Musical blessing: Shai Guy lists the 10 sacred commandments for aspiring DJs SPIRITED: DJ Shai Guy
WHETHER it’s for parties, weddings or diverse events, DJs will entertain audiences with superb songs, marvellous mixes, and unforgettable live sets throughout 2022.
That will certainly be the case for the in-demand DJ Shai Guy. The Bombay Funkadelic resident DJ has made a name for himself with brilliant Bollywood sets that have crowds busting their best shapes on the dance floor. He has also delivered many mixtapes for the BBC and lit up diverse events with his musical mastery.
Eastern Eye decided to get the inside perspective from the master of the wheels of steel, real name Shai Hussain, by getting him to bless us with his 10 commandments for aspiring DJs.
Honour thy crowd: As DJ, you have the utmost responsibility to ensure people are having a good time. Sure, good food and a flashy venue go a long way, but the music sets the vibe and is usually the strongest memory people have once the party’s over. However, to get that vibe right is to read the crowd and see what they’re reacting to. It’s a symbiotic relationship that doesn’t end until the final song plays.
Thou art the DJ and entertainer, not their jukebox: Requests should always be acknowledged, but never be forced to play a track that might just kill the dance floor (unless it’s from the person paying you). Also, don’t bang a request in straight way – consider its energy, tempo and maybe even its decade/singer/film. Then slip it in smoothly with a related track when the requester least expects it.
Thou shalt keep in shape: No, this is not a commandment to cultivate killer abs, but look after your health for sure. A couple of drinks is fine and may help some get into the party mindset, but don’t overdo it or become dependent on it. Keep a pair of protective earbuds handy for nights you find yourself next to a thumping speaker. Lift heavy equipment taking care of your knees and back. And always keep yourself hydrated.
Thou shalt bring backup equipment: If your equipment fails on you, let’s face it, there’s no party. Always bring a secondary laptop, or secondary DJ controller as a backup. Keep USBs with pre-made mixes, or even download a DJ app for your phone. Drinks spillages happen more often than you think.
Thou shalt be punctual: Even if everyone else is working on Asian timing, you don’t have that courtesy. Music often needs to be ready to go from the moment guests are arriving. Give yourself plenty of leeway to set up.
Thou shalt reinvest in yourself regularly: This doesn’t necessarily relate to equipment. I’ve been using a DJ controller half the price of what my peers use, but love its versatility, and it seems my fans do too. As the saying goes, it’s not what you have, but what you do with it that counts. But I do upgrade once every four to five years, and have started investing more in marketing, which brings me to the next commandment.
Honour thy social media: Social media can be so fake, but it can’t be ignored as a DJ. Do I feel narcissistic when uploading all my pics and images having a great time and ignoring the awfulness? Heck yes! But it sure pushes FOMO for those who missed the party and ensures the ones who came remember what an amazing time they had. Social media is so manipulative. But until you’ve made it, it really helps build a following.
Thou shalt not hide: Don’t hide behind your decks. I often sing and dance along to whatever music is playing. Be on the same level as your guests. Be approachable. If you’re having fun, they’re more likely to. Excitement is contagious, especially when it’s coming from the main attraction.
Thou shalt not covet thy crowd: Love your crowd. Just don’t LOVE your crowd.
Thou shalt follow your own commandments: What I’ve shared is what I’ve learnt through my experiences and I’m sure I still have much to learn. However, everyone has their own path. Some of these tips may work for you, some may not. Go with what works, ignore the rest. Good luck!
Visit www.bombayfunkadelic.com and connect with DJ Shai Guy via Instagram: @DJShaiGuy and www.djshaiguy.co.uk