The Lost Art Of 'Warm Up'

Monday, 8 October 2012

      I guess it must be a symptom of the growing accessibility of DJing as a profession but I feel like some of the unwritten rules of the trade are being forgotten or maybe even ignored. Don't worry this isn't about laptops, sync or any other variation on the digital debate. Today I would like to address what I fear is quickly becoming the 'lost' art of the warm up set...
      For those of you that don't know a warm up set is performed by the DJ that precedes the "headliner" or "guest" DJ  and it's purpose is to get everyone in the mood and set the tone for the rest of the event. With so many new DJs popping up all the time I guess it's understandable that everyone is looking to stand out and get noticed but that doesn't justify playing face melting Techno to a half empty room at 10 pm. The opener's job is not to upstage the main event but rather to loosen things up and gradually bring the energy level up until the person that everyone paid to see takes over. This is more challenging than you might think. It's easy to compile all your biggest tunes and play them one after another for a couple of hours, but using subtlety and creativity to subconsciously lure people onto the floor is another thing entirely. I've decided to put together a few pointers that will hopefully help you become a better opener but before I do I would like to point out that with EDM performance there are no right and wrong ways just packed dance floors and empty ones. These aren't rules they are merely guidelines to help keep things on track. 

1- The warm up set should be in a similar style to that of the headliner. If your opening for Roger Sanchez don't start with two hours of Hip Hop.

2- Don't play the biggest tunes of the moment as the main attraction will surely want to play some of them too.

3- Don't bring the energy level up so high that the invited DJ has to bring things down. Get people dancing absolutely but it's not your job to bring them to climax ;)

4- Leave the next DJ with a relatively flat tune, try to avoid big complicated cord progressions as well as uncommon time signatures as this is only going to make it harder for him or her to transition smoothly.

But above all else be creative and have fun! Before you know it someone may just be warming it up for you...   

Check out my most recent warm up set: "Quick & Deep"... (available as a free download) If you like what you hear don't forget to comment and share :)

-DJ Matthew Star 


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