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Thread: The art and practice of set planning.

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usta_B_aDJ View Post
    I guess i come from a different era ... And a different scene ...And not a conventional route to the booth.
    Prefer your way to mine to be fair. The scene I entered, late nineties, was cutthroat. People trying to throw you off, make one mistake lose the crowd and heaven forbid you trainwreck; you wouldn't be let near the decks for years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adzm00 View Post
    Fo real.

    I disagree.

    Anyone can play crowd pleasers. Not everyone can read a crowd at all.
    Lol, feel free to disagree, but leave the straw man arguments alone

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimanee View Post
    @Mosa: Cheers man, interesting post, sorry to pick a bit out.
    I've done that, but have no fond memories of it, scrambling around for anything that would mix in. I also feel (yet obviously don't know) that the above crash and burn would work in the 80s because people knew less about DJing. When I cut my teeth in the late nineties, there were many who would pounce at the first misstep.


    You know... I never thought of it that way. You have a very valid point there regarding the difference in audience understanding of DJs. Nice point!

    First, let me slip into the memories part of your comment. No, it wasn't a fond time when I was scrambling, learning by trial-and-error how to keep a crowd entertained. When it came to playing the right or wrong song, the crowd was little different in the 80s, or in the 90s when you learned, or today--they would either continue dancing, or vacate the floor for the bar, or worse, vacate for the doors. Only difference, I think, is that back then the worst they might give you is a pinched nose or a name-calling to your face. Today, they'll flash you angry signs as in letting you know you're number one with the middle finger, or yell at you that you're the worst POS alive and then tell everyone on their Instagram or FB accounts how horrible you are--gladly haven't experienced that myself, but have witnessed it at clubs where I hung out. Very tasteless--I blame it on social media norms.

    But yes, there are fond memories now of the beatings I took, the names I got called that all helped discipline me. It's sort of akin to sharing the "big wooping" stories that you may or may not have received from your parents as a kid. You didn't appreciate them at the time of receiving said wooping; but years later (so long as it wasn't full-blown abuse or beatings or anything severe--I'm talking only about good paddlings on the bum), you look back at them almost nostalgically and recall what you learned from them. Tell me you honestly can't look back at your worst DJ memories now and re-tell them to friends with a smile? Okay, if those memories are just a week old, you're probably still sucking down whiskey, but if they're from ages ago? They're good battle stories.

    Second, to your point about modern crowds being more keen to a DJ's potential or creativity? Honestly, even today, if a DJ at a commercial club simply knows when to play certain recurrents, when to play certain anthems, when to play certain classics.... the crowd won't give a damn about any other skills or technologic tricks he/she may have. Now, if that DJ isn't quite so savvy about song selection, then yeah, I think the crowd will start to notice things like how good beat-mixing skills are, or scratching skills, or mic skills, or filter/sweeping/other-efx skills are.

    Point is, for me at least, I think song selection and the ability to read the crowd trumps all else. Once a crowd is juiced with alcohol, they're more likely to remember how good your song selection was (ie, how often they were dancing or pumping their fists or singing along) than they are to remember anything else.

    Though I do hope most DJs at least make an attempt to beat-mix for more than a few bars whenever possible.

    But to your point about contemporary crowds... I never had to deal with social media so much as today. That makes it tough, even if you have a massive night and most people had a great time. It only takes that one A-hole who didn't like your set, who happens to have a massive following on some social platform, that will sh!t on you and make a lot of people think you're junk. Same can happen for some a-hole who thinks some crap DJ is a god and alerts his minions that they should follow this god, even if most patrons thins said god is worse than a 14-year-old wedding DJ. It's the luck of the draw with social media, so hopefully if you stay true to yourself, you'll find enough of a following that social media won't hi-jack your night.

    Speaking of which, I hope I didn't hi-jack this topic. I tried to keep it on-point, I swear!

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlove View Post
    ^^ I'd venture kids are more fickle these days...back when I went clubbing on a weekly basis, I went to everything, with no preconceptions of what I expected of the night. I went to absorb new music. Now, the kids are absorbing what they like before they come out on their computers, and deciding what they like and don't like before they get to the dancefloor.

    As an old-timer, I find this frustrating, as a commercial vibe has crept in as a result - sounds that grab you instantly at 320kbps top of the pile online (being the same tracks that sound absolutely horrible over a proper system), the art of the warm-up disappearing into the ether, and the DJ's following the crowd instead of the other way 'round.

    It's not all doom & gloom, with mighty problems come mighty solutions, but I think the clubscene has definitely been affected by social media.

