Look, I'm just gonna be super real with you here: DJs hate when you make requests. Put yourself in our shoes for just a moment. Imagine there is some random, sloppy wasted chick in a size-too-small Herve Leger at your office, interminably standing over your desk while you're trying to work and shouting out all of the things she feels you should be doing differently. See, it blows! And while it should be said that, on the whole, DJs are a highly egotistical bunch with inappropriately inflated senses of artistic worth, most of us have actually put a ton of thought into our sets and are doing our very darndest to please both you the crowd and the venue that hired us, thank you very much. OH! and we're gonna play "Call Me Maybe," random drunken girl No. 97, so please f&^%in' relax!!!
Anyway, while making a request to your [un]friendly neighborhood DJ is probably gonna land you on their shit list for life and might actually result in your song never ever getting played and/or you receiving the ill death stare, most of us understand that requests are an inevitable part of the non-Calvin Harris DJ lifestyle. In light of that, I thought I'd provide a nice little guide to the "Do's" and "Don'ts" of requesting songs from DJs. Playing by these rules will give you the best shot of hearing the Ace of Base throwback with which you're currently ironically obsessed, "Titanium" or perhaps even your favorite Meek Mills mixtape B-side. Watch and learn:
1. DON'T: Be a creeper
So you've made the decision to tough it out and beg the DJ to play your new fave Avicii remix. The best thing you can do is not handle yourself in a way that will inevitably piss off the DJ, make him uncomfortable and therefore make him (or her) feel no inclination to do anything that makes you happy. This is just basic human logic. Don't stand there forever trying to lock eyes, don't stomp your feet like a disgruntled tween and don't dramatically flip your hair in faux-exasperation. Know that even if it doesn't seem that way, we see you and will acknowledge you when the time is right. The truth is, most of the time when a DJ isn't responding to your presence right away, it's probably simply because it's not great time for us as we're busy with our set, the equipment is messed up, our Molly trip took a turn for worse or we have to pee like woah. The best thing you can do is take a deep breath and come back in a bit when things seem cooler. Doing something considerate might actually endear you to the DJ and make him want to do you a solid! Bottom line: Freaking the DJ out is not the best prelude to asking for a favor.
2. DO: Shower us with compliments
As discussed earlier, DJs are incredibly pompous by breed and will usually respond like puppies to anything that makes us feel more like rock stars and less like the overpaid Pandora apps that we are. "You're like the best DJ we've ever heard!," "I've never danced like this in my whole life!," "You have the bone structure of a Greek deity" -- all work wonders and should be peppered on liberally. DJs are like highly insecure 7-year-olds who need constant adoration and positive reinforcement. Leading with a seemingly sincere series of compliments is probably one the surest bets to having your request needs met.
3. DON'T: Tell us it's your birthday. We don't care and we don't believe you.
Look. It's always someone's goddamn birthday. Unless you're inviting me to your birthday party and gifting me with a super plush party favor, don't even with this one. It's literally the No. 1 most annoying request cliche and will pretty much ensure that your request gets harshly shafted and your (fake) birthday promptly ruined. Try something more unique, like, "It's the two-year anniversary of my divorce so I really need to hear 'Goodbye Earl (Alesso Double Dutch Remix)' by the Dixie Chicks!" Points are always given for creativity.
4. DO: Give money / alcohol / drugs
As with every part of life, presents make everything awesome and material things are the key to happiness. Offering to buy us a drink is kind of dicey (DJs usually drink for free and there's always the chance that you may roofie us), but it's a step in the right direction. Money is super awesome, though. Come with the cash when you're making a request, and I'm not talking about $1 here, Mr. stinge-meister. While a Washington is an affront to our very dignity, like most night workers handing us $20 for cab money home is a total game changer.
5. DO: Respect the booth bitch.
All my friends know that if they're coming with me to a gig, the unspoken exchange for the free boozing and the privilege of standing with me for five hours in a sweaty, Lower East Side basement packed with degenerates is the responsibility of dealing with most of the requesters. If the DJ has some friends in the booth, being nice to them (aka giving them drinks, money and drugs) is probably your best chance of getting an audience with the DJ. Booth bitches usually enjoy being gatekeepers and DJs would way rather hear what you have to say through their friends that from your slurring, whisky-soaked mouth.
6. DON'T: Send your BFF/BF over to reiterate your request from 15 minutes ago
NEWSFLASH: Despite evidence to the contrary, we have both brains and eyes. Stop patronizing us. If we didn't want to play Selena Gomez "Love You Like A Love Song" the first time you asked, we def won't wanna do it when you send your friend over 10 minutes later with the expectation that we are too dim to discern that ya'll have been fraternizing and plotting on us. Fall back with your schemes!
7. DON'T: Tweet suggestions at us
8. DO: Follow me on Twitter
Please? (@djlouiexiv) :)
9. DON'T: Ask us to charge your phone, watch your coat or for the location of the bathroom
This is a serious affront to our egos and we will pretend we don't know where the bathroom is even though we've been working and peeing here for a year. Also, the coat check is most probably near the damn door, lady.
