Anatomy of a DJ Setlist (or two)

23 10 2008

Tweak. Tune. Adjust. Shuffle. Replace. Measure.

My DJing style is a bit inflexible, but I enjoy it. What I do is I pick a theme, a genre, a motif… even if it spans multiple genres, if there’s one common sound to the songs I pick, it’ll flow. Put in enough recognizable songs, space them out, pace myself. Put in the stuff only I’ve heard before but fits in perfectly and sounds good. And hope that taking chances putting in the obscure stuff won’t screw me over.

(This is one quibble I have. Most DJs just play Generic Unrecognizable European Techno Of Various Sorts. Nobody knows these songs, yet nobody cares. It’s just generic dance audio on tap. And yet, when I play rock or other non-instrumental songs that aren’t megahits, folks tune out. I guess if it’s danceable they don’t care about obscurity; if it’s not dance, they suddenly hate on the non-hits. Weirdness. Anyway…)

This is the latest version of my Extropia Halloween list. My motif here was to pull from my “CreepyRock” and “ChillOut” and “Hot&Heavy” lists. I wanted heavy downbeats, dark themes, songs with an edge without being overly aggressive about it… just.. quietly intense.

I’m really taking some chances on this one, because like my rock lists, it’s not WOOO PARTY POP PLAY DAT EIGHTIES. But I’m willing to take a shot, because I think I’ve got a unique and interesting experience here. I’ll let my listeners (and you) be the judge.

Seven Shikami’s DJ Intro Stefan Gagne My usual DJ intro wackiness.
Faster-yet-Heavy Beat Modern Rock (to ease folks into the concept)
Whole Lotta Icky Thump Led Zeppelin vs White Stripes Mashups always work. Plus, introduces the heavy beat concept.
Shoot The Runner Kasabian More distortion, faster, but steady marching beat.
Cash Machine Hard-Fi More of a swinging sound, but steady.
Yomp Thenewno2 A bit more atmospheric… and VERY obscure. I just always wanted to slot this in a set and keep chickening out.
The Shame of Life Butthole Surfers A good bitter dadaist Surfers track, kinda epic.
Out Of Control She Wants Revenge Well known radio hit; dark theme, pulsing beat.
REV 22:20 Puscifer EVILSEXY, also Tool side band project. Should go over well with the goths.
Slower, More Methodical, Chillouty
Queer Garbage First track that’s more methodical; matches the EVILSEXY theme from the previous.
Moving In Stereo The Cars Megahit classic, and finishes the EVILSEXY combo.
6 Underground Sneaker Pimps Pure chillout, but with a semi-screwy sound. Female vox.
Headlock Imogen Heap More female vox; has a good "dark waltz" sound.
L-L-Love Astaire Female vox, more distorted guitar. Not a perfect fit but does combo nicely with the last two vocals.
Clint Eastwood Gorillaz Megahit, and one of my faves. Very steady beat, snarky lyrics.
Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) Pink Floyd CURVEBALL! Megahit classic rock and definitely a methodical, snarky, vicious little song.
This Sick World Fun Lovin’ Criminals Dark jazzy/swingy sound, another good snarker. Obscure but from a band known for a one hit wonder, good for trivia.
Electronics Comin’ At Ya
Boomerang (Nynex Remix) Cirrus Halfway between rock and electronica; good transitional track between the previous block and this one.
Lily Mophono Instrumental, heavy but slow drum and bass with quick, trippy samplng.
Revolution Solution Thievery Corporation I loves me some Thievery Corporation, and with Perry Ferrel on vox, it’ll be recognizable.
Love Comes Running
Up That Hill Quickly
(Placebo vs. Pet Shop Boys
vs. Kate Bush)
DJ Magnet Another mashup and with hit songs to pick up the recognition. A bit more upbeat, but it’s definitely more electronic.
Zoo York (Album Mix) Oakenfold feat. Clint Mansell & Kronos Quarter Aka "That Movie Trailer Song (Originally In Requiem For a Dream". Mega-recognizable, very dark and cinematic.
Sadeness, Pt. 1 Enigma Megahit! Dark and cinematic, absolutely!
Mind killer Adam Freeland Less known, but it gets grittier/more distorted, to lead into the next block. Also has Dune quotes. Extropia might like that.
The Darkness Gets Deeper
#1 Crush Garbage Probably the most iconic song of the ‘creepyrock’ sound I’m shooting for. EVILSEXY, methodical, powerful. Recognizable, too.
Cells The Servant Recognizable from the Sin City trailers; might perk a few ears up, hopefully won’t bore anyone.
Kingdom of Lies The Folk Implosion Not one of the more known Folk Implosion songs, Natural One might be more Hitty, but this one has a better sound.
Come Together The Beatles Curveball classic! I think it fits. Also leads into a block of recognizables.
Fascination Street The Cure You gotta have the goth / new wave in here. Also a more engaging Cure song.
Tainted Love Soft Cell It’s like Sandstrom. You gotta have this in a DJ set. Period.
I Will Possess Your Heart Death Cab For Cutie A dangerous one to end on, definitely more upbeat, but I just love this to much and it does have a dark undercurrent.
Seven Shikami’s DJ Outtro Stefan Gagne Close out, thank the crowd, ask for tips.

Think it’ll work?

