Recording a DJ mix at home is nothing like performing in front of a live audience. In studio, you have all the time in the world to polish the presentation of your work and hide your mistakes. On stage, you have no such luxuries, everything takes place in real-time.
This has a tendency to be a rude awakening for many aspiring DJs, who underestimate the complexities of live DJ sets. They reach the assumption that if they sound good in the studio, they will kill it on stage.
Some do, but most quickly realise the two really are worlds apart.
Specifically, there are several all-too common rookie errors made by newcomers when performing live. Each of which is relatively easy to avoid, once you become aware of it.
Peaking Too Early
It can be tempting to blast straight out of the starting blocks at full speed. You have talents to showcase, so why not give the crowd both barrels right away?
In reality, this rarely works. Instead, it is far better to treat them to a semi-slow-burner, rather than going full-on from start to finish. Plan your set in advance and ensure it features plenty of lows, plenty of build-ups and just a handful of peaks. However awesome the peaks of your set may be, nobody will remember them if they are wall-to-wall.
Running Out of Steam
You need to be aware of your own energy levels throughout the set; your job is to vibe with the crowd, get into the music and have the time of your life. They will be feeding off your energy, so you need to show plenty of it.
Again, this means pacing yourself and ensuring you do not run out of steam too early. If you are completely exhausted halfway through your set, the closing half is unlikely to be inspiring.
Excessive FX and Doing Too Much
A good DJ knows that most of a set is spent riding out the tracks, with a much smaller proportion of time spent mixing, playing with FX and so on. However, there is a tendency among beginners to feel they should be constantly doing something creative and complicated.
This is a sure fire recipe for disaster, as less is often more. If your set sounds amazing and gets the crowd going, there really is no need to attempt to show off.
Getting Carried Away with the Party Vibe
Pre-show nerves are inevitable, and will continue indefinitely; nerves are good, as they show you care about what you do and take your work seriously.
Sadly, some newcomers to live performing believe the solution lies in booze. Not just a quick mid-evening drink to relax, but a night-long binge on the free beer the venue is providing. Suffice to say, attempting to put on a professional show while under the influence almost always proves disastrous.