If you’re a DJ and you’re playing a gig on the last night of the year, no matter the venue, go ahead and congratulate yourself. The new year’s eve DJ set is a coveted slot, so whether you’re playing in front of thousands of people at a Las Vegas nightclub or 25 people at a local steakhouse, this is a big night for you. Because New Years Eve is such a big deal, tonight more than ever, you’ll want to bring your A game. So to help you ring in the new year in style, here are some tips to help make your 2016 New Year’s Eve DJ set your best gig yet.
Because this is one of the craziest nights of the year, you can be sure that something at some point will go wrong. To help avoid total catastrophe, bring as many backups as you can: First, make sure you can easily switch to a backup system as quickly as possible should something happen to your main DJ rig. The same goes for your music – whether you’re using vinyl or MP3s, make sure you have more than one copy of your songs on hand in case something happens to the first copy. It’s also a good idea to bring extra cables, backup speakers, and anything else you can think of that might save your butt at the last minute.
Recap the Year in Music
If there’s ever a time to play the hits, your New Year’s Eve DJ set is that time. People aren’t looking to be turned on to new music on New Year’s Eve – they want to hear all the music from the past year that made them dance the most, so give them what they want.
Throw in Some Throwbacks
New Year’s Eve is also a great time to get nostalgic. Everyone is thinking about years gone by, so why not throw in some classic hits from New Years’ past and get everyone partying like it really is 1999.
Know Your Audience
The year in music will sound vastly different to different audiences, so make sure you know who you’re playing to. The same goes for the classics – a classic ‘90s hit might go over the heads of a group of 40+ corporate partygoers, but it could land perfectly with a millennial crowd.
Be Ready for Requests
DJs tend to get more requests on New Year’s Eve than any other night of the year, so be prepared. You don’t have to play every song everyone asks you to play, but if you show that you’re willing to play requests once in a while, you’ll show your audience that you really care about them.
Look After Yourself
In all the excitement of a New Year’s Eve DJ set, it can be easy to forget about yourself. With everyone acting so rowdy, many amateur DJs either get stressed out by all of the pressure, or get swept up in the excitement and have one too many drinks themselves. Neither of these reactions are helpful. If you feel like you’re getting stressed, remind yourself to have a good time, but remember to pace yourself in the beverage department (so you’re still conscious when the clock strikes 12:00).
Prepare Your Countdown
A great New Year’s Eve DJ set isn’t just about the music. Don’t forget the reason most people came out to party in the first place – the countdown. Whether you go with a pre-recorded countdown, hand the mic off to an MC just before midnight, or do the countdown yourself, make sure you have a plan in place at the beginning of the night. That way the transition from the music to the countdown will be seamless, and the party can go on uninterrupted.
If you’ve done your homework and you come prepared, your New Years Eve gig could be your best night of the year. Looking for some inspiration before the big night? Check out some of our celebrity DJ interviews, or browse the blog for inspiration on everything from what DJ tricks to use to what outfit to wear. Working up to another New Year’s gig next year? Start 2016 off right with a subscription to Spin Academy’s online DJ school, where you can learn everything you need to know about how to become an amazing DJ.
The holidays are here again – a time to celebrate with family, drink way too much eggnog, and hopefully unwrap some cool new DJ gear. So if you’re counting on any of your family and friends to be last minute shoppers (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) there’s still time to put some fun toys on your list. To make the process easier for you, we’ve scoured the year’s new releases from top to bottom to come up with the best gifts for DJs in a variety of price ranges. From DJ controllers to bottle openers, here’s our take on the best new DJ gear to include on your Christmas list.
While an app isn’t exactly something you can fit in a stocking, it makes a great affordable gift for any DJ with an iOS device. With even more features than the first version, the iMaschine 2 transforms any iPad or iPhone into a powerful music making tool that you can carry around with you wherever you go.
This one really needs to explanation. No other gift so concisely says “hey, I’m a DJ, and I also love beer.”
Under the Tree
A great reward for being good all year would be a nice pair of new studio monitors. KRK makes some of the best monitors available, and this year, they’ve changed up the colour scheme, offering black, white, and silver versions of their popular 4-inch desktop speakers. No other monitors provide the same sound quality at such an affordable price point.
