Groove Line

Wed. May 13, 2009 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

To Tip, Or Not To Tip … The DJ?
I've been asked over the years whether it is appropriate or expected to tip a DJ who is working in a club or bar. Here's what I think:

In general, DJs don't expect to get tipped. They are compensated by the bar based on pre-arranged terms with management; and unlike waiters or bartenders they don't expect to get a significant portion of their night's pay from tips. Depending on the location of the DJ booth, tipping the DJ may in fact be a near physical impossibility.

Praise is always welcomed. Whether in the form of spoken words, a thumbs up, a note on a napkin, or that universal head nod of approval, DJs love to hear from their audience that there is appreciation for what they are playing. And if direct personal communications aren't possible, an email note or posting on MySpace or Facebook is just as cool.

Praise In-Kind ain't bad either. If the DJ is "wearing you out!" with her groove – and that's a good thing – and you feel compelled to offer to buy her a beer or a shot, then by all means, do so. If you want to present a Dead President or two … or five, well that's cool too.

If you treat the DJ like a jukebox. If you feel absolutely compelled to request a song, first of all don't get pissy and bitchy if the DJ says he doesn't have the track and/or can't get to it. If the DJ indicates that he will play it, then maybe think about reaching for your wallet. If you're cute, then a flirty smile along with a "please' and "thank you" will probably suffice.
5) Use some common sense. If there is a tip jar staring you dead in the face and you request 3 or 4 songs in a night and also plead to have your "jam" played next, then you better dig deep in those pockets (or pocketbook). Also if the DJ is in a magnanimous mood and changes up the musical vibe – i.e. from dance/house music to radio pop and hip-hop – expressly for you, then you know what you need to do.

Ravin' About Billy & Abel
Yes, it's in the rear view mirror a bit, but I have to send kudos and rave a bit about the performance delivered by NYC DJ Billy Steele at a recent Nitro party at Circuit Night Club. It's been a while since I was really impressed with what a big room DJ served up, but Steele demonstrated a combination of talent, imagination, creativity, and guts – yes, guts not to yield endlessly to the lowest musical common denominator of one pop remix after another – that grabbed my attention and earned my respect. Made all the more special with the inclusion of the killer "Mr. Man" track by Jonathan Peters, his set was on par with some of the best ones I've heard from the likes of Calderone, Tenaglia, Vasquez, and Rauhofer. Steele has been in regular rotation at the Nitro parties and one can only hope to see and hear more of him in Chicago.

And while I am praising DJs, let me also say that DJ Abel was absolutely on fire and tore it up at Hydrate for the Inferno: BOUND party on May 9. OMG, what a fun night with a hot & sweaty crowd, hot & sweaty go-go dancers, and a hot - but cool - Cyon Flare! The musical highlight for me was when Abel delivered "Whohaddrums" by Chocolate Puma, an explosive tribal track that took the party to the next level.

Centaur is back with another Global Groove compilation CD called Dance , and this time around DJ Escape bangs it out with fierceness aplenty. Featuring two of his own original productions and several strong remixes with his various partners – Capello, Vicious, and Coluccio – this latest Centaur release is a "must have" principally because of two tracks. Smack in the middle of CD, Escape programs his 2009 mix of "Skin" by Charlotte and is it completely "on point." Then just before Dance closes out, the marriage of deep house with tribal, as done to absolute perfection and presented on the CD with the Soulstice Mix of "Glad I Found You" by DJ Gomi featuring Yasmeen, will leave listeners tingling in pleasure, some even creating creamy puddles on the spot. OMG, it's that good.