DJ Techtools regularly sits down with a veteran club DJ to ask them about their “worst night ever” at the club.
While Justin has been a staple on the East Coast for over 10 years, he’s most commonly seen bouncing back and forth between his home state of Ohio and Las Vegas. With residencies all across the country, a recent tour support slot for Chris Lake, and even a set at Bonnaroo, it’s clear Justin’s one DJ on the verge of breaking through.
But, not every gig has been as glamorous as those he plays today. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that he was breaking up fistfights in the DJ booth.
Without further ado, I’ll let him have at it.
- Years Active As A DJ: 13 years
- Style: Disco, Tech House, Latin, Hip-Hop
- Listen: Chris Lake Supporting Set / FWD Podcast
I’ll be honest: It took me a while to think of my worst night of DJing, as there have been so, so many good ones. Not to sound cliche, but it’s true. I’m a lucky man. But sure enough, I thought of one story I (sadly) just couldn’t forget about.
It was an extra, extra sold-out night. I was DJing at a club that I held a residency at, one known for regularly having famous athletes in and out of the VIP section all night. We had booked a headliner (who will remain unnamed), and I was on opening duties.
Everything was going great, until it wasn’t…
A Fistfight in the DJ Booth
The headliner comes on to play, and things are going good until about two minutes into his set. A gentleman who looked vaguely familiar comes up to him to talk, say hi, whisper sweet nothings, and of course, request a song.
Let’s just say he got really, really close to the DJ. It was kind of weird.
Of course, the headliner did not like how close he got to him and gives him a soft nudge to back up a bit. Totally normal, right?
Nope. Not to our new friend. This guy didn’t like that soft push one bit. Before I knew it, he starts teeing off on our headliner and they get into a full out fistfight in the DJ booth with me stuck on the other side.
Turns out the guy is a UFC fighter, perfect.
Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t just our DJ who took a beating that night. Our gear was next.
In the midst of all the fighting, the headliner’s laptop and most of the set up goes flying off the front of the booth, and the music cuts.
This was bad. I thought that was going to be the worst of the night, I was wrong.
The Laptop Get’s K.O.’d
After a good 2 minutes of dead air (my favorite), I managed to connect some things back together and throw on a few songs. The smoke clears, and the party continues with myself DJing, because headliner was completely done with the night after that mess. Who could blame him?
Shortly after, things smooth out, and a nice young lady decides to pop a champagne bottle right next to the booth in VIP. Before I know it, there’s champagne all over my laptop. This was no little spill, it was soaked.
(read our article on what to do if you spill alcohol on your gear)
My laptop goes completely black, but somehow, the music is still playing. I was playing Hip Hop, and the track was about to finish. I knew had to make a game-time decision to prevent the club from going silent again.
Always Have a Backup USB
Once I realized my laptop screen was never coming back on, I fished out a USB stick out of my backpack and switched over to that. Sadly, I can’t say the night went so great after all of that.
I had a completely sold out club in front of me with NBA players in attendance, and who knows who else. My Rekordbox playlists were outdated as hell and a complete mess.
My anxiety is bad as it is, and the remaining two hours of the night were spent playing off old, jumbled crates.
Somehow, I managed, but the night in whole was a complete and total disaster.
There is a silver lining, though…
This was years ago, and this became the night that I decided to switch completely over to Rekordbox from Serato. As you can probably guess, it was an easy decision at this point.
Honestly, it turned out to be the best thing I could have done. Shortly after this night, I started to play bigger stages and early festival slots, so going to USBs was a no brainer. I had to make the switch eventually, and this was a great reason for doing so.
As they always say: the show must go on! Always be prepared for the worst.