DJ Tech Tools has a good overview of how to set up in a club.
Here are the highlights:
- Create a digital dj bag – that keeps all your needed cables inside at all times. Only take them out to setup and and put it right back when you are done.
- Space will be limited so always pack a laptop stand for your midi gear or a piece of grey foam cut to size.
- Use the CD player’s RCA cables to get your signal into the mixer. Instead of bringing your own cables, bring 1/4″ to RCA Barrel plugs (if you have 1/4? outs) and plug the CD lines directly into your sound card.
- Get your sound card and software up and running before you leave for the club.
- If you can- go to the club before they open. Especially if this is your first time in the place, getting there early will greatly reduce your stress and make you appear much more professional.
- If a sound check is not possible, bring a few short options of pre-mixed music. Instead of setting up while the opening dj is trying to mix, you can pop in a CD and take your time after he has exited the booth.
- Stay sober – booze is free and plentiful and may even be your only form of payment, but drinking will only make things even more confusing.
- Bring a penlight – the lighting always sucks!
- Take a deep breath, relax and let the songs play themselves. You will do great.
Most of this applies just as easily to electronic musicians as it does to DJs.
I’d add a couple of things:
- Hook everything up at home and make sure you’ve got everything you’ll need. I set up in the front hall, away from my music room, just to make sure that I don’t forget anything.
- Keep an inexpensive mixer in your car. This gives you flexibility to do just about anything.
- Bring your own mics.
- Bring an iPod and a mini jack to RCA cable. Load it with some tracks and playlists to fill time as needed, along with backing tracks in case your computer fritzes.
- Bring a friend. They can keep you from f****** things up before the gig and tell you that you were awesome after the gig. This always makes things go better.
What do you do to get ready for gigs?