DJ styles to avoid

Mobile DJs are usually organic; they learn by doing and copying. Many don’t have mass-com degrees or haven’t even gone to DJ school. Sometimes they learn techniques that are horrendous, but they just don’t know any better. If you fall into one of these categories, don’t worry … just fix it, go ahead and watch your reputation, referrals, and income skyrocket.

The Puker

Hope you’ve heard of this one before. If not, either you are not a DJ or you are evil. Being a vomit is similar to a boy with a comb on it. He thinks he’s fooled everyone, but everyone laughs at him behind his back and no one wants to be the one to tell him that he looks ridiculous.

A vomit is someone who uses that fake DJ voice that people make when trying to imitate a DJ. They seem to be talking with a half yawn, while moving inflections all over the place. It sounds like a cross between Bill Clinton and Harry Carey. The term “vomit” comes from the sound someone would make if they were vomiting and talking at the same time. (Do not try!)

While vomiting is somewhat difficult to accurately describe, it is not difficult to recognize. It used to be common with radio DJs in the 50s through the 70s. I think it has finally been effectively phased out even in the smaller markets. The only time you hear it now is at carnivals, alongside the carnivals that operate the attractions and have access to a microphone … and mobile DJs.

If you still don’t know what the sound is, call your local radio station and ask to speak to one of the DJs. Tell him you want to know what is meant by “vomiting.” He will gladly impersonate you.

To find out if you’re doing this or any other bad technical DJs, you have to record yourself at one of your live gigs. Give yourself an honest review and then correct it!

The yucker

A “Yucker” is similar to vomit, but he just talks like he’s about to laugh at any moment, except he never does. The best example of this is any comedian doing a Bill Clinton impression. Now, listen to Bill himself to get an idea.

The growler

It is easy to solve this. It’s okay to grunt once in a while for emphasis … maybe twice a night. Otherwise, don’t growl.

The Whisperer.

Usually a whisperer has articulation problems. You are not opening your mouth wide enough to make your speech clear. While it’s not a good technique to sound like a high school English teacher, you still need to be understandable. One way to clean your joint is to practice tongue twisters. Another is to speak with a moderate smile. Emphasis on the word MODERATE. If you overdo it, you risk becoming …

The Smiler

Somewhere along the way, someone decided that DJs should smile, because it makes them sound happy. This technique is still going strong and the pro-smile gang will practically stone you if you even suggest they stop smiling. While a very subdued smile is fine to avoid sounding like a murmur, a big smile sounds as sincere as a used car salesman and screams “fake.”

The screamer

I know I said five, but this one deserves a place of its own. There is no need to yell. Go ahead and project your voice, but remember, this is not a community theater. The microphone can pick it up perfectly. If you speak at a volume a little louder than moderate and you don’t vomit, feel disgusted, smile, grunt, or mutter, you probably sound pretty good.

The true DJ education you should get from all of this: keep it natural. Keep the energy high, but not too high. Speak clearly, but don’t enunciate too much. Practice at home, so that when you get to the concert, you have learned it.

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