This is the second installment of our series of posts on playing for the crowd. The first installment was how to play for an opening set.
Middle of the night: Although this is probably one of the busier times of the evening nailing the opening is very important, that being said the middle is important because youíre building the mood. The 11:00/12:00 till late spot is when you can really start kicking up.
Packed floor isnít the top of the mountain: There’s many times where I have a busy floor and Iím not comfortable with the reaction. Why? Just because the floor is packed doesnít mean you shouldn’t still be watching your crowd. You can still read the mood and take it to the next level.
What do I look for?
First thing I look for is are people dancing? You can have a busy floor and people still not feeling it, just waiting for the next song. Gauge if the dance floors moving, are people standing there or really feeling the music?
Are people singing along?
I keep my monitors turned up most of the night but when I drop a classic track I think people should know I always turn them down to listen if their singing along, this not only letís you know if they like this kind of music but also give you a feel for the mood of the crowd.
Are people putting their hands up getting down and dirty with some girl and/or jumping with the drop?
Most music whether it be techhouse or top40 has some kind of drop are people reacting accordingly? If you play dirty hip hop are girls dancing to it, is the crowd reacting to what youíre playing?
So what do you do if people aren’t reacting? Worst case scenario people arenít reacting to what youíre playing and leaving the floor. This is when you drop some genre party classic, something everyone should know to really bring it back but their are other things you can do too. If it seems like youíre losing people mix it up. Not everyone wants to listen to jump up and down music all night, donít be afraid to drop the tempo for a bit and change the pace.
Surprising people is always a good way to go whether people aren’t reacting or even if you’re killing it. Mix it up or play something unexpected to change the mood and bring people back.
In my opinion good DJs can play a really good set with good selection, great DJs can do the same thing but surprising the crowd at every turn.
Itís important to keep watching people, remember at the beginning of the night to look out for people who are leading the group. Those people who are the first to the dance floor and drag their friends to the bar. Make sure they are reacting to your tracks, itís a good quick way to judge the mood.
If you want to learn more about DJ’ing and gear we highly recommend you check out our online DJ School Spin Academy.
Part #1 – Two Deck Djing fundamentals
Part #2 – DJ Mixing Techniques
Part #4 – How to organize your tracks in iTunes