"What is the secret to a great DJ set?" Here's what some of Ireland's biggest DJs told us 5 years ago

"What is the secret to a great DJ set?" Here's what some of Ireland's biggest DJs told us

There is a bit of a universal (and usually entirely incorrect) reaction when we see the words "DJ Set" on a festival line-up.

You get excited about seeing one of your favourite acts, but then you see that it's a DJ set and for some reason that isn't viewed as the fantastic opportunity that it actually is: you get to hear the music that one of your favourite acts love to listen to!


You get to hear their influences, what they think is funky, what they want to get down to... plus there's a good chance they'll be throwing in their own stuff into the mix too, so really it is a win-win.

However, we've all been on a night out when the DJ has successfully managed to single-handedly ruin your night by making one wrong music choice after another.

So we got chatting to some of the biggest DJs in Ireland, both on radio and performing in live venues, and asked them what makes a great DJ set, and it turns out that they all pretty much have the exact same answer, as Richie McCormack (Newstalk, Doyles) told us quite succinctly: "Being able to read the room."

Same goes for Martin Guilfoyle (Spin1038, one half of DJ/producer duo Konmak And Marty), who said it is important that "The people who are listening are dancing and smiling."


We chatted to a few more DJs, and here's what they told us:

Conor Behan (2FM, The George): "Regardless of what music you play or where you're playing it, being able to read the room and build up the momentum is crucial. Knowing when to drop a track your audience will love at the right time, slipping in something surprising as the night winds down and having fun with it are super important."

Jenn Gannon (Lime & Fancy): "When I'm 'DJ-ing' I think the main thing is you that your crowd are the priority. Without a full dance floor you might as well be at home in your bedroom. If they're not into it you have to move swiftly, you can't be too precious about songs. If a crowd are not going crazy for your obscure b-side or new discovery, make sure to lob on a familiar banger afters to get them back on side.

"Other than that I like to treat it as a night out too, so if I'm seeing someone DJ I like to see that they're into it and enjoying themselves. There's nothing worse than someone being po-faced behind the decks or trying to show off. At Lime & Fancy our unofficial tag line is 'all pleasure, no guilt', our ethos is maximum fun times, we're just two pop kids standing in a room asking people to dance to Sabrina. We're never gonna be the coolest but that's fine with us - we really just want to make people dance and have a laugh and if they lose themselves on the floor for four minutes to Falco's "Amadeus", all the better."


Ed Smith (Today FM, Whelans): "Well in my experience a good DJ will never take their eyes off the crowd. Reading them is essential. You have to be able to go with their flow and follow the direction that's working best. You're not there to flex your own musical muscles. You can listen to what YOU like in your own time. That said you don't want to be too predictable either. Throwing a curve ball can jolt them back. Sympathy for the devil into The Next Episode works a treat. Also sandwiching a new tune between two reliables is a must. It keeps it fresh and also helps you from getting bored. A good DJ set should excite and surprise."

As part of the Bulmers Forbidden Fruit festival, Hot Chip will be performing a DJ set in Wigwam on Sat 3 June from 11pm, and you can get the full details for that gig here.