Citizen DJs


Of all the questions to be asked, I think the most aggravating one for a working DJ has to be, “Do you take requests?”

I don’t think there’s anyone who plays music who really wants to hear that. It’s better to already know what people want to hear and play that. You want to be able to blend the right mix of recognizable music with stuff you love that they also might love. It’s a very tricky art

— and one that even the greatest DJs can’t pull off every single time. That’s what makes the sets you play with no requests so worth it. Someone asking you to play something means you’re not doing it right. It’s an ego thing.

The worst kind of song request has to be something that you know would mess up the existing vibe. I had someone come in to eleven44 last week and demand I switch my set from house music to hip-hop for him and his friends.

“It’s Thursday. It’s house music night,” I told him. “See these people dancing? They come for the house music.”

He went back to his table and sent the server over to ask the same thing. I looked at the clock and saw I had 15 minutes left, so I stalled. I threw on a bouncy track that featured Big Boi, then a Tinashe remix, keeping the bpm at 120 and smiling at the people dancing. I wasn’t about to mess this room up for these guys.

Then, someone behind me says: “If you don’t switch to hip-hop right now, my future wife is going to leave me.”

“Oops, sorry. Looks like my time is up,” I answered, handing over the decks to one of the night’s residents, Partius, who absolutely was not going to switch up the vibe. He is 100 percent authentic house music. There are plenty of places to hear chart music and hip-hop. This night at this club just wasn’t one.

If you want to play a no-request set during this festive house party season, there are a few options to set the tone with great music. Spotify does a great job with its own mood/event playlists, or you can follow specific people who suit your tastes.

For people who are a bit more eclectic, you can’t beat Soundcloud’s stream for amazing tracks.

Before I started DJing, I had a few favorite tracks I would always ask my DJ friends to play. The first one was so random and obscure that nobody had it (Oh Sheila by Ready for the World) and the other one has such an odd tempo and bassline that it was impossible to mix in/out of or dance to (SubFocus’s remix of Hold On by Rusko). Talk about a track that would completely destroy any dance floor! I had no idea. I totally get now why that was annoying (and blessings to my friends who actually would play them).

For those who want to be more collaborative and make their own jukebox for parties, there is a social app called Jukup, in which multiple people can queue songs. It just needs to be hosted by someone who has a lot of music in their iTunes. That way, everyone will be hearing what they want to hear. Hopefully, the rest of the room is down with that, too.

@SUPERCW Christa Wittmier is “SUPERCW” on all social media. Find her on Snapchat, Soundcloud, Twitter, Vine and In-stagram. By night, she is known as DJ SuperCW. By day, she is known as senior marketing director for Young’s Market Company of Hawaii. Her nightlife blog Super-City runs every Wednesday on