Klaudia Gawlas gives her best tips for preparing a DJ set
The techno DJ talks about where to look for new music, the importance of buying tracks and how to organising your DJ set
Digging for new music can be exhausting sometimes. It can take a long time to find the right tracks for the right moment. As a DJ, it’s vital to prepare those secret weapon tracks to keep in your back pocket.
But which tracks are cool right now? And which music works for you, the crowd, the venue and the country you are playing in? Also, where should you source your music?
As a DJ, I only play techno – that’s always been my genre. It’s fast and powerful with just the right amount of melody. I often create new tracks on-the-fly by mixing two, three, or four songs together and using elements from each that work in conjunction with one another. I try to mix a few tracks this way, as it creates something new for the audience and that’s what keeps it interesting for me while I play.
Playing with tracks, shaping them in different ways, and playing them faster or slower than they were produced is what I love doing on stage. I love my genre, and my dancefloor mission is to deliver a special techno experience.
Where to find new music
I search for new tracks every week via Beatport, along with promo tracks and demos that I’m sent by email. I don’t have a specific day I do this; I just need to be in the right mood to want to listen and search for new music.
As much as I love being in the studio, being a DJ also involves a lot of emailing. So, between sending those, I start to listen to Beatport’s Techno Top 100 chart. All the tracks I like from that, I open a new window to look at the release in more detail.
I find out who created the track and if the artist is already known. If it’s a new name to me, I’ll look into their profile and their discography. I also find it useful to look at what else that label is releasing – you can easily then find more music with a similar vibe. It’s also worth checking the suggestions as the algorithm is reliable; it knows what you like.
For me, this part is very interesting – it’s where I start to creatively plan my mixes. What am I looking for, exactly? Do I want to add a vocal track to my playlist? Maybe a certain melody? These kinds of questions get me diving deeper.
Only about 15 per cent of the tracks that I buy make it into my final playlists. I don’t know why, but when I have a bunch of new tracks on a USB and I start mixing them, sometimes I just don’t catch the vibe. So a lot of them get removed, and the selection becomes smaller. You don’t need tons, and it always depends on what you want to play at the weekend.
I have folders that are separated into music styles, and I group together tracks that float around certain BPM ranges. This easily helps me better match tracks and also keeps me organised.
I will sometimes only like specific elements from a track, but not the track as a whole or the way it’s been produced. With those, I put them in a separate folder so that I can just use maybe the bass drum or the vocal, for example, and mix in the part that caught my attention.
It’s useful to sign up for promos from a label or artist you like, as you can then be sure to get all the latest releases in your field. Diving into promo tracks can cost you a lot of time so set some time aside when you feel like you want to do this. A lot of the promos won’t even be the genre that you play, so just sifting through those to get to the ones you want can take you longer than you expect.
The importance of buying your music
Buying music is so important for the industry. I want and love to support others and help them when I can, and sometimes that’s only achieved through buying their music. I never download music for free. I know of people who never buy their music anymore and only download promos. That’s fine, but we are all making a living doing something we love, so we should support one another. Why shouldn’t we pay for it? It’s someone’s art, after all.
Sometimes it can all be a little overwhelming when you start out. However, try to take it step by step and you will learn how to make the most of your time and buy amazing tracks that stand out for you. It’s worth the deep search – you never know what you might find along the way. It really is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
Not giving up is the most important thing. Searching for new music is vital for a euphoric time in a club.
Klaudia Gawla’s latest release is her EP, ‘Fireball’ on SCI+TEC. Listen at scitec.lnk.to.
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