Article Archive

Column: 'If god Was a Mobile DJ....' - Scott Ruddock

Author: Scott Ruddock
Monday, 17 October 2005
Scott Ruddock shares the tips, tales and secrets accumulated over 10 years in the industry

If God is a DJ, then performing the occasional miracle should come with the territory. After all, if he can create the stars, the sun and the moon, then surely he can create a little dance floor magic- Club name- Well that's easy: 'Stairway to Heaven'. Of course, bouncer extra-ordinaire, St Peter, would handle security at the front door (renamed 'The Pearly Gates').

However given the way djs can sometimes act they are indeed vengeful gods with little thought for their flock. So rather than expecting miracles, our standards are lowered to praying they live up to our expectations. More important than turning water into wine (or MDMA powder) is the faith we have in their skill, their demeanor and their ability for knowing when (or when not) to play the 'Grease Mega-mix'.

Ironically enough, that can be the fun part of being a mobile DJ; having that musical freedom to program a whole night the way you want. A freedom some might describe as being your very own boss, where you get to build the vibe from start to finish or where you can be home in bed before it gets light.

If this sounds like a utopian existence and a world that you'd like to know more about, then I want to welcome you to it. A world of private gigs and mobile disc jockeying.

It wasn't until I was asked to write this column that I began to see more clearly the value in what it is I do every weekend. It's not just a case of rocking up and playing tunes. A lot more thought and preparation needs to go into it. I liken it to event management. You are in control of the entertainment from start to finish, and even before and after it too. And this is what private djing is all about: the attention to detail you provide by offering yourself as an entertainment service. That, and a very extensive music knowledge that needs to span over half a century.

As most of the world's leading DJs will attest to, their skills learnt during the beginning of their career as a mobile dj provided them with the experience and ability to read almost any crowd. The way you have to be prepared to talk and entertain guests, strategise the next sequence of songs to be played, be ready to adjust the music at a moments notice and act out the role of a diplomat as you strive to keep peace between venue operators, guests and function organizers.

It can be as rewarding as it is frustrating. You get booed for clearing a dance floor, cheered for making your crowd bump and grind, and, like any job, you get to indulge in its fringe benefits. Why only last week I played before a sexually charged group from Flight Center where I was handed a bottle of expensive looking wine and told that it was bottomless. Needless to say I needed more than an airbag later that evening.

I also muse over a time where I had to MC a wedding, a task I always undertake with pride. Half way through the night a pretty young bridesmaid approached me and asked if I worked on commercial radio. Feeling flattered that my mic. technique may have created such an impression (and also thinking this was an opportunity to do the horizontal tango) I said no and asked why. "Because you sound like a cheesy Fox FM dj" she said in return.

But don't let my stories of glitz and glamour fool you into thinking this is a fly by the seat of your pants job. Like any job it requires a degree of sense and skill. If you act the fool behind the decks, then expect to have a room full of dancing jokers. This is where Djing differs from so many other occupations. You can take it as seriously or as light hearted as you want, but don't take it from me - just ask someone dancing to the 'Grease Mega-mix.
Scott Ruddock has been DJing at both clubs and privately for the last 10 years. He can be contacted at ttmr@tpg.com.au for bookings, Mega-mixes and minor miracles.