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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:07 am 
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Here and there on this forum, I've read about DJ rules restricting the number of songs a DJ plays by a particular band or artist - for example, not more than 2 Ella Fitzerald songs in a set or in a row. Perhaps this is to encourage variety in a set - different artists and styles.

In practice though, do these rules work? Obviously, 'back in the day' in the 30s and 40s it was all live bands playing one set at a time, and I imagine that most bands played different styles within a set (fast, slow, ballads etc).


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:03 am 
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I've asked myself the same question. My friend and dj colleague Janne often plays several songs of the same artist in a row, and when I first noticed this it instinctively felt "wrong". But thinking about it, I really couldn't come up with a good reason why. Sure, if you play lots of similar-sounding songs it will get monotonous, but a mini-set of 3-5 well-chosen numbers by the same artist will often work very well. I've started to do the same now and then.

I think the wrongness I felt mostly was a reflex from the days when I started dj-ing. Back then it was a matter of pride to me never to play two songs in a row by the same artist, and never to play more than 2-3 songs by the same artist in a set. When you have a limited collection it somehow becomes important not to let it show.

Of course, vocal numbers featuring the same singer would be much more conspicuous than instrumentals by the same band. I'd be careful with that.

J-h:n


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:08 pm 
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One of my fondest Herrang memories is dancing to ten or so Ella Fitzgerald tracks in a row with Judy from London. Luv was DJing.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:40 pm 
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Being the guy with the music sometimes carries the compulsion to show off as much of your music as possible.

I know over the years I've developed a set of ad-hoc rules while dj'ing that forces me to actually work through my library instead of cycling through the favourites (which isn't necessarily bad, but see... compulsion). Don't repeat artists, don't repeat albums, no more than three female vocals in a row, various tempo rules and flow, etc. I don't follow them strictly, but I use them as guidelines to help give me focus. I'm terrible if given a totally blank slate; but if I give myself some guidelines that I can work with and manipulate, I'm fine.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:57 pm 
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If you stick to one artist, are you varying the sound? Early vs late Ella, for example?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Surreal makes a good point: in any creative process (and DJing is, to a limited extent, creative) it is easier to work when you have some guidelines, some limits, some rules. The "draw anything you want" assignments in art class were, perhaps oddly, never as enjoyable as the more restrictive ones, nor were the results as pleasing.

Another personal anecdote: one of the nights I got most compliments on was Duke's birthday earlier this year, when I played only things written by or performed by him. Obviously Duke is a particularly easy person to do this with, given his long career and the huge number of people that have recorded his work.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:58 pm 
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lipi wrote:
Another personal anecdote: one of the nights I got most compliments on was Duke's birthday earlier this year, when I played only things written by or performed by him. Obviously Duke is a particularly easy person to do this with, given his long career and the huge number of people that have recorded his work.


Similar to the success of my 'Louis Armstrong' set in August here.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:09 am 
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What about same song, different artist?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:45 pm 
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I regularly play more than one song by the same band. And I'm even more likely to play songs featuring the same musicians. And I'm ok with that.

I tend not to play more than one version of a song in a set because... because... um... no good reason.
Though one night at an exchange I had a set in the main room where I played a heap of big band old school swing, then I had to fill in on short notice in the back room which was all groovy and chilled. So I played groover versions of the same songs (eg the Lunceford version of 'For Dancers Only' then the Junior Mance version; the Fletcher Henderson version of 'Moten Swing' then the Oscar Peterson one). One of the other DJs noticed and commented that it was as though all the fun had been sucked out of the songs. We really noticed the difference. The dancers didn't notice, though, as there wasn't much cross over between the two rooms.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:02 am 
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dogpossum wrote:
One of the other DJs noticed and commented that it was as though all the fun had been sucked out of the songs.


Did he mean that it sounded like the groovier versions of the songs were less fun?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:32 am 
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I've tried doing sets with only pairs of songs from the same artist, and it worked nicely.

Any device that forces you to work outside your comfort zone could be tried now and then. E.g. only playing music from 1936 or doing the whole set in chrolological order.

The dancers rarely notice any of these tricks. I've tried playing multiple versions of the same song thoughout the night, but noone commented. Even playing the exact same song twice might go unnoticed!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:09 am 
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Once in I while, I may play a couple of songs by the same artist/band within the same set, but not not consecutively. However, I don't think I would play two or more songs in row by the same artist/band. My rationale is to avoid the risk of sounding monotonous. Recorded music, even with high fidelity, is intrinsically much more monotonous than live music. In one case, the sound is produced by a limited number of sources (the speakers), while in the other case there are real instruments on stage filling the room with music.

When I want to have micro sets with some degree of coherency, I may play for instance tunes recorded by bands from the same area (e.g. Chicago, or Texas) or by bands with a few members in common.

What is it in your opinion the benefit for the audience if a DJ plays several songs in row or even an entire set by the same artist?

Cheers,
Lorenzo


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:17 am 
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The other night in the main room at MLX, the biggest exchange in Australia, I played CJam Blues and then Main Stem from the LCJO Swinging with Duke CD one straight after another and I thought of you all.




(Incidentally, I played CJam Blues because I wanted to play the most overplayed, overly familiar song I could, right in the middle of a set of less familiar stuff. The crowd audibly groaned and crumpled up their faces at the first bar, but the entire floor was full by the second phrase. Kids, they're a hatin', but no one can resist that great album.)


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