Gig Prep - What is your M.O. ?

djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
3,535
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ok....so heres the CC WAY...lol

i have generic folders that COULD work pretty much anywhere... They are organized by bpm... and filled with anything i might ever play....ever...

So...picture this...

WEDDING 70BPM
WEDDING 80BPM
WEDDING 90BPM
WEDDING 100BPM

etc etc

THEN
PARTY 70BPM
PARTY 80BPM

etc etc

This is all above and beyond folders organized by genre...era....etc... along with line dance folders and novelty song folders.... DINNER ...COCKTAIL....FAST DINNER... TEEN DINNER....JAZZ DINNER....etc etc...

SO THEN

when im doing a wedding with lots of requests i add them into NEW FOLDERS listed under the brides name...

example:

MAGGIE DINNER
MAGGIE COCKTAIL
MAGGIE SPECIAL DANCES
MAGGIE GRAND ENTRANCE
MAGGIE 70
MAGGIE 80

etc

I list all of their must plays at the top...and then browse my WEDDING FOLDERS or PARTY FOLDERS and add in floor fillers or stuff i havent played in a while to the BRIDES FOLDERS...

Those STAPLE folders are ever changing and updated constantly...i get in there and play in my spare time...keeping it organic

so....now im at a wedding... im kicking off dancing...im in the MAGGIE 120BPM folder and i notice that people are loving disco... but ive flew through the few disco tracks i set aside...a couple clicks and im in the DISCO folder....grabbing a couple extra to keep it going

im prepared for anything...and im not scrolling for hours through my whole unorganized collection

cc
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
24,705
38,217
Prospect, CT
ok....so heres the CC WAY...lol

i have generic folders that COULD work pretty much anywhere... They are organized by bpm... and filled with anything i might ever play....ever...

So...picture this...

WEDDING 70BPM
WEDDING 80BPM
WEDDING 90BPM
WEDDING 100BPM

etc etc

THEN
PARTY 70BPM
PARTY 80BPM

etc etc

This is all above and beyond folders organized by genre...era....etc... along with line dance folders and novelty song folders.... DINNER ...COCKTAIL....FAST DINNER... TEEN DINNER....JAZZ DINNER....etc etc...

SO THEN

when im doing a wedding with lots of requests i add them into NEW FOLDERS listed under the brides name...

example:

MAGGIE DINNER
MAGGIE COCKTAIL
MAGGIE SPECIAL DANCES
MAGGIE GRAND ENTRANCE
MAGGIE 70
MAGGIE 80

etc

I list all of their must plays at the top...and then browse my WEDDING FOLDERS or PARTY FOLDERS and add in floor fillers or stuff i havent played in a while to the BRIDES FOLDERS...

Those STAPLE folders are ever changing and updated constantly...i get in there and play in my spare time...keeping it organic

so....now im at a wedding... im kicking off dancing...im in the MAGGIE 120BPM folder and i notice that people are loving disco... but ive flew through the few disco tracks i set aside...a couple clicks and im in the DISCO folder....grabbing a couple extra to keep it going

im prepared for anything...and im not scrolling for hours through my whole unorganized collection

cc
A nice happy medium between rigidity and winging it ...
 

TJS

GetSomeJuJu
Nov 8, 2018
259
260
54
Ankeny, IA
www.jujulab.rocks
ok....so heres the CC WAY...lol

i have generic folders that COULD work pretty much anywhere... They are organized by bpm... and filled with anything i might ever play....ever...

So...picture this...

WEDDING 70BPM
WEDDING 80BPM
WEDDING 90BPM
WEDDING 100BPM

etc etc

THEN
PARTY 70BPM
PARTY 80BPM

etc etc

This is all above and beyond folders organized by genre...era....etc... along with line dance folders and novelty song folders.... DINNER ...COCKTAIL....FAST DINNER... TEEN DINNER....JAZZ DINNER....etc etc...

SO THEN

when im doing a wedding with lots of requests i add them into NEW FOLDERS listed under the brides name...

example:

MAGGIE DINNER
MAGGIE COCKTAIL
MAGGIE SPECIAL DANCES
MAGGIE GRAND ENTRANCE
MAGGIE 70
MAGGIE 80

etc

I list all of their must plays at the top...and then browse my WEDDING FOLDERS or PARTY FOLDERS and add in floor fillers or stuff i havent played in a while to the BRIDES FOLDERS...

