[Updated] Top Five Codes of Conduct For Opening DJs at EDM Shows

DJChuckie_ShannonNehls.jpg
Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly
Chuckie at the Yost Theater

See Also:

Chuckie - Yost Theater - 7/7/12

Mark Farina & Colette - Focus' 9 Year Anniversary - 6/26/12

Over the Weekend: Norman Doray - Yost Theater - 6/24/12

Last weekend, local selectors Johnny Kix and  Deone opened for Chuckie at the Yost Theater in garish fashion, playing a slew of hard-hitting bangers and even one of the headliner's own tracks a sample of an NWA hip-hop song which both Chuckie and Stefano Noferini have sampled in songs titled "Let the Bass Kick" and "Let the Bass." While it seems like a small thing to get riled up about, it prompted us to speak to one of the venues owners, Dennis Lluy, about the dilemma we have seen all over OC. 

"Being new to the EDM scene what I have learned is that opening a show is an art on it's own," says Lluy. "We have met with our in-house talent buyer and Johnny Shockey, the owner of LED Presents, and will be coordinating most of our bookings with them. They have been doing this a lot longer and know plenty of Orange County and surrounding area DJs who will respect our headliners and play the correct role in our shows," assured Lluy.

It's too bad it took Chuckie getting upset and tweeting "Yo, playing ALL the hits in your warm up set at 134bpm is not gonna bring you anywhere" to get people's attention. He's not the first DJ we have seen tweet about this in OC, but we are glad people are talking about it. We've seen this going on for way too long where openers think they are Swedish House Mafia or Afrojack. The opening DJ has an important role so we decided to put together a list of five things opening EDM DJs should know.

[Updated]

While not all of these mistakes were committed by the DJs at this show, the incident did insoire us to get the conversation going about some common opening DJ errors.

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Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly


1. Do NOT Play the Top Songs on Beatport
Anybody can play bangers all night, it's another thing to be creative with your time slot and still get the crowd pumped up. The big guys have earned the right to play the headlining spot and thus reserve the right to play the songs of the season. Don't make them edit their set and go to different cuts because you don't know your role in the show. Have some respect and common sense and use it as an opportunity to be creative with your artistry.

2. Do NOT Play the Artist/DJ's Songs
It's an honor to open for the artist and play in front of their fans, you should support the show accordingly. The hundreds or thousands of people in the crowd are most likely there to see the headliner play their songs. Don't be the idiot who tries to steal their thunder. Show some respect to the those who have actually produced their own tracks, been picked up by a record label and put their music out on Beatport.



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21 comments
Linus
Linus

Well what do you know, another idiot journalist who doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about. Here's some truth for you, there are only 2 or 3 players in OC's edm scene and they are all douches. This county is literally the equivalent 102.7.

Fugazi
Fugazi

its obvious the author is new to the scene. Anyone who was at this show had a great time, the openers brought great energy to the crowd, esp. Deone.

As for chuckie. he was entertaining, but hardly qualifies as a DJ. He doesnt spin live, he cant change songs in his set because he is playing a pre recorded track all night long and just twisting knobs for affect. He should bill himself as an entertainer and not a DJ, real DJ's spin live and select music on the fly. They dont come in with a pre recorded set on one lone MP3 track.

Check out a lot more shows before you call out codes of conduct on the openers. Maybe you should call out headliners who dont follow the codes of being a live DJ as well....

boyhell.flower
boyhell.flower

I love EDM and I'm an producer.  I AM NOT a DJ however.  So much of this culture turns me off big time.  Including huge totally impersonal  gigs, waiting in massive lines, with thousands of people crowed a space with nowhere to dance and then a DJ on stage.  I just don't get it a DJ on the stage with thousands of sheeple crowded into a non-danceable space.

yoyoyo
yoyoyo

There is absolutely no talent involved in being a DJ, and anyone who likes this garbage that sounds like robots fucking has bad taste.  Period.

