Staying Sober during your DJ Set. As a DJ, you’re almost guaranteed to find yourself surrounded by drugs and alcohol. Because when it comes to nightlife, music and alcohol are just about inseparable. In fact, it’s quite normal for DJs to drink on the job, which is something you won’t ever find at a “normal” workplace, for obvious reasons.
Stay sensible about it and there’s no reason you can’t have one or two drinks without it affecting your set, or your health. But how do you know when it’s starting to have a negative impact, and when should you be staying sober?
If you’re the only one abstaining from the beers and all your mates are getting on it, it’s easy to feel like the odd one out. So why would you do it? Aside from the mental and physical health benefits, staying sober during your set can help keep you focussed, alert, and maximise your impact on the crowd.
What’s one thing that drunk DJs seem to have in common? Their sets usually suck! So we’re going to give you 5 tips for staying sober (or at least within your limits) during your next DJ Set!
What are the benefits of staying sober?
This one might not directly correlate with you, but some people just aren’t any fun when they’re smashed. I can guarantee you know at least one person who you don’t want to be around when they’ve been on the piss.
If you happen to get in an argument with someone and you’ve been drinking, you lose all credibility pretty quickly. Which in turn, can damage your reputation and your DJing career as quickly as you smashed down that last shot. The last thing you want to do is become known for being a drunk or a drug user because it can be a pretty tricky perception to shake off.
By staying sober, you’re allowing yourself to maintain a healthy mindset and make the right decisions that will help better yourself and your DJ career.
When you’re in the DJ booth, you have to be focused. You need to be zoned in and ready to hear every single detail in the song you’re cueing up to make sure your transitions are perfect. You probably don’t want to hear this, but even just a few drinks can affect your hearing, concentration, and reaction times.
As a result, you might not even notice when you make a mistake; and if you do, you’ll want to be able to think and act quickly to fix it.
You’re drunk, you’re loving the music, and you’re assuming the crowd are feeling exactly like you are. But the less intoxicated you are, the more focused you’re going to be. Therefore, it’s going to be even easier for you to get the results you want. In this case, a packed-full dance floor and an absolute killer DJ set!
Another benefit of staying sober during your DJ set is the improved memory on-stage & lack of memory loss after! If you’re like most DJs, you probably don’t have as much time in the day to make, practice, and plan your sets. So you don’t want to be left mid-set forgetting whether you’ve played a track. Or forgetting which songs worked best to cue up next.
You also don’t want to wake up the morning after a big gig and not remember a thing! Not only will staying sober mean you remember all the fun you had during the night. But you’ll also remember the interactions and relationships you made with your fans. Maintaining a reputation as someone who appreciates and interacts with their fans is only going to benefit your career in the long run!
DJing is one of the best jobs on the planet, so you can’t use the excuse that you need to drink in order to have a good time. Nor do you need to get that liquid courage in to boost your self-confidence.
You really don’t want to get into the habit of using alcohol to get through your sets. Because eventually, you’ll start to believe that you can’t perform without it, which can only lead to more problems in the future.
Staying sober means you’re going to be full of energy, sharp, and alert; and the dancefloor will notice. Maybe even enjoy themselves that little bit more!
If you’re DJing in the club scene especially; It doesn’t take a genius to guess that you might not be getting enough sleep. Especially after a big night of gigs and you have to be up early the next day!
Now, you might try and argue that getting absolutely shitfaced is only going to help you fall asleep quicker when your head hits the pillow. While this might be true, alcohol is proven to reduce REM sleep, which is crucial for benefiting things like memory and cognition.
Long story short, having a “good nights sleep” and alcohol don’t mix!
Tips for staying sober
Be good during the week
You’ve got a whole night of gigs lined up for your Saturday night, but what are you doing during the week? Maintaining positive habits during the week such as exercising, eating well, and regular sleep patterns are proven methods for improving your wellbeing.
So get yourself into a positive cycle when you’re not DJing. Come Saturday night, you’ll be much more energised and ready to take on the night. Especially when compared to those who have been neglecting the basics!
It’s all about the music
Taking it back to the basics, you’re a DJ because you love the music! The reason you’re going out, and the reason you’ve been hired, is to play good music. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that you’re not there to get shitfaced. Your job is to play the music that gets the crowd going and enjoying themselves.
If you’re heading to your next DJ set with your only goal being to get plastered; maybe its time to reevaluate.
It might look like light work, but you’re going to be working up a sweat in that DJ booth. Seeing countless people on the dancefloor sipping on an ice-cold beverage is only going to make you crave it more. I get it, so how do you fight this? The key is to make sure you’re super hydrated. Make sure you’ve been drinking a heap of water throughout the day, eat well, and continue that trend into the night.
Start the day off right and I can guarantee you’ll be less tempted to snorkel a cruiser on stage.
Ignore the drunks
One of the hardest things about staying sober is noticing the drunk people around you. You know the ones that won’t leave you alone, keep requesting the same songs, try to touch the decks, or are just downright annoying. They become all the more prominent when you’re sober, and it can be hard to shake them off.
Rather than biting their face-off, remember that they’re on a different level to you and they probably don’t realise what they’re doing. So laugh it off and don’t take them so seriously. Don’t feel like you have to give into their song requests either! But that’s for another article
Keep a glass half full
You know the drill, it’s hard to turn down an alcoholic beverage when you’re at a club. Let alone when you’re on stage DJing. Noone who asks is going to take no for an answer. That’s why a good tip is to keep a half full glass of soft drink with you that looks like it could be alcohol. This way, people are going to be much more understanding when you politely decline their drink offer!
If you are drinking, stick to one drink
I’m not saying you have to stay completely sober, but if you do decide to drink; stick to one type! Avoid the cheap stuff that’s going to leave you with a pounding headache the next day, and don’t mix your drinks! You’re going to feel better, and you’ll be able to much more accurately calculate how much alcohol you’ve consumed!
Finally, if you’ve decided to give sober (or less drunk) a shot, the most important thing to do is stick to it! It might seem hard at first, and you’ll probably have to ease into it. But the more you do it, the easier it’s going to get. It’s said to take 60 days to break a habit, and before you know it you’ll forget you ever needed a drink before your DJ set!