Monday, 18 June 2012

How DJs should behave part 1 : Writing your bio

So I was having a moan this morning about DJ’s biographies and how off-putting some of them sound – which lead me to think about the ways DJs can behave. After all, DJing is a job, and, like any job, a bad attitude will get you in trouble, so I decided to write down a few pointers so that up-and-coming (and maybe some more established) DJs can learn from my 16 years of experience. Because of this, I’ve decided to jot down an occasional series on How DJs Should Behave.

Writing your bio.

Your bio, whether on your website, Soundcloud page or Facebook, is very important. If you are applying to places for gigs then this is often the first thing people will look at , and if it makes you sound like a diva or a moron, people probably aren’t going to listen to your mixes. It’s a fair assumption that most DJs aren’t also aspiring novelists, but a bit of professional presentation never goes amiss in this game. Firstly, this is your CV – Write down your achievements – clubs/bars/festivals you have played. Have you done any remixes or tunes? Write that down. Any other achievements in music? Write it down. Can you scratch as well as mix? Let them know! These are the most important things.

Two things to consider on the above, however, is firstly – DON’T LIE. People can (and will!) check stuff via the internet, or something you come across might be a best mate of one of the DJs you say you were mentored by, and this could get embarrassing. Secondly – How impressive ARE your achievements? If they aren’t, then don’t get too detailed – I recently saw one that said something along the lines of “I have played alongside the resident DJ at a wine bar in Skelmersdale” – which highlights not only that you’re NOT the resident DJ, but also that you believe playing a wine bar in Skelmersdale is something worth writing about. Chances are that prospective employers/fans aren’t going to be impressed by this. Much better to write “I have been playing in bars in the North”. It’s still true but it just doesn’t sound as desperate.

Of course, if you’re just starting out you might not have a long list of these, but not to worry, you can still sound interesting. A lot of DJ bios I have seen omit the most basic information – what style(s) of music do you play? Don’t just say ‘I play house’ – explain it a bit! ‘deep funky progressive beats’ is a much better descripton. If, like myself, you play across the board, don’t just say ‘eclectic’ – it doesn’t mean a thing to the reader, focus on a few main genres you play, such as ‘I play a mixture of reggae, funk and afrobeat, with a few surprises” – Even better, if you can word it to sound extremely exciting – “My music sounds like a firing stomp through 2-step, ferocious d&b and cavernous dubstep”, then people will want to listen, pure and simple.

However, avoid anything that sounds too pretentious – However great you are, it is unlikely that many people will agree that you are, for example “The most exciting young DJ in the scene” or that you have “unparalleled talents”. If other DJs or publications have said such things about you, great! Put it in quotations at the end of the bio, and credit your sources – but do make it’s a source that people have heard of (IE that can be Googled).

It might be a good idea, before you post your bio, to send it to your most intelligent friends for a bit of a proof-read. Really REALLY bad spelling, grammar or structure can be as much of a put-off as a bio full of lies or self-aggrandisation.

Also – GIVE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS, a link to your website/Soundcloud/FB page, and your email address.

Next time : Putting together a promo mix.