Working with a Band at Your Next Gig

February 23, 2017

When it comes to providing music for paid events, clients have several options. They can choose to hire you, the greatest DJ in the land, or they could decide to hire a full band. Most clients will either go with one or the other, but what would you do if they wanted both? Here are some helpful tips that can help you navigate your part in a shared entertainment event.

Find Out Beforehand!

Though they’re in the same industry, DJ and band services are two totally different types of musical entertainment. Oftentimes the two compete for gigs, but there are some events in which band and DJs can complement each other’s services. The first key to successfully doing so is knowing the possibility up front.

You should never find out the day of the event that you’re not the only musical entertainment. That’s bad business. One stipulation you may consider for your services contract is discussing your terms for sharing the stage with a band. Though clients ultimately determine what type of entertainment they want, you should be up front as a DJ and ask your clients about it during your initial contract meeting. Find out what their needs are, and discuss with them how your services fit into that. This will help you better gauge your responsibilities for the night, and it will help you better prepare your set for the event. Knowledge truly is power in this respect.

Determine the Schedule

Once you’ve discussed the terms with your client and you understand that you’ll be sharing time and space with a band, get a firm understanding of when you will be needed. If the event is a wedding, will they want your music during bridal introductions and pre-dinner activities and the band after? Will they want the band the first half of the night and the DJ for the later part? Clarification on the schedule can determine your arrival time, the hours you charge and the technical end of your contracted services. You don’t want to be hanging around waiting to see if you’re needed again, and you definitely don’t want to feel like you’re playing second fiddle to another entertainer. A set schedule will alleviate both of those.

Connect with the Band Rep Before the Event

If possible, get together with the band leader before the event to talk about your shared entertainment duties. Discuss the schedule and see if there are any things that need to be hashed out: set positions so that you’re not in each other’s way, resources like light or fog shows that may disrupt the other’s performance, the position of your interactive JammText wall, and so on.

It would be a good idea to talk about the band’s set list when you talk to the band leader. You don’t want to play any songs that will be their ultimate hype song, and you don’t want them to ruin your set, either. Coming to an agreement about songs will ensure a respect between entertainers, and it will help make the event run more smoothly for the clients. They’re ultimately the ones you want to make happy.


Finally, it could be cool to think outside of the box and see if you could collaborate and perform with each other. You obviously can’t do what a full band can do, but they can’t create a mix and sound like you can, either. As the DJ, you could start the introduction to a song and allow the band to jump in and play it live. Or maybe play some of a track and try a call-and-response interaction with the band singers or musicians. Live drummers can add something unique and special to any song, as Travis Barker and ?uestlove have shown many times over. Joining forces could really make your gig a one-of-a-kind event. Have some fun with it!

Discussing whether a band or DJ is better for an event is a debate with no real answer. If you have to work with a band for a future gig, do your part to understand your clients’ needs, and communicate your requirements as well. With those in place, the event can be a memorable experience for everyone involved.

JammText interactive software

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JammText interactive software

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About Mixcity Inc

Mixcity Inc was founded in 2008 with the mission of creating innovative software solutions and engagement tools for the working DJ. The team's first DJ product, KueIt, was groundbreaking when it was introduced years ago, and still remains an industry standard software solution to this day. Mixcity's latest innovation, JammText, is a revolutionary text to screen software solution that allows DJs to reach exciting new levels of crowd interaction and audience engagement.