i fink i wanna gig... (SNfools Tips on Gigging)

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i fink i wanna gig... (SNfools Tips on Gigging)

Postby SNFool on Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:40 am

I Think It's Time To Play A Gig....

The purpose of this article is not to school you all in how to "do it right"... I'm just writing what seems to have worked with me. Throughout the past 8 or 10 gigs I've accumulated a lot of oooops moments and situations that if I were better prepared would have gone a lot smoother. I am always learning new things each gig I go to.

First things first. Your mixes!

Don't expect the soundman to sit behind the board doing your levels and EQ. Furthermore, don't expect to have access to the mix during your set (unless you have your own mixer!).

This means before you even think of gigging, run all your patterns through either software or some sort of VU meter. Find a good baseline (not bass line) and bring your "final outgoing signal" to right below peak level. Now go through the patterns seeing which 'snares' or 'synth lines' peak and adjust the levels. Sometimes this is as simple as taking out the accents. Other times it means remixing a whole pattern to bring the levels to the same feel as they had before but brought down considerably.

On a further note... DO NOT RELY ON THE MASTER VOLUME AS A MEANS OF BALANCING LEVELS!!! sorry for yelling. You will kill someones system if they don't know what they're doing and/or your mix will sound awful. Trust me.


Keep your tribes in a moisture free padded environment with little stress on the knobs. Vibration will giggle your tubes loose! It happened to me. Took 3 different 1/4 cables to prove to me my left channel was out for some other reason. Keep screwdrivers, flashlight, electronics cleaner, and compressed air as part of your equipment.

I keep my equipment in a rolling case with locks. At the end of the gig I pack my gear up, lock it, and support the other DJs and dance. This lets me be stress free with my equipment. Equipment gets stolen... quick. Support other DJ's even if it isn't 'your bag of tea'. You can't expect support if you don't give it.

Do It

Are you ready? Only one way to find out. My friend once said that if he were one a desert island... he wouldn't want a guitar. He doesn't play music for selfish reasons. Most of us don't. We get good at what we do so we can entertain people. Maybe enlighten them in the process. That's at least what motivates my strive for perfection... I want my mixes to be perfect.

That being said, notice how the crowd reacts to your music. Do the pauses inbetween songs create a stagnant mood on the dancefloor. Do some people yell almost uncontrollably during certain parts? Is there some dancefloor hero with 3 girls in his arms thanking you? Or do you notice during some songs people conveniently go out and smoke a cigarette. Take note of it... don't get mad at those people... even if they're your friends. Consider it a critique. Note it, accept it, do something about it. I call it market research ha! But some of the smaller shows amongst heads that would appreciate it, I will test out new material. At bigger shows I will combine tried and true tunes etc etc etc. You can create a good method if just you don't stop and keep trying,

The Show

If this is your first show you might be opening. Great. Don't see every show as a momentum building promotional experience. Just go and be happy you got the gig. Develop that later. Opening can be a really good experience. Heres why.

Show up early and then you can request a sound check. Running through patterns or segues you were nervous about. See, I never stop practicing... even the gig is a form of practice. So what some might see as unprepared I see as well... you really can't be too prepared. Even if your not opening, try to show up early, introduce yourself, meet the DJs (you'll probably be working with them more) and definitely let them know if you have any questions. Being a newb isn't a big deal, in fact people tend to love fresh faces and ideas.

I've been gigging by this one little mantra if you will... 'The only thing you should expect is to setup and takedown'. Everything else will either live up to your expectations or not. Everything in between that is magic, so just let it happen. Concentrate but don't be too contrived. Expectations are a bitch, avoid them.

My last bit of advice would be.... be easy to work with. It will get you more gigs. Oh and have all the cables you could possibly need to plug into any setup. Oh and a lot of bars/clubs pump mono. Oh and a lot of soundman don't care if you get stereo sound or not. Oh and brush your teeth on the road. <3 Honey Bunches of Beats
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Re: i fink i wanna gig... (SNfools Tips on Gigging)

Postby danwall on Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:45 pm

:thumbs: * * * * * 5 Star article! :thumbs:

I couldn't agree with every one of your points more! Nice write!

You couldnt have said it better about masternig your mixes before getting a gig! My first one was atrocious! The levels were way out of wack, specifically tweaked to my set up at home. Bass was out of control! - Learned from that one! Always test your sound on at least 3 different outputs before trying it live somewhere. I usually do headphones, surround sound system, and car stereo. If it sounds good on all three, your chances are better than not that itll sound decent with a decent sound guy.

Always be prepared! You aren't kidding when you say have as many cables as possible to hook up to ANYTHING! It really comes in handy for you AND other people! Once used 4 converting cables to hook up one unit! Glad i brought them all.

I'd also add that sometimes its easy to get consumed by your flashing lights and knobs and buttons - and lose track of the crowd! Like you said, watch the crowd and learn how they respond! Its never a good thing to look up to a half empty room when the last thing you REMEMBER seeing is a full one! Always keep the party going!!




Current Setup
KORG Electribe EMX-1
KORG Kaoss Pad II
KORG Mini Kaoss Pad
Alesis AirFX
M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI Controller
Roland Octapad II
Yamaha P-105B
Sterling ST51 Condenser Mic
TC Helicon Voicelive Play Vocal Pedal
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface
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Re: i fink i wanna gig... (SNfools Tips on Gigging)

Postby StellarJay[aka Ruso] on Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:16 pm

Props for that article man, when I first saw it I was getting ready to dissect your methods but right away realized that your methods hit critical points. :gunz: :thumbs:

Thanks for posting.

I will add one thing... this is the one thing I struggle with. The right time to play a gig is now. If you thought about it, it's time to send your demo. A perfect example of why you should send demos early is me. Here I am getting an immense feedback from the people that hear me online, but the reality is, I am way behind in my music career because I'm spending all my time producing, and none sending out my demos and getting my name out there. This is not a problem for me because I have a lot of things on my plate (if you know me you might know exactly how big that plate is).... but the reality is, I know plenty of people who have been doing this for a year and play more shows then I do.

In fact, I see a lot of TOTAL NOOBS compared to what I hear on here playing shows and crowds loving it.

On that note, send in your demos.
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Re: i fink i wanna gig... (SNfools Tips on Gigging)

Postby Aciphecs on Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 am

My *unofficial* new year's resolution was to get a demo out. We have already laid down about 4 somewhat worthy tracks! We want a good 6-8 tracks that will represent the variety that we play. My group plays out, but only at local events right now and we want to travel. We figured the best way would be to let our demo do the travelling first ;)

Great advice BTW!
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