Thursday, 10 March 2011

warming up

The warm up. That all important, under appreciated set at the start of every single club night. It's an unpopular job and these days I'm surprised if I hear a warm up at all when I'm out. Perhaps that's due to the fact that it's the most difficult set to play? or maybe it's because the DJ just isn't good enough to do it...

Personally, I think the main part of the problem lies with the promoters, too often you see a party that has at least 6 different DJs playing, leaving it almost impossible for there to be any kind of musical direction throughout the night. I also think that they could choose their warm up DJs better, the job requires someone who knows how to complement the act coming on after, and who has the records to do so but it's not often what you get.. Although this is almost pointless when you are playing for 1 hour to an empty club.

So why do promoters choose to have an night with 6 DJs playing, where the night ultimately suffers rather than having 2 or 3 DJs play? Having one DJ tasked in building a good atmosphere and getting the alcohol flowing makes the headliners job a lot easier, and probably more enjoyable too, so imo if your priority is the music and having a night that flows well, as many DJs playing as possible isn't the best option.
One thing I have considered is that clubs shut at 3am in Glasgow, so this really limits a promoters options, and it is understandable when it's 1 hour sets all round, but it would be nice if they showed a little more trust in their DJs and gave them a few more hours.

Out of interest, are there any promoters who think having as many DJs playing as possible is beneficial to the night?

Now in saying this, it's not all the promoters fault, DJs are to blame too. Regularly the DJ who is on first will play a set consisting of massive tracks (turned up to 11) to try and impress his mates, which is good for those involved, but it's not going to do the DJ any favours and for anyone in the club wanting to have a few drinks and meet up with friends, it can make for some uncomfortable listening.

Maybe it's a lack of understanding and they don't get the concept of warming up, or they don't have the records to play any differently, it could just be a fuck you to the night for sticking them on first - whatever it is, I don't think that it creates a better night and won't do you any favours in the long run.

but whether you agree or disagree with me, it's no secret that all the best DJs are quality warm up DJs, so if you want to be a good DJ...


  1. It's all down to Glasgows licensing laws. Four hours of clubbing doesn't leave much scope for lengthy warm-ups.

    I agree with you it'd be better to have a couple of DJ's playing for longer but that only works if they pull a crowd. For smaller scale nights I think it's a case of putting on more DJ's in order to pull more punters. At wee nights in basically the DJ's mates that make up the bulk of the crowd.

    I always enjoy playing early but I like a lot of different music - think a lot of people see themselves as a 'techno' DJ and aren't able to do anything other than bang it.

  2. I feel the warm up set is the most important set of the night. Its your job to get the right feel about the place. Hate seeing someone on at the start of a night playing watever track they want because they can't wait to hear it/cant wait to play it. Thats just poor. It needs to be done correctly, steadily building things up.

  3. bad warm ups are something which really annoy me. it is so important to a punters experience of the night. so are short sets because the give a dj no time to express him/herself.
    loop is right - small nights rely on their pals. 6 people have more pals than 3. so putting on 6 people means a bigger crowd. i think it is DEFINITELY detrimental to the flow and feel of any night though.
    if i turn up to a night early i want to get a few drinks in and have a chat with my pals. if the dj is good i'll be able to do this and then between about 12.30 and 1 (if we're talking glasgow), i'll be drawn to the dance floor and the headliner will come on and play a blinder. that's how it should be anyway!
    warming up well requires a different skill set to headlining. it requires that you have the ability to communicate well with a crowd, not just bang it out. it requires that you don't let your ego get the better of you - something which promoters can be quite bad at. maybe most importantly it requires that you have a well chosen record bag. this means a variety of music - not beatport's top ten tracks of whatever style you like to play. records are a dj's tools. if you only have the tools in your bag to play a peak time set and not a warm up you're not going to do a very good job of it are you? something which i think too many djs/promoters forget.

    apologies for the lack of capitals

  4. Promoters pile in a tonne of djs in the hope that they'll all bring mates and will help with crowd numbers. lazy promoting that is ultimately detrimental to the night.