DJing the best party is going to mean more than just picking a killer playlist. When you DJ a party, there are many specifics that you’ll want to pay attention to so you can prepare a stellar set that will leave people talking about it for days to come.
What are the best tips to DJ the best party ever? There are a lot of helpful ways to approach any party. Here is a list of some of my top tips.
- Know the Venue
- Be a Fan and Know the Music
- Find a Way to Be Unique
- Know Your Audience
- Be Authentic
- Set the Vibe and Stick to It
- Take Event Photos and Video
- Prep and Test Your Equipment
- Make Yourself Available
If you are new to DJing, it can seem overwhelming to move from practicing for a few friends to getting a paid gig. Having a plan can help you feel confident. And then when you arrive at the venue, you will be ready to rock the house.
How to Build Your Playlist Based off These Tips
Before we start laying out these tips in further detail, it’s worth talking about the main attraction – the playlist. Many of these tips will help you decide your playlist and figure out the vibe of each party you DJ.
You can never underestimate the power of an energetic playlist. Anyone can sync up their phone with the Bluetooth speakers in the room with a sick playlist. The attention to detail in everything else you do in your set, the quality of your equipment, and your style and enthusiasm will be what brings it all together.
While you consider all these tips, think about how it will affect your playlist or what changes you may need to make to a current playlist.
Know the Venue
It’s always a good idea to check-in ahead of time and make sure you know the space you’ll be playing in. Whether it is a house party, a wedding reception, or a club that got booked out for a massive party, you’ll want to consider the specifics of each venue.
To DJ the perfect party, you need to understand the size and space of a venue. This will ensure you bring the proper equipment to fill that space. You may also get tucked into a corner of the venue or have a small space to work with for your equipment. So finding out the size of the total venue and also how big your space will be can both be important.
Building a good rapport with the homeowner or club owner will allow you to have more freedoms and input on certain elements. If you are on a friendly basis with them, it will be easier to recommend everything from certain songs to set up to any other specifics of your set.
Knowing the venue and the owner of the venue ahead of time will help you make sure you’re working with reputable people who know how to run their space. In return, you’ll spin an exciting party for them. It helps build a partnership that will make your set and their party, equally successful.
Be a Fan and Know the Music
Sometimes we all have to work that party that we’re just not super excited about because they’re requesting music that is not our jam. So, while we might not always be able to pick the genre of music, we can at least find certain songs or subgenres of the music that we can appreciate.
Anyone can tell the difference between a DJ who is digging the music and one who has never heard half the songs they’re being forced to play. The best way to handle these situations is to expand your musical library and education. Be open-minded to new music. The more you know about different genres, the better off you’ll be.
For the parties that are more in your control for picking the music is where you can have some fun. Know the artists, their vibes, their songs, and their background. Be a true fan. Your experience listening to music will directly affect the crowd at the party.
Your excitement will translate to them and become infectious. Bring artists you love and will be excited to share with the party. And if you can’t choose those favorites, try to find things you like about the genre you’re going to be playing.
“The best thing about being a DJ is making people happy. There is nothing like seeing people get up from a table to dance or the expression on their face when they hear a song they love. I also love to educate people on music they have never heard.” – Chelsea Layland, DJSource: AZQuotes
Find a Way to Be Unique
That person who hooks up their phone to the speakers to put on a playlist might get people excited when their favorite song comes on. But what is memorable about them? That is where DJs need to go above and beyond. You have superior equipment, but what else will make people remember you?
Try something new! A safe DJ is going to play the same party time and time again, play the same songs, say the same catchphrases, and probably have zero fun in the process. But a DJ that is willing to be bold and creative will also create new opportunities for themselves and have more fun in the process.
Think about your style, your vibe, and the ambiance at the party. What can you do to shake things up that will align with everything? Maybe it’s as simple as a new mix or as elaborate as a new way to engage with partygoers in a new and inventive way that fits your brand.
Playing it safe is not the way to DJ a great party. Don’t be afraid to get creative and do something different. You want people to not only remember how much fun they had dancing because you killed your set with the perfect list and top-quality equipment but also because of “that one thing.” That one thing you did that will stand out and people will remember.
Know Your Audience
Any entertainer needs to master this skill. This is not only going to be true for your setlist but also for how you interact with the crowd and layout your setups.
Consider the age ranges, overall vibe, style, and purpose of the event. You are going to DJ a bat mitzvah pretty differently than you’ll DJ a club booked out for a 21st birthday party. Sometimes it won’t be as clear as that, however.
Find out as much as you can ahead of time.
- Who is attending?
- What is the party for?
- Where is the party being held?
- What type of music will this crowd respond to?
- Is it a more professional or casual setting?
- Will they like a DJ that gets on the mic in between songs or keeps the music flowing?
- What type of energy are they looking for?
Considering all of these questions and making sure you understand the type of party and audience you will be playing to will help you rock a fantastic set that will resonate with that specific party.
No one likes that DJ that sounds, looks, and feels forced. Come as your authentic self. Even if you are going to have to play music, that isn’t your favorite genre, or it’s a party that is different from your usual vibe, you can still be you.
No matter what type of crowd you are playing to, they will appreciate an authentic experience. Acting like you are something you’re not, will come off phony and insincere, making it an awkward experience for everyone involved.
If you’re in your groove and playing to a party that is 100% your crowd, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about in being your authentic self. But if you’re out of your element, it can be unnerving. Don’t let it be. People appreciate the honesty that entertainers bring with them no matter where they go.
That honesty translates and makes people want to have fun with you. It puts them on your side, even if they also admit that you’re not exactly the vibe they’re used to. Be true to yourself, have fun, and don’t try to put on a fake show.
By being authentic, it is also easier to be excitable and pump the crowd up. When you’re faking your way through it, it’s hard to hype a crowd. But when you’re being yourself and owning it, you will be able to psych that crowd and get them on the dancefloor.
When people think of DJ’s, they don’t typically picture them in front of a checklist in an Excel doc or color-coding their equipment or using a label maker. But guess what? It’s helpful!
When you’re packing up for a party, and you need to make sure you have everything, overpreparing and being highly organized will be massively helpful.
Here are some great tips for your prep:
- Have checklists based on the party. Each party will require different equipment needs. Have a checklist ready to go with everything you will need.
- Purchase cases and organizers that make loading and unloading easy. Anything with additional small pouches or ways to organize your mess of cords and hard drives will save time and hassle that can result in forgetting something.
- Find a system. If you have a specific system or routine that you always do, these things will become second nature. The repetition of knowing exactly where everything is and what you need to do will be a time saver and reduce any pre-party anxiety.
- Psyche yourself up. Preparing your equipment and setlists are essential, but preparing yourself is equally as important. Give yourself time to get ready and get into the right headspace.
By doing your prep work and making sure everything will be ready, you’re setting yourself up for a great party. It’s hard to DJ an epic party if you forgot something or you were late and had to rush and are now filled with anxiety because of these errors.
How you get ready for your party is just as important as what you do when you are there. Set yourself up for a great night with diligent prep that will allow you and every party goer to have a better time.
Set the Vibe and Stick to It
This will align with knowing your audience. Once you understand what that energy is and what vibe the room will have, you want to stick to it. When you start going all over the place, it can be confusing, disrupt the flow of a party, and be off-putting to the person throwing the party.
Consistency is an excellent attribute for a DJ to have. You can be just as creative, fun, and engaging while also being consistent. A lot of successful parties have themes for a reason.
By sticking to that theme and allowing it to grow and build through the music and your set, you are heightening the theme and elevating it to new levels. The music and the job of the DJ is to do exactly that. So, stick to the theme and encourage it through your set.
Take Event Photos and Video
This will be a win/win for you. Depending on the party, they may have a professional photographer there anyway. But if you can take some of your photos, regardless of the presence of a photographer or not, you will walk away with two wins.
You’ll walk out of there with some epic shots of how much fun everyone was having at this party that you can show other prospective party throwers. Being a great party DJ means knowing that this party can help your next one. It’s one gig in a long line of gigs that can either help or hurt you.
An Extra Perk for the Party Thrower:
Whether they have a photographer or not, there aren’t many people who would turn down some extra shots of their party. Especially ones with a unique point of view, coming from behind the DJ booth. They will love having some additional pictures to show off to their family and friends, and it will leave them with another great impression of you.
Prep and Test Your Equipment
While you overprepare and organize everything you need, you also can’t underestimate the importance of double and triple-checking your equipment. Always test out all your equipment just before the party.
Try to do it as close to the party time as you can, while still allowing yourself time to run out for a replacement item, if needed. It is also wise to have backup systems where you can. Of course, you won’t want to bring a duplicate of each piece of equipment, but for smaller items that you may have doubles of, it won’t hurt to have a backup.
It’s also worth noting you should get to the venue early enough to test it again there. You never know when there will be a random trip in your system, or maybe some of your equipment isn’t compatible with their setup.
Always give yourself enough time to test everything. This is important for the obvious reason of having functioning equipment, but also for your overall mood during the party. If you were rushing because last minute you noticed something was wrong, and you had to improvise, it can show.
These quirks can happen anytime and sometimes will be unavoidable. But control what you can by testing your equipment regularly.
Make Yourself Available
No matter how big or small the party is, it can create an intimate atmosphere for those who love the music. By making sure you are familiar with all types of music and have a brilliant understanding of different genres and their backgrounds, you make yourself an even more enticing DJ.
When a true music lover gets to dance all night but then they can also end their night with a fun conversation with the DJ about their favorite tracks, it leaves a lasting impression. Make yourself available and be outgoing throughout the party and afterward.
That openness and availability go a long way, and partygoers will love the chance to chat it up with the DJ that just had them on the dance floor all night. During the party, you should find that balance of staying focused on your set while also being open to those coming up with requests or questions.
Being Ready for Anything as a Party DJ
When you prepare yourself for anything, you will be allowing yourself to focus on the fun stuff. Your playlist will be fire, your style will be on point with the energy in the room, and people will love your engaging personality and unique realness that you bring to their party.
How do you make a good house party playlist?
Research on Spotify and Soundcloud are great music listening platforms to curate playlists. The playlists that you create can be shared with a DJ playing at a party. DJ software can connect Soundcloud music with Rekordbox for example.
How many songs do I need for a 4 hour party?
The average modern song is about 5 minutes long, play for 240 minutes (4 hours) equates to having 48 tracks. Planning to have more than 48 tracks would allow for more playing time if the party was extended in time.
How much should a DJ Charge for 4 hours?
DJs in the UK can charge around £50 an hour to £150 an hour, however this will depend on their experience and the type of party event happening. Wedding DJs can charge higher at around £500 to £600 for 4 hours.