There is a long-standing debate in the DJ community: should you prepare your sets in advance or not? Some find that the DJ should prepare the music he plays in advance while others strongly recommend the opposite. Of course, performing in front of an audience is not the same as mixing on a radio or recording a podcast or demo. We asked various DJs how they prepare before their set and created this list of 7 tips to help you prepare for your DJ sets!
1. Make your choice: chain your tracks on the spot or mix your music in advance
If you decide to prepare your set in advance, be careful not to feel the effects offered by its mixer. Note that in real-time, you can only apply a limited number of effects to a song. Indeed, if you add too many effects to your mix, you risk distorting or even mistreating the song. If, on the other hand, you are creating a mix for a podcast or demo that you listen to at home, you can add more effects to develop your unique sound.
2. Learn about your audience
Whether you are playing in front of a crowd or for a few people listening to your radio show, learning about your audience is very important. What kind of music should you mix? Is the audience already dancing or are people just nodding their heads a little? If you know your audience, it’s easier to create a playlist. If you are opening the party and the audience is not yet very enthusiastic, it is recommended to play songs that are around 110 to 125 BPM.
3. Apply the energy diagram
The energy diagram is a tool used by producers and DJs to indicate the energy level of a track or mix. The ‘ramp’, ‘mountain’ and ‘wave’ energy levels are very common. The ‘ramp’ level consists of bringing the tempo to a higher BPM. With the ‘mountain’ level, the DJ takes the audience to a climax to then slow down the tempo and quietly end his set. The ‘wave’ level is a series of peaks and quieter moments.
4. Select the right songs
Avoid creating a mix that contains too many hits. If you know your audience, you know what energy level you want to achieve, what kind of music to mix, and which direction to take. Choose songs that you support and that represent your style. Don’t be afraid to mix older or obscure songs with current hits; that’s what makes you unique!
5. Use the right type of transition
Knowing how to make a good transition is very important. Hip-hop DJs often use the ‘cut’. It is an instantaneous passage to the next piece, the purpose of which is to cause a shock. The radio DJ, on the other hand, uses ‘fading’ more. This type of transition consists of gradually lowering the volume of the first song as you increase the volume of the other. Combining different types of transition allows you to chain songs that do not necessarily go together.
6. Find the key of your songs
When creating a mix, knowing the key of a song is essential. This is an indicator that will subsequently allow determining the harmonic compatibility of a song with the others. Mixed in Key is a handy tool that analyzes and scans your music library. This software allows you to save precious time and easily find the key of your songs.
Of course, you have to know when your songs start and when they end. For a drop to be successful and be able to express the full extent of its energy, you must not start mixing the next track yet. Keep a specific tempo and allow your audience to have a moment’s rest. In the end, every self-respecting DJ wants to play a crazy set that his audience likes!
Creating the perfect mix is not easy. Hope these tips help you improve your set. Do you have any tips or do you want to add something? Feel free to leave a message in the comments below!
You might be interested in: