Things I Have Learned From Being An Indie DJ

To me, female DJs seem as rare as a socially secure person on University Challenge. I have realised this by DJing on the side up North, everything from doing the odd wedding and club night to, most recently, trying to entertain a large room of Ting Tings’ fans before their gig.

I’d like to point out that I’m not a full-time professional DJ. I am in fact a student in my last year of University who DJs on the side (instead of watching merciless amounts of Deal Or No Deal).

Neither am I claiming to be any Annie Mac. Essentially I’m a dedicated bedroom DJ, specialising in indie music, with an incomprehensible passion for Hall & Oates. Here are a few things I’ve discovered.

1. People like to request funny things
*My personal favourite, to date, has to be a man coming up towards the end of my set and asking if I knew of a band called Kraftwerk (as if they were some up-and-coming band).
*On more than one occasion, I have also had someone request all 8 minutes of ‘Purple Rain’.
*I was told by a Canadian, that he’d come all the way from Canada to hear me play some We Are Scientists.
*Despite playing a very indie set, people have still decided to relentlessly ask me for Chris Brown, with a straight face.

2. My failsafe floor-fillers are:
*‘Someone Great’ by LCD Soundsystem (perfect if you need some fresh air or a quick toilet break).
*‘Africa’ by Toto (making grown men weep since the 80’s).
*‘Hang Me Up To Dry’ by The Cold War Kids (I once DJed in a bar where my lecturers were and saw them singing along to this).
*‘Broken Broken Broken Heart’ by Jeffrey Lewis (goes down a treat with the locals at dingy underground pubs).
*‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush (I realised that this was failsafe when a man decided to physically take hold of my hand and propose afterwards).

3. My most disastrous song choice has been:
‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ by Aerosmith (I still don’t know what I was thinking).

4. My most embarrassing moment DJing:
When my CD scratched and made Boston’s ‘More Than A Feeling’ sound like a techno remix. Everyone in the club stopped and stared at me.

5. The most surprising songs to clear a room to are:
*’Everybody Wants to Rule The World’ by Tears For Fears.
*‘Burning Down The House’ by Talking Heads (I thought this was apt in a hot room… apparently not).

6. The best songs to make grown men dance to are:
*‘I Touch Myself’ by Divinyls (I saw a man rip his shirt off to this when I played it).
*‘We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off’ by Jermaine Stewart (he later re-buttoned his shirt when I played this).
*‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ by Cyndi Lauper.

7. The type of indie ‘requesters’ in Leeds can be categorised into Smiths songs:
*Bigmouth Strikes Again: this person tends to be the angriest, only requesting obscure B-sides, most probably leaving the club if you don’t have it.
*This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore: my jaw has, quite actually, failed to close when I’ve been asked for Tinie Tempah (some would say it almost made me pass out…I wouldn’t).
*Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want: this requester tends to request something good, like Talking Heads, but then try to make the night into one big ‘Stop Making Sense’ by requesting another Talking Heads song immediately after.

So how about you? If you’re a DJ, what’s your failsafe floor-filler? If you’re not, which song always makes you race for the dancefloor?