What makes a dj "good" ?

AndyOdysee

Member
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62
Unfortunately dnb is riddled with poor breakdowns. So formulaic
Could this be to do with the shorter tunes most people seem to be making? (if the tracks are short- you have to mix them fast and there can be no surprises on the breakdowns) It's a shame- the whole concept of a breakdown is anticipation of the re-entry, so the best ones are the ones that keep you hanging- waiting for the drop now?...no...no...wait..BOOM! You kind of need a longer arrangement though for this type of art though!
 
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22
Dunno but one thing that stuck out to me the first time this year is placement.
Knowing the crowd and the setting seems to make al the difference. Sun & Bass this year some of the sets were total mush . . . BUT they knew the settings, the knew the vibe and they knew the crowd and I can only think of maybe 2 sets in 8 days days and nights that didn't scratch the itch. There was a point where the sky opened and it was pishing rain like I've never seen as the techs tried to hold a tarp up by hand over the decks while . . . I wish I could remember who, smashed out an absolutely apocalypic string of bangers to a few dozen willing to stomp it out in the rain. Best set of the week by memory was the Klute b2b Dom & Roland set about an hour after that which I've listened back to since and it's a decent set like but after the almighty fuckry that proceeded it at the time that was it, that was the best set of all time. Same with Marky and Makoto at Ripping, crackin sets but leaning in on the vibe just threw it to a next level thing until folk were skankin on tables and throwin shapes against the glass. Same with the Future just gone but in that case it was just Lightbox but something about the way Loxy chucked out just a brutal string of raw breaks it just felt like he knew the anoraks were in and pushed it up a notch. Same with the past few weeks of the Andy C sets at the XOYO residency it's been a spot on blend of RAM classics and a dozen or so beats to match whatever else is on the menu that night and then bosh fuck off at 4 we're done here spend the walk home gushing about how good it was to hear Night Flight in the wild for the first time in half a decade.

Critical nights are a fuckin nightmare for this because they seem to tend to ramp it up to begin with, then right before the banner act drop in an hour of half time or some wonky broken beat business and it throws the whole vibe off so you spend the first 20 minutes of so of the headline set trying to find a centre again.

I guess that's why you never really see an opening DJ smash it, you're never like oh aye I better be back to see them because you need control of the vibe, a proper buildup through the night and then that earth shattering top of the slate set that ties it all together.

That said, fucked if I know. The highlight of my bedroom sets is still finding a new Mr Happy double drop. AND. ALWAYS. WILL. BE.
Sounds good Chris
 

Daulph Lauren

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Could this be to do with the shorter tunes most people seem to be making? (if the tracks are short- you have to mix them fast and there can be no surprises on the breakdowns) It's a shame- the whole concept of a breakdown is anticipation of the re-entry, so the best ones are the ones that keep you hanging- waiting for the drop now?...no...no...wait..BOOM! You kind of need a longer arrangement though for this type of art though!
Dead on evaluation. Sadly lots of the new shit seems to be written for autists with ADHD
 

Neurogrind

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128
what makes a dj good?
is just as hard to answere as
what makes a song good? is.
mixdown/mastering? production quality? memorable hook/lyrics? melody? a bit of everything?
imo it mostly comes down to personal preference and the setting he plays in, you wouldn't want the same set on your wedding and graduation party...
 

Daulph Lauren

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what makes a dj good?
is just as hard to answere as
what makes a song good? is.
mixdown/mastering? production quality? memorable hook/lyrics? melody? a bit of everything?
imo it mostly comes down to personal preference and the setting he plays in, you wouldn't want the same set on your wedding and graduation party...
so linking emotion to the setting and purpose. Like it, like it a lot
 

AndyOdysee

Member
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62
Also connecting with the crowd- read them and understand how to move them....I'm not tasking about 'crowd-pleasing' them- I'm talking about taking them on a journey! Oh- and look like you're actually enjoying the music you play! I hate it when a DJ looks dead-pan!
 

