Have you ever wonder why sometimes a DJ can be very bad at beatmatching but his dance floor is FULL? Why are they keeping him in the club if it can’t “sync” two songs ?
Well maybe is not the best performer or technical DJ but he knows how to read his dance floor. What is the point to perform like a beast in a club, wedding or private party if you’ve got an empty dance floor. In this post I’ll show you how to analyze your audience and how to give them the best music experience of their life.
Before The Show : Arrive Early
If there is ONE thing people don’t like, is WAIT. Specially now, even people complain when they’ve got a 5sec add on their favorite YouTube video. So be professional and don’t be late!
Even better, be there 30min, 1h or even 2h early. Be on time is only good for your guests and the person who is paying you.
They’re not expecting technical problem or empty dance floor, but you do. You have to expect the worse case scenario and be prepare for anything.
How can you be prepare if you don’t know where you go, who is here and how is the room? Exactly you don’t know unless you’ve been here before, you’ve seen some picture or it’s your residential club.
First: Set-up yourself
Say hello to the person in charge, ask where you need to park your car, where you are going to perform and all the information you need about plug socket, sound limiter, opening and closing time (club or private event) etc.. If you do this, I can guaranty, the person in charge will know straight away you are a professional and, because you’ve asked everything you are not going to disturb him later on.
Set-up everything, test everything and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Now you are ready, you can breathe because everything works and you’ve got absolutely all your gear and tunes WELL DONE. And you’ve got 30min or 1h to kill, what could you do…
Analyze the people already here
- Are they young, adult or old (already think about what your music style is gonna be)
- Have they been drinking before or they are all sober
- Why not introduce yourself to some folks and listen to any pre-request
- If in the club ask, what music works the most with the audience and what is usually the peak time (for you Set Structure)
The First Song: Your Introduction
The first song is very important, it’s going to introduce yourself and make the folks understand the party already started.
In a Club : The first song can be your signature or something with a 110-120 BPM to give the beat. Don’t forget when you start in a club around 11pm, is not going to be full so don’t play your best tunes yet, BE PATIENT
Wedding: Usually the first song is chosen by the bride and groom as an opening dance and then the guests follow them. Very very easy to start your night because they are doing the work for you
Birthday: Most of the time they are very joyful and they just want to keep drinking and start dancing, so don’t be afraid about your first song, the men are probably going to the bar to grab a drink while you entertain the ladies.
Your first song is not only your introduction, it’s as well a test. Have a look on the dance floor and see if your first musical choice was right or not good enough. Then this is where thing is getting interesting
The First Half-Hour: Take The Temperature
You’ve just played your first song and now you are the leader of the dance floor but your are still in the unknown so during this half-hour you need to understand your audience musical need.
You are going to attract as many people as you can during this 30-60min, but how??
In a Club: Unfortunately if you start at 11pm you are going to need more than 30min because your audience peak is probably going to be around 1-2am. Still, you can slightly increase the BPM of your set and take more request. If you can satisfy the few people already here and get their smile you’ve already won!!
Wedding: Usually the first half-hour after the opening dance would be some waltz, tango, bachatta to make the “old” generation dance before they leave the wedding without a step on the dance floor. And you’ll be surprise how many people are dancing on this: EVERYBODY
So let me break this down for you: Make the “old generation”, groom’s and bride’s parents dance before they leave is more than important. Remember who is paying you. If I’m paying a DJ and I see my wife, my parents and her parents dancing, I will be more than happy. During this time have look who is at the bar, who is still sat down and arm cross and prepare your transition for the next part;
Birthday: During this first part, one thing to don’t forget as a DJ mobile, is your MIC. Maybe you’ve started with some funk, 80’s or tropical music, during this time have a look on the dance floor. Are they coming? Are they leaving? Are they staring at you?
- If they coming to you: don’t change anything, keep smiling, keep moving (yes people look at you and you are the battery who’s giving the energy to the crowd) and prepare your next song
- If they leaving : well is going to happen, you cannot satisfy 100% of the people but you want more that 60%. So if they leaving, ask yourself
- Is it not loud enough or too loud
- Is it dark enough
- Should I change the kind of music
Remember on a birthday people have a lot of expectation from you, you are for them the entertainer so take the MIC and don’t be afraid to try thing but don’t be to cheesy
“Hi everybody, this is time to take the temperature, is EVERYBODY ALRIGHT ” if no answer try again and again, don’t give up please don’t give up. If you do give up now your night is going to be tough. Make people shouting give them energy and if it’s a crowd effect, the people at the bar or people sat down are gonna wonder what’s going on. You don’t have to do that every 5min but during the first 30min it’s a great way to show them that you care about them.
