When climbing up the ranks in your hometown, there’s lots of mistakes that can alienate your city against you. The last thing you need as a budding creative is for your local surroundings to not associate with you. Protect your reputation, and develop good rapport with those around by stopping these 7 bad behaviors. Don’t make your hometown hate you.
A friend casually mentioned to me, “I wonder how artists who make millions of dollars stay humble when every kid who plays a show and owns a Launchpad grows immediate ego.” I laughed. It was true.
It’s no secret that the music industry is a game of prestige. The far majority of people in the industry are fighting their way to look exclusive: to be at the hottest clubs, to hang backstage with the coolest artists, to attend the dopest festivals, etc. Because of this, humble people are a breath of fresh air. It’s completely unexpected.
This sin is the major killer of your hometown love. From it, each of the following 6 behaviors stem. Everything in this article is about killing ego.
When talking with your local music fans, give them your full attention. Don’t peek over their shoulders to find someone more interesting, like a headliner, to go suck up to. Don’t think yourself as too good for an opportunity if you really aren’t. Get down on the streets and meet people. Be a homie. Don’t hold any grand delusions of yourself.
Be willing to put in work for the shows that you play. Promote on social media. Sell some tickets. If you think you are above hustling for your opportunities, great. Continue producing in your bedroom until you hit the point where you could be the headliner, but don’t complain if you don’t get to play out as often as you would like.
2. Playing Too Many Shows
Don’t tire out your local scene by constantly performing. Artists often play the same music over and over again. It’s a fact. Sets may be different track-wise, however it is likely that two of your sets from different nights have the same feel.
By playing non-stop in your local area, you exhaust people of your style. If you have flaws in your technique, fans will notice, and complain. Even if your mixing is on point, you still will tire out the audience. Too much of a good thing is still too much.
This especially applies for opening DJs for touring acts. When fans come to see a headliner, and are subject to the same damn DJ as the last 5 times, they grow tired. They complain. They say, “I wish someone else would play. It’s always this guy.”
3. Not Playing Enough Shows
Contradiction, eh? Don’t let your ego determine that you are too good to play in your hometown. While it is good to focus on obtaining bookings regionally, nationally, or internationally, it is also important to keep a root at home. Your city played the part of helping you reach the level of success to play elsewhere. Give some respect back and play the occasional show. Don’t charge ludicrously to play. Give a hometown hookup.
4. Causing Drama
Put your testosterone away and chill. Being involved in drama is a surefire way to lose your local reputation. 80% of drama can be avoided in four ways:
- If someone pissed you off, keep it away from social media. No need to call out anyone. It’s tacky and tarnishes your name.
- Solve misunderstandings with coolness, not with anger. See Rule 1 and remove your ego from situations to prevent escalation.
- Be quick to forgive. Don’t hold onto grudges, or be intolerable to people.
- Remove dramatic people in your life. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you have friends who are always starting shit, remove them immediately. You don’t need that.
There’s always sketchiness in the local scene with bad promoters, shady security, and other potentials for ill juju. Handle matters privately, without bringing it to the attention of the public. Even if you do get ripped off, it very rarely goes well to put someone on blast for it.
5. Alienating Your Scene
Did your club night no go well? Did you book an artist that you liked, but nobody came out to see? Did people not like your set, and left while you were playing?
All of these scenarios (and the countless others) suck. Failure is never the locals’ fault. It’s your fault.
Whatever you do, do not blame your scene for being uneducated or lacking taste. If you feel your scene needs musical variety, then nurture them with new sounds. If you feel that your scene lacks taste, introduce them to new artists.
It is your responsibility as a promoter to book talent that jams with your audience. It is your responsibility as a DJ to play music that makes the people in front of you dance. If you fall short on guessing the market, that sucks. Better luck next time.
6. Creating a Clique
Is your DJ crew exclusive? Do you run with the hottest club in town, and refuse to go anywhere else? Do you rep the best label in the area? Watch yourself: it’s easy for team pride to become group ego masturbation.
I completely encourage finding a squad of motivated people to spend your time with. Like I mentioned before, you are who you hang out with. However, when you create the mentality that your team is above the rest, you risk toxic behaviors.
Don’t act condescendingly because of who you roll with. Keep your identity self-based, not group based. Going around with your squads name hanging out your zipper is a surefire way for people not to associate with your group.
7. Namedropping & Starf*cking
Have you had that friend who opened up for an artist, and wouldn’t stop talking about it 4 months later?
“Dude remember that time I opened for xxxx…” “Dude, so when I was talking to xxxx…” “Dude xxxx… gave me such good advice”
It’s annoying as hell. Congrats. It’s an accomplishment to be able to land that spot. But, I want to resent you right now because you keep talking about it.
Namedropping is a qualifying behavior, often engaged by males to try to display their worth. It’s an attempt to make people like you because you seem prestigious. While it works for the lowest denominator of people, high-value, self-identified people are completely turned off by it.
Similar to namedropping, starf*cking is the continual kissing up to those above you. There’s often a cycle that people go through: starf*ck your way to meeting a VIP, namedrop afterward, repeat, repeat.
It’s okay to use namedropping in the right context. I back up my knowledge of DJing & booking by telling people the artists I opened up for in my day. When meeting new industry people, I’ll mention a few friends to see if we have a common connection. Don’t use namedropping to impress or qualify: you’ll just look like a douche.
Side note: Stop posting #TBT Posts with artists that you opened up for. Do you really need to relive the glory of your 8PM slot before someone big came on stage? You are literally the DJ equivalent of the guy who peaked in high school. Focus on your future, not brag about your past.
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The post How to Make Your Hometown Hate You: 7 Behaviors to Avoid on the Rise appeared first on Pariah Reign.