Itís easy to get caught up in playing similar sets and similar routines, and itís something most DJs have experienced. As such, I wanted to take a minute and talk a bit about how I go about handling taking risks like, playing a new track or changing genre or mood when Iím playing live. I will focus on two Ďriskyí situations, changing the mood, genre and breaking a new track.
When do I take a risk?
Just because a floor is busy itís still important to calibrate and judge how people are reacting. If people are not reacting accordingly to a track (for example, if you throw on a classic hip hop track during a hip hop set like Still Dre, are they reacting, screaming or singing along?) Even if their dancing to it, doesnít always mean itís the best genre and you could maybe push for a better reaction by trying something different.
When you are breaking a new track their are two different situations I would be prepared for. Is it a track that you are confident is mostly made it to Ďhit statusí this is the kind of thing I will try when I am just getting the floor going because I can mix out of it quickly if it doesnít without losing too many people. The other situation is if you have a track that is pretty left field you want to try. This Iíll save for a packed floor knowing it could bomb I won’t totally kill the vibe knowing I have somthing to mix out of it quickly.
How do I best take a risk?
In short, be prepared for the worst case scenario, that what you are about to try bombs.
If you are switching the mood genre, the safest way is to start with a transition track, that way itís not a huge surprise, but for both switching up the genre and trying a new track the number one thing is to be prepared.
This is where quick mixing comes in. Have something from your previous genre loaded up and ready to go, that itís easy to mix into, and possibly a hit track from that original genre depending on how much of a leap you are taking with the track you are trying.
Be cautious but not overly cautious.
Being ready to hit the panic button and mix back to what you were doing before is important but donít jump on that too quickly. Make sure you give the crowd a chance to really react before you make a judgment call. If you put on something extremely different it can take a second for the crowd to process what you have changed too. If people are walking off the dance floor, it might be time to go back to what you were doing, but just because you donít get an immediate positive reaction doesnít mean people wont give it to you.
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