No matter what genre of music you play or how big the venue is from a house party to a 100 000 person stadium, being able to read the crowd and play off of them is integral skill in any DJs repertoire.
Before I get into reading the crowd, you should read our post on 5 essential tips preparing for a DJ set.
What do I mean playing by playing for the crowd ? Reading off cues the crowd puts out in order to tailor your musical selection towards what the majority of them are really getting into.
Reading the crowd isnít something you can pick up overnight, but if itís something you’re new to, Iíll do my best to give you some cues to look out for in the next couple posts. This is an important skill to any genre of music but Iíll mostly speak to open format DJs since itís what I play the most. The thing to focus on is finding music of a similar mood, or style to what people are moving to.
Opening the night:
As the title suggest, with this post Iíll focus on the beginning of the night, Iíll talk about other elements of playing for the crowd in other posts but I figured this is a good place to start.
Whether you are an opening DJ or starting off a long set for the night, what do you want to be doing as those first few people come in the door?
The first thing to do is look at the first people coming in, especially groups. What are they wearing ? Is it a group of mostly girls, or mostly guys ? A group of girls in nice dresses are going to want to hear something very different than a group of guys wearing baggy pants. If you see some girls come wearing raver boots, chances are theyíre going to be into electro, or something more house oriented. Now keep in mind, this is by no means always true, but it gives you a starting point to feel out the crowd.
Once youíve scoped out the people coming into the room a little bit, spend the very start of the night feeling them out a bit. If youíre playing hip hop and the girls are just standing their try something a bit different. Even if girls aren’t out on the dance floor they will still give you lots of cues as to whether they are liking the music. They might dance a bit at the bar, do they react when you put a new track on ? Keep an eye on different groups in the room, what songs make people move their hips a bit, even if theyíre not on the dance floor.
When you start to feel out what mood of music, or what type of music people are moving too, play a good mixture of stuff to get people out on the dance floor. Remember at the beginning of the night youíre not trying to blow the lid off the place yet, just build a good party mood and play what kind of music people want to hear.
At this point you can have a bit of an idea of what kind of music people are into, play a classic from that genre to get people out there, and just build from their, making sure not burn whoever’s playing later in the night (make sure to not burn yourself included !), next time Iíll talk about what to look out for in the middle of the night !
Part #1 – Two Deck Djing fundamentals
Part #2 – DJ Mixing Techniques
Part #4 – How to organize your tracks in iTunes
Ableton recently announced the details of their much anticipated release of Live 9. Everyone in the Live community knew that this would be coming soon, especially after the release of a 64-bit Live 8 Beta earlier this year and has been eagerly awaiting the details. While the Steve Jobs-esque launch event left something to be desired, the new features that they are rolling out are definitely eye-catching. They also completely reinvented their website to go along with Live 9. Here’s a look into some of the new featuresÖ
New Automation and Session View Features
Live’s use of macro controls and the easy recording of automation in arrangement view has always been one of it’s advantages over other DAWs. The downside was that this automation was relatively useless in a live performance setting unless you cut-copy-pasted individual sections from arrangement to session view. In Live 9 you’ll now be able to record your automation directly into clips, which will speed up a lot of the creative process for many producers and performers. Another handy new feature is the addition of automation curves. Many other DAWs have had this feature for a while, so it is nice to see Live finally add it to the roster.
A new ‘arrangement to scenes’ feature is going to be a huge time-saver for producers who play their own tracks using scenes. In Live 8 you would have to copy and paste each individual stem to it’s own clip slot and manually arrange all of your scenes in order to play it back. In Live 9 all you have to do is highlight an area in arrangement view and there is a feature in the secondary-click menu that will do all the work for you.
The browser has been redone to look more like a split-window browser, almost a hybrid of the Mac OSX Finder. Search functions have been improved, a new ranking system shows how much you use various items, and you can now preview instrument sounds without loading it onto a track. While some of these changes might have negligible results, the instrument preview will probably save some hassle for quite a few people.
Audio to MIDI Functions
One of the biggest updates for Live is the new batch of audio-to-MIDI functions. In Live 8 you could easily slice an audio track into a playable MIDI instrument, but now you can convert individual audio clips into a MIDI representation of it’s composition. The Drums-to-MIDI function will take any percussive audio clip (whether a drum sample or you beatboxing) and convert the waveform into a new MIDI drum pattern that you can manipulate. The Harmony-to MIDI and Melody-to-MIDI functions will perform this same operation on audio that has chordal and/or single-note musical phrases.