    [sorry for going slightly off-topic!]
    Wow... I feel you. You hit so many points with so few words. I'll disagree with you on the 320 kbps point of your post--true, it's not as dynamic as a wave file, but certainly better than lesser grade mp3s and hardly noticeable to 99% of the crowd. But as far as the the DJ formerly leading the crowd as to opposed to today where the DJ appears to follow the crowd... I agree. There were always DJs that followed back in the day, but a quite a few led the way, took pride in breaking new songs, new sounds, new movements. Not so much today. Most resident DJs, I find, are more concerned with keeping up with the Joneses than with setting themselves apart. Granted, crowds today are also more different than from 20, 30 years ago, and want to hear what they already know as opposed to what they don't yet know, but fewer and fewer DJs are ballsy enough to break new music before it's been played to death on the radio or on some celeb DJ's stream. To be honest, considering the atmosphere of the scene, I can't blame these DJs for playing it safe if they want to keep employed steadily. I guess I wish the crowd was as adventurous or hungry for something new or something not-so-commercial as they used to be.
    Last edited by mosca; 04-10-2015 at 01:58 AM.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usta_B_aDJ View Post
    I guess i come from a different era ... And a different scene ...And not a conventional route to the booth.

    My first encounter was in the late 70's with West Indian Blues Party's ... I lived next to a Jamaican family that had built a huge sound system.. 4x twin 18" Bassbin scoops ... 4x quad 12" Mid's ... 4 x 8 tweeter with 4 horns ... For anyone who knows this scene will know that's a pretty epic system .... So my love was for the sound system first.

    I grew up around the system... Partys ... Sound Clash ... Toasters ( Mc's ).... HUGE BASS
    By the time i was 13- 14 i was working my ass off to get money together to buy bit's of kit to build my own sound system.... At about the same time hip hop was just breaking in NY and a few dudes from NY come to my school on student exchange and brought this new music with them .... I was hooked !

    So with Sound system almost finished I started doing street party's ( Block Party's ).... Everyone come to dance ... No crowd reading skills needed ... You drop a beat and people would dance to it ... Break Dancing And Body Poppin all over the place ...pretty much all the music i played was import due to the fact that hip hop and Electro had not made it's way to the UK mainstream at that point... By the time i was 15 i had won a remix comp on a local radio station and was guest dj most weeks on a Friday night show... I had never been to a club at this point !... I was 15

    I won't bore you with the rest of the story ... But by the time i got into a dj booth in a club i was already known ... And people who come to the clubs i was Djing in come to dance and have a good time ...NOT to see me .... To Dance ..... No crowd reading needed .... It's almost like crowd reading was invented later on.

    I do have a bad story about guesting at a club in a provincial town in the mid 90's and trying to introduce the crowd to Speed Garage .....lol .... not a pretty sight ... This club was more your ABBA and Chart nonsense stuff ...... About 20 people got it and went nut's ... The rest left and went to the other room .... I played hard to the 20 people and we had a great time ...So i don't even consider that to be a horror story.

    So i dunno ...I guess if you play good music people will dance ....Attention spans seem to be shorter today.

    Sorry for the long story .... just wanted to put my experiences out there ... Some here might get it

    Peace
    Usta, I don't know how old you are, but your stories sound similar to those of some of the DJs I learned from, but even better. If you were truly around for "toasting" and the first "dubs" you may have a book in you. See if you can spread it out it out and say something about early house music (or hip-hop) that hasn't been said before, or is said from a different POV. You might just catch some small print's interest.

  5. #65
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    Great article indeed, as a beginner i bumped into the idea of mixing in key and ever since i have been planning my sets taking song keys into consideration and this has brought life to my sets


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  6. #66
    I usually plan sets, but if it's not working then I diversify, like in the original post.

    Actually, I don't plan entire sets, that would be taking it a bit far. But I have ''chunks'' of handfuls of tunes that I know go together well in some respect, so the ''planned'' sets are actually lots of little fifteen minute mini-sets strung together.

    If the crowd want a change, I diversify into a different ''mini set'' then from there take it off into a different direction from there.

    I find playing completely off the cuff can be fun, but it very often doesn't sound too good at points, being unrehearsed and all. I have yet to meet a dj who is absolutely sure what two tunes will sound like together without rehearsing it first every time. Even if they think they'll be keymatched it often turns out wrong.

    Both methods are ok - off the cuff is ok, but the crowd better be prepared for a mixed bag of success and failure. In the right atmosphere that's appropriate though. If I was playing a party, it might be more like that, as opposed to playing a club I'd play the mini set thing.

    Of course, you don't keep the mini sets the same, you're constantly updating and changing them to keep variety in your sets.

  7. #67
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    Thank you very mush for those "success key"

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