A trance DJ’s preparation for a set shares many similarities with the preparation of an elite athlete for a match or event. Meticulous planning is a must, different eventualities must be accounted for, and the crowd will feed off the energy given by the DJ. Mental preparation is made much easier with the knowledge that the technical side of things is taken care of, which helps to create a feeling of relaxation that allows the DJ to deliver a memorable set.
Timing is everything
There is a cautionary tale from DJ Tech Tools that reinforces the need for technical preparation. The writer notes how the first 40 minutes of an hour-long set sounded terrible as the DJ got to grips with a new sequencer. 10 minutes of technological mishaps could be the only 10 minutes that some people ever hear of a particular DJ. In such a competitive business, every minute has to count.
This extends to punctuality, as On The Rise warns DJs against arriving 5 mins before their set. By taking the time to arrive and become familiar with the surroundings, a DJ can focus on getting in the zone rather than acclimatizing to a new environment. Whether playing in a small club or at the Sunset Music Festival, maintaining a consistent process of mental preparation helps to keep the levels high no matter the venue. The London Sound Academy advise that any cue points, hot cues and loops are set up before the night to allow DJs to focus on the music during the set.
Be ready for anything
Scientists and other commentators have analyzed the impact that success can have on the brain and its processes, with Betway noting an increased level of testosterone the inevitable part of a competitive journey. The reward network in the brain also sparks into gear when that journey reaches a successful conclusion, allowing the brain to correlate events in the hope of rediscovering that route to the positive emotion of success again. This is why the best trance DJs are fiercely dedicated to their craft; having felt the buzz of a killer gig, the brain of a DJ seeks to find that same thrill on the next night.
The crowd will inevitably vary from night to night but the best DJs are mentally prepared and musically agile to cater to differing tastes. If the night is a dedicated trance night and the crowd is furiously demanding Little Mix, then the DJ is well within their rights to remain true to their preferred genre (don’t go a trance night if you know that you don’t like trance).
Yet, the best DJs can tweak their sets to appease the crowd, perhaps by playing the trance tracks that are most likely to appeal to an audience more familiar with mainstream pop hits. It’s not necessarily about resorting to the Beatport Top 100 but, rather, showing a versatility that finds crowd appeal by demonstrating a DJ’s unique flair.
Knowing that you have won the crowd is what creates that feeling of victory after a set, with the DJ again sharing a similar feeling to a sporting star. The life of a DJ can be a rollercoaster, so it is vital to appreciate the highs. Brooke Powers told Red Bull how they were concerned that a set was riddled with mistakes, only to be praised by a fellow DJ. This underlines the importance of not looking for the negatives, but for celebrating the positives.
Share the success
A DJ can feel quite isolated at times. Although the best ones manage to bridge the gap to the crowd with their magnetic presence, the very art of DJing requires an individual to be immersed in their craft. This can sometimes undermine the feeling of gratification after the set but being praised by fellow DJs for a stellar gig is one of the best ways to find that extra level of motivation to keep producing at that level. Conversely, praising fellow DJs can help to construct the relationships that are crucial in the business. The DJ Disclosure advises aspiring DJs to find like-minded people in the pursuit of success, as sometimes a DJ who has just delivered a winning set needs someone to push them in the right direction.
Hard work is essential for a DJ, with Asteroid testifying to the importance of hard work. By ensuring that both technology and the environment are familiar, a DJ can then focus on the mental side of preparation. Being in the right frame of mind is what helps to deliver that winning feeling after a set, with that euphoria propelling ambitious DJs closer to their goals.
Lyrics: Armin van Buuren ft. Bonnie McKee – Lonely For You
Only lonely for you at night Only lonely for you and the sun doesn’t shine And I try...