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My name is Mike, and I’m a DJ. I started just like some of you: wide-eyed and proud to represent my brothers’ will in the basement with the aux cord. Yes, people think you’re cool, being a DJ really does get ladies, and there is a smidge of a power rush that comes with deciding between whether T-Swift or Ed Sheeran goes on next. As such, many of you will begin to identify as a DJ like I have.
But over time, reality sets in. DJs are slaves — slaves to music they don’t care about, people they don’t like, and their own inflated perceptions of themselves. I struggled with that, so I left the sweaty fraternity basement and took on real gigs. Fancy parties, weddings, charities, openers, you name it. I did this because I came to a realization:
Fraternity DJs are modern-day party clowns.
In the olden days, every bangin’ party had a clown. That became weird and terrifying to our modern sensibilities at some point, however, after which clowns were slowly phased out. The exit of the clown caused a party vacuum that needed to be filled. Thus, the amateur DJ was born.
Furthermore, fraternity DJs are the lowest form of amateur DJ. Some of you just sit behind a table with an iPhone. Some of you have some bullshit iPad software with fake turntables. One time, I even met a fraternity “DJ” whose rig consisted of a single blown-out speaker with an iPod shuffle taped to the top of it.
This sort of fuckery is not DJing. Unless you’re booked for a show at a club, you are not a DJ; you’re a 21st century party clown.
DJ egos can run deep, and some of you may deny this outright. If that’s the case, I find it’s usually because you own fancy gear. Well, just because you have the newest 4-deck Serato-compatible MIDI Douchepad 3000 doesn’t change things. Real DJs scratch, sample, and find awesome music no one’s heard before. What part of crossfading between “Despacito” and “Gold Digger” does that fall under? Yeah, nowhere.
Others might think that because they blast the airhorn sound and play clips of their DJ name between songs, they’re legit. Au contraire, my tasteless friends. Come death, the Party God will weigh your sins against frat-manity and promptly send you all to DJ hell, where airhorns blare for eternity and screeching harpies demand Selena Gomez while stabbing your balls.
I understand the appeal of calling yourself a DJ. It’s a conversation starter. When you’re in a crowd of ladies, the DJ card is a great way to make yourself seem way cooler than you actually are. It’s a great feeling having all the right tracks lined up as well, and watching people rage to your hard work is very empowering. But a playlist and a basement does not a real DJ make.
It needs to be acknowledged that being a fraternity DJ is occasionally a difficult job. Music is the most important part of any rager, and constructing good party vibes with hip-hop, EDM, and top 40 is an artful balancing act. We have to keep our cool even on slow nights when getting the crowd hyped feels like coaxing out a stiffy with whiskey dick. Even on good nights, us DJs might find ourselves on the sidelines nursing our tenth warm beer, our main source of entertainment coming from cringing while watching freshmen trying to get laid.
Fraternity DJs deal with shitty people, too. We’ve all dealt with the “it’s my birthday” girl, the EDM-only crowd, and the weird dude that insists people want to hear some obscure track from that one buttfuck indie artist. Worst of all is the ringleader, AKA the girl you need to cater to lest she leaves with all her ladies and turns your basement into a sausage fest. Oh, the pain.
So for that, remember you are deeply appreciated. Working the crowd isn’t something everyone can do, but that doesn’t mean you’re special. Know you’re not a real DJ, so shut your poser ass up and stop saying you’re one. Thank you for all that you do, though..