International Resorts Pt 5: Leveraging Your Unique Experience

You’re in the midst of one of the most unique DJing experiences of your entire life. It’s an awesome time but don’t let such a big opportunity for future work pass you by! There is so much more to be gained here than the gig itself. Let’s cut right to the chase.

First and foremost have a stack of business cards handy.

Folks will recognize you throughout the resort during your down time. By day three, the staff knew my name and most guests knew me as the DJ. You’re a micro-celebrity so leverage that and make friends! It was incredibly easy to start conversations with random people as everyone knew who I was. My going solo heightened the intrigue around who I was and how I ended up there.

Have a laptop wrap with your name on it.

Folks are going to be taking pictures galore while on vacation, don’t throw away all of that free marketing! The only thing on my laptop wrap is my name and Instagram handle. Clutter it too much and onlookers remember absolutely nothing. If you know A: who I am and B: how to find me, then I’ve done my job.

Connect with the staff.

They’re tired of seeing the same people they work with each week, this makes them open and eager to chat. Meet new people from all over the world and broaden that network of yours. You never know who you’ll meet or be connected to. One of those ties might even land your next overseas gig/vacation. In my case, I met a hiphop producer from South America!

Download and connect with folks on WhatsApp and Instagram.

Much of the world outside of the US texts on WhatsApp so this is going to be your medium of communication, both on the island and staying in touch. Connecting with folks on Instagram is a great way for your new connections to see what you’ve been up to. You’re a DJ from another country so there’s going to be intrigue, leverage that.

Post your best photos on Instagram every few days.

Don’t wait until your gig/vacation is over! A few live posts have a much greater impact than uploading en masse when you get back. Your WiFi will be garbage, do it anyway. Giving folks a window into your international escapades while you’re actually there is much more interesting than showing off once you’re back. Use popular hashtags for the resort and surrounding area to get the most bang for your buck on top of the hashtags used back home. This way you’ll show up next time someone is researching their next vacation.

Last but not least: Record all sets!

These sets will be priceless marketing content back home so you don’t want to miss a single minute. Make sure you have plenty of disk space before you leave since wav files consume about 1 GB per hour. They’ll also act as your own personal window into an awesome time.

Conclusion

The biggest takeaway from all this is to never assume you don’t have enough experience for a gig. Don’t wait until ‘you’re ready’. Guess what, you’ll never feel ready. You’re going to figure almost everything out on the fly.

International Resorts Pt 4: Resorts vs Clubs

A larger than life foam cannon stood beside me, ensuring no inch of pool surface remained anything other than mountains of suds. Water balloons flew up and down the terrace above. Girls battled in fierce chicken fights while staff paraded through the foam pouring shots into the mouth of anyone they could find between the building layers of bubbles.

Earlier in the week fire dancers gyrated across the sand completely covered in body glitter, blasting six foot flames under moonlit palm trees. In competition with my Reggaeton was the sound of crashing waves in the near distance, soft yet as powerful as the ten thousand watt system under my feet..

Each week performed these showcase events. Most of the resort would be in attendance, not daring to miss the kind of parties that only Dominican Republic’s sexy coast could offer them.

The energy would be high for sure. There was a decent percentage of folks in their 20s but a larger portion was in their 40s and 50s, hailing from countries all over the world. Canada, Germany, United States, Argentina, Chile, France. I’d need to put my best DJ hat on and weave together all sorts of varying genres to keep everyone happy.

This is where personal interaction was paramount. Many folks were traveling in groups so I’d ask for a request as they hung out by the pool throughout the week. All you had to do was play a single song emblematic of their nationality and they’d go crazy, taking along the rest of the crowd in the process. Enough of these paired with ‘drop-in’ staples to bail you out of occasional duds and I easily string together a great set working the diverse crowd.

All DJing is is connecting with folks. For most dance floors this will be Pop music because they recognize the songs. For niche dance floors like House music, they connect to the type of music. You just need to relate on some element and you’ve got happy dancers. Maybe it’s lyrics from songs they recognize, or a genre. Once they trust you and your crowd gains momentum you gain the freedom to really get creative.

