DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Seventy-Three.
Wednesday, 2008.05.21, 12:23 AM CST.
If you're a DJ who wants lights...

If you're a DJ who wants lights...  Then perhaps you should save up and buy some yourself.

Before I go any further in explaining that statement, I want to thank everyone who showed up at the big electronic event a couple of weekends back at the Continental.  I had a lot of fun and there was a lot of great music to be heard.  I received a lot of positive comments about the light show that I was providing, and it was nice to participate in something like that without actually having to DJ.

(I'm not saying that it's not fun to DJ... but having to set up/tear down my sound gear AND light gear at the same time can be a massive pain.)

Anyway... I feel that I need to comment a bit about another DJ who was there, performing his DJ work in a separate area of the venue.  I'm not using the DJ's usual name because he deserves no more publicity than he already has.  Instead, I'm just going to call him "DJ D-Bag."  Below, I am providing a fairly accurate paraphrasing of the only conversation I've ever had with him.

Please note that I had never met the DJ in question, nor did he bother to introduce himself to me when he walked in from his area and started the conversation.  I guess I was somehow "supposed" to know who he was.  *shrug*

DJ D-Bag:  Hey, Man, can I use one of your lights out here?

Me:  Um, no...  This show is being set up specifically for Novachild and Tech Tonic.

DJ D-Bag [incredulous, almost chuckling]:  You're kidding, right?  You've got, like, 9 lights up there.  [For the record, I had 13 lights up.]

Me:  I was asked to provide this light show specifically for Novachild and Tech Tonic.  I'm sorry.

DJ D-Bag:  Oh, okay, well, thanks...  [Then, he wandered off.]

Again, that was an approximation of the conversation, but a close approximation.

One thing D-Bag probably didn't realize is that I had actually asked Novachild in advance, very specifically, that I NOT be involved in any event in which I would be providing lights for DJ D-Bag.  He had attained a reputation in town for being difficult to work with (to put it lightly) and after hearing a couple of things about him, I had no desire whatsoever to work with him or even put myself in a situation in which I would have to meet him.

Well, after I had agreed to work lights for this particular event, I found out from Novachild that D-Bag would be working nearby.  Novachild was really cool about it and gave me the opportunity to back out, but also assured me that if I were to go ahead and do this, that D-Bag would be in another area and I wouldn't need to provide any lights for him.  I went ahead and agreed to do the light show for Novachild and Tech Tonic under those conditions.  Novachild is still supercool in my book.  For the record, so are Tech Tonic.  Awesome, even.

Anyway, here's what I don't get.  If this other "well-known" DJ is so great and so successful, why can't he just buy his own lights?  After all, most real professional mobile DJs offer their customers some sort of light show, even if it's a small one.

I don't want to come across as a jerk here, and I want to make it clear that when a relative newbie DJ comes up and respectfully asks me for advice or help, I'm usually very happy to offer it.  However, when I bring my light system to set up in a certain area, it's not so that I can start handing it out piece by piece for another DJ to use - especially one that just walks in with the "Hey, Man" attitude and then decides to scoff at the possibility that someone could be turning his request down.  In all my years in the DJ industry, I had never had any other DJ come in and do that.

So, here's some free advice to my fellow DJs:  If you're presenting yourself as a professional DJ, and you want lights...  Use some of the mad cash you're making from all your gigs and buy some lights, or hire a professional light provider.  Don't stroll up to another performer's light tech thinking he's going to just hand over any part of his system for your DJ show, and don't get too shocked when he actually dares to tell you "No."

More later...