Hi everyone, in this post I've decided to share a detailed question I received recently that I thought might benefit others in a similar situation. It is something I have been asked many times before albeit not so detailed, and it isn't something you can learn in a dj course.Question:
I have a unique situation. I work at a pub that has three different bars (outside, inside upstairs, and inside downstairs). In addition, the pub is situated downtown where there are a lot of other establishments. I am the resident DJ on WED, FRI and SAT nights. The management is happy with me but I want to do better. I have been DJ'ing since 1997 and can beat and key match songs seamlessly. I have a large variety of music. The problem I have is PROGRAMMING. I have a long set 9pm to 1:30am. I like to play all different genres of music Top40, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Rock, Dance, Reggaeton, etc.. The age group is approx 21-36.
Problems I have...
• The crowd is constantly changing. I'll play a hit song, 20 minutes later I get a request for that same song.
• I can typically hold the crowd then usually around 12:45 it empties out (we close at 1:30)
• Sometimes I play all of my best songs in the beginning of the night and then have trouble figuring what to play next.
• Some songs even though are the top song of that week cause people to walk out to the next bar/place. Why? What did I do wrong?
• I swear people have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If I play the entire song people seem to get bored. It is tough to mix out of some songs. There are short cutz versions but I don’t have them for every song. And mixing every two minutes for 5.5 hours is very draining.
• My mixes are all over the place. I typically select my next song by BPM and also by KEY. I do have my music categorized by genre
• If I play too many older songs (i.e. NOT 2011) people tend to walk out.
I am looking for consulting to review, critique, and teach me how to better structure my sets. I can send you a recording if that would help. I can send you MP3 recordings and also a text file playlist of what was played and what time.
To be honest I don't have the time to critique you on that kind of level - what I can tell you though is the very best way to learn is from your own experiences week to week, learn from what the dance floor does and in particular the things you listed above.
If you continue to critique what is happening on the dance floor every time you play you will begin to notice conclusive trends, at that point it is just a matter of trying different things such as mixing up the tempo, the style or even the track or mix lengths to curb those trends.
Lastly you mentioned, "mixing every two minutes for 5.5 hours is very draining." I say, what a good problem to have! Never take it for granted.
Playing to a dance floor like you mentioned above is hard work, but it gives you critical experience throwing you curve ball after curve ball. Keep analyzing the dance floor and your own performance week after week and soon enough as a natural course of progression and as a direct result of those experiences you will begin to evolve and get better at keeping that dance floor where you want them.
I hope this helps in some way,
The nuts and bolts of it is there is no secret or special formula you can learn from a third party, including a dj course. It's only through had work and your own real time experience's that you will learn how to keep a dance floor!