How Do I Be a Good Opening DJ?
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor Calzone's Avatar
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    Default How Do I Be a Good Opening DJ?

    Hey everyone, so basically I have a decent shot at opening for a pretty huge DJ in my hometown and its an absolutely massive opportunity. (Most of you will recognize the name but I'll keep it quiet for now). I'll need some votes in a few days so I'll let you know when I do...

    BUT ANYWAYS

    What is good opening DJ etiquette/need to follow rules? I know stuff like don't play their tracks an whatnot but probably am oblivious to other practices.

    Any help is appreciated.
    Lenovo P580 || TSP2 || Traktor Z2 || 2x Audio-Technica AT-LP120 || Pioneer HDJ 1500 || Behringer B212D || http://www.mixcloud.com/Calzonetti/

  2. #2
    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    It depends what style of music you play, but you should pretty much go for more obscure downtempo stuff within the same or similar genre. If you rate your music play 2 & 3 star tracks and maybe a couple of 4 stars but you never want to play any big tracks and you don't want to crank the volume to the max, you need to leave volume and intensity for later in the evening.

    You are essentially background music while people catch up and get drinks. If you notice a couple of girls start to dance by all means raise the intensity up a little bit but again no big tracks you will wear out the girls early and they will leave... leaving a sausage sizzle at about 3AM of guys who didn't pick up or are messed up on drugs and alcohol, that is bad for everyone!

    If you can don't take a controller or your computer, use the CDJ's.. no-one want's to wait for the opener to pack down their equipment when they start, it definitely won't win you any friends. If that's impossible start learning to beatmatch now to help you in the future, It is also good to play your last track on a CDJ to give you time to packdown before the next guy starts.

    Try not to be too nervous and don't get too drunk etc.. no one is listening intently to the opener, if you fuck up don't worry about it just move on to the next mix.

    At the end of the set grab some girls numbers, talk to your friends etc... then make your way over to the promoter, don't suck up their ass or try to be their best friend, just thank them and ask what they thought and if it fit the mood.

    Finally go there and experience the atmosphere before the event for yourself, see what the first two guys play and try to match that intensity.

    P.S. Don't forget your headphone connector "I did for my first gig, I felt like a tool asking the other dj's for theirs"
    Why did the elephant get lost... Cause the Jungle is MASSIVE!

  3. #3
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Myself and a Mate used to always analyze Warm up jocks, with the bad ones being summed up in 4 key terms.

    Too Fast, Too Loud, Too Hard...Too Early

    P.S. Don't forget your headphone connector "I did for my first gig, I felt like a tool asking the other dj's for theirs"
    +1 ... and if you are playing with a controller make sure and bring additional Cable, Connectors, Backup CD's and USB Keys "just in case".

    And for your last track, just mix it in, welcome on the headliner and leave the area until he gets the first record on. Nothing worse than the previous DJ leaving a 30 seconds for you to get your Record on, cued up and mixed in.

  4. #4
    Tech Guru Bassline Brine's Avatar
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    When I am opening I always have a very different set than if I am playing peak time. If I am opening for a big name producer, it's even different still.

    I generally make a playlist of what I want to play. If I am the first DJ on for the night, you always have a little bit more wiggle room because you're setting the mood for the night.

    Basically, don't blow your load early.

    Go through your playlist and delete everything that you think the headliner may play. Everything. Even if they are your favorite producer, delete the songs that are hot. Use a lot of tracks that you might have spent time digging for on soundcloud (or other sources).

    If you are playing right before the headliner, that's when you need to be super careful. I'd suggest not even playing anything that's come out in the last couple months. There is SO much good music that is older that there is no reason to play the newest stuff when you are opening for someone. Play some of your favorite tracks from a year or two ago, through in some really old school tunes. If there are a couple tracks that your really really dig, do it, but make sure it's something different than what the headliner might play. Don't play artists the collaborate with, or have record releases on the same label.

    Basically: Be smart. Be different. Have fun.
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru synthet1c's Avatar
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    if your playing before a headliner ignore my advice. BB is on point in that respect. Mine is for the first and second dj of the night.
    Why did the elephant get lost... Cause the Jungle is MASSIVE!

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor Calzone's Avatar
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    Tons if great advise. The headliner plays mostly dubstep and drum and bass (not my choice set but they could play opera for what I care) so ill probably do an electro house set with lots of familiar songs that are a few years old, combined with a few of my own gems. I'll throw up a mix later today as an example. Since our styles are different I think I'll be safe, but I'll dig into their record label to see who else is signed, that's a good piece of advise.


    (Note: this is assuming I actually get the gig, but I figure the thread could offer good ideas anyways.)
    Lenovo P580 || TSP2 || Traktor Z2 || 2x Audio-Technica AT-LP120 || Pioneer HDJ 1500 || Behringer B212D || http://www.mixcloud.com/Calzonetti/

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor Fango Jett's Avatar
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    Very good tips in this article!

    http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?1095
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  8. #8

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    I haven't opened for a big act before, but this seems like solid advice. Well stated, synthetic.

  9. #9
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    Start slow. Finish fast. Hype the crowd. Everyone says to not play tunes the headliner made. I disagree somewhat. Finish with a classic that the headliner produced, but ask him first. Ask him if he's going to play that tune tonight. Finishing with a classic really hypes the crowd and it makes his opener energetic.

  10. #10
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    Nothing too hard. If its for a general crowd , stay away from obscure songs, and play popular music (not 128bpm remixes of popular music) and older hits can work well. Not there to try to rock the room or bore the either, but to get them in a "groove". If you can do that, without making any rookie mistakes, and it looks and sounds like you know what you're doing, then I personally would consider you a decent opener, and can't see why they wouldn't ask you to work again. Best of luck

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