Over To You: What Non-Dance Music Do DJs Listen To?

Lauren Andio
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 10 April, 2018


Listening To Music
In today’s question, our reader wants to know what other styles of music you’re into.

Digital DJ Tips reader Warwick Holby asks: “I grew up hearing my parents’ Joan Baez and Bob Dylan records, and enjoy music from Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention. They won’t rock the dancefloor necessarily, but similar to playing a set, all music is about storytelling, and I’m interested in knowing what non-dance music styles other DJs are into?”

Digital DJ Tips Says:

A lot of genres have danceable elements to them, but aren’t specifically classified as dance music. The basic, objective definition of “dance” is music composed for the purposes of dancing. Styles of dance have evolved throughout history, such as ballroom in the early 20th century, or swing in the 30s and 40s. What you’re likely referring to is contemporary club music, which gravitates towards genres like EDM, hip hop, techno, and house.

Throughout my collection you’ll find non-DJ songs that contain solid rhythm, good harmony, and layering. I prefer spooky old music like The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes For You” and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put A Spell On You”. I love jazz, swing, and 50s r&b. The Ink Spots, Billie Holiday, and pretty much anything from the Fallout game series. I also love cult classics such as Rocky Horror Picture Show.

On the other side of things, Joy Division rocks, and I dig any post punk revival stuff like She Wants Revenge. I like silly unclassifiable music like Mindless Self Indulgence / The Left Rights, and lately I listen to retro synth-wave tunes that seem plucked straight from 80s video games. Garage rock / punk / surf revival music is rampant throughout my collection, such as Thee Oh Sees, Colfax Speed Queen, and The Atom Age. I could go on… for a while.

For the DDJT crew, I know Joey likes Smashing Pumpkins, Coheed & Cambria, Cradle of Filth, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Steve is a Radiohead fan, listening to Motown and Rufus Wainwright as well. Lindsay is into rock such as Band Of Skulls, Rolling Stones, and The Black Keys, but on the flip side enjoys Alice On The Roof and Mindy Gledhill. Phil adores anything Balearic (he is an Ibiza veteran after all), but when pushed also displays a penchant for ska and 2 Tone. Now let’s all take a moment to imagine Phil skanking…

DJs love all sorts of music, as we do. A lot of fun and creativity goes into working typically un-mixable tracks into a DJ set. People definitely can, though, especially if they DJ gigs outside of the club circuit. It’s important to listen to as much music as possible, DJ-specific or not. We encourage people to develop a well-rounded taste for music, as it can only help with their DJing in the long run.

Happy listening!

Over to you: What kind of non-dance music do you listen to? Do any genres influence your style of DJing? Comment below and help the community discover new stuff.

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