More_Shows_Than_You
More_Shows_Than_You

WOW, WTF do you know about Djing? have you ever been a DJ? How long have you been going to shows?  Could you imagine if Tiesto told Diplo, Dada Life and Porter Robinson what to play when opening for him at his college invasion tour? The only reason your even in this scene and you think people know who you are is cause you used to date a promoter at the Yost. Grow up, Stop dissing DJs, events, and venues. I realize this is a blog, but keep your narrow minded outlook on like to yourself. And in regards to Chuckie, that guy needs a BPM change.  I know I'm sick and tired of DJs who stick to one tempo, and one style.  Evolve as a producer or die.  With lame ass hooks like "Let the bass kick", "Who is ready to jump?", "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", "This is fucking electrodude", and "1,1,1234", it will only be a matter of time before he falls off.  Anyone who has been listening to EDM for more than 2 years knows shitty producer/djs dont last.  Hopefully he wont either. 

Charles
Charles

"Do not play in the red" That goes for EVERY DJ!!! Improper gain structure is the reason you distort and blow speakers...  Play vinyl if you want to impress me...

CLAKSAARB
CLAKSAARB

Opening definitely takes more skill than being a headliner, that’s why most headlining DJs don’t get to that point without earning their stripes first. I think a good rule of thumb, besides the obvious criteria listed above, is to compare the music you’re playing from 10-12 when you’re opening for someone to the music you would be playing from 10-12 if you were spinning all night. If you were spinning all night from 10-2am, you probably wouldn’t burn yourself with bangers and “put your hands up” tracks in the first two hours. So why would you do that to a huge headliner? The point is, there’s always an appropriate time to play a certain type of music. I’m usually never concerned about an opener burning me, because there’s so much music out there to play it’s not worth getting upset about. What annoys me the most is when the opener is playing Levels and fist pumping in the DJ booth with the 5 douchebag friends he brought while everyone else is just getting a drink and mingling.

Timglanz
Timglanz

This is just a control mechanism that the old skool DJs try to use because their music alone is not good enought for headlining. The guys who have the headlining spots are intimidated by up and coming DJ's so they try to buddy up with them and let them open for them forever. If your style is high energy then you should play high energy. As far as playing the headliners song in your set. Well that isnt right. The problem here is that the person in charge of the lineup failed when they brought in a Headliner that cant handle being pushed a little. Sad to see these grown men throw temper tantrums instead of just sackin up.

IDGAF PRODUCTIONS
IDGAF PRODUCTIONS

WHO GIVES A FUCK? I'LL PLAY WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT..NEXT TIME I OPEN UP FOR CHUCKIE IM PLAYING ALL HIS NEW SONGS..ALL HIS FUCKING MASHUPS..AND IM PRETTY SURE THAT PIECE OF SHIT AINT GONNA DO SHIT TO ME..CHUCKIE IS ALL TALK..WHY COULDNT HE JUST TELL THE OPENING HEADLINER HIMSELF INSTEAD OF TELLING THE INTERNET? cause chuckie is fucking bitch..ALL TALK NO ACTION..BUT REALLY NO ONE GIVES A FUCK

