Louie Montan is The Cocktail DJ. Based near NYC, he’s a long time DJ at Lace West Nyack and Rick’s Cabaret NYC, with over 25 years of adult night club experience. He is committed to making the adult nightclub experience a fun and memorable one that makes the customers want to return.
Keep it clean
Most of us are not clean freaks, but walking into a DJ booth that is clean will give your whole outlook a boost.
If we are going to get respect as professionals we should make it our priority to keep it looking clean.
Imagine one Thursday night, you were doing your thing. There’s a full bar of paying customers, the rotation was smooth, the drinks were flowing, rooms were selling, the music was pumping… and then the manager tells you “the music sounds f%#ked up”. You walk down to the bar and you notice an annoying hum. You head back to the booth and see one of the amps lit in red. The amp is covered in a year’s worth of dust, with every vent completely caked, and it’s extremely hot to the touch.
During prime time, I had to switch out a dirty hot amp, keep the rotations moving, make music selections, make announcements, and keep the party flowing. I was soaked. It was not a fun night, and it could have been prevented.
Not My Job
The bartenders and the cooks wipe down their stations and are held accountable if they leave their workplace a mess. DJs should be responsible for their space.
There is an old adage, “never eat at a restaurant with a dirty bathroom,” because if they don’t care what their bathroom looks like they probably don’t care what their kitchen looks like. The DJ booth is that barometer for the club.
This is our ‘OR’, our operating room. If you don’t care about about keeping your space clean, what does that say about you as a professional?
Where do you start?
Many of our booths haven’t had a decent cleaning since they were first installed. There’s some nasty stuff going on in there. I’ve seen it. Years of ugly dust bunnies, brown sticky cobwebs, weird stains, and all of the miscellaneous objects found in a DJ booth nobody decides to toss – pen caps, candy wrappers, CD covers, broken cables, plastic cups, etc.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” You don’t have to tackle the entire job at once.
How did I start?
I bought a cheap toilet bowl scrub brush, a cheap paint brush, a roll of paper masking tape, and “Sham Wow” rags from the dollar store.
The toilet bowl scrub brush gets behind amps and in other tight spaces.
We have six keyboards in my DJ booth, for lights, the dancer line up, the house computer, etc. I use the paint brush to brush out the front of the amps and all of the keyboards.
The paper masking tape is to label everything. I tag the cables under the mixer with their positions – “Line One”, “Main Out” “House Computer” etc. It makes everything easier in a change out. I also wrap up loose cables so they aren’t disturbed by kicking them with your feet or sliding your barstool, etc.
I carry a “Sham Wow” in my DJ bag. It comes in handy for accidental spills and it’s easy to wipe down the DJ booth throughout the night. Every time I go to the bathroom, I run it under hot water and add some bathroom soap. Wipe it down a little bit here, a little more there and it will stay clean.
Every club has a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum everything. If you blow it out with a can of compressed air, it will just land somewhere else and eventually need to be cleaned anyway.
After a couple of weeks of cleaning, the whole booth is spotless. That dreary, disgusting booth is now a place you are proud to work in. The owner pops his head in to say hi and notices. I even bought a pint of black paint to touch up where the paint was worn or chipped.
It’s easy to say, “I’ve never had to do that before,” or “the other guys don’t clean up,” but eventually everyone takes notice and everyone chips in.
Put up a sign “Professionals work here. Keep the DJ booth clean”.