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The lost art of the warm-up DJ is just as important as that of the peak-time headliner

  • Ian McQuaid
  • 20 November 2015

At the end of September MistaJam managed to drop himself right into the middle of a good, old-fashioned internet shitstorm. "Being a warm-up DJ isn't easy," he mused in a now-deleted tweet, "But when inexperienced DJs play peak-time tunes as warm-up, it messes up the night for the audience…"

"SAY WHAT?!" screamed a small, extremely vocal group of DJs. "Is man trying to tell us warm-ups are only allowed to play dead records!?" The backlash got to the point where even the mighty Grooverider weighed in, tweeting Jam was a "#punk" for telling people what to play. He was joined by legions of spluttering (largely, if we're honest, unknown) DJs getting the arse because Jam was trying to deprive them of their god-given right to play 'Mr Happy' at 22.30 to three punters and the sound man.

Is that fair? Because in the cold light of day it looks like MistaJam was saying something pretty sensible. He's pointing out something good shaggers have always known; pacing makes life more fun.

The fact is, almost any clown can play a peak-time set. You think not? Then explain Steve Aoki. In the strange world that is dance music 2015, there are clubs and festivals (and I'm not, repeat NOT – saying this applies to all clubs/festivals) where you only need three things to play a peak-time set: a mixing program with a sync button, a Beatport account, and a few fist-pumping poses. That's why the muscle-
headed freaks of TOWIE and Jersey Shore can reinvent themselves, overnight, as DJs. All they need to do is download the EDM Top 20 and learn to count to four. Though they might struggle with the second.

Continues after the jump...

 
 
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