This is my go-to checklist when searching for tracks to include in a set. Of course, it might not necessarily apply for sets where you’re sticking to a certain theme, such as an era, but by including at least one or two tracks from each of these categories you’ll set off a whole range of good feeling emotions from nostalgia and euphoria to awe and excitement. In my experience, a tracklist that contains a combination of the lot always delivers the best reactions from my crowd.
1. Something Old
Drop a tune that everyone danced their butts off to a year ago, five years ago or more. Bonus points if it hasn’t been heard out much for a while. Incite those nostalgic feels for everyone who’s listening. Take them back to the last time they heard this song, to a time when they were younger, when this track was played out on so many of the best nights of their lives.
2. Something New
Be that person who introduces listeners to that newest big track out. I’m talking tracks that have only been released for a week/fortnight… maybe month tops. Maybe they haven’t even been released yet (if you have the right connections and legitimately and legally received a copy from the artist or label).
3. Something Well Known
Sure, people love hearing exciting new unheard before sounds, but they also really love hearing tunes that they know. Throw a bunch of top of the chart tunes from the last few months or year to your tracklist and your punters will sing and dance along with you. Stay true to your style though. If it’s a number 1 track but you absolutely hate it, definitely don’t bother – it will show.
4. Something Unknown
Dig deep through your mp3/record store and find tunes that you love by the lesser known artists. Tunes that you can bet no other DJ will play that night. Tunes like these help to make your tracklists original and set a style that people will recognise you for. Plus – no one wants to listen to every DJ of the night play the same tracks over every hour that goes by. Variety keeps things interesting.
5. Something Original (this one’s optional)
For those of you who also produce, get some of your own productions in your tracklist! Get them heard and get them signed.