There are many different sorts of gigs that you can land as a professional DJ – the festival circuit, nightclubs, weddings, house parties, outdoor parties and bars. One specific type of bar that often has a resident DJ is a lounge bar. Picture sleek, modern couches, beautiful people propping up the bar and a smooth, relaxing vibe and you have your modern day lounge bar. A large part of a successful mood in a lounge bar lies with the music – and therefore with the DJ. So let’s check out 5 tips for being a successful lounge bar DJ!
1. Music Selection is Everything
Imagine playing 150BPM Rotterdam hardcore at a lounge bar, on a Tuesday night, to a business and finance crowd in their late thirties. Does that sound relaxing and intimate? Far from it! It goes without saying then, that the choice of music for a lounge bar setting is essential. Ideally nu-jazz or smooth jazz is a good choice, or some light (not too trippy) dub – or even some mild hip-hop for a younger crowd.
2. Volume is Just as Important
People go to lounge bars to chat, schmooze and socialise – and there’s nothing worse than having to yell into someone’s ear over the music to be heard when you should be able to hold a conversation at a natural level. As the DJ it’s your responsibility to keep the volume at a good level – enough to provide the vibe but not enough to overpower the flow of conversation.
3. Read the Crowd
Every DJ should know how to do this – it’s such a large part of the profession. When DJing at a lounge bar, you want to be looking for nodding heads, slightly tapping feet and hands. Enough to gauge that people are enjoying the background music. If these small cues aren’t occurring – consider changing the vibe slightly until they do!
4. Dress Appropriately
In a lounge bar, appearances are everything. As the DJ you are representing the business, so it pays to look sharp and look the part. For example, a gangster cap and basketball jersey may not be appropriate attire – although it may go down fine in another venue. When in doubt, check with the owner or manager about the appropriate dress code.
You never know who’s going to be drinking in the bar – there may be the owner or manager of other venues, there for a relaxing time, but who are looking for DJ’s too! So use your breaks and in between longer songs to chat, have a drink and get to know the regulars! Who knows, it may just pay off…