Since I have been playing at the clubs and have been in the industry for quiet a while I have seen many new and upcoming DJs ask all these things I have collectively put down here. Here are some of the most common played genres and most importantly when they are played.
1-hour set: 30 minutes Deep House + 30 minutes Commercial House
1-hour 30 minutes set: ^ + 30 minutes of *selective* Future House
1-hour 30 minutes: 30 minutes Electro House + 30 minutes Big Room + 30 minutes Dubstep
2-hour set: ^ + Trap and Bass House
The most important factor is your ‘choice of music‘, which all depends on if you’re playing a warm-up set or a prime-time set.
The biggest suggestion more than anything else is that if you have never used CDJ’s before; then go to the club a few days before the gig and familiarise yourself with them. Even if you have experience with CDJ’s you’ll benefit from it because DJ’ing in a club is very different to DJ’ing in your bedroom.
When you’re playing, stay calm. The easy thing to do is over think and panic, but at the end of the day, all you need to do is make the transition from one track to another. Use your knowledge of musical structure to help you decide when best to bring the next track in.
Never stick to a playlist structure that you have in your head because the crowd will not be on the same level as you are, you have to be on the same level as the crowd so make sure that if the crowd are looking a bit dead, you switch up the track.
You are controlling the energy of the club dance floor so you need to be careful with how much of a certain track you play.
Make sure that you setup your playlists with Rekordbox 1 day before the gig (you won’t have many options left. If you try to do that on the day of the gig and something goes wrong). If you’re not sure on Rekordbox:
- Open it
- Create playlists labelled by genre
- Plug in a blank USB (it has to be empty)
- Click on “Sync Manager” in the bottom-left of the screen
- Click on the playlists that you want to sync to your USB
- Eject your USB when it has completed (on the 0-100% meter)
I always get a little worried when people talk about they playing in a club for the first time, mainly because my first ever gig was bad, so I want to try to help people realise that the nerves will kick in pretty hard but as long as you keep calm in your head and take your time without rushing, you’ll be okay.
In terms of the equipment itself, make sure that you remember to turn “Master Tempo” on so that your tracks don’t get pitched up/down when you adjust the tempo fader.
Also, remember to set your ‘Jog Wheel Tension’ to about 3pm on the dial.
A big one that you don’t want to miss: make sure that your Crossfader is set to “Thru” on each channel (otherwise audio won’t play through certain channels depending on when you bring each fader up).
Finally: don’t use the Filter Colour FX too much, they can get very boring if used too often.
The only reason this post is kinda intense is that these things will all be on your mind when you play. Keep things relaxed but pay attention.
When you’re moving the jog wheel left/right make sure that instead of wildly spinning it to try to find the right tempo you move it 90 degrees at a time and then make fine adjustments once you’ve matched it closely enough (when you can hear the 2 kicks playing a few milliseconds apart from each other).
In terms of your health: please, for the love of God, buy some earplugs if you don’t have some already.
You’ll need the booth monitor to be pretty loud for you to hear your transitions so earplugs are an absolute must, otherwise, you’ll lose your hearing very quickly (15 minutes of exposure to 85db+ will cause progressive hearing loss – to put that into perspective, human conversation takes place at roughly 65db).
Most of this thing I have learnt from a close friend and rest all is all from the experiences.