DJing New Year’s Eve is a big responsibility, and quite challenging too – imagine everyone from your just-turned-18 nephew to someone’s hard-partying Aunt Margaret on the dancefloor, and you’ve got quite a night ahead. It can turn out to be a big multi-genre, multi-decade party squeezed into one evening.
One of our Digital DJ Tips Platinum Facebook Group students, Arijit Chowdhury, shared his great success playing his first New Year’s Eve party that turned out to be as such – there were people of all ages, tastes, and even some who had strong musical preferences (Bollywood remixes, as it turns out). He then offered some useful tips for DJing these request-heavy parties.
While we don’t universally agree with some of what Arijit recommends here (we certainly don’t usually recommend letting random people play music from their phones on your gear), Arijit clearly got a lot of things right, and there are some gems in the following list. Over to you, Arijit:
My 7 NYE gig tips…
- Tempo changes are fine – Instead of sticking to one BPM over the entire evening, I realised it’s fine to make sudden tempo changes, and even genre changes, as long as you know you are not going to lose your current dancefloor (the more people that are dancing, the less likely that is to happen)
- Not everyone will dance, and that’s natural – Breathe and let your audience take their own time. Maybe a tune’s working for a handful of people while leaving out some, and that’s totally normal. You can get them in on the next or next few track, so allow yourself to chill instead of hot-dropping one hit song after another
- Keep one channel available for external input – I actually learned this the hard way DJing at a Halloween party. If you’re expecting a ton of requests, there may be some that you won’t be able to fulfil. In that case, have a channel with a 1/8″ jack to RCA cable ready so folks who are adamant can plug in their phones to play their song (if you allow them to, that is)
- Don’t go overboard on the lights – Lighting and effects are cool, but don’t think fancy lights will ever compensate for failing to connect with your audience. Simplicity is the key – one or two lasers and a strobe can get the job done for a small room
- Messed up a transition? Don’t sweat it – Making mistakes are OK. You’re human! Of course, always try to mix to the best of your abilities, lest your crowd think you’re being lazy
- Tricky mix? Use Echo – Whenever you’re unsure about a transition, or you’re trying to play a random request that doesn’t jive with what’s currently blasting through the speakers, use an effect like Echo or Freeze to “echo out” a track while you smash the request in. Works like a charm – just don’t do it for every transition in your set 😉
- Don’t get wasted – You’re working, after all. Also, stay away from drunk wives and others’ girlfriends no matter how attractive
We loved the enthusiasm in Arijit’s piece above; there truly is nothing like playing out. Of course not all these rules apply to all DJing situations – try abruptly switching tempos / genres and using echo freeze cuts in a minimal / IDM set and you’ll get spine chilling stares from sweaty techno nerds. As with any other skill, the more you DJ out, the more you get a sense for what works in different situations and when.
Got any tips for rocking a party that you’d like to share? Do you have a policy when it comes to granting requests? Do you even grant requests at all? Let us know in the comments.