10. DON'T: Come back for seconds
If you do manage to get your request played, I beg you: Be happy and content. You have achieved the impossible dream, reached that highest mountain peak and you should be feeling pretty goddamn satisfied at this moment, kinda like Michael Phelps after the last Olympics or Blue Ivy Carter at every waking moment for the rest of her existence on this earth. But no, you're greedy, we gave an inch and you want that mile. But here's the truth: Nothing is worse as a DJ than giving in, playing that damn request we didn't really wanna spin in the first place and then having that person respond to your honoring of said request with the expectation that they can now guide the rest of your set.This is the worst part of request culture and you need to know that perpetrating this pretty much makes you nightlife scum who shouldn't be allowed to breath the same disgusting booze, pheromone, weed and sweat filled air as the rest of us wenches.
11. DON'T: Put your drinks near equipment
That shit is expensive and if you spill your vodka-soda on it, the mixer blows and everyone gangs up in a massive, Jameson-fueled revolt, that's on you, son. I've rehearsed for this moment and will be out the door in five seconds flat.
12. DO: Know your DJ
This is very straight forward: Your hot hot sex/fit, lithe body can definitely aid you in making requests at the club, as can your fun, free spirit-with-a-heart-of-gold personality, but only when utilized properly. Just pay close attention to the DJ for five minutes and you'll probably get a good idea of what aspect of what your working with will most effectively help you reach your goal. E.g., if a certain Rihanna-loving tunester has been pseudo-seductively grinding his hips to "Rude Boy" in a pink, silk Hermes head scarf all night, leaning over to reveal your ample breasts / coming into the booth and playfully tickling his butt is probably not the best way to make a song request. If you are Ryan Gosling, however, please just send me your favorite playlist and I will just loop it all night long for nothing in return but a wayward glance and maybe just a brief moment where our bodies lightly touch, our sweat intermingling in a subversive but erotically charged moment in a dark corner of this seedy lounge... Wait, what are we talking about again?
13. DO: Understand the notion of venue restrictions, varying DJ styles and musical genres
I'm gonna be super serious here for a sec. While most requests consist of wickedly obvious songs that we probably have to play anyway or, conversely, something so esoteric that we can never ever play in a million years, every once in a while someone will drop a great surprise bomb on us and make a killer, thoughtful request. Now, when I say "thoughtful request," what I mean is a request that has acknowledged the following factors:
1. The venue that you are in: If you are in a club that is clearly devoted solely to house music, heading up to the DJ and begging to hear Montell Jordan is not annoying just because you are requesting Montell Jordan, but also because it's pretty damn clear to you and everyone else that that is not a possibility on this night. Get over it. The beauty of NYC nightlife is there are approximately 24 billion other options for you to peruse if your current choice isn't programmed to your satisfaction.
2. The style of the DJ: Sometimes, DJs specialize in a certain genre and have been hired to spin that genre. Much like No. 1, you can usually discern this just by listening for a few minutes. If the DJ has been taking you on a aural tour of psychedelic rock jams of the '70s for the past hour, chances are he is not gonna be into playing "Party in the USA," no matter how sweetly you flutter your fake eyelashes. Make your requests accordingly if you want any chance of the DJ giving you love.
3. The timing of the request: In a more open-format club or with a DJ who plays many different genres, make your request at a time when it makes sense. Asking to hear Shaggy "It Wasn't Me" while the DJ is knee deep in a Swedish House Mafia megamix is probably not gonna work out and by the time he is playing throwback reggae jams from the early 2000s, he will have completely forgotten all about you.
4. Request a song people can actually dance to: This seems obvious, but strangely enough, it needs to be stated. Just cuz you can dance around your room in your underwear to that Best Coast deep track doesn't mean the rest of us can. 'Nuff said.
Obviously, I could go on here but then I wouldn't have material for my part 2 follow up! The bottom line here is the requester-DJ relationship is an integral part of the fabric of modern nightlife, and while you may find it awkward making requests and we may detest you for doing it, we both have to grudgingly grit our teeth and bear it cuz otherwise, DJs wouldn't have nearly enough about which to look passively brooding! And that just wouldn't be right. Also, contrary to everything I said in this piece thus far, for the most part DJs are actually pretty nice fellas and ladies. If you are respectful of us, we will be respectful in return and we actually genuinely -- *gasp* -- want everyone to have the best night possible! You happy, we happy, capisce? So take this as a piece of an evolving code and try to let your DJ do his or her job. Also, consider this: If you forgo your request and open your mind, you may even be surprised to find you can have fun dancing to music that you didn't expect! Anyway, I feel like we're all on the same page here. Now excuse me while I just give up on everything I hold dear and play the new Flo Rida jam for the fourth time. Cheers!