ask them if they’re familiar with artists or styles of music that you think fit your event. 
  • Does your event require microphone work, what type of microphone work and are they comfortable with that.
  • Ask them about some basic logistics: arrival, load-in, setup, and end times.
    • Broadly speaking, do their answers make you feel comfortable? Do they sound confident? Do you feel they share your vision and understand how to program and progress the music as the event moves forward? Do they sound familiar with the logistics of the venue and all technical aspects involved?

Insta Famous Influencer DJs.

We all know that social media is not real. It’s a curated glimpse of the best moments of someone’s life and career. So how does that help us here? Any event DJ is going to use their socials as a look book, their resume. It’s going to give some indication of what they do, what they want to do, and what they’re good at. If they are active, post about events similar to yours, and have an overall aesthetic that aligns with you, that’s good. If you get 9 pics into their profile with no mention of music or djing, just glamour shots on beaches or mentions of their new real estate career, probably bad.

Grand Opening, Grand Closing.

Well, there you have it, everything you possibly need to pick the right DJ for your event.

But if you’re looking for some more professional help, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly by clicking here!