Whilst many believe that they can DJ the truth is that there are just so many who don’t truly understand what they are doing when they select songs. You’ve probably seen this before at weddings and private parties, DJs who just don’t know how to properly put together a set list and manage the event, it can be very frustrating. My good friend DJ Rama does not fall into this category and he is one of those old school DJs who spins actual records and who works hard on his craft. If you want to be a real DJ, either with records, CDJs or digital music, here is how to put together a proper set.
Consider The Audience
The first thing which you have to consider when you are putting together your set is what kind of audience you are going to be playing to. For example if you are playing at a wedding then it is unlikely you are going to need to dust of your 90s hip-hop collection, or those rave songs which you have been wanting to play. Equally if you are doing a teenager’s birthday party then you are probably not going to smash it by playing 80s new romantic music. You have to understand who you are playing to.
Read The Crowd
It is always important that on top of your setlist that you have a plan B with some real floor fillers. You have to read the crowd when you are playing at sometimes that may mean switching up a slow number for another banger in order to keep everyone on the dance floor. I can’t tell you how many parties I’ve been to where the DJ is slaying it, everyone is dancing, and then they drop a track which just kills the vibe and sends everyone back to their seats. You need to categorize the songs you are going to play and then use each one accordingly in order to keep the party going.
Something which DJ Rama and I often discuss is that DJs have stopped playing new music, or at least introducing new music. Obviously when people go to a party they want to hear songs that they know but there is nothing at all wrong with dropping some fresh tracks in there in amongst the rest of it. In fact it is your duty as a DJ to do this and to showcase some new bands or artists which you have been listening to.
There are few things more infuriating than someone requesting you to play songs, so the best course of action is to have a no request policy. The only exceptions to this would be if the person who the party is for requests a song, or perhaps the new bride and groom have a particular song which they’d like to hear. Beyond this, make sure that you don’t stray from your setlist by playing songs that others want to hear.