How do you keep the peak energy in your set going? How long should it go for?
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  1. #1

    Default How do you keep the peak energy in your set going? How long should it go for?

    I'm preparing for a gig I have on the 4th of January, and I did a practice set tonight. What I have happily become attuned to is my song selection, and being able to build the energy. But what I realized I have a problem with is keeping that energy going.

    How do you keep the energy going when you transition banger to banger? I was mixing giant dance bangers and what I've been doing is mixing the next songs build up or some part before the drop right when the last songs drop ends. But with the song I'm mixing out of, there is usually some giant breakdown, which totally kills the energy. I tried mixing where the next songs drop started just as the last one ended, but it didn't feel right. Maybe I was doing it weird. idk.

    How long should that peak energy go for? I imagine there's a general limit that a crowd can take.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    What music is it, more specifically? Techno is easy to keep going. If you don't want breakdowns to ruin the energy maybe it isn't the right track choice?

  3. #3

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    Electro House, and Dance tracks. aka Swedish House Mafia, stuff you find on the Dance save Lives album put out by tiesto.

    It really can't be song selection. I'm would be trying to mix from one big dance song to another one, in a compatible key, same feel and stuff, but I can feel the energy just dropping out.
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  4. #4
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    Hard to say exactly.

    Bangers differ from genre to genre. A deep house banger sounds completely different than an electro banger. The problem with most modern "EDM" today is that there is a heavy emphasis on breakdowns for some reason. I personally cant stand it since it tends to lead your exact problem of killing a vibe that I try to create.

    Depending on your equipment, you can create loop points and cue points so that you can avoid the breakdown or extend the break to your liking. For genre like electro house for instance, learning how to mix quickly is helpful as well.

    As far as length of peaktime, theres all kinds of variables. How many people are actually dancing? Are there people there that are more into the music (i.e. is there someone there actively making an effort for people to stop standing in the bar?) How drunk/buzzed are they? Are you opening, closing, or prime time? What kind of music are you playing? How many rooms are there in that venue?

    I come from a dnb background. Most peaktime lengths only last about 5 or 6 songs, but the energy is usually there all night.

    It comes from practice, but moreso just experience. They say learning to read a crowd is the hardest skill you will learn. Ive been playing for 10+ years and some things still surprise me.

  5. #5
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    Personally I found when playing at a gig on a decent sound system the energy level drop isn't as noticeable (unless it's a breakdown obviously). I don't know much about electro but with the tech/deep house I play there tends to be just a beat at the beginning and end of most tracks. Trying to keep the amount of time those sections are playing on their own to a minimum helps keep the energy going.

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor rdale's Avatar
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    I think it is one of the more important tasks is to know when and how to let the energy break, banger after banger is not as much fun as tension and release. I don't really follow your genre of music, but I do play a bunch of technical dnb that often has horrible breakdowns, love the drop, love the tune, but a minute and a half of churning noises with static isn't really what I consider a good break down. I use loops of either the same track to carry the break down or another song. The real joy of the minimal tech sound is that it is fun to layer, so often the songs are dropping and breaking down around each other if I'm playing them phrased correctly, and I'm choosing tunes that I think the break down is actually effective to let the energy drop so that it can build again.

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    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    I'm preparing for a gig I have on the 4th of January, and I did a practice set tonight. What I have happily become attuned to is my song selection, and being able to build the energy. But what I realized I have a problem with is keeping that energy going.

    How long should that peak energy go for? I imagine there's a general limit that a crowd can take.
    Be prepared to play anything not just what you prepared - reading the crowd is way more important than being able to mix bangers back to back, is there anyone else playing the gig as well ? .. what time is your set ?

    there is usually some giant breakdown, which totally kills the energy.
    It gives the crowd time to gather their breath, put their hands in the air and psych themselves up to go nuts at that buildup and first THUMP after the break, there is a reason for breakdowns its a fundamental part of the track. DJ'ing is as much about knowing when NOT to mix and to let the tunes do the talking.

    IMHO its just horrible when a DJ plays 20 tracks an hour and refuses to play a long breakdown - wheres the room in the set for the quiet-time to allow for whoops, cheers and jesus posing.

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    ^Agreed. It's a delicate balance, however. You definitely shouldn't be pumping out climax after climax, but when you feel the crowd's got the energy, banging out for like 15 minutes straight can bring the evening to a whole new level. But as always, that comes down to proper crowdreading and building up.
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  9. #9

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    Maybe I should clarify a bit, I'm playing a EDM set on at this small venue in my town. I am playing 9-10:30pm. No one else is playing that night, it is only me. So in my head, since people that are coming are expecting to hear EDM, all the doors are open. But I will have to be conscious about what kind of EDM they like the most.

    How does tension and release work? Is building the tension a multi song thing? Is a release just a single drop, or is it multiple stringed together?
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  10. #10
    Tech Wizard ST4R's Avatar
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    Chances are youre nothing like Tiesto, and people arent going to stand around fist pumpin watching you DJ.

    - Youre more of a jukebox for the night, not a headlining superstar.
    - keep the beat and groove going, or introduce drop after drop after drop. (no buildups, this is a method of DJing, theres a name to it which I forget)
    - do 1 or 2 buildups in the beginning and end of your set at most.
    - You think your song selection is awsome, and it might be, but you cearly dont know when or where to play certain songs, so in a small club watch your High Frequencies, and play songs with stronger mids and lows.
    - Dont plan your set out in advance, once again youre NOT Tiesto. Prepare many small mixes of 2 - 3 songs, and sort of free style it. Feel it out.
    Just be willing to learn and improve and itll really become easier to play live gigs.
    Last edited by ST4R; 12-26-2012 at 07:55 PM.

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