Those STAPLE folders are ever changing and updated constantly...i get in there and play in my spare time...keeping it organic

so....now im at a wedding... im kicking off dancing...im in the MAGGIE 120BPM folder and i notice that people are loving disco... but ive flew through the few disco tracks i set aside...a couple clicks and im in the DISCO folder....grabbing a couple extra to keep it going

im prepared for anything...and im not scrolling for hours through my whole unorganized collection

cc

Huge help Chris! That really helped to explain your process in tangible terms and it makes a ton of sense. :cheers:
 

IceBurghDJ

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
2,836
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Western Pennsylvania
iceburghdj.com
Never.

Prep is making a folder with the events (for a wedding, etc, like first dance, entrance, cake cutting, etc) another for their requests/must plays, which I will do for school dances.

Other than that, no.

I have folders of dance types (slow, country hits, rap, motown, etc), by years (80s, 90s, 00s, etc), cocktail and dinner folders (love songs, pop hits, lounge, etc).

Since I"m doing a lot more school dances (averaging one ever 10 days this fall so far) I'm working harder on making lists for that - next list will be 'clean' as in content...did a preK to 4th halloween dance, a christian school homecoming...kids WILL dance to more 'mundane' songs. Some of the ones that got the best reception are inxs songs..queen..toto...
 

Scott Hanna

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 25, 2006
6,542
7,398
53
Cleveland, OH
www.djincleveland.com
I only check to make sure I have the requested tracks on their list...
and make sure I acquire the songs I don't have.
This is my music prep. Making sureI have the music needed. At the event, My music choices are based on client planning discussions, their requests and reading the crowd.

My pre-event planning is mostly based on MCing and understanding client needs

I have many lists...my software calls them catagries... That I'll reference.
Have catagries by decade, by genre, by wedding time (cocktail, dinner, late dinner upbeat,slow dance)

Many songs will fit in more than one catagory.

I'll view catagries by #of plays first so the most popular are the first I see. I'll then switch the view in BPM order.

At events, I'll always have a number of songs in the play list, but I'll constantly make changes, moving songs up, down, or removing them all together. I'll also have client requests in my prepare list, kind as like the sideview list in VDJ.
 

Bob Kreider

DJ Extraordinaire
Feb 12, 2016
122
220
Kennewick WA
I never pre-prepare a playlist. And most often determine the next song I'll play at the time of the song that is currently playing. Making that decision on how the crowd is reacting and responding.

If I get a client request (playlist) in advance of the event, I'll just pick and choose these selections with the flow of the event, and mix them in with the existing crowd vide.

Never could I pre-determine a sequence of songs in advance.......how would you ever know that the 20th song (for example) would be a good fit at that time? Without any idea of how the event is developing and evolving?

I will be certain to have the special dances, intro, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, etc songs ready. But for open dancing music choices, almost non existing for me to assemble a playlist in advance.
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
24,705
38,217
Prospect, CT
I never pre-prepare a playlist. And most often determine the next song I'll play at the time of the song that is currently playing. Making that decision on how the crowd is reacting and responding.

If I get a client request (playlist) in advance of the event, I'll just pick and choose these selections with the flow of the event, and mix them in with the existing crowd vide.

Never could I pre-determine a sequence of songs in advance.......how would you ever know that the 20th song (for example) would be a good fit at that time? Without any idea of how the event is developing and evolving?

I will be certain to have the special dances, intro, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss, etc songs ready. But for open dancing music choices, almost non existing for me to assemble a playlist in advance.
Playlists aren't just for predetermined playing order ... they are simply ad hoc directories that you've assembled to make picking music a bit easier.
 
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ittigger

Hundred Acre Industry Icon
Staff member
Feb 1, 2011
16,873
14,646
Western Maryland
I think Bob was speaking more along the lines of he never prepares a list of what he wants to play vs an iTunes organized list of songs.
 
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Albatross

DJ Extraordinaire
Sep 7, 2016
2,038
4,889
I missed this thread the first time through, but I'm happy to explain what I do.

