Here's the thing about DJing: it's all about illusion. Looking like you can DJ is actually probably more important than actually being able to DJ. After all, what does a DJ really do other than press play on a pair of Pioneers and occasionally tweak a knob rather than scratch one? Not much, when it comes down to it. Oh sure, Tama Sumo or Prosumer might look really busy but they're probably just texting their mates ("crowd is dead lol classic stuff really glad i came out lmao") or mentally ranking their three favourite moments in Thelma and Louise.
The other thing is about DJing is that every fucker out there in the world now claims to be a DJ. Which annoys actual DJs. But as the days go by, the divide between two blurs more and more, to the point where that line is now just a dirty puddle on the floor of Fabric. Your mum DJs. Your dad's got a set down in Dalston every third Wednesday of the month. Your grandad's eyeing up a XDJ-RX. None of them can DJ, but they don't care. You know why? Because they've mastered looking like they can DJ. And because they've done that, they've floated into clubland legitimacy. You can do it too. You can be a DJ. An actual DJ. A DJ that other DJs recognize as a DJ, rather than a DJ that everyone in the club knows isn't really a DJ even though they are currently occupying the status of a DJ. And you want to be a DJ don't you? You want the adulation and the applause, the glitz and the glamour, the free drinks and the paid for taxis. You want to turn up to venues night after night safe in the knowledge that you'll be treated like the crown prince of Kingsland Road — that fifty quid stuffed in the pocket of your Levis ready to be blown on whatever the fuck you want to spend it on. DJ stuff, probably. Or coke. Your call. You're the DJ after all.
The other other thing about DJing is that looking like you can actually DJ isn't too difficult, really. Let us guide you from darkness into the light of the DJ booth. Hold our hand and you too will soon find your own resting on the mixer like you actually know how to use the fucking thing. Here's the bullshitter's guide to looking like you can actually DJ.
1. FIND A DJ FACE AND STICK TO IT
One of the easiest ways to scar yourself for life is to actually think about what your face actually looks like. Not how it looks in the mirror or how it looks when you HILARIOUSLY open the selfie camera the wrong way (always a classic!!) but what your face looks like to the 7 billion people out there who don't have that face. Think right now, what your face looks like to the person you sit opposite everyday at work. Think about how your every facial inflection —every unconscious sneer, every unthinking lollop of the tongue, every tic, every tiny, tiny contortion—looks to them. Look at their face now. Think about how it makes you feel. Now imagine them looking at yours. Think, too, of the face your partner has to look at as you clumsily try and make love to them night after night. Imagine how it feels to look at your own face at the point of orgasm. Imagine the face you pull when you raise your head from between your partner's legs. Imagine it. Just imagine it.
You'll never have an erection again, but that quick thought experiment will come in handy when it comes to DJing. As a DJ you have to be prepared to be looked at. People will look at your face because people in nightclubs don't dance anymore. You will be presented like a circus act, stood alone, on a stage, under horribly harsh lightning and you will be scrutinized. You will be objectified. You will be nothing more than a visual accompaniment to someone else's night out. So you better start getting comfortable with the faces you pull.Oh, and if you ever find yourself smiling at a record you've played, please unplug the headphones ASAP, leave the enue and use the fee —which you really should have sorted out before you played, you fucking dolt– to board the first coach to Belgium and never return
2. TWIDDLE SOME KNOBS
Given the state of education in the UK at the moment (!!!) it's not suprising that some people go to DJ school is it, readers! With Cameron and co wrecking every bloody thing about the whole bloody country who'd want to sit and do stuffy old GCSE's anyway because there aren't any jobs worth doing or houses you could afford to live in! You might as well go to DJ school and learn how to become someone who constantly demands everything to be free. Life's much easier that way.
One thing they'll teach you in DJ school is to touch the EQs constantly. I know, I know, it sounds like a terrible joke that you'd see in an "SNL" sketch about DJing but that's what they seem to do. To be a real DJ you have to constantly look like you're touching some very, very, very hot sand but underneath that very, very, very hot sand are some really small precious stones that you want to take home with you, so you have to sort of jab and retreat at the very, very, very hot sand. Keep doing this constantly throughout your allotted slot. Any respite and everyone in the room will know you're a fucking phoney. Look at those DJs above who are definitely doing actual things to records that need doing while you DJ.
3. WEAR A DJING RELATED T-SHIRT
As we've said, you don't need to actually know how to DJ, to look like a good one, so if you can't be bothered to master the former, then you sure as hell need to make sure you're smashing the latter. You've got to look just right and the easiest way to do that is to let everyone in the community centre know that you're a fucking music guy and you love techno and you want to show the world that by wearing this, this, or these.
It's pretty much written into law that t-shirts are statements of truth. I've got one of those Female Body Inspector ones and, ho boy, it's got me into a few scrapes in my time, but check the t-shirt — I'm a pro!
4. BRIBE YOUR MATES
A good DJ will always have a load of people in the booth with them because it means they are popular and if school taught us nothing —save Pythagoras' theorem and what enjambement is— it's that popular people have to be good at what they're doing because they're popular and they wouldn't be popular if they were shit at things because why would people crowd round someone who wasn't great at what they did? DJs are essentially year 10s in Supreme jumpers so the school thing is actually really pertinent and cutting rather than a way of this writer trying to expel some of the lingering secondary school angst that courses through his body in place of blood. Honestly.
Anyway, if you want people to think you're a great DJ then you're going to need an adoring crowd and the east crowd to make adore you are people who already begrudgingly give you some of their time. Unless you're one of those French guys who perfectly straddle the line between jawdroppingly perfect male model and bedroom bound sleazeball, don't ever turn up for a set on your own. Jeff Mills wouldn't turn up to a club without the squad, would he? Well, he might because by this point Jeff Mills probably lives in a cryogenic chamber and lives of soma. But you get the point.
5. KEEP SMILING (BUT DON'T ACTUALLY SMILE EVER BECAUSE REAL DJS DON'T SMILE BECAUSE LOOKING LIKE YOU'RE HAVING FUN IS THE CORNIEST THING IN THE WORLD AND LOOK AT THE PRICK OF AN AUTHOR SMILING IN THE PHOTO BELOW FOR PROOF OF THAT)
Played the wrong song? That's what you meant to do.
Turned the CDJ off by accident? That's what you meant to do.
Spilt a pint on the mixer and fucked it? That's what you meant to do.
Clanged every mix in the last hour? That's what you meant to do.
You're a good DJ after all. You look like you can actually DJ and nothing else matters.