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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:59 pm 
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Hey all,

In a few weeks, I am DJing at an exchange for the first time and I would like to hear any tips you might have. Should I stay above a certain BPM? I will be DJing both a Lindy and a Blues set.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:49 pm 
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Location: menlo park
Is it your local exchange, or one you're traveling to? If the latter, ask the organizers for some guidance on the local scene. Also, are you DJ'ing late at night or earlier in the day? Outside on concrete or inside in a ballroom?

In general, I think setting any sort of bpm limits isn't a great idea. The feel of the song is more important than the strict tempo. However, you asked, so, without further input on the parameters mentioned above, I'd say, for lindy, at an exchange, aim for most of your set between 130 and 190 bpm. 180 will feel bloody fast when you're tired, you've been dancing a lot, it is crowded, everyone is sweating, and the floor is concrete.

At the local dances I DJ I try to stay between 120 and 210, with the occasional spikes to 100 and 270 (but everyone around here does balboa above 210). When I DJ'ed in Herräng several years ago (perhaps closer to an exchange sort of audience), I went a little faster early in the evening, and I stuck to the 120-190 range for the 4 in the morning crowd.

Also, read these threads:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=885
viewtopic.php?t=3259&p=34625

Final thought: are you foremost a blues DJ, and is that why you are asking about a lower level BPM...? If so, I think a "safe" number is 120 or 130. If you're more snooty about your lindy, maybe 140. There used to be people posting here who would have said 170 or 180.

Final-final thought: the best advice is to watch the floor and adjust. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:05 pm 
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I find with an exchange, you can push a little bit further outside of the beginner-friendly stuff and everyone will just go with it. But that said, you still have to keep it swinging and dance-friendly.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:55 pm 
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lipi wrote:
Is it your local exchange, or one you're traveling to? If the latter, ask the organizers for some guidance on the local scene. Also, are you DJ'ing late at night or earlier in the day? Outside on concrete or inside in a ballroom?

In general, I think setting any sort of bpm limits isn't a great idea. The feel of the song is more important than the strict tempo. However, you asked, so, without further input on the parameters mentioned above, I'd say, for lindy, at an exchange, aim for most of your set between 130 and 190 bpm. 180 will feel bloody fast when you're tired, you've been dancing a lot, it is crowded, everyone is sweating, and the floor is concrete.

At the local dances I DJ I try to stay between 120 and 210, with the occasional spikes to 100 and 270 (but everyone around here does balboa above 210). When I DJ'ed in Herräng several years ago (perhaps closer to an exchange sort of audience), I went a little faster early in the evening, and I stuck to the 120-190 range for the 4 in the morning crowd.

Also, read these threads:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=885
viewtopic.php?t=3259&p=34625

Final thought: are you foremost a blues DJ, and is that why you are asking about a lower level BPM...? If so, I think a "safe" number is 120 or 130. If you're more snooty about your lindy, maybe 140. There used to be people posting here who would have said 170 or 180.

Final-final thought: the best advice is to watch the floor and adjust. :)


I am traveling to it, but not far; only a few hours. Its still in the same state. It is indoors in a ballroom and I am DJing an early evening lindy set and I have the last late night set (3a - 4a).

I like the idea of asking the organizers about the local scene. Thats a great idea.

I like your thought that it is more about the feel of the song than the actual BPM. That makes sense. I just haven't noticed any DJs playing stuff around 120 or lower at a lindy exchange, so I was wondering if it is not suggested. THat of course doesn't mean they don't do it, it just means if they have, I haven't noticed.

I am used to DJing to beginners at my local scene, so I naturally include easy East Coast songs in all my sets.



What should I do if I play a song and no one dances to it? I mean if 45 seconds to minute goes by and no one dances. Should I fade the song out and play a different song?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:44 pm 
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I doubt *no* one will dance (unless you really screwed up and put on Katy Perry or something)...

I can only remember fading a song once, and that was early on when I was very inexperienced. Now, I just let the three couples struggle valiantly till the end, and I put on a sure-fire hit afterwards (like, say, one of that list of 25 that Jesse Miner posted years ago). Don't panic. :)

For the early slot, you can play pretty much anything that swings and people will dance, I suspect. I agree with trev that you can be a little more adventurous with Exchange crowds. Again, for the late night, you might have to be more careful, as people will be tired.

Good luck, and maybe post your playlists after the gig and tell us how it went!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:08 pm 
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Location: London
I'm not sure there's that much difference between DJing a 'normal' dance and one at an Exchange. The key is keeping the people in the room happy. When DJing any scene that's new to you, I think it's a good idea to check it out before you DJ. So if you are DJing at, say, midnight on the first night, then try to be in the room well before your set to give you an idea of what works for the crowd there :)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:59 pm 
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Haydn wrote:
...I think it's a good idea to check it out before you DJ. So if you are DJing at, say, midnight on the first night, then try to be in the room well before your set to give you an idea of what works for the crowd there :)


Oh yeah, and if you can't be there, check what the DJ before you played. Drives me nuts when careless DJs replay the exact same tracks that were played earlier. Same applies with the band.

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