Every DJ has song combinations that they know will work. They’re important because they can help you stand out, but it’s easy to get lazy and keep playing the same combos again and again. If you keep doing the same tricks or mixes over and over for the same crowd, they lose their magic.
And it’s not just song combinations that go stale: music trends change, and unless you are doing a themed night (eg throwbacks), certain genres fall out of favour for most top 40 / open-format crowds. If you aren’t aware of this, you could end up being the “out of style” club DJ (unless you’re a niche / specialist sort of DJ, in which case you are free to ignore this paragraph!).
In this piece we’re listing four ways to help you switch things up in your DJing.
Four Ways To Keep Your Sets Fresh
1. Look for new music on a consistent basis
Having a fresh set of tracks is the easiest way to revamp your sets. The trick here is to not add too many songs to your library at a time. If you add too much new music, you won’t be able to properly organise them and they’ll end up being extra junk in your library.
You probably have a favourite site or store for music, but that can also put blinders on your music discovery. Try signing up for a different record pool (DJ City and BPM Supreme are our recommendations) or dig through music on a service like Bandcamp where you can find music that isn’t available on other online stores.
2. Create new playlists every week/month
All DJs have “go to” playlists filled with tracks they know will work for the kind of gig they are playing for. What many DJs, myself included, are guilty of is not refreshing these playlists or making new ones.
Try building new playlists that include proven floorfillers as some new tracks that you think will fit, and even some that might be a bit of a gamble. Taking risks with new tracks along with older songs your audience may have forgotten about is a great way to spice things up.
3. Create fresh combos out of old and new tracks
Work on new mix combinations using my “Sandwich Method”: Start off with a song that you know will work, then throw in a track that might not be as familiar, and then close the combo with a heater that you know will get a big crowd response.
The Sandwich Method allows you to drop new tracks without alienating your audience, and it creates a safety net that lets you take musical risks throughout your set.
4. Add small tweaks to your mixing style
Change up your sets by adding new techniques: Try changing your controller or mixer’s EQ into an Isolator so you can get more granular with your blends. Practise effects you haven’t used to give your set a new sound. Try different transition techniques when bringing in a new song.
Adding changes like these over time will not only have you sounding different, but will help you develop new methods of using tools that will make you a better DJ.
As music evolves, so should your sets: New music comes out all the time and people forget about older hits that become nostalgic. Part of a DJ’s job is to introduce new music to the crowd and remind them of songs they once loved and may have forgotten about. Take these tips to heart and your sets will never feel stale.
How do you keep your DJ sets fresh? Any tips you’d like to share with our audience? Let us know below.