The Key To a Good Set: Variety
I may be the product of a generation with ever-decreasing attention spans, but sets without a variety of genres bore the hell out of me. I can’t listen to a set with the same BPM or same genre for an hour straight without feeling like I’m lost in a time warp (trance, progressive house and techno fans, I know you hate me already).
I love songs and producers from every genre of dance music, so I love to hear a variety of music to keep each set interesting. This isn’t to say that having variety in a set will automatically make it good; but to me, it’s an important factor. This is why some of my favorite DJs include Diplo, Dillon Francis, and Mat Zo (specifically after his set at Ultra). Even producers who solely play their own music live, like Pretty Lights and Bassnectar, will mix up the pace with an assortment of song choices across different genres. All of these artists love to take songs from a variety of genres and time periods and mix them in creative ways that keeps you on your toes and wanting more. When you hear a DJ mix seamlessly from genre to genre, it brings an element of surprise that can’t be matched.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some killer sets that had very little variety. Milo & Otis play some of the most insane trap sets in the game. Disclosure plays mostly garage and deep house, and they’re one of the freshest acts of the past year. Eric Prydz has laid down some of the best progressive house sets I’ve ever seen and Gesaffelstein is one of my favorite French techno acts. All of these may be true, but where my rule about variety really kicks in is at major music festivals. At these festivals—where so many acts sound the same—it’s really refreshing when someone comes in and mixes it up a little.
I like progressive house and trance. I like trap, and I like dubstep. I even like hip-hop and some pop music. So, as a fan of music—not just a single subgenre—why wouldn’t I want a little bit of everything mixed into a set? A four-course meal is always better than just an appetizer.
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