Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be brought down to Pittsburgh to play at S Bar with the homes Dj Zimmie & Dj Nugget for www.TheSwitchPittsburgh.com. I ended up playing for a room full of DJ’s, and it got me thinking, do we play differently in front of that kind of crowd? For most of us I’d say the answer is some degree of yes. If you say you don’t play any differently, I’d say you probably change something up on an unconscious level.
It’s not easy playing for the competition without feeling a little extra pressure. You probably feel like you need to show more of your technical skill. You break out your 2-click orbit flare or your crab more than you normally would. You try to be just a little more creative. Push your song selection limits. You play that song you never play because you think it’ll impress the DJ’s. You fly through tracks to show you can quickmix with the best of em.
Some of these things are great for pushing yourself to the next level, but I’d argue some of the tendencies are having the opposite effect. You might find yourself catering to the DJ’s and taking the focus off of the crowd that’s actually there to dance. Those extra scratches may not have been placed well in the mix. That song you played for the DJ’s, nobody else knows, and maybe it slowed or cleared the dancefloor.
Maybe none of this happened. Maybe you held your composure and just did you. In my experience over the weekend I don’t think I changed up my style too much, but I did feel some of the pressure of playing in front of a group of DJ’s I hadn’t met before. For me, the biggest factor was being told to play whatever I wanted. There was no format to the night because it was service industry night. I ended up playing more oldskool hip-hop and more of my older remixes than I normally do and it seemed to go over well. Having no boundaries like that can make your mind race in all sorts of directions.
At the end of the day it was a great experience! I got to meet a lot of really dope DJ’s and make some new friends. Pittsburgh is a fun city and I hope to get back down there soon.