Advice on structuring a DJ set?


Dec 27, 2011
Me and a mate are djing in a club for the first time (drum and bass of course) at the end of march and I was wondering on what you guys think is the best way to structure a set, regarding choice of tracks, build ups etc.

For example:Should we start with a really awesome track which makes the crowd go crazy and then move onto more chilled tracks?

Should we only play tracks that make the crowd go crazy?

Should we start off chilled and then slowly build up tension and have bangin tracks near the end?

And if you have any general advice on djing in a club, it would really help us prepare aswell.

Honestly it very much depends on the general crowd you are playing out to and of course on your personal DJ style. There's no universal advice for this really. Personally I don't think that starting off with some chilled or deep tunes works out very well if your crowd isn't full of dnb headz (still many DJs does that anyways). Filling the set with bangers works fine for mainstream crowd, but it doesn't suit me completely as well. I like and prefer variety throughout my sets, so I usually kick off with some cheese (or techstep banger) to get the crowd going and then throwing in some deeper or liquid tunes with another cheese/techstep bits again. Also it's vital to watch the crowd - how they react to those and adjust the ratio of which tunes to play according to that.
Let me tell you that a set needs ups and downs.
it will enhance the climaxes.
I usually take a few tracks that sound pretty nice but aren't special, a few examples:
state of mind - Keep it simple
telekinesis - Lithium
Optiv & BTK - Lurker
proktah - Punchbag VIP
Friction - Set if Off

these tracks are very easy to mix and sound great, but their not tracks to be remembered.
so you can blow an audience away with an awesome track, it depends on the time your playing and between which artists which track that would be. An amazing track I've been dropping is No Problem by Chase and Status.
then mix the track away with let's say punchbag.
and then you have an opening to start rebuilding again.
I really love to slowly fade in the very nice melody in the break of Neonlight's Frozen Tape.
That usually creates a huge party.

so basically, pick some tracks you think are really amazing and use some "filler tracks" to glue them together.

That is what I usually do, but everyone has got their own style.
i genuinly start with a roller that you know can be mixed easily and nicely.. plan your first 3 mixes then away you go. play whatever tune suits the direction your set goes!
in that sense i prefer to start heavy and slowly lighten it down to some lighter stuff.

i don't really structure my sets though, kinda does it on its own. Say i'll be having a little dancefloory session then ill whack a heavy tune in as it will sound good and thats generally the start of a little heavy section.
true, it does really depend on the crowd. i will definately observe the crowd. maybe even stare people down, just to scare them into dancing :P
thanks a bunch for the tips and traaacks!!!!
considering that the party will be quite lively, we will try to avoid the "not so special tracks" at the beginning, but definately hit them in in the middle in order to, i quote, "enhance the climaxes". :)

Let me tell you that a set needs ups and downs.
it will enhance the climaxes.
I usually take a few tracks that sound pretty nice but aren't special

Yeah, rollers and bangers are what you need to split your set up into basically - most will do this anyway, its quite easy to distinguish between the two.

I just play it by ear really don't really have a set style of playing, although I tend to now at the start of the mix especially play a dancefloory tune and then wack some tune with a heavy bassline over the top. Then just bang it out for a couple of mixes then come back for a breakdown later to double drop again. Just see it how it goes, see how the mood takes you - just what others are saying really.
my sets usually start with a long intro with a big tune drop and keep the energy goin for a bit then ill move into rollers or junglely bits and then build it back up and last one id do same as intro... big intro with a sick double drop then another drop of a classic like turbulence or something
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