I normally set up a crate in my Serato that will end up holding the special moment songs for the couple I'm working with, and any requests they've given me for the night.

That crate sometimes gets split into a dinner versus dancing list depending on how much they gave me. Or, it might just be a single crate. Other than that... I work from pretty broad (poorly organized) crates.

I don't ever pre-program the night, but I often have a game plan early on of where I'm going to start. And I have little baby sets that tend to work together well, so they often get played together. For example.... Backstreet Boys - Everybody > Spice Girls - Wannabe > Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl -- That set hits a nostalgia note well, and unless I need to deviate from it, I'll probably jam those together. Coming out of it, I might play something like BBD - Poison, or The Middle, or Can't Stop the Feeling, or any other number of tunes... but the mini set works for me, especially since I jump out of Wannabe and Hollaback Girl pretty quick.

My crates are normally set up like this:

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 10.31.03 PM.png

When you get jammed on time... you've got a couple options... Either start cutting ideas, or jam them together quicker. I had 3 hours of dance time last night - so I was a little more willing to let a song play longer than I might be if I only have 90 minutes.
 
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rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
16,761
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Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
I think I approach it the same way as everyone else here is saying. I start with an online planner that the bride fillls out and do a final phone consult, the week prior. After I have this, I check to make sure I have all the special event songs and double-check the versions requested. I then go thru the song request list and download anything I don't currently have. I then preview thru the requested tracks and make notes on where I think they'll fit best and notate fast/slow/medium/etc. Once everything is confirmed, I robocopy the updated library to a USB hard drive, then copy it over to my 2nd laptop. At the gig I setup the special event songs at the tops of the playlist then throw the first 10-15 songs in for dinner. After that, the list is built on the fly, in the moment. I usually will have 3-4 songs cued up but will change, depending on room response.
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Staff member
Sep 26, 2011
24,705
38,217
Prospect, CT
I think Bob was speaking more along the lines of he never prepares a list of what he wants to play vs an iTunes organized list of songs.
I agree .. and I have the complete opposite take. I make a plan of what I "intend" to play for most of the event. I break that into playlists .. but I don't think I've EVER played things out that way .. they are a guide and I go with what's happening before me.

Every pro team makes a complete game plan .. then they tweak it, modify it, or overhaul it at the game. If all I had to think about was playing music, maybe I could "wing it" .. managing the other pieces of being a mobile guy, I wouldn't chance not having a "plan".
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
3,535
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Something tells me that those who do not have planned folders.... which "on paper" should force the dj to think outside the box and "wing it" actually has the reverse effect most of the time... because you get in situations where you are pressed for time and end up going to your "old stand bys" that you remember work and that u can find... i know when i was using vinyl or cds...this happened to me a lot... id flip through my vast collection and see that familiar colored corner of a record...or cd and grab it... especially when mixing... because time is of the essence....

What i find now is... i take a midweek afternoon and pre search for gems that id never remember...hunt for... or grab first....while there is no pressure on me... i slide them into familiar folders and get excited to try them out...

its just human nature when scanning a list of 25000 songs to see the familiar ones first and grab them... but with a little homework and organization ...you can actually find gems to share with your client and their guests....and keep your show fresh

cc
 
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ittigger

Hundred Acre Industry Icon
Staff member
Feb 1, 2011
16,873
14,646
Western Maryland
I agree .. and I have the complete opposite take. I make a plan of what I "intend" to play for most of the event. I break that into playlists .. but I don't think I've EVER played things out that way .. they are a guide and I go with what's happening before me.

Every pro team makes a complete game plan .. then they tweak it, modify it, or overhaul it at the game. If all I had to think about was playing music, maybe I could "wing it" .. managing the other pieces of being a mobile guy, I wouldn't chance not having a "plan".
Agreed - similar here.
 
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Ausumm

No Matter Where You Go... There You Are!
Oct 21, 2008
10,832
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Bethlehem PA
but with a little homework and organization ...you can actually find gems to share with your client and their guests....and keep your show fresh
When I do a pre-gig search...
I usually find a bunch of "gems" that I think will fit very well with this week's gig.

But inevitably...I get to the gig and realize that I was much more excited about playing them...
than the crowd was about dancing to them!
 
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