What is the main purpose of DJ’ing ? Mixing the best music possible, right ? And how do you do that ? By selecting songs in your archive that you believe your crowd would enjoy most. I think we all agree on this.
Before digital age in DJ’ing, it was surely much easier to keep a music archive under control since buying it was much harder. Today, a buck or two and a few clicks do the job. You can also get several different versions of the same track (remixes). This causes a massive inventory of songs that you dive in and get lost at some point.
How hard can finding the right song among ten thousand be when the moment comes for a DJ ? Very !
You can perfectly use the convenient features of your software like matching songs with their tone or tempo. Use a program like Mixed In Key for harmonic mixing. They all help you reach the best tracks for a DJ’s performance. But, is it enough ?
Let me tell you what I do before every DJ gig I have.
A night or two before, I sit down and plan for the upcoming performance. Depending on the theme, the venue and the age scale of audience, I make a list of songs that I may play. I already know how many tracks I would need for that time frame.
These are basically playlists. They contain around 150 tracks. I preview each of them and list all in the order they would be played.
This definitely does not mean I mix the exact songs on that list one by one. Some are played, some not, others blend in.
Do you know what is the best I get out of that ? It gives me well enough time to browse through my library and find songs most suitable for the moment if I need to.
The last thing a DJ needs is panic and stress while in the booth. Thinking about the two minutes between every song I get to plan for the next, preparing my playlist before I get there always sounds like a good idea. If I can’t find what I look for, I load the next song on my playlist on the deck.
So, if you ask me whether it’s cheating or not, my answer is a big NO ! I do my homework before I DJ the night out and I believe that’s perfectly normal.
Do you know what is cheating for a DJ ? Let me answer it. Playing a pre-recorded mix set and pretending it’s live.