Queen City Nerve

Charlotte's Cultural Pulse

The Don’ts and Dos of the 1s and 2s
It's a vibe

By Justin Zalewski

August 2, 2019

Justin Zelewski (Photo by Tim Baker)

Over the last six months, I’ve covered a wide spectrum of topics involving the service industry. It’s easy to pick apart how foolish people can be when they are drunk or tell stories of the dumb-ass shenanigans I have encountered, and acts of ignorance I’ve committed while under the influence.

There are many components to an evening out on the town, one of the most important elements is creating a vibe, and the foundation for that is music. This month, we’ll get a lesson from some of the best in the game about what it’s like to be a DJ in Charlotte.

A panel of some of the most respected DJs in the Queen City have given me first-hand accounts of what it is like to grind it out so you can move your feet.

Queen City Nerve: What annoys you most when you are performing?

DJ Boss Austin: People wanting us to “play it next.” DJing is an art and it takes skills. It is like playing a musical instrument. Good DJs are mixing music with beats all flowing together. I can’t just “play it next.”

DJ Dirty: People sticking phones in my face.

DJ AMinor: I feel like I speak for a lot of DJs when I say, I do not mind at all interacting with individuals from the crowd, I just need you to understand that I am currently working at work! As far as the level needed to start DJing in Charlotte in general has been lowered by newer inexpensive equipment, and some venues opting to cut their nightly spending budget by getting cheaper beginner DJs, the standard for what you hear when you go out has gone down. There are too many talented professional DJs in Charlotte to ever go out and hear bad music. But some venues feel they need to save a few bucks, so they are going to ask DJ Ironic Name that’s had a controller for two months and no idea how to mix to provide the vibe. Yeah, sure, give the kid with no idea what they are doing free drinks. That’ll make them better at it!

DJ Corleone: Repeating myself pertaining to drinks by the equipment. People lean over to ask a question, meanwhile their hovering over thousands of dollar in equipment. As well as putting drinks on the ledge of the DJ booth for the same reason. One person bumps into it and could literally cut off the music and cost thousands of dollars more in repairs.

What are some dos and don’ts when you are performing?

DJ Red: Do put your phone away! Stop worrying about if we are going to play that new song you heard on the radio 75 times on the way to the club. Just have a good time!

DJ Boss Austin: Do be polite. Tip me, buy a drink, ask for my Instagram and follow me, tag me in a positive post and tag the venue.

DJ Boss Austin: Do not ask me to play something off YouTube, Spotify, etc., if I don’t have it. That’s not how it works for DJs. We have to physically download tracks into our computer.

What is one of the craziest things you have seen in or from the DJ booth?

DJ Dirty: DJing Jocks that Rock Super Bowl Party in Tampa Bay with Dennis Rodman. It was a nudist resort! The whole dance floor was naked!

DJ Trife: New York City New Year’s Eve playing Stage 48 at peak hours after the ball drops. There was $100-plus admission and all the power goes out … and never comes back on.

DJ Red: I once saw a girl try and do the worm from a handstand … She hit her face first and lost a lot of teeth.

DJ Boss Austin: Well I have seen it all: fights, naked people, a guy with a monkey on his shoulder! I’ve seen dudes puke into their cup and forget and then drink from it. I’ve seen a girl pull down her pants and pee on the floor in a packed club. I’ve seen a guy head butt a window and need stitches. I’ve seen a guy eat a pint glass! I couldn’t actually say what the “craziest” was!

This is just a small peek into what it takes to make your night enjoyable. For the many years I have worked in bars and clubs I have always had such a respect for the DJs. This is an art form that takes years of practice to master. This is not a part-time job for most, it’s a profession that should be respected to the highest. Would you interrupt a surgeon that is doing heart surgery on your mother and ask them to hold your drink while you go take a piss? No, students!

Respect the art form and the years of diligent hard work and dedication that it takes to master the art of mixing and creating a vibe. Don’t forget, tip your DJs, you weirdos!

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