View Full Version : DJ Routines?

06-25-2013, 02:22 AM
just wondering, do you all plan your songs for a dj set? Cause I was just wondering today, its really hard to remember all the songs by BPm and what not, and then play them at a party with all the pressure.
At the same time, going with the flow can be bad I guess at the same time.


06-25-2013, 02:56 AM
The more technically challenging something is, the more planning it will require, so you wouldn't, for example, expect to enter a DMC battle and freestyle your routine - it's something you'll work on for months most likely.

But for regular bar/club DJing, you have to be able to mix on the fly, even if sometimes you do plan something. If you do plan something, what you planned may not be going down well, in which case you have to abandon it and go back to mixing on the fly.

I think library management helps a lot, as does getting to know your music well. When I used to play gigs they were done with vinyl only, so I'd select the tracks I was going to take with me beforehand, boiling down my collection to a couple of crates at the most. If you're a digital DJ, you might have thousands of tracks on your laptop, so you need to properly tag and organise them or it can become too much to handle. Also, be selective with what you buy in the first place.

DJ Difficult
06-25-2013, 04:18 AM
Number 1 in this thing is to have a well arranged music collection. If you do your homework well and tag your music by the way you like, it's a lot easier to go with the flow.
When I started, I didn't realise how much effort I have to but on other things than just spinning records. But if you want to be a good dj, you have to like and enjoy all aspects of djing. Including diggin' and music tagging. That's why when somebody asks for ready playlists, it tells you right away that he / she isn't in this with full heart and soul.

dj daywalker
06-25-2013, 10:51 AM
I planned the 3 three tracks of my first gig. After that I havent planned anything. The more you practice playing unplanned shit the better you will get.

And yes music organization is very, very important. I have all my tracks in subgenres, then sorted by key.

06-25-2013, 05:19 PM
I'd say it depends on the gig, meaning if your dj'n in a bar a club or party you would just mix on the fly but if your dj'ing at an event were your set will only be an hour then you could plan your set as long as you bring some tracks as backup.

***** http://soundcloud.com/5hr3w *****

DJ Matt
06-25-2013, 07:18 PM
when i dj'd vinyl i used to prepare a whole set start to finish, but i would change and switch around 'chunks' of the set as per crowd reactions. this was not the ideal approach but i had to do it to get the most out of my record collection.

when i started using a computer i used to make no preparations at all but i found that i often forgot to play new hot tunes i had just baught or tunes i had been meaning to play. so now i have started to use a thin called "virtual folders" (in virtual dj) ..not sure what the equivalent is on other DJ programs..but basically it is like a folder you can copy songs into without actually duplicating or moving the file.

i use them as a kind of weekly suggestion box, that i throw songs into during the week as im listening to music.
if im driving i make a quick note on my phone and add it to the virtual folder when i get home

this way i can play a set on friday night, with some amount of control
and it helps a lot when the mind goes blank and you have just a few seconds to choose a song to mix into LOL

06-26-2013, 03:12 PM
ive never had a gig, but i find that when im playing home, most of the time i play whatever i feel like, and then sometimes i play a song, and remember that it works really well with another song, and then ill play that song next.

06-27-2013, 08:08 PM
Like others have suggested, organization is a great thing. My mind is all over the place and I really suck at it :P

As far as routines go though, I play a lot of mobile bar gigs, requiring a vast array of music. What I like to do is work on a few really solid 3-5 song mixes that include trick mixing, live "mash-ups" etc. that I can build around. Doing so allows for me to show my "skills" and what I can do while also giving me room to adjust on the fly, take requests, etc.

06-29-2013, 03:20 PM
I have over 70 crates(I do play like 10 genres) I have a crate for crates of ambiance, and for dance, and for different events(cake cutting, wedding ceremony).
Now for the dancefloor sets for each genre I have a crate of all the dancefloor stuff, and I make a new crate of the stuff that I still feel is current enough or liked enough to be played. But with this I still do not just go straight down the list(but I filter by BPM), I chose songs that I feel the crowd would like, I skip half the crate full of music sometimes, and well Indian parties I like to start out with bhangra, go to bollywood, get some english stuff, and then usually they want bhangra again, so Its just a judgement call on what style of all three the crowd is into.

So my suggestion is make lists of all the stuff for each genre, and make lists of the good stuff people react to, and then just pick which ones you like on the fly, but yes go by bpm beatmatching is one of the most professional things a DJ should do

08-15-2013, 02:46 PM
just wondering, do you all plan your songs for a dj set? Cause I was just wondering today, its really hard to remember all the songs by BPm and what not, and then play them at a party with all the pressure.
At the same time, going with the flow can be bad I guess at the same time.


Why do you need to remember the tracks by BPM?

I organize my music collection by Keys after I short them out with Mixed in Keys. I only spin Dutch House and Vina House, so I set every track at the beginning of 141 BPM on the CDJ. In my tracks set, I spin track something like from 7A, then 8A, then 9A , etc...

Hope it helps.

08-15-2013, 03:10 PM
Iv'e always found it easier and more natural to mix on the fly... Everytime i try to plan out a full set to say for example record a demo or something i find myself making more mistakes. Let the music and the vibe control your flow, or if you are playing to a crowd then obviously play to their vibe. (easier said than done)

08-19-2013, 05:19 PM
I plan a lot of sets and mainly freestyle when I play out, using the prepared stuff as a back up. Please see my sig below for a link to a thread on set planning.

08-20-2013, 03:39 PM
dont get use to setlist. IF you ever play out and the crowd isnt liking what your playing and your not ready with other music your pretty much toast. Learn and orginize your music and practice djing on the fly.

08-25-2013, 09:58 PM
I am not at the club level yet, but what I have started doing is organizing by genre, key artist and then BPM. Since I use Ableton and don't plan on stopping anytime soon, I set aside about 6 hours minimum a week of warping tracks. That way I get to know them well. I am able to get a feel for them and know when to loop, when to mix out and so on. I find key BPM to be the least relevant to me since most of what I do is in the same area.

On top of which, if I really like a song and want to take it to the next level I'll spend some time working a remix into it. I haven't been able to pull it off yet, but it adds interest and a level of difficulty to keep me busy.

08-27-2013, 07:53 PM
Prior to DVS I never Used BPM...however I did organize my crates of vinyl...I usually would practice and find songs that mix well together and group them together then focus more on transitions... Which when you play a track you think is great and get little, no, or just a bad response you got to move quick!...

DVS is no different when organizing music...place like songs together, work on transitions, and #1 of all...KNOW the music you are playing...

I don't like planned sets but a well organized crate is very important

08-28-2013, 05:06 PM
You definitely gotta be able to go off the top.. I don't ever put together sets unless I'm competing or have a specific time limit.

Just remember, you can always throw in mixes that you have already mastered during your set!!

08-29-2013, 07:28 AM
I usually do my mixes on the fly. I don't like making a set playlist because a lot of times I start to wonder off from it. I do make a list though of the hot tracks that are out to remind me to play them when gigging.