“Never once have I been asked to give the festival a pre-recorded set”: James Hype says pre-recorded DJ sets are the “artist’s choice” and not something festivals ask for

“I don’t know where this dialogue came from that when you play a festival you have to play a pre-recorded set but it’s clearly not true.”

James Hype

Image: James Hype via YouTube

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DJ-Producer James Hype has weighed in on the debate about pre-recorded live sets, saying “that is the artist’s choice” and most certainly not something festivals actively request.

“I don’t know where this dialogue came from that when you play a festival you have to play a pre-recorded set but it’s clearly not true,” Hype clarifies in his latest YouTube video.

The DJ, who a few weeks ago played at the 2023 Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), spotlights a recent Reddit post discussing “which artists were actually DJing at EDC Orlando this year?”

So, which artists were “actually” DJing this year?
byu/Okay_sure_lets_post inEDCOrlando

The post’s top comment referenced Deadmau5’s (in)famous claim in 2021 that DJs “have to play pre-recorded sets” and that they rarely do live sets at major festivals like EDC anymore, to which Hype replies: “I have played at 95 percent of the biggest festivals in the world… and never once have I been asked to give the festival a pre-recorded set.”

“No one has ever asked me this and I don’t think that this actually happens.”

“I’m not saying that pre-recorded sets don’t exist because I’m sure they do,” Hype says, “And there are artists who do play pre-recorded sets—there’s some artists who’ve been playing the same pre-recorded set for two or three years and that’s just wild—but what I want to make very clear today is that that is the artist’s choice and not something that the festival or the event tells them that they have to do.”

He also rebuts claims that DJs have to pre-record so the lighting can “sync up with your set” by pointing out how software like Show Control easily “allow the lighting engineer and the firework guy to read what the CDJs are playing so they can see every track at the right time and where the drop is”.

“Now the way I DJ— it’s all about the live performance,” Hype continues, adding that “anyone can play the Beatport Top 10” and “mix one record into another really smoothly” with the technology we have in 2023.

Ultimately, “what I want to bring to the table is the stuff that only happens once in a lifetime where I’m mixing one track into another in a specific way that’s never going to happen like that ever again,” says the artist.

“I’m not trying to give people perfection, I’m trying to give people a true live performance. And that is something that a robot or AI could never do.”

“So to be very clear I will never be pre-recording a set for any festival for any club for any event. I firmly stand for real DJing—that’s what gets me excited and that’s what people want to come and see me do when I play.”

Watch the full video below.

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