- If they staring at you: well if it’s a good portion of the people then don’t be afraid to change the song from A to Z. Every DJ with experience got a secret box where he/she can find his GOLD Tune and song. The GOLD tune are song where it’s a guarantee success if you play it. But every DJ have is different GOLD tune so after experience you’ll make your own GOLD List.
Let see some example: YMCA-Villae People; Los Del Rio – Macarena; Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling; We Will Rock You-Queen and many more for every kind of music.
Why is it working -> good beat, easy to sing and the same dance everywhere in the world.
The Main Dish: Observe Your Audience
You’ve done your work and got at least 60% of the folks dancing after the first hour, now it’s your time to shine and to show them your musical knowledge. Because you have to keep this 60% on the dance floor but not only, you want 100% so how can you do this? Well definitely not with your face on your decks and computer choosing your next tune for 2min or even worse, taking selfie every single time.
Club: You have your set ready so go for it, raise your hand, make the crowd follow your move and drop the beat. During this time keep looking at your audience. Don’t rush your song, some people don’t really care about your beatmatch skill, they just want to listen to the song more than one minute. Keep an eye on the drunk one as well to avoid any drinks on your dj gear.
Wedding: Keep raising the tempo and keep pushing. Sometimes you’ll be surprise but some wedding are real techno, EDM party so if you don’t try you’ll never know and you’ll miss the best wedding of all time. Don’t judge people, they are at a wedding so yes they all look smart and rich but they’ve got different taste, they all listen to music and they might be crazier than you. So, while you push the tempo, keep observing people reaction. If you make them jump or not, if the people sat down before or stand up now.
Birthday: Same story as the wedding, just go for it and try.
I’m not going to lie, yes we know when our audience is happy and involve but we do know which individual are not dancing. No worries, as I said before you CAN NOT satisfy everybody so don’t blame yourself, maybe they just don’t like dancing but they love the music you’re playing
I remember I was Djing at a baptism and during 3h I had 4/40 people dancing, I was sweating during this all 3h wondering what was wrong with me. I even went on the dance floor to make the children dance, showing move and choregraphy, at least I’ve tried everything. And at the end (no overtime for sure) everybody went to me and shake my hand, I was choked. I gave more than 10 business cards but since this day I’ve never said yes to a baptism hahaha.
Remember, if some people are leaving the dance floor is maybe not because of the music. Analyze yourself as well. Are you smiling, dancing and looking at your audience. Or are you watching your dj gear constantly, using DJ FX and ruining the track, breaking the tempo between every tune (80 to 130 BPM) and be focus on beatmatching instead of your dance floor?
The Last Song: Your Signature
You almost there, the crowd is jumping, raising hands and moving their bodies but in 30min you’ll have to end the night of their life. During this time you are going to slow down the tempo music after music, but why would you do that if everybody is jumping ?
The human body is very reactive of the music, the tempo, the beat, the bass and you don’t even realize how fast you heart can beat when you are in this excitement. So you need to calm them down by changing the atmosphere of the room on something more relaxing.
People need to breathe, they’ve been dancing all night and they probably forget what time is it. This is your responsibility to look after them. By doing this you can avoid all the aggressive behavior on after party.
In club: Make the work easier for the security and the staff and you’ll be the DJ of the night for them
Wedding & Birthday: Don’t be afraid to play two or three slow, people love this
And now you have to play your last song, the one they going to remember, when this song end you want them to applause and thanks you. So during this all night you’ve been analyzing your audience and now you know which song they need. I would advice you to play a song they can sing together and to be ready to play another one (just in case).
This song can as well be a request or a song you’ve already played. I like to play a long one (5-6min) so I can or start switching on some light or join them on the dance floor.
The End of Your Journey
What a night!! Who would think a DJ need to deal with this? Yes this is not easy but this is your reward to see people smiling and dancing thanks to us. I know it sounds pretty hard to do this but after experience is going to be mechanical, you’ll know straight away what they need.
Advice: Every night you perform, try something new, take a risk, new/old song, something to say in the Mic, a new dance or anything. It might not work at all or it might be a success!
What about you, what is your signature song? More club or DJ mobile? Anything else to add? Any questions?
Tell me in a comment below and I’ll be more than happy to help you