Total n00b, first DJ gig tips/pointers
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  1. #1
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    Default Total n00b, first DJ gig tips/pointers

    Hey guys, so I literally just joined this forum (seems pretty cool btw) and I have my first gig coming up in about a month at a friend's house party. A little about myself before jumping into the nitty-gritty details:

    I messed around with Virtual DJ for awhile before finally deciding to invest in some CD players and a mixer. I'm rocking 2 Numark NDX400s and a Behringer VMX100 (and yes, I am well-aware the BPM function is a joke ) No effects at all, just the barebones to start out, and I love using em.

    I spin a little of everything, really. House, top-40, deep trance, and I've been told by my friends that I spin a nifty dubstep mix. I've got beatmatching, blending, and cutting down pretty solid. I'm still a bit slow on the matching, but I get it there eventually, and I understand the technique and how to do it, i.e. it makes sense to me.

    Now, about the party: It's a house party. The event will be an art show/kegger (leave it to college kids ). From around 8:30 to 11pm it will be mainly art showings and short films, and a party from 11pm till whenever it gets busted.

    I'm not worried about my ability as a DJ from a technical standpoint (if I end up just not being able to pull it together, I can always just go the route of the human jukebox and just slam top-40 all night). My main issue is reading the crowd. Judging by the type of event, I'm expecting a slightly grunge/hipster/skater type crowd, and I'm not sure how house/electro will go over with them, although my buddy who's co-hosting it told me to spin what I want.

    So, DJTT, how would you approach this?

    tl;dr: First gig at a house party, hipster/skater crowd. What do you spin/how do you approach it?

  2. #2
    Tech Guru sobi's Avatar
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    House parties are generally unimportant. You are there as background music so don't feel pressured. That being said, the music is still a big part. Do your thing, have fun, and let it show. The rest will come with more experience.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru guiltyblade's Avatar
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    I play something called damaged thursday in Chicago. A new thursday night for hipster in chicago. So it sounds similar. You can't really bang it out right away. You've got to realize this. You are building a night, a set. People need to drink get drunk talk and stuff when they first get there, so don't get too crazy off the bat, and don't get too anxious. Get people moving with tracks they know, but not bangers right away. Save those till later to get people moving. ALWAYS watch the crowd, interact with people, and dance around no matter what. See what tracks work and slowly build off of that. You might think dubstep, electro, or house will work, but who knows it all depends, you might need to play top 40, disco, whatever.

    I know this sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many people bang it out so hard and its not even close to peak hour. I had a gig with some friends where these morons played Avicii levels as loud as possibly at lounge at 10:30. He literally cleared the bar because they couldn't talk. House parties are different in that usually you can kinda play whatever, but still it does work the same.

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
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    Start with some top 40 that fit into your style (stuff you actually wouldnt mind spinning, this includes remixes)
    If the crowd really like an electronic based top 40 song, hit em with another one that you think they would like....if its too much or they aren't accepting it, fade back to top 40 and maybe try again later when the dancefloor is pumping! (If dubstep is accepted, feel free to throw some bangers in!)

    If the crowd is enjoying the hip hop top 40 your spinning, hit them with more hip hop remixes or some heavy hip hop. Just read the crowd and see what they enjoy, they may love the slowjams (I wish everyone did!) or love the heavy hitting bass stuff.

    There are also a ton of threads on here with epic bangers, which I'm sure you can find some to fit your set. Last week I played a college dance and was worried about their electronic opinion. I dropped a remix "big booty bitches" I found on this forum and it went over swimmingly! GOOD LUCK

  5. #5
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    Man, you guys are quick!

    Great advice, thanks. I was thinking about this general method for building a set:

    Start out the early evening with some deep trance, just as ambient background music to set the mood. There's probably gonna be a break for the short films to play, then if everyone's feeling the dubstep (I know there'll be a couple dub-heads in the crowd), drop a short set of that to amp people up (let the hipsters rock out :P ). Then switch to some more mainstream stuff to let the crowd get pumped and then drop the bangers during peak time. Thoughts?

  6. #6
    Tech Guru Zaniac's Avatar
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    Don't forget their is a whole world of music outside of EDM & top 40. And from playing @ many a house party their is always a crowd who enjoy the pop/rock/disco etc based music. other than that just enjoy yourself and the vibe will flow.
    "Wow! I wanna be just like your friend! Thats honestly what i told my mom and dad when i was about 11 years old...i said when i grow up i wanna dj for rich people"

  7. #7
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    Play what you like, maybe more of what you LOVE...my first house party all I played to a crowd that loved rap, top40, etc...was House! Everyone seemed to have a great time, and even people came up to me and said this isn't my type of music but I had a damn good time...so like sobi said, there is very little pressure to play what the crowd wants...just have FUN!
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  8. #8
    Tech Wizard
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    Zaniac is right. Not a good majority of people really got their EDM down. As for dubstep...leave that for the beginning or end. Dubstep doesn't really get anyone moving. Always play hits. People love shit that they know. Build yourself up to electro as well. Start low 70 bpm it can be dub or hip hop. Work your way to 92 and start playing hip-hop. Most of all the grinding happens from 92-130. This is the peak time range you want to be at. Electro can be tricky w/ a crowd. It can work sometimes and sometimes it can't. Depends on where your spinning and what type of crowd it is. Read the crowd. Observe them. No taking requests either. That's gay lol. Nobody is going to tell you how to do your job. Just show them a good time bro!

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Zaniac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emcee92 View Post
    No taking requests either. That's gay lol.
    mark my word @ house parties the ones who are constantly in your face for requests are mainly the ones who fall into the non EDM top 40 listeners catagory. so you best be developing some way to combat their harrasment and/or cater to their taste in music. because in my experience they are normally the ones who spend most of the night on the dancefloor.
    "Wow! I wanna be just like your friend! Thats honestly what i told my mom and dad when i was about 11 years old...i said when i grow up i wanna dj for rich people"

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    Man's right once again. This is like Full Metal Jacket for DJ's....except ur music is ur rifle. Haha that was a crappy metaphor although keep in mind just because one person asks for it doesn't mean you got to play it. There not the ones on the decks it's YOU. But like Zaniac said cater to their needs and know what the people on the dancefloor like based on what you have played and what got them to dance in the first place.

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