Gwen IsbackcuziknosUmissededme
Gwen IsbackcuziknosUmissededme

A night of good EDM is like eating a gourmet meal and having great sex.  With both of these there is an beginning (appetizer/foreplay), middle (entree/copulation) and an end (dessert/climax). If you don't get all the pieces in the right order, it detracts from the overall experience.  Sure, good food is good food, and sex is SEX -- but the difference between just eating and having a dining experience and getting laid and having mind blowing, unforgettable sex is all about the journey and the stops along the way. I've seen Chuckie perform at numerous massive festivals and several times in big clubs -- like any top DJ pulling in a $50+ admission price -- I KNOW he has the skills and the talent to deal with whatever his opening act dishes up. When it comes to dirty Dutch house Chuckie is an innovator and a leader and IMO well worth the $$. The point of the article is not arguing Chuckie's skill; which with his level of worldwide experience, hits and devout followers speaks for itself.The point a lot of people are missing is that when you experience EDM (in a club or even at a festival), the sets are supposed to take you on an emotional and physical journey. Therefore the opening DJs have a specific role in getting the crowd "set up" and ready for the highlight of the journey with the headliner(s). Honestly, if your music is good enough, IDGAF what you play -- as long as it fulfills the role of an "appetizer", building anticipation, energy and excitement for the "entree". (And, yes some clubs have a DJ that follows the headliner that could be considered the sweet ending "dessert".)Honestly, I've seen a lot of GOOD DJs opening for top DJs and they've dropped tons of popular bangers in their sets. One example that comes to mind would be Chris Lake opening for Deadmau5 in Las Vegas at XS -- his set was pounding hard-hitting combo of house and electro packed full of his hits and "unique, signature" mixes of other popular top songs. No, he did not drop any Deadmau5 songs -- but he dropped plenty of Beatport top hits. Most importantly, he read the crowd, which was simply INSANELY pumped and ready to rage, and he rode us hard. Then Deadmau5 came out to a sweaty, sexually charged crowd and slaughtered us. Chris Lake took us right to the point of EDM-aural-sex where we were ready to be finished -- and Deadmau5 gave us the rest of what we were wanting.  It was an insane night that I will never forget, I was sore and aching the next day but it was so worth it. Everyone in that crowd left feeling SATISFIED -- and not because we were hurried to a finish by a noob.As EDM gains popularity and continues to grow, a lot of smaller, independent clubs are cashing in on it's draw by booking major players. Unfortunately, some clubs then cut costs and maximize profits by booking local DJs to open -- and this is what you get. Let's face it -- with the technology and equipment out there, just about anybody can put together a decent set. Those without real skill and talent will need to rely on the more popular songs to pump up the crowd. And this is what will always separate "real DJs" from those without skill and talent. A real DJ knows how to successfully fulfill his role according to his position in the line-up and do that by testing and reading the crowd and reaching into their unique bag of tricks to take the crowd from their starting point to the proper ending point.

flowers surrey
flowers surrey

The opening DJ has an important role so we decided to put together a list of five things opening EDM DJs should know.

Jason Robertson
Jason Robertson

Most of the headliners now days have not "earned" their spot most producers don't really know how to dj.. they might know how to beat match if you are lucky... but rocking crowds and manipulating the set to control the crowd is now mostly a local dj trait we have to do to stay in the popular eye of our city's audience and promoters/club owners. In the prospective of the promoters/club owners they need to know they can make money when ever you are booked by being a real DJ....its not our jobs to question the headliners... in any situation, even if its a homie headliner I have booked 20 times OR some d-bag that has a 1 track hit everyone likes this moment, ... the headliner is just that the head liner, and we the local djs, are the SUPPORTING acts... they are the ones with a contract they are the ones making the promoter/club the money tonight not the locals so they get to do their "ACT" they are not djs at this point they are an ACT You would not get booked at a comedy club to open for Eddy Murphy and proceed to quote his whole Raw album would you

Jason Robertson
Jason Robertson

because the opener act is there to get people in the door and to get them some time to drink and bob their heads until the HEADLINER comes on... you don't want to wear out the audience before the person they pay to see comes on stage... If you are trying to play high energy tracks even if they are ALL yours you are being booked for the wrong slot... Learn the art of opening the sets, a kick ass groovy opening set will last with an audience for a long time (because they are still sober and can remember what you played)... I still remember the opening set for Christopher Lawrence from like 5 years ago it was that cool... he built up the crowd so slowly and carefully and after an hour and a half, every track he played you though it was the end and Chris was going to come out but boom no another kick ass selection, and I knew none of the tracks he was playing, and at that time I owned Frequency 8 Records in Seattle so I had all the tracks out at the moment in my store, but never did he over shadow Chris set with BPM or energy, and by the time Chris came out everyone was so friggen hyped it made the night so out of this world. 

Marc Merchant
Marc Merchant

I moved to New york from Orange county and man am I embarrassed to even see this making headlines....step your game up OC DJs....damn shame.

Doaifjd
Doaifjd

One of the worst djs out there

Doaifjd
Doaifjd

Fuck Chukie, he sucks big fat hairy sweaty balls

benny
benny

..you're a fan of Deamau5, and Chuckie,  and Dirty Dutch bullshit.. so your opinion is neither wanted, needed, or valid.

gwenvegas
gwenvegas

 @benny Seriously? OK benny -- your IQ is obviously way too high for me to even hope to compose a valid response.  Don't you worry yourself about all this complicated EDM stuff -- I've heard it can cause seizures for people like you.  Instead, here's an article that might help you in your future endeavors: "Are You Mentally Retarded, But Don't Know It?" http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Goss4.html  

Good luck with life -- and remember: you ARE special! 

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