In this post I want to focus on what music to use when you’re DJing for a prime time spot. I also want to talk about moving on from an opener, and how the mood should change from one DJ to the next.

Playing peak time involves a lot more than just playing all the latest and greatest hits. First of all, you want to make your set memorable; just because you’re playing a packed room doesn’t mean you can just play anything you want – you still want to make your tracks count.

Taking Over from the Opener

The transition from opener to prime time DJ is important as it dictates the mood of the evening.

Normally a good opener will build the energy in the room and get people dancing while still leaving a lot of space for the headliner to build upon. Once the opener is done, it’s your job to play something that pushes the vibe up a notch. Take for example a song like this:

This song can be mixed in at the break, and it gives you that heavy rolling bass on the drop that can really kick on the energy. This is the kind of thing you want to do ­– play something that ups the energy in the room but at the same time gives you something to build off of.

When choosing music for peak time its important to be prepared. Sometimes an opener will take the energy to a super high level and not leave you any room to build up. You need to have some music prepared for when this happens so you can take the energy down a notch and reset the mood to where you should be starting out. Don’t try to one-up an opener who has already brought the room to a peak.

What to Play and How to Keep Your Set Memorable

It seems like a lot of DJs go into peak time thinking it’s easy business, and that all they need to do is fire out all the current hits and call it a day. But the reality is way more complicated than this. Current hits should make up a good portion of your set, but this is just one element of what you should be doing to pull off a successful peak slot.

The second element you want is classic tracks. For house this might be something like Show Me Love; for dubstep you might go with some old Skream or Rusko – some track with a really memorable element that people know. You can do this in two ways, either by dropping the original or playing a remix of the song. For example, you could play something like this:

The final element you want is a few cool or interesting b-sides in your set – tracks that not many people have heard yet either because they’re either brand new or fairly obscure.

It’s these last two elements ­­– classic tracks and obscure sets – that will make your set memorable. It doesn’t hurt to play some hits but people will remember your set for the things they didn’t expect you to play.

Final Words

Remember when preparing your sets to add different elements and create a story arc. You want your set to have a climax and a cool down period; even though you’re playing peak hours, you’ll still want a little time to wind down at the end of your set.


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