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

Author: Scott Ruddock
Wednesday, 30 November 2005
Scott Ruddock shares the tips, tales and secrets accumulated over 10 years in the industry

"How can you stand playing such shit music-" many of my friends often ask me. I'm sure that to a majority of djs, this is a recurring question that haunts them week-to-week. The type of question fuelled by ignorance, bewilderment and even a little arrogance stemming from hopefully a passion for good dance music.

But my response to that is swift and to the point; "I would rather be playing cak to a full dance floor than cool grooves to an empty room."

And herein lies the issue. At what point can you play the music you feel passionately about to the crowd- As an avid quality dance music lover I hate admitting that this rarely happens, especially working private gigs as the emphasis on musical control lies with the client. But a shift in outlook can help ease the frustrations of trying to steer the musical boat into unchartered territory.

You see, creating a successful gig, no matter what environment you are in, is all about tailoring the service to the clients needs. Think of it as musical homework - preparation that needs to be done so the music on the night not only works, but also helps create a night to remember. What good is it playing progressive (yes that genre still exists) to a group who think Digweed is a gardening action employed to remove poisonous plants-

I remember hearing from a friend who was asked to dj a house set. What he failed to find out was where and to whom he would be playing to. To his surprise, and to the crowd's disgust, he found himself in front of a sea of Goths wanting 80's punk and indie rock.

So how do you prevent circumstances like this from occurring- Communication. In most cases the client may only have a vague idea of what they want to hear on the night. As a provider of entertainment, suggest not only a genre of music but provide examples (such as a music list) of what is popular. Get the music to match the theme for the night, inquire about the age and demographics of the attendees. Learn as much as you can about your crowd before you meet them. You will quickly develop a clear idea of what you can and can't play. It's at this point you soon realise that catering specifically to what your client (and crowd) want can only serve to make the night more successful.

Take for instance, a cocktail party I played at several weeks ago. The theme was 'Roaring 20's' and it was only fitting that lounge grooves and cabaret swing canvass the early part of the evening. While I admit that getting anyone to do the foxtrot is a challenge in itself, the mood was set early on so that later that evening the crowd erupted on the dance floor like an dormant volcano in Hawaii surging to life.

Praise was thrown my way as if I was celebrating my own marriage, and since that party future gigs have been booked, again where I get to set the mood. Added to this is the financial renumeration: a pleased client pays (which is half the reason why most of us dj), complete with the satisfaction that my shit music not only made people happy but above all made them dance.

Scott Ruddock has been DJing at both clubs and privately for the last 10 years. Melbourne based, he can be contacted at ttmr@tpg.com.au for bookings, Mega-mixes and minor miracles.
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