For the crazy foam parties I largely played music that had EDM and House undertones with Hip-Hop sprinkled in for variation; think Pop EDM Remixes. After my first set a guy my Dad’s age came up and said he had a son that goes “to all these EDM festivals. It always puzzled me but now I get it, why he goes. Thanks for that.” It just goes to show that sometimes folks simply need to be exposed to newer concepts in a way they can connect to. I was playing a bunch of rock songs from the 70s that had EDM builds and drops. He was able to relate to the music on the basis of relatable lyrics and the energy of the environment.

Tips for Beach and Foam Parties

  • Connect with the vibe and don’t be afraid to experiment, look to your surroundings for inspiration and keep the energy fun and elevated
  • Prepare to be on a very shoddy setup with questionable power quality
    • My keyboard stand was shaking around as I danced on flimsy plywood that was the ‘stage’, I had to hold my Laptop so it wouldn’t fall off!
  • Elevate all cables/cords
    • My flight case and audio cables were actually electrified as a result of all the water and foam that splashed near the setup!
  • Set up far enough from the water and use a plastic keyboard cover. 

Now rocking these parties and enjoying the sun is only part of the reason why I came down here. Spinning internationally at a four star resort is a huge opportunity for future gigs. Our last part recaps how I made the most of this amazing trip.

The DJ Collective 2019 Tools & Tidbits

Below is something of a braindump of some notes I took at this year’s DJ Collective in Phoenix, 31 Apps/Sites + 10 tidbits in all.

MCing

There is a virtual toastmasters specifically for DJs!

Verbal Wedding Tools:

  • Ladies & Gentlemen
  • Distinguished guests
  • Friends & family
  • Welcome everyone
  • We are going to…

Remind bridal party that their energy is contagious and they have to power to control the success of the party.

Marketing

Planoly – This baby is free and is officially endorsed by Instagram as a social media scheduler. This is the money tip right here.

PartySlate – An event platform you may not yet have heard of. With Wedding Wire, The Knot, and Gigmasters all owned by the same company perhaps it’s time to diversify your profiles.

BizBash – Another event platform.

Profnet – Further establish yourself as an authority in your field. The Press will reach out to your for commentary and reference in articles and newstories.

Pinterest – Don’t forget about one of the strongest social platforms that brides plan their weddings! Most DJs, being men, completely ignore it which means rampant opportunity with little competition!

Twitter – Addition by subtraction. Chances are your Twitter is collecting dust which isn’t a good look. Delete it if it’s useless, its only hurting your brand.

Lumen 5 – Quickly create videos for social media (text to video)

Magisto – Another online video editor (phone app)

Voices.com – Professional voiceovers

Tip: Ask five people in your network to poke around your website and get them to guess how much you charge. This is a great brand barometer to see if your prices are commensurate with the value that you’re projecting.

Meetings/Sales

Beautiful.ai – Automatically create good looking powerpoints

x.ai – Intelligent scheduling. CC their email address and watch them take over meeting logistics for you

VoiceA – Automated meeting minutes (what). They’ll automatically send out notes from your phone calls.

Zoom – Conference calls/online meetings

MixMax – Booking, Sales, Turbocharged Email

TextExpander – Instantly insert snippets of text
from a repository of emails, boilerplate and other
content, as you type – using a quick search or abbreviation

Grammarly – Writing that doesn’t suck

Contracts/Documents

Panda Docs

Proposify

Tiny Scanner Pro – Phone App

Production

PhonicMind – Vocals remover

Audionamix Xtrax stems 2 – Audio source separation. Extract or remove Vocals, Harmonic Elements, or Percussion. Huge for making remixes, edits, and mashups.

Splice – $5/mo for samples.

Ozone – Master assistant exporting to CD is an 80/20 option for producers on a budget.

Tip: Use risers to offset drop in tempo

Tip: Sidechain new kick with fast attack

Tip: Use kicks that do not clash frequencies with existing kicks/low end

Music

Shazam.com has nifty charts showing the top searches by city. Honestly, you couldn’t find a better pulse on what’s hot in whatever city you’re in or traveling to for an event.

Photo Editing Apps

After Light (Android, iOS)

Adobe Lightroom

VSCO

Snapseed

Pixelmaker Pro

Acdsee – Image organizer

Behind the decks view of getting more gigs.