Music Flow of a Gig set
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor natebehe's Avatar
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    Default Music Flow of a Gig set

    So I was driving home from classes today, and thinking about what the optimal "music flow" (for lack of a better description) would be at a club gig. Some of the "etiquette" that ean mentioned in his blog a while back comes to mind, but I was wondering what your guys' basic set list "flow" worked for you.

    What I mean is, when you first begin your set (assuming your the "headliner" or main resident dj) I would imagine you would want to start off with a nice "bass heavy" track to transition from the previous dj. And from there you would go to a medium build, not quite "anthem" track to get the crowd warmed up to your set. Maybe at the end of that track throw down a nice drop and blast the kids with that popular "anthem" song like "where's your head at" or something. Then to begin the cycle again you transition to a lower energy song to let the kids feel the next build up all the more. Vocal songs (songs with lyrics lol) maybe play every two or three tracks? What do you guys think?? Is this the basic flow of every ones set? Is there a better way to pump up the energy?

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    Please, please try to stay away from formulaic thinking like this. Listen to me really carefully, because this is what separates brilliant DJ's from lame DJs.

    Learn how to read the audience!!

    You can't decide what the flow of the night is going to be two weeks before. It's one of those in the moment things, that point where you have a connection between yourself and the crowd. That's when the magic happens. When you're in the mix and people are showing you love, that's when you'll find the flow for the night.

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    Tech Guru Bassline Brine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Nada View Post
    Please, please try to stay away from formulaic thinking like this. Listen to me really carefully, because this is what separates brilliant DJ's from lame DJs.

    Learn how to read the audience!!

    You can't decide what the flow of the night is going to be two weeks before. It's one of those in the moment things, that point where you have a connection between yourself and the crowd. That's when the magic happens. When you're in the mix and people are showing you love, that's when you'll find the flow for the night.
    I think it's also important to distinguish if you are going to be playing a lot of your own production work as well.

    It comes down to what you feel comfortable doing IMO. Most of the "big name" DJ's play pre-made sets, but also it's filled with a lot of their own production work. If you have a rough outline of what you want to do, and want to go from there and "read the audience" it's another option as well.

    Just do what feels comfortable for you.
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    Tech Mentor natebehe's Avatar
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    Is there the other side to that extreme tho? Being completely sporadic and "on the fly"? Basically, as a bedroom dj just practice all your stuff to the point were you feel comfortable mixing in any track to each other and improv the gig?

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    It's nice to go in with a plan, but you still need to be flexible enough to know how to react, but it's still nice to have a direction and goal in mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by natebehe View Post
    Is there the other side to that extreme tho? Being completely sporadic and "on the fly"? Basically, as a bedroom dj just practice all your stuff to the point were you feel comfortable mixing in any track to each other and improv the gig?
    I think the majority of bedroom practice has to not just be mixing anything together (which IMO is not possible while maintaining good flow), but learning your music. It is your ears and the crowd that will tell you which song to bring in next. If you are running a progression and the crowd is digging it, find something similar and keep rolling with it. But never loose site of where you are and where you want to go, just know your music and allow the crowd to guide your song choices.

    What I do is build out a basic play list that is a bit all over the place and then read the crowd to see what they respond to best. Then go from there.
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    Tech Guru Eliot Han's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natebehe View Post
    Is there the other side to that extreme tho? Being completely sporadic and "on the fly"? Basically, as a bedroom dj just practice all your stuff to the point were you feel comfortable mixing in any track to each other and improv the gig?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigC View Post
    It comes down to what you feel comfortable doing IMO. Most of the "big name" DJ's play pre-made sets, but also it's filled with a lot of their own production work. If you have a rough outline of what you want to do, and want to go from there and "read the audience" it's another option as well.

    Just do what feels comfortable for you.
    I don't think this is a valid comparison. Almost none of us are big-name DJs. When those guys play it's a totally different experience. People stand and watch, not dance. They have lights, lasers, fog, glowing mouse heads, fire, all kinds of stuff. They can play their pre-made and produced sets because it doesn't ruin the experience. It's kinda like big concerts where the performer lip-syncs. Would you tell a aspiring singer to learn how to lip-sync really well? Same thing with beginner DJs. Pre-planned sets are like lip-sync.

    So yes, you should be playing sporadic and "on the fly." Like Argos said, bedroom practice is a good time to learn your music collection. If you know your music well, and you can read the crowd, you can rock a party. It's not extreme, I see those two things, knowing your music and reading a crowd, as the fundamental skills in DJing. (Well, there's also having good music, but that's completely subjective.)

    One last caveat: Demo tapes. Script the hell out of those, they need to sound perfect, you at your best. Just don't make it too crazy, like some 5-track mix that would be impossible for you to do in real time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Nada View Post
    I don't think this is a valid comparison. Almost none of us are big-name DJs. When those guys play it's a totally different experience. People stand and watch, not dance. They have lights, lasers, fog, glowing mouse heads, fire, all kinds of stuff. They can play their pre-made and produced sets because it doesn't ruin the experience. It's kinda like big concerts where the performer lip-syncs. Would you tell a aspiring singer to learn how to lip-sync really well? Same thing with beginner DJs. Pre-planned sets are like lip-sync.

    " People stand and watch, not dance"

    "big concerts where the performer lip-syncs."

    "Pre-planned sets are like lip-sync."

    i'd be surprised if you're even old enough to go to events, because your opinion sounds like someone who's just talking out of his ass.

  10. #10
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    i use story arch / plot structure as a rough guideline for how to manipulate flow of energy for sets. after all the best sets don't just get people dancing, they tell a story imo.

    http://www.musik-therapie.at/PederHi...cture&Plot.htm

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