While the addition of these functions might trigger a wave of questionable remixes when used improperly, there will be a world of opportunity for producers who can harness them. The accessibility of this technology is a fairly large step in the digital audio production and performance world.
MIDI Note Manipulation
In addition to the new MIDI features described above, Live is also adding a host of new note transformation tools in MIDI editor. Transpose, reverse, duplicate, and invert are just some of the functions that you will be able to quickly apply to any MIDI clip. For producers who work a lot with complex MIDI clips, this could easily become a new source of creative inspiration.
The EQ Eight, Compressor and Gate have all been improved with better sound and controls. They also feature a new interface that includes a spectrum analyzer so that you can see what you are doing to the waveform. Many producers will probably find the spectrum analyzer on the EQ Eight to be particularly helpful. In addition to the enhancements made to these devices, there will also be a new compressor, called Glue, modeled off of a classic 80s console compressor.
Suite 9 will come with over 50GB of sounds! There will be enough new sounds straight out of the box to inspire any producer whether you work with loops, samples, or MIDI. Max for Live now also comes bundled with Suite 9, which can help seasoned Live users find new inspiration. There are already over 900 devices available through the Max for Live community and you can build your own custom devices with a little bit of tweaking.
In a huge step forward for the company, Ableton announced the release of it’s first branded MIDI controller called Push. The previous collaborations with the Akai (APC40/APC20) and Novation (Launchpad) were extremely successful for Live 8, but for Live 9 Ableton will be releasing their own piece of hardware. Upon first inspection it looks like they took the best things from the APC40, Launchpad, and the Maschine and combined them all into a super-controller. There are too many details to go into here, but check back for an upcoming post on Ableton Push.
They haven’t announced an exact release date yet, but it looks like it will be in the first half of 2013. There will be three different versions at different price points; Intro, Standard, and Suite. If you already own an Ableton product they are offering 25% discounts on upgrades to Live 8 with a free upgrade to Live 9 when it comes out. You can check out the differences between the three versions here.
Welcome my first top ten club tracks post. This will be comprised of a variety of electronic and top 40 remixes that I like, or that have gone over well when Iíve played them. Theyíre in a rough order with whatís gone over best at the top. Iíll also give you a bit of description with each – hope your enjoy !
I Gotta Feeling – J. Espionosa Feel So Close Blend
This track has great energy and puts a good spin on something everyone knows the words to already. I normally mix out of it after the first drop because it loses a lot of energy after it goes back to the original feel so close chorus.
Otherside – Third Party Remix
There are a lot of remixes of Red Hot Chili Pepperís Otherside, but since the first time I heard this (Itís been out for a bit now, but still goes over great) I loved it. It gets people with the chorus and itís got a great progressive-y drop.
Show Me Love 2k12 – BodyBangers Remix
Iíve heard a couple remixes and edits using this beat, but this is the one Iíve played the most. Iíll only play this with a crowd I can know will like house. Theyíll know the acapella but more importantly the drop is really rowdy.
Pound The Alarm – Reidiculous Remix
I really like this track as a good way to keep a crowd with people into the top 40 but also house happy. You get the top 40 dance track but the energy with this remix is way higher.
Funky Vodka – TJR
Again this is more focused towards a house crowd but throwing in a portion of the song can really set the mood off. I wouldnít play the whole song out but itís such a fun track itís great to get a bit of it.
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites – Zedd remix
Again this is a track with tons of remixes out there, but I found this one had was the perfect line between a high energy electro house track and a very progressive one.
Heads Will Roll – Kid Kamillion Trap Edit
Trap is of course blowing up, and Iíve been trying to find safe ways to drop it into my sets. This is one of the tracks Iíve been using, Itís a killer trap track but also still has an element people know really well.
Iím off that – Pitbull
Pitbull again is jumping on a new movement, but if you want to try dropping some trap into your top 40 sets, this is a great go to starting point to test the waters.
Boomerang – DJ Vice Remix
If you haven’t heard of DJ Vice, hes a big top 40 DJ and heís been getting into production for some time now. So even if youíre not into top 40, their is a instrumental version of this remix which you should check out. DJ Viceís productions are incredibly solid. He makes awesome electro house and this is only one example of a great track to a top 40 or house crowd.
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