Home Forums The DJ Booth Underground DJs – how many genres do you play?

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    Rob S

    By underground I mean those playing music to and for a specific scene, rather than general club/top 40 DJs or wedding DJs.

    I’m having a bit of an identity crisis in that I love 2-3 different sub-genres and I can’t quite work out what sound I want to be known for.

    I already take into account the set time and the feel of the night and play accordingly, and I tend to have about 3 different playlists to take to a gig of 3 slightly different styles.

    But I also upload regular studio or Facebook Live mixes and this is the bit that mostly makes me wonder.

    Is it ok to have a bit of variety and be known to be a little flexible around your style? Or do I risk confusing people and never quite establishing myself because people don’t know what to expect from booking me?

    (I play out infrequently unfortunately as it’s so hard to get and make gigs)

    DJ Tucker

    Bro, play whatever you like. I get so bored when I’m stuck with only one genre. If it makes sense to you in the mix, toss it in. A good tune is a good tune. If you’re reading the crowd, they’ll let you know when you’ve gone too far off the rails. I love switching genres in my mixes. If anything, that’s what I like to be known for. I guess they call it open format djing but I hate that term because it sounds lame (to me).

    I will add that, although I play a variety of genres in my mixes, I’ve adopted a more hip hop style of transitioning where I do more dropping on the 1 than trying to pull off long blends (like a house music dj would do). I’ve heard sets that play my style of tunes but in a long blend way by djs like Greg Wilson, and I enjoy them, but I’m more of a grab it and chuck it in type of DJ and only blend when I notice that the next song is really close in BPM and stuff.


    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by DJ Tucker.
    Alex Moschopoulos

    Learn from our experience…don’t be a one-trick pony. You’ll either end up bored or when your favored sound isn’t popular with anyone…you’ll be stuck.

    I like deep groovy house and funky jackin house. I also like energetic uplifting trance. I also like bouncy lively tech house that can rock a party but not come off as cheese. Three sounds that often do not work well with one another, but I’ll make mixes in each.

    No one said you have to blend every genre you like into one set. So like what you like. If you really want to pursue multiple divergent areas, then perhaps make an alias for one of those areas and go with your current DJ brand in the other.

    Your only rule in the “underground” is to sound good, be genuine, and innovate. The underground is about anti-establishment, but it’s also about creative enlightenment in the sound. Showing many the cool stuff you found that you believe others should be checking out.

    Peter Lindqvist

    Underground, that’s where you can be individual and creative. People who are into that scene are expecting to hear something they’ve never heard before every time the go to a party. The best known DJ’s in the underground scene, like Carl Cox, will never stick to one sub genre, not even one genre. He tells new DJ’s to always go with your own taste and heart when you choose your tracks. That’s when you can take an audience on your musical journey.

    The definition of sub genres is always quite individual. A minimalistic house track may be called Minimal House, but may be labeled as Deep or Tech by someone else. Tech house with minimalistic influences may be called techno. The only labeling that matter, is the one you do for yourself.

    Find the tracks that you love and create a soundscape where you can get lost listening to it. If you can, others probably can too. If you’re concerned with how other people will receive your creations your leaning more towards commercial DJ’ing which is OK, but not really something you should bother doing with underground music.

    The underground scene has never been there for the masses and therefor it is always more difficult to get gigs, especially paid ones, unless you throw your own parties. Myself, I love the underground house- and techno music, but where I live there’s no clubs or event I can play that. If I throw my own event here, it’ll be me and my cat showing up, so I keep my underground side on the internet. I’m fortunate though to have 2-3 gigs every week playing every commercial genre invented. Only on rare occasions I can sneak in some quality underground music in my sets :), but I do it every time I can get away with it.

    Do some heavy crate digging, Finding more music you really like will help you see the possible transitions that will take your mixing to a new level. As long as you mix in key, you’ll be surprised how good a Deep House break can fit into Tech House set, or how uplifting it can get mixing a funky house track into pumping tech house. If the rhythm and percussions are alike, people may not even notice the genre shift, but they will feel the boost in energy level.

    Send a link with your next mix to the https://www.digitaldjtips.com/forum/mixes-music-shows/ so we can listen to it. If you ask for comments you’ll probably get it 🙂 .

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