September 27, 2009 by DJ Elroy
The esoteric art of the opening DJ
It’s about time somebody decided to write about what being an opening DJ is (and isn’t)… So often new DJs go in expecting to drop their biggest floor-bombs and peak-hour music all night long; they don’t understand the role of the opening (read: warm-up) DJ and how crucial it is to start the party right. It’s a completely different approach to set-building, programming, and a different mindframe when it comes to flow and music selection… Read on! ~djElroy
No one seems to understand it. No one seems to respect it. And it might just be the most important part of the night. RA explains why the warm-up DJ deserves perhaps even more credit than the headliner.
There are many variables in producing a proper electronic music event. Some things are obvious: a proper space with quality sound and engaging visuals are part of the physics that create a comfortable environment for the crowd. If, for instance, the sound system isn’t properly dialed in to the acoustics of the space, the performer, regardless of his or her talent, is going to sound like crap. The result is a lethargic dance floor and an angry performer who will not only expect to get paid but will never come back.
But there are many subtle factors that can keep an event from being labeled “epic” and instead relegate it to just “another night out.” Fast bartenders, adequate bathrooms and a security crew that behaves professionally all contribute to a clubgoers overall perception. When it’s done right, these things aren’t even noticed. But when you have to stand in line for half an hour to piss in a flooded bathroom, while in the main room, everyone’s mind is being blown by the DJ you paid a lot of money to see, your night gets flushed down the toilet.