Welcome back for Episode 49 of The Passionate DJ Podcast! This time, our main topic centers around the top 5 best and worst traits that a DJ can have (in my humble opinion). Give it a listen, and then leave us a voicemail to let us know what you think!

For the first half of the show, I take some time to address recent events, explain why we missed last week’s episode, and to talk about the current and future state of Passionate DJ.

We then get into the main topic: best/worst traits of DJs. This episode was inspired by these two original articles:

Worst Traits:

Apathy

If you can’t relate to your audience, you can’t deliver. Put yourself in the “shoes” of your audience. Notice what’s working for them. How can you relate to them, musically?

Greediness

The greedy DJ is only concerned with his or her own desires. Rarely satisfied, he/she has trouble connecting with an audience. A generous attitude (as shown by the DJ who is willing to give back to his/her audience or scene) can often get you much farther than simply taking what you can get.

Flakiness

Success as a DJ requires steady work, constant delivery, and consistency. You’re gonna play share of empty rooms, promoters are going to lose money… this is part of the process. You’re not going to win them all. Trying to advance without doing steady and consistent work is like trying to win the “DJ Lottery”.

Impatience

It’s not “GO GO GO” all the time… it’s “let me take you somewhere”. There’s a time and place to bang it out. Know when that is, don’t force inappropriately.

Stubbornness

Standing your ground is one thing, but making it all about you is a fantastic way for people to stop paying attention. Having a fluid approach to things like crowd-reading, changes of venue, the mood in the room… allows you to make adjustments towards what’s working.

Best Traits:

Empathy

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. When combined with live-testing, it’s the very basis of crowd reading! Great DJs are very situationally aware of what their music is doing to the crowd, and are willing to pivot (change directions) if it’s not working.

Helpfulness

Time and time again, I’ve observed how “busy bee” DJs tend to be very well-rounded and in tune with their craft. They’ve gained perspective from all sides of the show.

Persistence

There’s this idea of the “overnight success”, which almost never happens. When becoming a DJ (as with most things in life that are worth doing), you have to be prepared to fail more often than you’ll win.

Patience

An inherent requirement for persistence, listed above. My least favorite sets = banger after banger after banger. This both bores and tires me (and possibly, many of your listeners). The great DJ learns when to “fall back” and when to “strike”.

Adaptability

A willingness to present your sound in a way that makes sense to the audience you’re playing to. The key for some is finding how to relate to your own audience, while still presenting a cohesive sound. The best DJs mate together the overall vibe of the venue, the desires of the crowd, and the mood the DJ is trying to express.

What To Think About:

Number five, adaptability, is crucial in your development as a DJ.

How can you use the first four items on the list (empathy, helpfulness, persistence, and patience) to be a more adaptable DJ?

Example: Empathy helps you relate to different audiences, which makes you willing to branch out, and can lead to more (better) gigs.

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