As I step up to the DJ booth I feel that exact same feeling I did over 30 years ago when I played my first gig, a sense of excitement that I’m going to share with many people the music that I have spent days hunting for in music shops along with the countless hours of late nights preparing, mixing, organising my playlist and making notes. This is the moment my whole week has been building to, it’s going to happen now and that kid inside me is bursting to be unleashed because the rewards of seeing hundreds of smiling faces, tears and euphoria (that I’m in control off) is an experience I can’t put in words.
It’s a daunting task, the pressure is on me to ensure that you have a great evening, because I know you have also invested your precious time and money into this evening, buying tickets, clothes, hotels, travel, and as my past has taught me, every single day is a precious gift and it’s in my hands to ensure that all of you take away a magical experience.
I don’t feel nervous. Once I step into the club I instantly go into DJ mode, the DJ instinct kicks in and I start to get a sense of the energy in the room. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, it’s something that I’ve acquired over the years. I can read a whole room knowing where and when to make an energy shift and how to keep a musical journey interesting. I can’t predict how the DJ before me will be playing and at what energy level they will leave things for me, so when people ask me that question “What will you play tonight?” it’s something that I don’t know until I step in the DJ booth.
None of my sets are pre-planned, I simply play to you. The most important thing for me is being organised. My playlists are my musical tool kits, it’s imperative that these are well organised and that I know every single moment of these tracks and where to find the energy vibe of the next track I need, because one wrong track played at the wrong time can kill the flow of a set. That one wrong track could take a DJ a good 15/20 minutes to regain the flow, and time is always against us. It’s these moments of pressure that give me that adrenaline rush, 3 minutes remaining on the track playing and I still haven’t decided which track to play next, I’m still feeding from the energy of the dance floor. Live edits, mixes, wrong track selection, can’t find a certain track, wrong key etc could all go wrong. All this mayhem going on in the DJ booth is the fuel I thrive for, it’s my version of skydiving, but thankfully the worst-case scenario isn’t so dramatic. I will never understand DJs that prepare sets, or play the same sets over and over again, because it takes away that risk, that danger, that thrill seeking and being able to test new music along with not being able to read and adapt to the crowd in front of you and what has kept me in love with my job for this long.
You are the reason that I do this.
– John ’00’ Fleming