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Joseph Capriati tells us how he performed a 25 hour DJ set

Wise words from everyone's favourite marathon man

  • Words: Funster | Image: Stuart Tracte
  • 9 December 2017

Two hour set? Walk in the park. Four hour set? Not even touching the sides. Six hour set? Ok, now we're talking.

25 hour set? Wait, what the fuck?

The art of the marathon set is something that's been discussed for years and there's a fine line between success and failure. There are a few titans of the extended set game, the likes of Marco Carola, tINI and Bill Patrick all turned heads and minds with their jaw-droppingly long sets at Sunwaves Festival but here we focus on the Italian master, Joseph Capriati.

A fan favourite around the world, the house and techno mastermind took ravers on a marathon journey a few weeks ago in Miami for a whopping 25 hours. That's longer than a day. I mean, you could get to the USA and back from the UK in that time so the mind boggles at how the selector held it down for that long but ravers at Heart were treated to all the corners of Capriati's record bag in what was his longest set ever.

We caught up with the man himself to find out just how he lasted that long, what it takes to do it and how to approach the prospect of DJing for over a day.

Keep it groovy

I played a mostly groovy set. When you play for that long you don’t want to push the audience too much. People want to enjoy the house-focused side so I actually made some edits of techno tracks: classics that go between techno and house. Most of it was groovy though so the maximum speed I hit was around 127/128 BPM was. I went as low as 125 then back up to 127 so that within 25 hours you have a lot to work with.

Try to keep it clean

I’m just coming through a detox diet so I’m eating very healthy at the moment, that’s what really helped me. Through doing this vegan diet, my body was feeling fresh. When I was getting tired, I really needed to sit so somebody gave me a chair for 5/10 minutes every hour and half, that helped too.

Most important thing was clean living and I was speaking with Chris Liebing about this over the last few days because he’s vegan and all about this sort of life. He told me some tricks about staying healthy and feeling good with your body so I’m following it.

Many people have commented with things like "oh can you imagine how much cocaine he took".

For me, I feel like cocaine is very ‘anti-music’. If you do cocaine, it breaks the feeling and you stop your brain being connected so you can’t play for 25 hours, I think it is impossible. Cocaine is not for music, if you do it, it just stops the feeling with the music and the crowd. I think it’s completely wrong. I read a lot of the comments from people and of course I wanted to see what the response was.

Some people who weren’t there maybe wrote things like this for fun, just to point fingers but I want to make sure that they understand that cocaine is not the drug for music. So when you play marathon sets, it’s not about cocaine, for sure.

Make sure you eat

The most important thing is having good food throughout and not having too much alcohol because it puts you down. Somebody would bring me some nuts or energy drinks but when I got to 24 hours I was like “I can’t take any more now I’m tired”. This is when my friend came over and said "Joseph we have the secret" They brought me an ice cream and with that I got the last hour and half of energy. After that I couldn’t do anymore and I stopped.

The [spaghetti eating video] was really funny as well. I was in my hometown of Napoli and I played the whole night in one of the biggest clubs there for like 6000 people. It was a sold-out night and they wanted me to play the after party. So I went and played and because it’s my hometown, my city, the people throwing the afters said "Oh Joseph we have some pasta ready for you, it’s a present".

They made this amazing homemade pasta, it was bolognese and they came with a big dish for around 10/15 people and I ate it. That’s it. Somebody took the video and I got some bad comments like "Oh are you crazy you're eating when you’re playing, this is so disrespectful."

I was just eating, I’m human. It’s much better to be seen having a plate of pasta than a video of me going online where I’m taking a line or taking a pill. Whatever, it’s just pasta.

Keep the tunes fresh

I didn't repeat a single track. Not one track. This is the great thing about Traktor because I use the CDJ like normal but I have a huge WAV folder on my computer so I don’t even need even USB or hard drive.

It’s not about the program at all really. I don’t use sync, I use the pitch control always but whatever people want to do, they can. Today you shouldn't care if somebody plays with vinyl, CDJ or Traktor. I’ve played with vinyl in the past and CDs too. The great thing about Traktor is that you can see which tracks you’ve already played. It really helped me for the marathon and I didn’t repeat anything, not one track.

I select a lot of music every week from promos and demos I get, you know, techno mainly. Here I chose groovy stuff. I picked house and tech-house so I had a lot of choice of music and it also really helped having some folders of stuff I’ve never played. I had a random folder arranged for a special occasion, mostly from Romanian minimal artists. It worked amazingly in the early evening 'til 6/7 pm.

Let the music play out

One of the most important things is something I learnt especially from Marco Carola and it really gave me something else. It’s not actually a trick, it’s more more of a rule and believe it or not, it’s don’t mix too fast. You should leave the tracks going and enjoy the whole thing. Feel the track, don't stress too much to search for music and don’t focus too much on the mix. It’s not a performance for one or two hours where you have to rock it out, it’s about saving the guest’s energy and keeping them going for the marathon. It’s a journey.

Find the right venue and right crowd

It was very important for me that I play for the people. The set happened because of the energy present within the crowd. I can’t say that next week or next month or next year I want to repeat what happened because it’s impossible, I can’t even imagine playing it again in Miami soon. Some people will expect me to come back next year and do it again. They will say I’m going to break the record once more but it’s not about that. It’s about never knowing when it will happen again, whether it will ever happen again. I don’t know if I’m going to break this record but when it works it, works. We’ll see.

Choose the right place to do it as well. It’s important not to do these sets in places where you don't really feel like it works for a long period of time.

It was really amazing because there was a good mood, I was surrounded by the right people and I really enjoyed the crowd. There were some people that never left as well. I saw some people from the first hour to the last hour, and you know the funny thing was the way they said to me "Joseph when are you planning on stopping? We want to go home" and I was like "guys go home" and they were like "no no no we can’t we’ve been here the whole set and we want to finish with you."

That was an amazing and very emotional, special feeling for me.

Just enjoy it

Enjoy the soundsystem, the club, the structure and the people.There are many elements that can make the marathon unique. Just enjoy yourself. This is my advice, everybody can do it differently but this is how I do a marathon set.

Funster is Mixmag's Digital Editor and his longest set was 45 minutes, follow him on Twitter

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