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Helpful Advice How to Be an Opening DJ

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forenzik +

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Helpful Advice How to Be an Opening DJ
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/..._dj_by_oak.php

We've all been there: You get to a show or a party around 9 or 10, eager to chill out for a bit, grab a drink, talk to some friends, and listen to an opening DJ. But the opening DJ is zapping out freaky techno, dropping obvious hits, or trying to stitch in a flashy new jam in every 15 seconds. You're distracted, the crowd gets awkward, and the night's off to a lame start.

Oakland's DJ Enki, a member of the first-rate local crew Oakland Faders, had that experience recently. So on his blog, Enki posted a detailed list of rules for how to be an opening DJ. The gist of it -- Enki's golden rule -- is: "You are not the headliner. Let the headliner do his job ... or, if you want a dirtier metaphor: You're the foreplay; the headliner is the home run."


So basically, leave the flashy shit and the big jams to the headliner. But there are a few more corollaries to this. So DJs, take note of Enki's rules:

1. Don't play a bunch of obvious hits early in the night. First of all, it's lazy selection to do that, and lazy selection is the hallmark of a poor DJ. Besides, the opening slot is the best time to be an adventurous selector (more on that below). Beyond that, you may be taking arrows out of the headliner's quiver. Yes, everybody loves that hot new cut that's tearing up the clubs. So then why waste it by playing it so early in the night? Leave it unplayed and let the headliner get to it at just the right moment where instead of liking the song, the crowd goes berserk for it. Understand that the headliner is going to be starting where you leave off, so if you're already running a bunch of sure-shots, where is the headliner supposed to go from there? Build the energy up slowly.
2. Play the appropriate music. My friend's opening DJ was playing shrieky, fist-pumpy techno before the clock had even struck 11 p.m. My friend -- not a shrieky, fist-pumpy techno DJ by any stretch -- kept wondering, "Why doesn't he play some Tribe Called Quest? Some James Brown? Get people loose like that?" And fortunately, the relief opener did just that, but that first DJ failed to tailor his selection appropriately, and the party suffered for it.In this day and age, there's no excuse for not doing your homework on who the headliner is when things like Google and YouTube are right there at your fingertips. Learn about who you're opening for and adapt your set to the headliner's vibe. Versatility is the calling card of a quality DJ! A good opener should have some familiarity with the headliner and should be able to play a set that will allow for as seamless a transition from opener to headliner as possible. (Side note: Promoters bear some responsibility here as well, as they need to pick opening acts who are appropriate for the headliner. Don't just put your homie on, promoters -- put on the guy who's qualified to do the job!)

3. On the subject of versatility, treat the opening spot as an opportunity to showcase the depth of your knowledge and your music collection. Take the chance to play some great, obscure tunes that you probably couldn't play to a packed, enthusiastic dance floor. To me, that's one of the joys of being the opening DJ: You get to nerd out over music in front of a crowd and throw on those lesser-known cuts that you really love. Embrace that opportunity!

If you do your job and do it well, you will get noticed. The headliner will be much more likely to shout you out on the mic -- "Give it up for my man DJ Blahdy-blah, he did his thing earlier!" And the promoter will notice, believe me, which can only work to your benefit. If you prove that you're a capable professional, you will get put on, and the more you get put on, the easier it will be for you to be the headliner down the road.
Amen, Enki.
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Eros le Tardfack +

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i've always wondered, what do the warm-up djs at hard house/nrg/hard trance/other shithouse "hard" genre gig play?

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ticketsplease +

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Promoters fault!
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Eros le Tardfack View Post

i've always wondered, what do the warm-up djs at hard house/nrg/hard trance/other shithouse "hard" genre gig play?

shit im assuming

edit - not that i can talk though, no one likes my music
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ticketsplease View Post

Promoters fault!

