Home Forums The DJ Booth Genre specific or versatile sets?

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    NewportDJ Drew

    Coming from a mobile dj’ing background, I believe a dj needs to be versatile and capable of playing to both client and crowd wants. (which can and do clash)!
    So when making a promo cd should a dj be looking to showcase 5-10 different genres or styles (and by that I mean from 60’s to today) or should they make promo’s tied to a specific genre?
    Now on a more personal level, I dj to an world wide internet audience these days on a few different sites (mixcrate, djmix and officialfm) that is also very different in what they want to hear. I get feedback that keeping sets tied to particular genres is the key rather than an all out genre brawl in a mix or even allowing one to intrude!
    Then I will make a genre brawl mix which is loads of fun and it gets loved like no other!
    So when you make your promo sets whats going through your mind?
    Man people are so confusing sometimes and like kids in a candy shop… they want sugar but what flavour today? 8)


    When i lay down a demo, i typically have a target audience in mind.
    I do mobile, clubs, and some online ‘gigs’. Each has their own “genre” or approach.
    e.i…for Mobile gigs, i keep it basic. I lay down simple mixes and stay within the genre(s) the client(s) would like. My area, Los Angeles, is usually all Top40s and/or HipHop. When it comes to club and online stuff, im “known for” laying down mostly House or EDM stuff.
    So MY answer; it depends on the situation, my target audience, and/or what im trying to accomplish. =]
    I Rarely put down a mix where i mash it all into one, because chances are you are going to miss a lot of people within the first 5minutes, before you get to the point that rings THEIR specific ear.

    NewportDJ Drew

    I guess thats the answer I have too, BUT why are my successful sets(at least online) my genre brawls (mash up just doesn’t cut it)? Lord, I am confused and need a degree in crowd psycology! 8) TIC.

    Phil Morse

    I think your sets should be tied to the venue you’re thinking of. And when it comes to radio mixes, having something to say is the most important thing. That’s what people pick up on – the emotion.

    Emma Partnow

    Cool Question :cool:;
    In the ‘Old Days’ (my Step-Father is 60+ so tells me about the Days when he used to Trawl around Decca; EMI; and other Record Companies); it was Important to ‘Show’ the ‘Versatility/Diversity’ of the Band;
    And in some senses; Depending on ‘Who’ you are Approaching as a DJ; a Similar View could be ‘Considered’;
    My Sets are Always Different; because even over a 2 hour Period I just Get ‘Bored’ of the Same Genre; so I will use some Ambient; House; Techno; Hard House; Breakbeat; Deep; Progressive; and Minimal House; and basically; if I can get from 70BPM to 160BPM I am Happy :);
    However; in my Set for the BBC I have made the ‘Mistake’ (due to the Radio Station Only Accepting House or Trance); of Mixing a Deep House Set; and although it is Great; and has received Rave Reviews; I don’t find it ‘Exciting’ at all;
    But; looking at it from a Promoter’s Point Of View (unless we ask Him/Her Up Front – which I Always Do – What Exactly They Want); although we may ‘Feel’ it Important to Show Our Dexterity; if we don’t Concentrate on maybe 3 Mixes over a 15 Minute Period; He/She ‘May Miss’ the Technique/Skill/Uniqueness of Our Ability ?
    Only an Idea 🙂

    Rob Francis

    On my radio show I generally play 1 style as I am looking to give myself an identity. I’m trying establish a fan base essentially.

    Playing out I will have more music up my sleeve as it’s more important that people have a good time than it is to promote yourself.

    DJ Peixinho

    On a long sets is always advised to jump a bit around genres, but as Phil said a demo should be be specifically made for the venue you are wanting to work in. However you could diversify the genres played without shifting the main genre with remixes of the musics you think which fit in the venue style.


    I’m quoting from this:


    Cater your mix to the person it’s for

    Having said that, when you’re out wheeling and dealing to get gigs, you can’t just make one mix and hand it to every promoter. You need to first study the promoter, their events, what DJs they have play, and what those DJs play. Study their crowd and what tastes in music they have. Just because three different promoters are all doing Top 40 nights doesn’t mean one basic Top 40 mix will do.

    Maybe one promoter likes to hear a lot more slower tempo music (rap, R&B) while another only wants up-tempo dance music (like house). One promoter might just hire locals and another one just books bigger headliners and only looks to other DJs as openers. Giving a demo that contains music they might not like will only hurt your chances, and thus you’re better off custom-making a specific demo mix for each of those promoters.

    Imagine in the underground scene when you deal with a bigger plethora of specialised tastes. One mix alone won’t cater to everyone. It’s the same with all potential gig.

    You should also cater your demo to the timeslot you want. Probably the biggest complaints I’ve heard out of promoters are how many demos they get of DJs playing all the big headlining anthems. In their eyes if they wanted that, they would book a bigger name DJ who guarantees numbers through the door.

    What they want are opening DJs, and they’ll take seriously the DJ who gives them a demo of an early-night set. This is why you can’t just blatantly hand out mixes to promoters without studying what they’re doing first, as outlined in earlier articles in this series.

    With that said, the goal shouldn’t be a “one size fits all” demo, but a demo specifically made for the event/venue you’re pushing for.

    In the case of a mobile DJ who’s trying to pick up weddings, then make a demo of how you would play a wedding, but I’d more think in terms of making a promotional piece. Video, photos, etc. I don’t know of a bride is going to want to hear a sample of your mixing as much as she would want to see what she’s getting for her money. Photos of your setup, examples of your professionalism and experience, etc.

    DJ Loso

    You should be versatile for your sets and jump between genres.The crowd changes by night and even venues from what ive learned.

    DJ Loso

    I had a gig this past saturday and went from playing pop, cumbias, r&b, reggae ,and hip-hop/rap. 🙂

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