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Someone asked a question about how to plan a DJ set on a forum, so I’m pasting my response here. The attached photo is one of the first pictures of me DJing back when I had just started out. Although before grainy MP3s, it was still taken in a lossy format with a 1.2 megapixel camera or some shite. haha — How I plan a DJ set. I come from an evolutionary biology background, where we are all insane about methods and systems for classifying minute differences. As a result, I’ve always been very specific about genres and their relationships, but since music interbreeds so much it was more suitable to use a web 2.0 technique to classify music. I use iTunes (still) because a reasonably convenient alternative hasn’t shown up for me (and I’m used to it). To plan a set I always think of the time, location and mood at which it will be played. Then I create a playlist of 3-4x the actual timeslot’s worth of musical material. This is chosen based around a theme that develops from picking a few keystone songs, and their neighbours, or good bridges between those themes/styles. It also generally reflects new stuff that I’ve been buying. I never plan beyond the first 3 tracks (which I do only because I need to adjust to the monitors, room sound, previous DJs unplugging from the mixer, etc) The key to my method is how I organize everything so that it can be searched and recalled quickly. Explained here: http://ift.tt/1nqocvD When I have my whole traktor library with me, it’s easy to play for hours without planning ahead because I can rapidly find the exact song I’m thinking of (but cannot remember the name) or a quick subset of songs that are likely to fit with what’s presently going. Combined with the Preparation crate for pulling out records to work towards over the course of a few songs, and it’s a great workflow. Mind you, the last set I played I decided to scrap within the first tune on the dancefloor. It was prepared as chill dub techno for a morning set, but I had a decent-sized floor that I gave another round of solid dancing. I just ad-libbed on CDJs from the various folders of stuff I had on the USB keys I’d brought with me. DJing is about a relationship with people and that moment in time, and often spontaneous can be the perfect thing to do. Have fun, play around. There’s no wrong way to do it. The mark of a good DJ is good taste and the willingness to forge their own style. There’s plenty of same-y DJs out there, the world doesn’t really want more.
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