EDIT: Addendum. Here’s a one hour setlist for Keiko’s “No on Proposition 8” rally tomorrow. Prop 8 is a California law being voted on which will strike down the gay marriage law recently enacted. It’s being funded primarily by out of state religious interests running misleading attack ads on TV to scare the mainstream into thinking that their children will be exposed to sexual deviants in school and crap like that.

(Honestly? I lost my faith in the American public to vote on the side of tolerance, peace, and understanding a long time ago. We’ve fallen into a beartrap set by a Christian sect powered by hate and misunderstanding of their own holy text, and that’s the frenzy of fear that’s gripped the mainstream. It’s gonna take a long time to shake off that mentality. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight it, even the losing battles, because it’s gonna take a long-yet-worthwhile slog to win that war.)

This isn’t the final setlist; I’m gonna be taking requests, since this is a really upbeat and energetic list and therefore very flexible for additions. I’ll be mixing them here and there, where appropriate. Hopefully I’ll get an hour of suggestions… if not I may wanna pick out an hour of alternatives to fill the dead space.

Lust For Life Iggy Pop Upbeat and punky and recognizable. A good opener.
California Uber Alles Dead Kennedys A political punky protest song for California. Perfect!
The Western World Pennywise Another good "challenge the current way of thinking" punk song, for a punkblock.
Hotel California Pennywise I can’t resist a punk/ska cover of the Eagles, even if it’s Pennywise twice in a row. Besides, I’ll be mixing in requests by this point.
They Say Scars On Broadway Another good anti-establishment political rundown. Dirt simple song, so it’ll be catchy.
Androgyny Garbage First gay rights song, sorta. It was hard to find anything along those lines in my list.
Can’t Buy Me Superstition Beatles vs. Stevie Wonder A crowd pleasing mashup. Thematic? Eh, a little.
With a Little Help From My Friends The Beatles Combo from the previous, and an upbeat, work-together song. Good for activisim.
California Dreamin’ Mamas & Papas Another California song, and from the hippie era, so it should fit well.
Love Everybody Presidents of the United States You can’t ask for a better thematic song of peace and understanding and appreciation of your fellow human. And it’s fun!
Rob the Prez-O-Dent That Handsome Devil I really wanted to avoid "BUSH SUX" type songs, but this one’s generic and against the crappy economy, which… eh, it’s not spot on, but it’s such a fun damn song.
Float Flogging Molly Found this one this weekend. It’s a very contemplative, gentle song of hope. A good break in the setlist.
Tell Me Baby Red Hot Chili Peppers All about sharing your life stories, and from a very Cali band. Combos well with the previous, bringing things back up to speed.
Never Gonna Give You Up The Hot Stewards A pop-rock cover of Rick Astley. I like slipping this into any "fun" or party-based set. Goes over well with the crowd because it’s a rickroll but it’s a variant.
Give It All Rise Against Energetic, thematic, punky, what’s not to like?
Holiday / Boulevard of Broken Dreams Green Day A perfect closer, since it slams Cali’s government, and then closes off with an epic megahit of soaring awesome. I’ll definitely keep this one last, requests or not.



12 responses

23 10 2008

Saw this from the second_lifers friend list…don’t know if this is upbeat enough but “Pet” from A Perfect Circle seems ideal for the second list. :)

23 10 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Pet’s thematically appropriate, and a great song. Problem is, it’s REALLY HEAVY, slow, and angry. It might be more appropriate for the first list, but the second list is snarky / upbeat. We’re trying to get people energized and active, and this doesn’t feel right for that.

23 10 2008

Dang, you put a lot of thought into this! The list looks great. :3
Thank you so much for everything you’re doing! Let’s fight the good fight!

23 10 2008

Inspired by this post, though it’s sort of orthogonal, I have a question.
You ever do/wanted to do any audio-based creative work? I ask because there’s this larval-but-rapidly-growing FOSS-principle net radio station project (technical proof/test page) of mine that’s turning into Serious Business and is looking for content. And, well, frankly, your work has been kinda formative for my technology-culture views, of which this project is an expression. If/when we go live (looks like shortly after Halloween), it would be seriously killer if some of your stuff ended up hitting the net through my project. Readings of your fiction work, one | thirty tracks, anything like that. I mean, the thought of FWLS readings piping through my server just gives me chills

23 10 2008

I so hate prop 8.
I hate the banners I see that say ‘They control the media. We protect your children. Vote yes on prop 8’.
It sucks
Luckily… I can vote. Good luck with the parties, you guys.

23 10 2008

I am nowhere near coherent enough at the moment to critique these playlists properly
So instead I will tell you my general opinion of both:
I would have sex with them. lots of lots of sex.

23 10 2008

I am so effing tired of certain members of the American Right hauling children into all their arguments. no matter what the topic. Way to capitalize on instinctive gut reactions instead of rational discourse, guys, but I suppose it’s kind of all you can do when your ideological platform boils down to to:
1. A significant subset of the population gets to keep a hard-won equal right.
2. ???
Also remember, it’s okay to be afraid of something if you pretend that it’s your children who are afraid and that you’re just trying to protect them.

23 10 2008

As usual, I like seeing how your mind works. :D Nice job on these!

23 10 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Hm, possible. The one|thirty tracks are really just audio tinkering, pretty simple stuff if fun. FWLS is kinda.. old. But maybe. Contact me by email.

23 10 2008

I can picture you quoting Pepe LePew: “We will mek byOOOtiful muzik togezzair!”

23 10 2008

“Beautiful baby musics!!”

25 10 2008


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