I’ve been a DJ for 5 years and in that time I’ve been lucky enough to play shows in venues across the country and share the stage with amazing artists like Said The Sky and ATLiens. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about in this article. Instead I’m going to tell you about one of the most unique on stage experiences I’ve ever had and the creative process behind my set. This is the story of my first silent disco set.
First things first I want to thank Rapture Studios and My Mom’s Basement for picking me as one of their open deck mix competition winners and for putting on such an awesome event.
After I found out I was playing the Summer Rave 2019 silent disco I started by looking for mixes from other DJs to hear what they did in the same scenario. And for the most part it seemed like other DJs approached a silent disco like it was just a normal set which, in all honesty, was disappointing because there are so many creative possibilities to explore with this format. I think the under-utilization of this platform stems from DJs overlooking the fact that silent disco’s fundamentally change the way a crowd experiences their sets.
Think about it like this. In a normal club setup, a DJ is using the sound system to reach as many people in that club as possible, whereas with a silent disco it’s like every person in the crowd has their own sound system and a DJ is trying to connect with every individual person in the crowd. This is what is going to change how hey hear and more importantly how they feel the music. That physical interaction people have with the music is one of the biggest reasons why dance music has such a profound impact, and if that’s not there, a DJ has to find another way to grab their audience’s attention. I went about doing that by focusing on engaging the audience with tracks that fit my style and would sound best coming through headphones.
I had a lot of time during my drive to Akron, Ohio to theorize about what this experience would actually be like but what I actually experienced was so much more than what I thought it would be. I was expecting to up there alone but there were 2 other DJs on stage with me and I thought this would completely throw of my ability to feel out the energy in the crowd. But the opposite was true; I felt the vibe from the whole crowd whether they were listening to me or not and that was an amazing feeling and it made it really easy for me to switch things up and get on their vibe very quickly. I was also extremely worried that my having almost no exposure in the area would mean people wouldn’t listen to set and even if people were listening I wouldn’t know and I couldn’t have been more wrong on that. The headphones people used displayed red blue or green lights depending on what channel they were listening to I was on the green channel and when I realized that it was like that, green matches the green in my logo it was like a sign from the DJ gods. Once I knew I’d be able to see who was listening, I calmed down a bit. And I felt even better when the crowd proved my expectations false they were bouncing around between each channel and everyone on stage had a part of the set where the majority of the crowd was listening to them and that was awesome. Seeing the awesome venue packed with people with green lights on their headphones grooving to my set is something I won’t forget.
This is an official recommendation from a DJ who’s played a silent disco: If you ever have the chance to attend one do it! Even if the DJs don’t set up their sets like I did, it’s still a cool experience with a vibe that’s completely unique to any other show.
Here’s the link to my Set from this show.
Photo Credit: Drone2You