Top DJ Tips and Techniques to Leverage Your Next Live Sets
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Is it your first time performing on a live set? Do you still feel nervous whenever you face your audience? Not a problem! In this post, you will discover the tip tips and techniques every DJ must be aware of before going on live performance.
Apart from learning the basics of DJing, you also need to experience how it is in a room with changing sounds and programming. Although there are no such rules when it comes to DJing, getting yourself into a DJ course is an advantage. Besides, there are plenty of tips and techniques that can help you improve your live sets.
So, if you are ready to leverage your next live sets, check out the following DJ tips and techniques:
1. Prepare and Practice Your Show
Once you plan out your show well, everything will go a lot organized and smoother. You do not need to pre-planning your entire set. However, make sure to familiarize your options. This is where you need to look for well-mixed tracks and create a variety of playlists for varying kinds of gigs. Then, you need to practice perfecting your set. You need to practice playing the sons from your list as well as the transitions you will use.
2. Identify Who Your Audiences Are
Before the live show, see to it that you are aware of who your audience will be. That way, you know the perfect music scene for your crowd. For sure, you dislike playing the wrong tracks where everyone will end up disappointed with your performance. Your goal is to give your audience a live show they will enjoy and always remembers, so you need to let your empathy rule.
Identify which sounds can create a connection between you and your audience to keep them engaged. Determining your audience is not only discovering the songs they like and play then, play it. You also need to know how people will be attending, the size of the room you will be performing in, as well as the general musical vibe.
3. Maintain Your Flexibility
Professional DJs do not necessarily take requests. Once you start getting each song's suggestions, the songs will not perfectly blend together at all. Halsey followed by Guns ‘N’ Roses? Definitely the transition will not be that smooth.
So, the best thing you can do is to live your own style and stick to the selection. However, always keep in mind that there is a specific music style that suits a particular type of crowds and events and clubs. Make sure to prepare music collection that will work best for different groups. Flexibility is the key!
4. Always Plan in Threes
When planning your set, try to seek for three records that really mix well together. Make sure that these records can be played together at once. If not, see to it that the three records can be transitioned into one another. After that, try to look for another set three and then another.
You can organize your stack of records according to how they mix together. Start by organizing records from slow to fast, to banging. Although you can have more than 50 tracks for the 1-hour performance, you are free to play only 20 tracks per hour. The things are you can be more experimental while staying in the mix.
5. Play Appropriate Music Based On Your Time Slot
If you are a new DJ and you want to a good one, it is essential for you to know how to suitably pace the energy during your time slot. In short, you need to play appropriately according to your time slot. By playing appropriately and allowing the night to have a nice build, you can receive more compliments.
Most novice DJs tend to be eager to play their sound and impressing the crowd. As a result, they play unsuitably for their time slot. If you play during an early slot, then make sure to build a vibe that does not offer a lot of energy too early.
Once you queue your best tracks within the first twenty minutes of your set, all your effort will be for nothing. When there are a few people dancing, it means that the crowd might be still warming up. So, the best thing for you to do is to just set the mood. When you notice that they are ready, then it’s time for you to give them the beat they want.
6. Do Your Programming Effectively
What makes your audience move? If music is your answer, then you are correct. Besides, the transition of music can create a fantastic journey for the entire set. So, you need to see the importance of effective programming.
Do not let yourself misdirected by excitement once you see a great response from your audience. Besides, never fall for instantaneous musical gratification. Many seasoned DJs don’t go for instant gratification because they know that it is only temporary, and the crowd can quickly lose their interest in that certain kind of vibe.
7. Never Push Your Levels into the Red
One of the most effective ways to get the best sound quality during your live sets is by acquiring a strong signal through the in and out of your mixer. Apart from that, make sure to never push your levels into the red.
Once you see your crowd jumping, you might be tempted to boost the volume. However, pumping up the master volume or the channel grain into the red will only result in distorted signals. As a result, the music will sound degraded or worse, and you will kill the vibe. So, it is best for you to monitor the master volume of the whole set and ensure that you are keeping the meters away from the red by turning down the levels or the EQ controls.