What can the promoter do? Rip the guy of the decks? I've seen quite well known sydney dj's play too hard far before the main act. Though this is different to a noob smashing out 'bangers!' at 9pm.
ayampanggang +

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i think i'm born to be an opener. shit like cut copy, lifelike, the twelves and fred falke are my things and what I always play.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by m_xt View Post

What can the promoter do? Rip the guy of the decks? I've seen quite well known sydney dj's play too hard far before the main act. Though this is different to a noob smashing out 'bangers!' at 9pm.

book guys that know how to play warmup, or tell the noobs their doing it wrong. how else will they learn..
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Quote:

Originally Posted by m_xt View Post

What can the promoter do?

the promoter can do their fucking job and sell tickets and book proper DJs.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by forenzik View Post




3. On the subject of versatility, treat the opening spot as an opportunity to showcase the depth of your knowledge and your music collection. Take the chance to play some great, obscure tunes that you probably couldn't play to a packed, enthusiastic dance floor. To me, that's one of the joys of being the opening DJ: You get to nerd out over music in front of a crowd and throw on those lesser-known cuts that you really love. Embrace that opportunity!



I'll be a **** straight up here and say most warm up DJs don't have this skill or the relevant knowledge and why so many of them suck so hard.

Way too many DJs are hung up on having what's hot now and jumping from bandwagon to genrewagon to take time to go a bit deeper into the roots or influences of the cool tunes they're currently spinning. Hence why a lot of them don't realise that hot "fresh" hit they're playing is just a rehash of a track from 20 years ago that did it 3 times better.
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Rimjob +

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In my opinion if you need to be told how to warm up properly and EVEN ONCE. You are a pretty average to shit dj and don't deserve a gig.
All dj's started off going to clubs etc before they started spinning, they should have a feel allready of what constitutes a good party etc.

Yeah sure you may learn how to do so given some trial error, but fuck that, there are other allready much better and more naturally talented djs who don't get spots & who should get a chance instead of some monkey who had to be explained the concept of warming up a room.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rimjob View Post

All dj's started off going to clubs etc before they started spinning, they should have a feel allready of what constitutes a good party etc.

.

Unless they were going to shit parties..
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rimjob View Post

All dj's started off going to clubs etc before they started spinning, they should have a feel allready of what constitutes a good party etc.

all of them? really? wow!
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quantum8 +

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rimjob View Post

All dj's started off going to clubs etc before they started spinning, they should have a feel allready of what constitutes a good party etc.

except they all turn up just before the headliner and want that slot...
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Originally Posted by liberabit View Post

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Originally Posted by Spicy View Post

all of them? really? wow!

Yep, it was fucking awesome!!!

All the best fuckers were there and we laughed about you; oh HOW WE LAUGHED. oH, AND WE HAD PHOTOS OF YOU WHICH WE PASSED ROUND AND DREW 'TACHES AND HORNS AND OTHER FUN STUFF ON.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Funkedub View Post

I'll be a **** straight up here and say most warm up DJs don't have this skill or the relevant knowledge and why so many of them suck so hard.

Way too many DJs are hung up on having what's hot now and jumping from bandwagon to genrewagon to take time to go a bit deeper into the roots or influences of the cool tunes they're currently spinning. Hence why a lot of them don't realise that hot "fresh" hit they're playing is just a rehash of a track from 20 years ago that did it 3 times better.

agreed, I honestly believe opening dj is the hardest slot of the night because it sets the pace / mood for the rest of the night.

In my opinion, if you don't have a very large variety of music you are never going to be a good warm up dj. Most kids these days are taking the easy rout when looking for music (looking at blogs / referrals from beatport etc..) the art of crate digging is lost on a lot of these guys, this is where you find an education is music





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It's a 4+ year old article, but fuck it's on the money in regards to opening sets...great read!

http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?1095
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Gezd +

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In the mid 90s I used would go to the Art College in Belfast, run by David Holmes. The headlines were the likes of Billy Nasty, Darren Emerson, Bandulu, Luke Slater etc, pretty bangin techno.

The warm up DJ was Davy Anderson, and he was amazing. His sets started with Mo Wax type super chilled stuff and he would keep a lid on it, building the intensity slowly for an hour or so. You never noticed it though, it was really subtle.

Best warm up DJ I ever heard.
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I bloody love warming up. Get to pull out some gems. Keep people on their toes. See the transition from a few dancefloor stragglers to a proper vibe. Bliss.
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