This handy little device was released at this year’s NAMM show. It’s basically a single fader that attaches to any device via a 1/8’’ cable and fits easily in a pocket or backpack. The Frisk Fader is a simple and stylish tool that with plenty of practical applications.
For DJs and producers who use sample libraries, Splice Sounds offers a subscription service that grants access to over 2,000 sample packs and over 700,000 sounds, all royalty-free and pre-cleared for commercial use. They even offer their own online gift cards at a variety of price points for different types of users.
What gift could be better than the gift of knowledge? This year, ask for a subscription to Spin Academy’s online DJ school for unlimited access to our extensive collection of video tutorials. No other gift will tell you more about how to become a better DJ in 2016.
If You’ve Been Really Good This Year
Maybe you’ve been really good all year and you’ve got your heart set on a big reward. In that case, what reward could be better than a Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX? This all-in one controller was named the best standalone system at NAMM 2015, so if you’re looking for one controller that does it all, you’d be lucky to find this one under the tree.
2015 was a huge year for mobile DJing. Among the developments this year was the Reloop Beatpad 2 – the first professional cross-platform controller for iOS and Android devices. The Beatpad 2 turns your mobile DJ device into a full-on DJ rig ready for any gig.
Want to know more about which DJ gear to use? Check out our online DJ gear tutorials, where we provide tips on everything from how to get started to where to look for the best pro upgrades. We’ll also be doing plenty more gear reviews in 2016, so keep an eye on the blog in the new year.
Last time we talked about house music on the blog, we discussed the basic philosophy behind house music, as well as some of the basic techniques you’ll need to get started. Now that you’re in the right headspace and you’ve been working on essential techniques like beatmatching, we can explore some more advanced house DJ tricks that incorporate elements like EQ, looping, and effects.
EQ Your Fade Ins / Fade Outs
Once you’ve got your basic slow transitions mastered, you can start playing with EQ settings to make your transitions sound even better. Rather than simply fading from one track to the next, try slowly turning down the bass EQ on your first deck while you bring in the bass EQ on your second deck. This will make it sound like one bassline in slowly dropping out while the other comes in. This is the most common way to use EQ for house transitions, but of course you can experiment with using EQ in different ways as well. Try bringing down the high end on one deck while you bring up the high end on the second deck, or mix it up and roll down the low end on one deck while you crank the high end on the other.
Use Loops to Extend Your Transitions
To become a good house DJ, you’ll need to develop a solid understanding how to incorporate loops into your set. Need some help understanding how looping works? We’ve got a lesson series on looping right here at our online DJ school.
Once you’ve got the basics of looping down, you can use loops for all sorts of things in a house set, including extended transitions. The basis of this technique is simply to loop the last four, eight, or even sixteen bars of a track to create an extended outro while you bring in the next track. This is especially useful in house music sets where you might want to keep a groove going for longer than anticipated, depending on the mood out on the dancefloor. This also helps you create those long, slow transitions that house music fans love.
Use Loops and Effects to Create Interesting Fills
Another great way to use loops for house music is to keep a loop or series of loops running in the background throughout your set. A good loop could be anything from an interesting drum pattern to a cool vocal sample. Keep the loop running at a low volume, or even mute it altogether, and then bring it in at strategic points to create interesting fills. For bonus points, experiment with different effects to make your loop fills even more ear-catching. Add a gate to create a stutter effect, use some reverb to add depth, or use some delay to make your fills sound totally huge.
Master the Loop Roll
One of the most classic house DJ tricks is the loop roll. This is when you loop the last eight bars of a song, then cut that down to two bars, then cut that down again and again and again until you’re only looping a tiny section, creating a chopped up, stuttering sound. Then, when the timing is right, you release the loop and bring the full track back in. This usually happens right before the chorus, but it can be used in other sections as well. You’ve probably heard this technique used a lot not only in house DJ sets, but also in a lot of pop songs. For this reason, you should make sure not to use this technique too much, as people tend to get tired of it pretty quickly. Consider yourself warned.
That should give you plenty of house DJ tricks to practice for now. Next time we revisit the subject of how to DJ house music we’ll wrap up this series with some tips on how to pick the right songs to create a great house DJ set.