By Steven Kirby
My first DJ Experience occurred when I was about 10, I was at a friends house and his father was away so we sneaked into the garage where he had what I now know to be a set of Technics 1210’s set up. We messed about with them for a few minutes not really knowing what we were doing; putting records on the platter and watching them spin. One of the needles snapped, then we left, and that was that. My first DJ experience!
Here I am, a professional DJ. Most people think of it as the perfect job, a professional DJ in a club. It takes hard work to plan a gig properly.
The first thing you must do is know the venue, if you haven’t been before and if its possible you should go down there for a night out, check the crowd out, listen to what makes them tick, this will give you a huge head start in planning your set, if you know the crowd it should make planning your set a synch.
The biggest mistake most people would make at this point is playing ‘the big tunes’ early on in the set to get the dance floor busy. In my opinion this is a huge mistake, you don’t want to burn yourself out to quickly, you should build up to the bigger tracks smoothly. Start the set off with some less well-known records, maybe a few tracks that nobody has heard before, just to warm things up. The vast majority of your tracks should be something different, maybe a few remixes that nobody ever plays. Put your own stamp on the set. Only towards the end of your set should you start to really blast out all your aces, play the biggest records right towards the end of your set.
Some people don’t plan their sets, but I think its worthwhile, even if its just a quick over view while you have a few beers with friends. You undoubtedly know your record collection well, but it still doesn’t hurt to do a bit of forward planning just in case your mind goes a blank or you get distracted and find yourself with seconds to mix the next track in. If you’ve planned ahead you are less likely to mess things up.
I should also mention that if you are playing the warm up set for someone you have been hired to do just that, warm up the crowd. Steer clear of big records all together. If you are warming up for them the last thing you want to do is annoy them by playing all the records they are planning to play, this will dent your reputation no end!