Here is a list of five essentials for any DJ, from pieces of kit to old tricks. Listen and learn...
1. Tune knowledge.
There is no substitute for tune knowledge. Knowing when a track drops, breaks down, peaks or troughs is essential. It's no good playing a track that will go-off if you play the next track before the previous one drops. You need to know when to blend and when to leave alone. Let the carefully crafted tracks work their magic.
It's essential to have a well performing pair of headphones. You'll need closed back to block out any external sound to be able to cue your mix right. Maybe a long cord so you can move behind the decks freely, and maybe a bag to store them in, you'll be amazed how many drinks get spilt in the DJ booth.
I use Sennheiser HD25 sp, they are an industry standard, have closed backs, good volume/frequency levels, a long cord and come with a bag. To be honest, there are a lot of alternatives available so, go to your local dealer and try some out as the subtle variations is size and fit may subtly piss you off if you get the wrong ones.
Chances are the standard slipmats in a club bare more resemblance to a fuzzy felt mat, than a record aiding mat. Thud Rumble make a Butter Rug which helps the records spin freely if your scratching or you can make a homemade one if you cut out a disc from a record sleeve inner, it's basically like greeseproof paper. Always have a spare set of these with slipmats to take to a club.
This only applies to DJ's using records, you know, the big, black CD's. Shure M447 are my favourite. Awesome if you're on the cut (scratching), they play a wide range of frequencies ensuring the record sound like it's supposed to but also are really solid and stay in the groove. You can buy spare headshells to fix these to so you can take spares with you everywhere. Needles in clubs are better used for scratching your name on a wooden desk.
5. Jedi crowd reading ability.
This one, only comes with practice. It's all very well preparing a set, but if you don't know the crowd, or the mood changes then you may need to play different tracks. This is why you take extra music and pay attention to the room.
The best DJ's are the ones that rock the crowd, no question about it. You are there to play music and put your stamp on the set, but ultimately, generally speaking, the crowd is there to have a good time, and that's your job.
You need to be able to play a high energy track when the crowd is ready, but also a slower track with groove to let them re-charge for the next hit. Some DJ's will play there particular style or tracks and regardless, but the ones that can do that are probably playing to their fans, rather than a room full of randoms.
So, that's it. Do it and win.