DJ Styles to Avoid
Mobile DJ’s are often organic; they learn by doing and copying. Many don’t have degrees in mass-com or haven’t already been to a DJ school. Sometimes they pick up techniques that are horrendous, however they simply don’t know better. If you find yourself in one of these categories, don’t worry… just fix it, move on, and watch your reputation, referrals and income skyrocket.
Hopefully you have heard of this one before. If not, you are either not a DJ, or you’re a bad one. Being a puker is similar to a guy with a comb over. He thinks he’s got everyone fooled, however everyone is laughing at him behind his back and no one wants to be the one to tell him that he looks ridiculous.
A puker is someone who uses that fake DJ voice that people do when they are trying to imitate a DJ. It sounds like they are talking with half a yawn, while moving there inflections all over the place. It sort of sounds like a cross between Bill Clinton and Harry Carey. The term “puker” comes from the sound that someone would make if they were vomiting and talking at the same time. (Don’t try it!)
While it’s slightly difficult to precisely describe puking, it’s not hard to recognize. It used to be shared with radio DJs in the 50’s by the 70’s. I think it has finally been effectively deleted in already the smallest of markets. The only time you hear it now is at carnivals, by the carnies who function the rides and have access to a microphone…and mobile DJs.
If you nevertheless don’t know what the sound is, please call your local radio stop and ask to talk to one of the DJs. Tell him you want to know what is meant by “puking.” He’ll gladly do an impersonation for you.
To know if you are doing this or any other bad DJ technique, you should record yourself at one of your live gigs. Give yourself an honest critique, and then fix it!
A “Yucker” is similar to a puker, but simply talks like he’s about ready to crack up laughing at any minute, except he never does. The best example of this is any comedian doing an impression of Bill Clinton. Or, just listen to Bill himself to get the idea.
It’s easy to figure this one out. It’s OK to growl once in a while for emphasis… like maybe twice a night. Otherwise, don’t growl.
Usually a mumbler has a problem with articulation. He’s not opening his mouth quite enough to make his speech clear. While it’s not good technique to sound like a high school English teacher, you nevertheless need to be understandable. One way to clean up your articulation is to practice tongue twisters. Another is to talk with a moderate smile. Emphasis on the information MODERATE. If you overdo it, you run the risk of becoming…
Somewhere along the way someone decided that DJs should smile, because it makes them sound happy. This technique is nevertheless going strong and the pro-smile gang will nearly stone you if you already suggest that they back off on smiling. While a very moderate smile is OK to help you keep from sounding like a mumbler, a huge smile sounds about as sincere as a used car salesman and screams “phony.”
I know I said five, but this one deserves a place all it’s own. There is no need to yell. Go ahead and project your voice, but remember, this isn’t community theatre. The microphone can pick you up just fine. If you talk at a slightly louder quantity than moderate and don’t puke, yuck, smile, growl or mumble, chances are you sound pretty good.
The real DJ education that you should origin from all of this: keep it natural. Keep the energy up, but not too up. Speak clearly, but don’t over enunciate. Practice at home, so when you get to the gig, you’ve got it down.