Over To You: How To Approach Playing To An International Crowd

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 27 November, 2017


afropop mixtape
Dr Marv came from playing hip-hop and Afropop to dealing with a challenging international crowd. Can you give him any tips?

Reader Dr Marv writes: “I have been a DJ for a good while now and lived in Nigeria for most of my life. Most of the music i played then was Afropop, hip-hop and R&B. I immigrated to Europe early last year. One of the major challenges I faced and face is the genre switch. I played at a house party last night and it was a pot-pourri of Europeans, from Spanish to Ukrainians, and they all had different musical taste. I was stranded in the first hour of the party and it was kinda hard to get them to dance despite that I was playing top 40 songs (dance and pop). Eventually they danced… good old Tupac with California Love jump-started the party! But do you have any advice for DJs crossing cultural divides?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

I’ve had to deal with this one myself, immigrating to Spain and carrying on my DJing here. My best advice is to go out in the place you’re in and hear what other DJs are doing. and then work on getting a sense of why your international crowd is there. Do they all live there? Or are they on holiday? If they live there, the it doesn’t matter so much where they’re from, as they’ll be going out in that place and familiar with the local music. If they’re holidaymakers it’s a different thing. But then again, one thing digital has done is bring down the walls – a record can be a hit all over the world at the same time nowadays, which wasn’t really the case even five years ago.

I’d say see this as a challenge – crowds can be read whatever country they’re from, and music is its own language (if you’ll let me be cheesy for a second!). good luck!

This is definitely one for the readers, though – so over to you! Can you help Dr Marv with DJing to an international crowd?

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