-Never use shuffle
It’s lazy, it’s impersonal, and it doesn’t quite do the job right. If you just hit shuffle than there is no point in trying to be a kick ass IPod DJ. Plus if your IPod is like mine then there may be some accidents. I doubt anyone at the party wants to drink to a Mitch Hedberg joke or the theme song to Sanford and Son. You need to pick the song for the moment, let inspiration do the picking and not chance.
-Know your IPod
When your IPod gets high up there with thousands of songs it can be hard to keep track all of them. When one truly knows their music selection it isn’t as daunting. People just download whole albums and never really bother exploring them. Yes, it seems like half of the stuff on albums could just be filler to keep the singles from getting lonely but it is important to know your library. It allows you to pick songs better and quicker.
-Have your next song lined up
This goes along with “Know your IPod” rule. You don’t want dead space between songs while you’re fumbling around for the next track. I personally like to stay two songs ahead of the current song playing. That way I don’t get stuck not knowing what to play next in the lineup. Work it out in your head which song flows best into what next song.
-Click wheel OFF
This should be a general rule for IPods. It’s unnecessary and annoying, please turn it off. Don't be that guy.
-Have a few favorites
If you play to the same crowd a lot then you will know who has a favorite song. Be sure to use those songs to the optimal effect. If your friend loves the song “Rock and Roll Queen” by The Subways it would be a good idea to play it. If played at the right moment with the right amount of inebriation it will probably be met with a point of acknowledgement and possibly a hug. Hugs are good.
-Take requests but remember you are the one with the IPod
People know what they want to hear and they will be sure to tell you what song they want to listen to. Be sure to comply with their demands. If you don’t have their song at hand the best course of action is to shrug and go for the closest song to it. Don’t become a slave to the masses though; you are the one in control. Let your ego trip run wild while it can. You are a god with your IPod and music was created for this very moment for your appreciation (or not).
Never play the same band twice in a row. This is a cardinal rule that I follow blindly. Can’t really explain why but I know it’s a good rule. The same rule applies for mix tapes. Also, never play a song more than once. This is a no brainer. Don’t take up time with repeats even if they are party favorites. There is other music out there to take up that time. If you play a song more than once then you might as well put that one song on repeat and hang out somewhere else.
-Vary your music
Don’t play the same genre of music over and over. Vary your types of music. Allow them to contrast and juxtapose with each other. Break up the monotony with rap or rock or even funk. Everyone likes funk.
May I recommend some George Clinton?
- You can never go wrong with Taking Back Sunday
Maybe the band Taking Back Sunday isn’t your kind of thing per se, but there is always that one band or artist that everyone in your group of friends love. For my friends it’s Taking Back Sunday. When it doubt, fall back on them.
-The right joke song or old song can do wonders, 90s jams are your friends
Music can be like a time capsule and allow us into memories of the past. Pick music that can allow this to happen. The old songs we all grew up with can bring the whole party together. If you play Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger and not one person is singing along than you need a new group of friends. It's all about the nostalgia factor. Joke songs can work too. I like to play epic music during beer pong tournaments to liven it up. O Fortuna by Carl Orff or anything by Clint Mansell is amazing in this respect. Your friends will start requesting “that epic song” when it is their turn at pong. Another favorite joke song is “Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy. I shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone that has heard it, it’s a badass song.
Best. Record. Ever.
-Towards the end of the party, slow songs are nice
At the end of the party when half the people are passed out and the other half are on their way, it’s good to start playing ballads more. Let the music tempo match the crowd tempo. At least once before the night is over I like to play “Old Man” by Neil Young.
-Play to the crowd
Never forget that you are playing to an audience and they are the ones you have to make happy. You haven’t commandeered the speakers for your own self satisfaction but their satisfaction. Play music the people would actually like. As much as I like Echo and the Bunnymen I wouldn’t play it at a college party. College party music is mostly about rap and dance music. It’s the kind of music that you will get tired of listening to on the radio 6 months from now. When it is more of a chill session with friends you have a lot more freedom. If your friends are more rock oriented, play more rock music, it’s as simple as that. If you are lucky and really do a good job you will be rewarded either by the group singing along to your choice or people asking you about the songs you played.
-Remember, you’re at a party so remember to have fun
Don’t just be that lame kid sitting in the corner. Don’t be THAT guy. Talk to people, enjoy yourself, and have fun. Why go to hang out with friends if you won’t have fun. And if you are lucky you will most likely have at least one person sitting next to you to talk to about music and maybe bum cigarettes off of.
By following these rules you will be able to confidently oversee a kick ass time with your friends. Until I lost heart in being DJ I considered myself pretty good at what I did. So take this advice how you will. If you intend to be a party facilitator than be sure to do a good job at it.