Most people think of a DJ as one of two things. Usually, you're either the guy/girl in the corner of a house party or a super famous Dutch national on a massive stage. Neither of these scenarios involve addressing the whole crowd. But if you’re still learning to DJ, you’re going to need to start taking a mic to your shows. A wireless mic if possible. Here are a few good reasons why.
‘I Lost My Keys’
DJs wear a bunch of hats. If you haven’t had to be a babysitter yet, that time will certainly come. Inevitably, someone who has been drinking will look to you as their saviour and ask if you can address the crowd to help him/her find their lost phone, keys or wallet. Of course, nobody’s going to blame you if you don’t have a microphone, but you’re a polite helpful person, right? And besides that, it’s a good opportunity to show how awesome you are by helping out the poor lost soul in front of everyone. Small things like that make an impression.
Forget the impromptu crowd address. DJs are most often responsible for technical requirements, too. This is wearing the sound engineer hat. The wedding or birthday client has a schedule of events they’ve been planning since the early 1840s. The speeches follow the pre-drinks music. Make sure you deliver on the technical requirements and ride that gain knob throughout the speech. The crowd might struggle to hear a quiet speaker but when the loudmouth best man comes out guns blazing, you’ll want to be on hand to prevent mass hearing loss.
Teaming Up With An MC
Everyone and their left hand is a MC or rapper, innit? But some of them are actually good. Maybe you’ve heard a local artist’s stuff on Soundcloud, and now he’s at your party. Passing a mic over to him/her could be an absolute hit and quickly revive a dying party. But obviously don’t bend to pressure. It’s one of many possible mistakes. If some guy is really bugging you to rap, it’s probably not worth it. Rule of thumb? The DJ invites the MC on, not the other way around.
For DJs and (students of online DJ courses), having a mic on hand is a pretty good idea. It’s a show of professionalism and also puts you right where you want to be - in control of the room. Pretty much all mixers have an input for a mic (so bring an adapter if needed). And one more tip: don’t flash the mic around. Leave it in your bag if you don’t need it. The more people drink, the more they long to be a karaoke star. And whoever’s going through your system, make sure one hand is ready to cut the gain.
John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ.