Upon the basics of being on time to the London bar or nightclub, being well dressed and professional. Most London bars and nightclubs have their resident DJs playing. The resident DJs will obviously have been there many nights and understand the general crowd that parties at the venue. Many London DJs work together by passing their nights of at their resident venues to their fellow DJ associates and mates. Rarely do you find London bars and nightclubs hiring random DJs. If they do then the bar managers, promoters or head of events does brief them on what music is to be played well in advance. Many of the West End nightclubs have adopted the EDM house music approach with new soul disco (which is not the same as the original disco) and commercial Top 40’s.
In most good London bars and nightclubs they will have a pair of Pioneer CDJs and a a pair of turntables. The good venues still keep their Technics as they know that only good DJs will play on turntables. What is not advised is bringing controllers, they are a nuisance and some booths may not have the space to fit in a big controller.
London crowds have a particular way of partying, our experience of all night clubs going from A-list to Hoxton to the small not so well known venues is that international remixes do not work. The Fatman scoops, Lil Jon hypes and american versions of original songs made by US DJs given on DJ websites do not work in London (other than Be Faithful). The crowds want to hear the originals, some mash ups do work but a whole set of Vegas R&B and house would not fit in. The DJs need to know when to cherry pick the mash ups.
Scratching is another topic. There are so many different types of parties and the DJs (if they can) need to know if the crowd is a crowd that will appreciate scratches. Places like Fabric, the Jazz Cafe, The Jam and many of the A-list nightclubs fly in international DJs who are known to be the best DJs in the world. To all the DJs reading this, we’re not saying you can’t scratch in a nightclub because you are not them but if a DJ has the ability to flare, transform, crab and can perform turntabalism and is asked to play at a City of London bar then intense tricks and scratches most likely won’t be needed for the city crowd. We even sent DJs to a very big chain of bars and they asked for no scratching as they know their clientele just want the songs to be played and nothing fancy or flaring.
We have hundreds of DJ applications daily and when we speak to the DJs looking for work we interview them and find out. Some DJ’s have played in huge nightclubs in the world and we’ve asked them do you have such songs as CeCe Peniston – Finally? No, Oasis – Wonderwall? No? how can we send a DJ who doesn’t have the selection to play for a hen night or a pop night. Is a DJ who’s amazing at Hip Hop scratching necessarily needed in an A-list EDM London nightclub.
What is expected of a DJ is that they have the right selections of the songs to cater for the venues they have, some DJ’s can kill the night and end up making customers leave which could cost the London bars and nightclubs potentially thousands as well tarnish a good reputation.
DJ’s need to know the mentality of of London party crowds, they need to know how to transition and mix numerous genres of music. If the London bar or nightclub is known to have a foreign regular clientele then they need to know exactly what that crowd wants. London party crowds can vary substantially in large venues, the DJs need to know how to mix, clean seemlessly, not like a robot, alternate genres, mix quickly but not too quick that they just cut off every song so shortly. The London DJs need to know if scratching is appropriate and also if one direction is appropriate.
There are many demands on DJs in London, some people say it is an overpaid profession, some say it is not a “real job”, the real fact of the matter. For a good DJ in London they already know what is expected of them before they enter the venue. Not all DJs are paid well by venues in comparison to what they do, they have a task not to make people leave and keep them in. For what they are paid, they could make the difference of a few thousands pounds to the bar spend and they can make a whole difference to the general morale of you and your guests (which that itself if priceless).
A good London DJ requires full understanding of how to make all types of ages, genders and races all gel together with music.