As requested I would love to share my ways of creating, organising and using the playlists. I am primarily talking about the playlists I use for djing.
I use iTunes to collect music for personal use and Rekordbox for djing. My library in iTunes is organised by genre for example: Tech House, Bass House, House, Hip-Hop, Chill out and so on. In Rekordbox I only have music I play: Tech House, Bass House and House.
So there are this large folders with music genres just that I know what I have and then I break it down to Events, Podcasts or just a little more specific folders like Punchy, Bass Warm Up, Bass Deep, Bass Commercial, Melodic Bangers, Old House. It helps me to be faster in the long run. Also helps when I get anxiety on stage and kinda forget where my music is so I remember it much better when it's specific.
For those who aren’t familiar with Rekordbox it's a software that DJ’s use primarily to analyse their tracks for the dj equipment and also prepare the playlists.
Some folders I even organise by intensity, like the first tracks are more easy going and the last tracks are harder.
EVENTS AND PODCASTS / RADIO SHOWS
I completely focused on playing Tech House, Bass House and House but there are many ways to combine and play it because there are many different styles among this genres.
For events I always try to find out what kind of crowd is coming to this particular event, which DJ’s gonna play before and/or after me, I listen to their mixes. I try not to be the complete outcast. Because let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be that much fun to play stuff that people simply don’t like.
There is a thin line of having your artist boundaries and being an asshole.
In my opinion you as a DJ are an entertainer so you should maybe not switch worlds when it comes to genres but shift a little bit for the sake of good mood.
Story Time for this topic: On my last show before the Corona Crisis, I was closing the Subspace Event and was a little bit worried because we wrote “Tech House & Techno” on our flyer, but on this night no one played Techno.
And normally Techno comes at the end of the night.
So I had the conflict of being rude to the people that stayed till 3am to hear my set and for those who stayed for Techno.
So I decided to play Techno at the end of my set which wasn’t really wise because I had also to slow down for our End Track which had to come punctually at 3:55am, because this club has strict guidelines of no sound after 4am. I just think it wasn’t very efficient for the mood and I wouldn’t do it this way again. It is important to make mistakes so you can learn from them.
This is the set:
Playtime is also very important because you can’t play at the beginning of the night as hard as you play in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t recommend to completely plan your set because you still can’t be completely sure what crowd this event will have. And especially if you play in the middle of the night you should be able to adopt. For example if the DJ before you plays harder than you expected you can easily start from this mood and then come to your style after 2-3 tracks. And that’s when the Intensity Playlists I mentioned above come in handy because you kinda know where you should start :)
RADIO SHOWS / PODCASTS
For Radio Shows and Podcasts I also try to adopt a little but not as much as for Events. I can’t explain but when I press record I kinda tend to make alot of mistakes, I can’t explain it. So that’s one of the reasons I like to plan when I play for a Podcast /Radio Show and also because you hear all little mistakes, not like in a club where mistakes are easily overheard.
When I plan I also try to hear which tracks are on the same key, I know there is a software for that but I like to keep my hearing trained :) If you try to do it you can play two tracks at the same time in Rekordbox, if you don’t feel like your ears gonna bleed any minute then it should be in the same key :)
I typically use the Cue points to mark the 30 sec intros / outros or 30 sec before the break. I also like to mark the vocal starts in breaks to be able to play around with it.
When I plan the whole mix, I use Cue Points to mark when I should do the beat match or from where I should start a track.
Some of you may know that I have stage fear / anxiety. I managed to control it over time, sometimes it's easier and sometimes it's harder. So why I mention that is because it got easier since I organised my music the way it works for me, I tried different things till I got there.
Because the fear is so unpredictable it really helps to you know where exactly the tracks are you want to play.
Also if you are not used to exposure because you don't have too many shows you can plan the first 5-6 tracks of your set till you get into your zone and after that you can smash it freely :)