Tag Archives: Henry Knowles

Salsa DJ-ing For Dummies

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Dear Mr. DJ,

I am going to be honest here. And not just honest-honest, but brutally honest. So, if you can’t handle that, stop reading now. I don’t mean to offend, I just want you to improve! (And I’m doing this for the greater good because I’m so tired hearing the same comments again and again that you suck. It hurts because it’s true, and it hurts more because you are not doing anything about it!)

Maybe you’re not cut out to be a DJ, but don’t worry, we’ll try to fix that! Fake it until you make it, right? But you have been faking it since I remember you starting to play music at salsa socials and you haven’t made it yet. Boy, that’s like three years ago and we still have a long way to go!

I’m only giving you two options here: either give up, or do something about it, damnit!

If you choose to give up, you will be doing all of us a big favor! Thank you very much! I hope I don’t see you in the music booth ever again. But we all know that’s just my wishful thinking. Because you will be there at your throne week after week. So, for the love of salsa your career, please, do something about it!

1. Never play the same song twice. I mean come on! Too many salsa songs, an abundance of salsa artists and even remixes, and you’re playing El Nazareno twice? Really?!

2. Remember that you are a DJ, not an iPod. I know that after Baila Mi Hermano, you will play La Excelencia. And after that song, you will play that Prince Royce bachata song. I have memorized your playlist and I don’t even have a good memory! Why else do we have a DJ if you’re just going to be an iPod?

3. Give me an answer. Know your music, mate. You’re a DJ, music is supposed to be your best friend. So, when I ask you for a title of a certain song that you just played two minutes ago, you don’t tell me that you don’t know because I will throw Armageddon shit at you! You don’t tell me that it’s track 13! You. Just. Can’t. Do. That.

4. Entertain us. Stop it, I’m not going to ask you to do cartwheels or join a circus or start a belly dance. I’m not even asking you to be like DJ Tono La Conga or DJ Henry Knowles. Let’s keep it real. I just need you to give us variety. Spin music that will make us, salsa dancers, want to get up on our feet and dance. That’s not even a hard thing to do considering we already want to dance in the first place. Salseros and salseras already did 50% of your job. Now all you have to do is play good music. Surprise us with something NEW, something we never heard before!

5. Observe. Guess what, you don’t even have to know how to dance salsa. You just have to know your crowd. Are we sitting down? How is the overall mood? Is the floor empty? Do we look like we’d rather go home? Are we dancing because you’re playing awesome music? Or are we dancing because we have no other choice? You’re not blind, you can see that energy levels are dropping. Do. Something.

6. And lastly, but I think the most important of all, if you’re going to call yourself a DJ, at least love music. In your case, salsa music! Listen to it while you’re driving. While you’re having lunch, while in the shower. Research about new tracks. Read about famous salsa DJs and listen to their sets! Listen to Latin radio channels online. I do that everyday and I’m not even a DJ. Certainly, that won’t be too difficult for someone like you who’s getting paid to play music. That’s like the least effort you can do.

See, piece of cake. I’m not even going to ask you to have a nice personality. I don’t need your personality. What I need is your music and it better be good!

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