balistics

Active Member
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446
One thing that stands out for me is comparing yourself to others, & by that I don't just mean your mates, coz they maybe awful dj's. You need to compare yourself to the professionals who you admire. If your mixing is similar to the pros you know you're doing the right thing.
 

sam the dnb man

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Good deeds always help, such as:
. Holding the door open
. Donating to orphans who has leprosy
. Not hitting the Reds.
. Watching Songs Of Praise
. Appearing on Songs Of Praise
. Playing Machete on Songs Of Praise.
 

lug00ber

Active Member
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278
I prefer variety, not the same sub/genre/style for an hour or more. 'Artist/producer' djs do this I find, 'DJ' djs not so much, like Randall etc, so I prefer 'DJ' djs personally with a very few exceptions, like Fierce etc.
Definitely this, and it becomes more and more important the less 'melodic' you are playing. You can get away with playing vocal/melody based dnb in the same style for a good while, because the variety comes from the musical content. If you do one hour of straight up neuro, murky techy rollers or just reese and amens it's going to get samey fast. And it gets worse the harder you play, because you can only hit people in the face for so long until the face goes numb.

Secondary things - knowing when to bring drops, when the crowd is ready for breakdowns, and just getting the whole 16/32/64/128 thing as slick as possible.
Unless you're playing the prime time party set, you can't base your set on providing a new huge double drop every 64 bars. The audience will wear out.
Similarly, if the set is interrupted by a 2 minute breakdown every 2 minutes, your audience will never find a groove. If you play for a dancefloor, you have to provide something people can move their feet and hips to.

Critical nights are a fuckin nightmare for this because they seem to tend to ramp it up to begin with, then right before the banner act drop in an hour of half time or some wonky broken beat business and it throws the whole vibe off so you spend the first 20 minutes of so of the headline set trying to find a centre again.

I guess that's why you never really see an opening DJ smash it, you're never like oh aye I better be back to see them because you need control of the vibe, a proper buildup through the night and then that earth shattering top of the slate set that ties it all together.
Programming a proper night is an art in itself, and it also depends on DJs playing their slots correctly. This is especially important for the earlier slots, because they prepare the audience for the rest of the night.

If you're the first (and possibly second) DJ of a regular club night, your job is to make people getting into the groove. That might very well mean you'll have noone dancing, because at the start of a night a lot of people will be nipping to their drinks, greeting friends as they enter the venue and ease in to the mood.
The measure of success is if people while doing this are nodding their heads, and perhaps moving towards the dance floor and standing in the back of the room to listen while doing it.

Also, remind yourself that when the first dancers start to appear, that is not your cue to throw away whatever you're doing to hit them with some 'proper bangers'. Just make sure you continue to play music that's danceable, maybe throw in some classics or nice bootlegs or whatever can bring a smile on people's faces and keep the groove going.

Finally, you should (if possible) try to have an idea of what the next DJ is going to play, so that you can use your last two or three tunes to set him or her up. If you provided the next DJ with more people on the floor than when you started, and the next DJs first tune ups the intensity and engagement from the audience a bit, you've done a great job!
 

rushmoor-dj

Member
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60
Selection > how quick you can mix
Seeing videos pop up of Blackley and his 6 deck 1,000 tunes in 10 minutes does my head in. If you are on 3 decks rinsing vinyl then that's skill and it sounds good, IF you have a good selection and know your mixes. All this chopping tunes up completely ruins it.
Let a track breathe and do the talking!!!!
 

bugo

- .................. -
Messages
467
One thing that stands out for me is comparing yourself to others, & by that I don't just mean your mates, coz they maybe awful dj's. You need to compare yourself to the professionals who you admire. If your mixing is similar to the pros you know you're doing the right thing.
yeah but your head could be planted firmly up ya ass if ya know what i mean ? half those insert country here idol contestants genuinely believe they sound good. same for djs
 

bugo

- .................. -
Messages
467
SELECTION!!!!!!!
yip reckon it all comes down to this. if you're playing before a main act don't double drop stigma with some new ram release. it's cool you're playing support to a main act but the punters still spent their money to see them & not you. Even if 20 of your mates are going. Try & add to the night & not be the whole thing :2thumbs:
 
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