DJs can keep the beat going all night long. This is part of what separates a DJ from a live band and makes them unique. In order to keep the night flowing, DJ changeover needs to be a seamless process. More often than not, it’s a difficult and stressful time and there are a few obstacles that can get in your way, turning a seamless transition into a silent nightmare!
Following on from our article on DJ Booth Rules, here are a few pieces of advice when preparing to change over.
Know your kit.
Don’t underestimate the importance of knowing the gear you are using. Know what the club has, know what you need and find out what the DJs before and after you will be using (if possible). When you become familiar with a wide range of DJ gear, it’ll save you a lot of time fumbling around in the booth looking for inputs/outputs and knowing where dip switches, transform switches and cue mix, fader reverse/curve controls are.
Swapping over with Serato DJ hardware will be trickier than your traditional vinyl DJ changeover. You should try and practice this a few times before the night if possible and make sure it’s second nature. It’s always going to be 10 times darker, 10 times more stressful and in a much smaller space when you get to the club.
It’s a good idea to have some music ready on vinyl, CD or USB to play from in case you have limited time to set things up while the other DJ is still in the booth.
You can read a full guide on swapping over using various Serato DJ devices here.
Get there early and have a game plan.
Another piece of advice is to turn up to the DJ booth early, maybe two to three songs before the previous DJ is due to finish. This should give you enough time to set up anything that you need to without stress, and you can get a feel for the vibe of the party.
If you don’t already know the DJ that is playing, introduce yourself at an appropriate time and be respectful of the end of their set. Don’t get in their way and be mindful of their gear. The last thing you want to do is to roll into the booth at the last minute and spill your negroni all over their kit.
Think of the DJ coming up next.
When you are coming to the end of your set, there are some things that you can do to make the next DJ’s job easier.
Think about the last song that you are going to play. It’s probably not a good idea to play anything too ridiculous :) Maybe try something that is long and loopy so it’s easy for the next DJ to mix out of. If you are opening for a headline DJ, don’t wear the club out before they come on; and if they are a well known producer, do not end your set with their latest club hit!
You can read a great article on the art of the opening DJ from Resident Advisor here.
Keep a clean workspace.
No one likes having to try and set up their DJ gear amongst a sea of record sleeves, cables and CDs. If you are tidy, your gear is also more likely to be treated better by others. Using the light on your phone can be a good way to organise your equipment if it is dark and hard to see in the booth.