Digital DJ Tips reader Andrew asks: “I often perform in festivals where several DJs play one after the other. Sometimes I have to follow on from someone who has just played a very high energy set, playing trance, house or another genre. It’s difficult to maintain such a high energy so early in my set – particularly so when the previous DJ has played tracks from a genre which is very different to the ones that I play. What is the best way to tackle this situation?”
Digital DJ Tips says…
This is a good question and is certainly something that worries lots of DJs, regardless of experience. There are tons of different ways of handling this situation. Best of all is that it is completely up to you how you do it, there are no set rules. Strip off and set a box of fireworks off if you want, it’s your prerogative. It isn’t always necessary to “mask” the switch over and perhaps especially so at a festival.
If you have no way of mixing smoothly into your set and you are panicking about it, you can always cut the music and start from scratch. Silence is a powerful tool, it gives people a little breather and allows you to announce yourself with a bang. You could also cut the lights, wait until you have the full attention of the audience and then drop your track in. If done properly this can have a great effect, especially if you are switching up genres. You just have to be confident that your first track is going to send the crowd wild!
If you feel that you really must seamlessly transition from the previous DJ’s set into yours, why not come prepared with some “cross-over” tracks. If you struggle to find any such tracks then you could make your own mashups that bring the tempo down themselves. That way, all you need to do is mix your “intro” track in and then carry on with your usual tracks afterwards.
It is definitely worth paying attention to the techniques some of the big name open format DJs are using. Some of Motor City Drum Ensemble’s sets go from disco to acid into soulful house, techno and back again – he is a real master. Another, cheesier example that springs to mind is doing something like Armin van Buuren’s “This Is A Test”. As was mentioned at the start, there really aren’t any rules. Be creative, don’t stress yourself out and most importantly, have fun!
How do you usually go about swapping over from the previous DJ? Do you have any bad swap over experiences you’d like to share? Is there anything that you would absolutely not recommend doing? Let us know in the comments below…