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iPod DJ advice from Lisa Rocket
So you want to play? Some pointers for success at Playlist’s iPod party.
Playlist resident DJ Lisa Rocket warns: "Don't think you can get away by making up a playlist and letting it run," she said. "That does not work, those track sequences that work when you build those playlists won't necessarily fit anyone else's taste the same way when the party starts. Remember, you are a DJ, not a dictator of taste; it's creative use of technology, not control freaking."
Set the sound levels so all the tracks play at the same volume, nothing worse than making a groove to see it blown away by the next track kicking in too loud - or too low. Soundcheck tries to accomplish this, but for better results, use iVolume to set the sound levels for your tracks in iTunes.
Entry and exit points
Lose those long intros (unless they’re brilliant). You can do this in iTunes. All you need to do is identify the point you want the song to begin, then use the ‘Get Info’ command to bring up a dialogue box. Do this and choose ‘Options’. Look to the bottom of the Options commands - you’re looking for two boxes called 'start time', and 'stop time'. Click this feature on, and carefully assess and enter the time in seconds at which you want that track to launch. You can also use this feature to determine where you want that track to end. This is the digital equivalent of dropping a needle.
What you want?
With a music player packed with songs, it’s easy to feel blase - with your excellent taste you are bound to catch the mood. Don’t do it. Plan. Think about the groove you’d like to create, and make some Playlist playlists for the different moods. It’s much easier to choose between 50 tunes than 5,000. When you are on the spot, you’ll want to get it right. Think ahead. Some DJs also print their playlists - it’s easier to check the tracks you have when you are under pressure if you have them written down. Lisa keeps her iPod’s backlight set to stay on - it helps you find the tracks when you are slightly inebriated and it’s dark.
Simplicity matters, and it’s easy to forget - please charge up your ‘Pod. And when it comes to plugging your music player into the mixing desk, don’t use the phono input, use the CD or Line inputs. Trust us. This makes a difference.
Back to volume
Don’t set your iPod volume to maximum, plug it in and turn up the system. It’s really not a great idea. Set your iPod volume to around mid-position, plug it in and use the volume control on the mixing desk, if this does not cut the mustard, you can up the iPod volume. It’s better than deafening your audience, and the mixer makes a better sound.
Listen to the beat
Every audience, no matter how different all the people are, has a sweet-spot, a rhythm, a beat. When you play music to people you want them to like what you like - but a DJs challenge is to find music you all like.
“I think about the songs I’m playing and how the crowd’s reacting to the music, and try to plan my next few songs to take them from where they are now to the music I think they’ll like. I think about music in blocks, it has to flow,” Lisa explained. “It gets easier with practice”.
Come to Playlist, the people’s party. You are the DJ.
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