Your Questions: How Do I Keep A 4-Hour DJ Set Interesting?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 30 November, 2017

Get the girls dancing and the boys will follow...
Get the girls dancing and the boys will follow…

Reader Mad Pharoah writes: “I’ve always messed around with DJing and now I’m in college, I’m taking it fairly seriously. I have my first real gig in less than a month or so at a popular frat house. I mainly play house music, and since we’re all college kids house/electro house is fine for my audience. I imagine I’ll be playing from 10ish-2ish. And I’m pretty sure 4 HOURS of house music, even with splitting it up into warm-up, transitional, and peak tracks might get a little bit monotonous.”

“So what should I play in the beginning of my set? (I haven’t really experimented with DJing other genres.) I’m thinking possibly popular pop tracks? I don’t know. And when I switch over to complete house, which section should I start with, warm-up or transitional?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Programming music for DJ sets is probably the most important thing a DJ does (much more important than mixing). It is, in reality, the main part of the art. As such, it is impossible to say how you should do it, as everything depends upon who turns up, when, how long they stay, how intoxicated they are, what on, etc. etc.

Four hours of house music to a suitably fuelled house crowd is only half a night! To a different crowd it could be terribly boring.

However, here’s some things to think about:

  • Don’t DJ with your head stuck in your laptop. Watch people
  • Familiarity is a big thing – as the night moves on, tunes your audience is more familiar with ought to be played
  • Try flipping things round and asking: What would I want to listen to now… and now… as the night progresses, keep asking yourself this to get a sense of what the floor needs
  • Girls will dance before boys, so don’t go all dark and moody trying to impress your mates when something with some vocals could get the first girls on the floor
  • Don’t panic and play all your good tunes because people aren’t dancing – early doors is a game of patience
  • If you do have a hip hop crowd, a house/electro crowd and a pop crowd all in and mingled together, playing hip hop remixes of pop, house remixes of hip hop etc will help you blend between the styles

What advice would you add to help Mad Pharoah play his 4-hour party set?

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