Are Song Requests Annoying Or Welcomed? 7 DJs Weigh In
When an artist is behind the decks, they’re spinning, mixing, and in their groove to provide fans with the best club experience. But then a fan comes up, asking for a song request—one that might not even match the sonic flare that the DJ is playing—how does the artist react?
Some are down to mix it into their set, particularly if it’s their song, while others get annoyed and may even mess with the fan by playing a completely different song.
Here, seven artists share how they feel about song requests.
bad tuner: “I think it’s awesome when fans request songs I’ve written. It shows they’ve listened to the music before and dig it. When they start requesting other people’s stuff, especially hits irrelevant to the set I’m playing, it can become quite frustrating.”
Hotel Garuda: “I think song requests, while probably well intentioned, are ultimately annoying, since the people making requests probably don’t know that I usually either brush them off or hold up my phone with the words “$100” on it [to] see if they bite. I like that Chris Lorenzo has a tattoo that says, ‘No requests.’ I'd totally get one, but my mom would probably not like it.”
Nala: “It seems like people use song requests as a way to unload their emotional issues and frustrations on strangers who are working. It covers the whole scope of bad vibes—attention seeking, desire for control, need for validation, power struggles, and lack of acceptance. Not to mention that DJing is an emotionally-driven job, and it becomes increasingly difficult to curate a fun and happy vibe when someone imposes their burdens on you.”
Pegboard Nerds: “We have tried this so many times, and to be honest, it doesn’t bother us at all. As most of the requests are for our own music, it’s more of a cadeau than an annoyance. We have so many tunes that we can’t play them all in a 90-minute set, let alone a shorter 60-minute set. We usually try to make the fans happy by playing their requests, if it fits the crowd we are playing for. We have never and probably will never play requests for songs other than our own. Alex once crowd surfed at a show, and when he got back on stage he had a phone in his hand asking us to play ‘Bring The Madness,’ our [collaboration] with Excision.”
Tony Romera: “To be honest, it depends. If it’s a song of mine that they really want to hear me play, I’m totally down, and usually I do it almost right away—unless it's a really old track. But I remember a girl in France coming up to me and asking me to play a s****y French summer rap commercial song, and I said ‘no, [I’m] sorry. I can’t play this,’ [and] then she went mad on me. So I stopped the music, took the mic, and said someone had a song request. Then [I] played a big dubstep riddim track dedicated to her. It was so funny.”
Vicetone: “When fans are requesting songs of ours, we love to see it. We usually prefer to only take it into consideration when it's one of our songs as we mostly play our own music and mashups. We've definitely played songs of ours that we weren't planning on playing, based on song requests that people put up on their phones. Seeing their reaction when the song plays is so rewarding.”
Victoria Rawlins: “I think, for me, there are certain times or places where I don't mind requests, like at smaller clubs or intimate events, but it's definitely about how someone approaches it. If it's a cool request and the people are nice about it, then it's fun to see them light up when their song comes on—especially if it's in the middle of one of my vinyl sets and I get to show the record. There is never a good time for the phone screen request. Absolutely not. Also, I don't think vague vibe requests like ‘something dancier’ or ‘faster’ will ever go over well—or, for that matter, a request for an artist that I'm currently playing. I can't tell you how many times that has happened. At festivals or big raves, I really need to focus on the bigger picture and what I'm doing there, which is to represent myself as an artist, so I hope you hang out and take the ride with me.”