So maybe it’s your first playing Miami this week, or maybe it’s your 20th, but either way, everyone can use a refresher on what and what not to do during your big set at dance music’s biggest week-long party. And how better to learn than by example, right? In that spirit, we’ve assembled five videos that teach some pretty important DJing lessons—so lean in and pay attention, because these very simple rules may just save your set (and your neck).
1. Always plug in your gear
We’re not sure where this clip is from—forgive us, but we think it’s from a former Yugoslavian nation—but one very useful takeaway to be, um, taken away from it is that you should always—ALWAYS—make sure to plug in your mixer and CDJs. In fact, if you look at how the camera repeatedly pans across the open ports in this clip, you’d almost think they’re deliberately trying to show you that nothing’s hooked up. Oops.
2. Prepare your set beforehand
We don’t really like to use innocent children as examples of what not to do, but this clip of a kid testing out the decks at Guitar Center sorta reminds us of the whole “Stairway to Heaven”/Wayne’s World bit. Actually, it’s pretty cute overall—just don’t imitate him when you’re up on stage. Go in with a plan and execute it.
3. Keep your records in a cool, dry place
The late Notorious B.I.G. definitely pulled no punches—and here’s a prime example as he gets rather mean with his DJ, Big Kap, who struggles with some melting records during a set from ’95 (way before Serato, dig?). Poor Kap looks so dejected throughout that you really start to feel bad for the guy—but truth be told, Biggie was laughing about it later and only called Kap out for fun so that he himself didn’t look bad onstage. Still, there’s a lesson to be learned here: Keep your records cool and dry, cuz the Miami sun is pretty unforgiving.
4. Be prepared to deal with a trainwreck
Our only guess is that someone was having some fun with the knobs backstage while throwing Paris Hilton under the proverbial bus—and into a tailspin she just couldn’t pull out of, likely because she’s not actually a DJ. So this one’s pretty obvious: Don’t get up on the decks until you’re actually prepared to deal with a few technical issues, not least of which is “what to do when you’ve got two records to match with different tempos.”
5. Leave the trampoline jump to PE class
It’s no secret to any fan of dance music that Steve Aoki is as much a DJ as he is an entertainer—so that’s why he takes to caking his audience at pretty much any opportunity. However, one thing he probably won’t attempt again is this epic trampoline splash, which landed him in the hospital with a seriously bad neck. Ouch! Kids: Don’t try this at home—and definitely don’t try this on stage.