Bring Down the House
How to DJ Your Own Party
It’s Friday night. Your guests, some of them already inebriated, begin pouring in through the front door — and they’re itching to dance. As host of your house party, what’s the first move you make? You could take the easy way out: let the playlist just, well, play. Or you can hand over the reins to whoever claims they have a song “everyone will love!” — which, in fact, no one likes. Or, you could do something that’ll keep your friends talking about the party for weeks to come: you could perform as the DJ of your own party.
As DJ, you have control of more than just the music. You’re able to turn up or turn down the energy of your audience. You’re the maestro. Juicy M, a Ukrainian DJ with nearly 10 years of experience playing for massive audiences, knows how to maestro better than most — whether it’s 30 people in a living room or 2,000 screaming fans at an outdoor venue. “House parties are totally different vibe, of course,” Juicy says. “You shouldn’t try to recreate a music festival in your house.” Instead, substitute the lasers and pyrotechnic displays for Bluetooth speakers and candles. And remember, above all, it’s about having fun. Here are Juicy’s tips on how to sample a bit of the magic of a DJ set in your own house party.
1Prepare a long playlist. As a rule of thumb, your playlist should be double the length of time you’ll be playing music. For a 60-minute set, Juicy says she compiles at least 120 minutes of music. This provides more flexibility in song choice, allows for more creativity and ensures plenty of backup options, should some songs fall flat.
2Keep the songs short. A boozed-up, dance-crazed audience doesn’t play well with 10-minute songs with countless bass drops and the same riff over and over again. Their attention will start to fade. Juicy says to give them the best 30-45 second bite of a song — a bass drop, a chorus, a verse or two — and then move on to the next song. Of course, not all songs should be cut short. If it’s a particularly hot pop song that everyone knows the lyrics to, play the whole thing — your audience will love you for it.
3Start hard, slow it down, finish hardest. Your job is to keep the audience dancing and the energy high. That’s what the crowd came for, after all. But, be careful not to crank the energy too high — if you don’t give the crowd a few slowed-down songs to recharge, their energy will be zapped halfway through the party. For this reason, Juicy suggests the following template: begin with a few high-energy party-starters, move into a few slower tunes (but keep their feet moving!) and, for the final 10 minutes, end with no-holds-barred, earth-shaking bangers. In her own words: “People mostly remember the intro and the last 10 minutes, whether it’s a concert or a DJ performance — try to use your best tricks and skills during this time!”
4Play for the audience, not for yourself. One of the quickest ways to kill the vibe of the party, Juicy says, is to abuse the DJ privilege as a chance to stroke your ego or play only your favorite songs. Every once in awhile, it’s okay to get ambitious with a new sound effect you just discovered last night or play some obscure song that’s special to you — but unless you’re producing top-notch EDM music, leave the on-stage experimentation to the pros.