A couple of years ago, I did the Lord's work by penning this little gem, a basic "how-to" guide for requesting music from your local nightclub DJ. Here, I provided a few simple tips to help you convince your favorite self-important knob turner to spin your favorite Internet meme song du jour. This was all a completely selfless act on my part: I was trying to help you help me help you (but mostly help me).
It's strange, but in the 18 months since I published my initial manual, I've found that it did exactly nothing to fix the disturbingly fraught DJ/requester relationship, one of our nation's most distressing communication breakdowns. I know, crazy right? It got 78 Facebook likes!
Anyway, I've never been one to log a complaint without providing a solution, and while some things have changed in nightlife and music over the past 18 months (Carly Rae Jepson novelty singles are no longer the problem, The Chainsmokers are famous now), others have not (The DJ still does not care about your birthday, will still respond well to bribes of money and/or drugs). In any case, I figure we are long overdue for a sequel.
So here we go, my how-to guide for the request line, part dos. Follow these rules, you'll have mad bread to break up. If not, 24 years on the wa.... Oh wait, that's the wrong list.
Do: Know the name of the stupid song you're so desperate to hear.
In the age of the iPhone and Google, it's really baffling that this is even a problem, but researchers (me, DJ Fresh Direct) report that a good 58 percent of petitioners have no idea of the actual title of the song they are selling to the DJ as "like, soooo clutch right now."
Look, DJs are going to try to find any way to weasel out of playing your request. Asking to hear "LOOOOVVVVEEEE" by Beyonce creates the perfect venue for my personal favorite response to all requests: "Never heard of that song."
"Can you play "Yellow Diamonds" by Rihanna?" Never heard of that song. "OMG i need to hear "Grey Goose" by Lords!" Never heard of that song. "You know the one that goes "Jaaasssoon Deruloooooo" by Jason Derulo?" Nope, never heard of it. You get the idea. Google, ladies. We're not asking for the precise maritime coordinates of the missing plane here.
Don't: Ask the question, "Do you take requests?"
You're giving me a choice? Seriously?
Do: Take "no" for an answer.
You ask politely, I'll respond politely, but sometimes the answer is just "no." Sometimes it's not even our choice! Certain clubs place hardline restrictions on the music they allow in their venue and that's not the lil ole DJ's fault! Trust me, I'd play "#Selfie" for you if I could (....).
But whatever the reason, whether it's the DJ's personal decision or because he's simply forbidden, realize that you are not the one cutting his check, and therefore he is under no obligation to accept your suggestion. Be cool with that! We don't barge into your unpaid internship at Vogue, demanding that you take Anna Wintour aside and tell her the Kimye cover is a bad idea without at least giving you a molly first. This is just the golden rule.
Do: Take "Sure, I'll work on it," "I'll check!," or "Ok cool, let me see if I have that one" as "no" for an answer.
View these stock DJ responses for what they are: A gushing stream of waste that pours from our mouths in order to get you away from us as fast as humanly possible. Sorry, but the truth sometimes hurts.
This is a somber point, but crying is an effective tactic for this list and frankly, this story just begs to be printed somewhere.
Picture it: 3:25 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I have worked for 5 consecutive nights, am on my second gig of that day, and am eager to wrap this set -- my final of the week -- before going home to binge-eat taco stand delights and binge-watch the "Chopped" marathon I have waiting on my DVR. (Also of note: Earlier that week I had been emotionally traumatized by an unfortunate drama with a gentleman friend. This is a long story for another post, but know that it was driving me hardcore towards those tacos.)
An unassuming female approaches the booth to request "Timber," which I had of course already played ad-nauseum that night / week / all of life as far back as I can remember. I am basically at a point where I don't remember a time in my entire existence where I wasn't playing "Timber." At this moment, it's slowly dawning on me that "Timber" will play on loop as I traverse the fiery plains of hell. Basically, I'm going down. I'm yelling "Timber!" at the thought of having to hear "Timber" ever again.
Anyway, like any sane person would, I responded to this young woman's innocuous request with, "Absolutely not, and I need you to get the fuck out of my face." This immediately triggered my soul parts to scream "HOLD UP ASSHOLE" at my brain cavity -- I felt horrible for how I'd acted.
But when I turned back around to apologize for being such a dick, it was too late. This poor, vodka-cran-infused child stared back at me with tears running down her face and mascara cascading all over her brand new, one-size-too-snug white Zara halter. "What's your problem!" she wailed.
"I'm so sorry," I quickly replied, "It's not you. It's not even Ke$ha or Pitbull. This has just been a really hard week for me." Then I realized I had started crying as well.
Fast-forward 20 minutes and we are holding each other tight, just two soul sisters encouraging one another to "be strong and never let anyone bring you down" while I do back-to-back mixes of "Timber" for her, her friends and the 13 other late-night stragglers plastered around the club.
Moral of the Story: Crying always gets you what you want in this world, and you should do it whenever possible.
Don't: Robin Thicke
Come on guys, haven't we all suffered enough?
Don't: Be fully wasted when you make your move.
I'm just gonna put it like this:
"Hi there: I'm so sorry to bother you, but is there any way you could play Avicii's 'Wake Me Up,' if possible?" sounds a lot more appealing than:
"Hiiii, oh coool can I stand in here with you for a lil bitty second?? OMG can I touch this turntable? OMG can you PLEEEEASSSEEE play "Waking up" by Aviki, it's like my girlfriend's birthday and it's her faaavvoorritttee song pleeeeease we've beeeen waiting allll niiight!!! The song ur playin right now suuuuuuuuuuxxx." And then vomiting.
Drink responsibly and check yourself before you wreck your request. Once your song gets played though, feel free to blackout to your heart's content.
Do: Have a good old-fashioned stand-off.
A popular request-dodging technique is for the DJ to pretend that he does not possess peripheral vision and therefore cannot see you standing there, or alternately that he is listening to something highly imperative in his headphones and can't hear your desperate, unrelenting shrieks for "Show Me." A popular tactic for requesters with real fortitude is to just simply wait the DJ out, calling his bluff and letting the awkwardness escalate to unbearable levels. Someone is bound to crack.
I say "do" in this instance because, try me. Seriously. I'm a stone wall. I'm the John Wayne of mixing one Calvin Harris song into another Calvin Harris song, professionally. I will never draw first.
Do: Tell the DJ you like his hat.
Fact: DJs really love hats and think their hats make them look totally super cool and mad alternative 'n shit. "Love your hat!" or "Cool hat, playa!" is like verbal crack to DJs and a great precursor to requesting "Turn Down For What" so "we can all turn the eff up, man!!" The way to a DJ's heart, and his turntables, is through his incredibly contrived hat choice.
Don't: Take the hat.
Seriously seriously bad move that our society somehow tells women is "cute!" and "playful!" No.
That's it, that's all I've got. The thing is, I'm here as peacemaker. Let's all vow to turn the request line from the Gaza strip into a Teletubby rainbow paradise by following these guidelines. Here's to the next 18 months of spilled drinks on the mixer and "Can you please play 'Homegirls Twerking In A Strip Club!' by Miley Cyrus!?." Cheers, everyone!