If you’re a fan of DJs like Tiesto and David Guetta, then there’s a good chance you’ll want to know how to DJ house music sets at some point in your DJ career. Before you can master the genre, however, you’ll need to get yourself into the right mindset to understand what goes into making house music and what makes it different from other genres. So to get you started on your quest to become a great house DJ, here are some beginners tips on how to DJ house music sets.
The House Music Philosophy
The philosophy of house music differs greatly from the philosophy of other electronic music genres like hip-hop, which is the last genre we discussed on the blog. While hip-hop involves a lot of fast cuts, house music is all about slow, smooth transitions; while hip-hop DJs will change up the mood in a split second, house DJs want to keep a fairly consistent mood that evolves slowly throughout the night.
When you’re learning how to DJ house music sets, the key thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep people dancing at all costs. To do this, it will help to develop a solid understanding of how house tracks are built and how they fit together.
Get to Know Your Song Structures
While every house song has its own distinctive sound, virtually every one shares the same basic structure. This structure usually starts simply with a few musical elements built around a four on the floor beat. From there, the structure will change every 8 to 16 bars or so as new elements are either added in or taken away.
A good way to learn to DJ house music is to take a few house tracks you like and spend some time analyzing them. As you listen to your favourite house tracks, take note of things like what BPM the song uses, how often new elements are added or taken away, when the climax hits, how long it takes before you get to the climax, and how long it takes for the song to die down after the climax has hit.
Work on Your Beatmatching Skills
Once you have the basic structure of house music mapped out in your head, you’ll have a better idea of how different songs will fit together. As mentioned previously, house music is all about slow, smooth transitions, which means that good beatmatching skills are essential if you want to master the art of how to DJ house music. Typically with house music, you’ll want to start mixing in one song after the climax of the previous song as the energy of the first song is slowly dying down. Often it can take up to a minute or more to move from one song to the next, so getting your beatmatching right and choosing complimentary songs is key for this genre.
If you haven’t mastered the art of beatmatching yet, take a look at some of our beatmatching lessons in our online DJ school. Once you’ve mastered that basic skill, you’re ready for some more advanced house DJ tricks, which we’ll discuss in the next part of this series, so keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks for the next part in this three-part series.