8. Give Your Crowd the Right Energy to be Excited and Dance
Have you ever heard the term “push and pull?” This is when you need to give your audience the right amount of energy to get excited and dance. But, make sure that you will not give everything until the perfect moment.
You can have a set that builds up into a piece of banging music and, later on, into deep music for a moment. Once you master pushing and pulling the energy of your live set, it’s a lot easier for you to make your audience more excited.
9. Use the Equalizer (EQ) Properly
To achieve professional live DJ performances, you will need the 3 or 4 band equalizer on each of the mixer’s channels. Take note that proper use of your EQ requires several basic rules. These rules are also applicable to music production and DJ mixers.
Make sure to keep your equalizer at 12:00 as default. If not, this means that you are into making some adjustments. Keep in mind that your EQ will sound the best at unity gain, so make sure to keep it at 0db.
Cut or do not boost your signal. If you want to turn up your bass, you need to slightly turn down the mids and highs. After that, you have to turn up the channel again when needed.
Ensure that you are only using one sub-bass at a time. When you play 2 tracks along with heavy sub-bass simultaneously, it will not produce a good sound on a larger sound system as well as make a muddy mix. Through your EQ, turning down the bass of one of your tracks when mixing together will help in keeping the overall sound tight and punchy. Then, you can switch the bass lines back and forth using the EQ knobs or even the crossfader so that you can mix between 2 tracks.
With an EQ, you can have more creative freedom when it comes to controlling the sounds in 3 dimensions rather than in only one. To help you make further experimentation, you can try the following tips:
Cut the Lows. Without the bassline and the drums, a vacuum on the dance floor can be created while keeping anticipation anxiously for the comeback. Rather than using channel fader in emphasizing the climax of your track, you can opt for a brass knob to cut the bass on the preceding phrase’s last beat. Besides, to stimulate a sing-along effect, you are free to experiment with the lows when your bass is being cut as the catchy hook strikes.
Low only and High only. Once you cut the mids as well as the lows, you can create a metallic, anxious sound that will make your crowd freeze and wish to bring their lost bassline back. As for cutting the mids and highs, you can make the tune sounded like threatening. So, you can make your audience anticipate more.
Boost the Highs. This technique is the same as cutting in the mid and bass since it can create discomforting, unsettling sounds. This will result in pushing the treble effectively work in conjunction before the climax.
10. Never Overdo Your Effects
One of the best ways to display your creativity as a DJ is by using effects during a live set. On the other hand, it is never ideal for overdoing the sounds with effects. You can effect for helping the transitions from one of your records to another. It can also improve your live performance and build greater vibe.
There is no wrong in using effect, but the problem comes in when you overdo it, or you rely too much on it just to make the music sound good. To create a perfect balance in using effects, you can search for popular effects. After that, you can use the EQ and your levels in creating interest before switching to the effects. Once you drop the echo, you can successfully end up with something special or attractive to the crowd rather than annoying or redundant.
11. Always Bring Your Backup
During live sets, you never know what will happen next or what can go wrong no matter how prepared you are. In such a case, it best for you to always bring a good selection of back music that is in different formats.
If you play vinyl, then have CDs by your side. It is also a nice idea to bring several flash drives of your MP3s or bring records. In case you prefer using your laptop, then it would be great to bring vinyl or CDs as your backup. For any emergency situations like once of your track sources dies in the middle of your performance, your iPod that is full of latest tunes can be a lifesaver for you.
12. Take Advantage of DJ Courses
If you really want to completely develop your Djing skills, from mixing and beatmatching fundamentals to using different effects to programming an extended club set, you can take advantage of DJ courses. If you live in the UK, there are plenty of DJ courses to choose from. Whether you are a new DJ or a seasoned one who wants to leverage your skills and talents, these courses are designed to help you achieve your goals. Regardless of your musical style, you will find a perfect DJ course in London that suits your needs and unique preference.
So, are you ready for your next live set? Whenever you feel less confident in your set, you can always consider the tips and techniques above. You can use them as your guide so that you can avoid any unwanted situations.
Being new to performing live, expect that you can encounter challenges. However, if you know what to do, you will never disappoint your audience, and they will likely remember the great set you have given to them. Do not be afraid to try the above guide in improving your performance because it will help you a lot to feel more confident every time you are in front of your audience.