Top Tips For Open Format DJs

June 20, 2023
Written by
Tayylor Made
Top Tips For Open Format DJs

Top 5 Set Prep Tips for Open-Format DJs

Open format DJs are DJs who mix between different genres within the same DJ set. They often play more commercial venues where you need to play a mix of RnB, Hip-Hop, Dance music and pop. It can be hard to perform an open-format DJ set but the reward can be some well paid DJ gigs. As you have to know how to mix many genres together seamlessly you'll need to skill up and spend some time preparing your set, considering your audience and reacting to the crowd.

If you'd like to learn how to mix an open-format DJ set and get work as a commercial DJ join our one-to-one DJ courses either in the UK or online.

Click here to find out more about making money from open-format DJing.

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1. Consider your audience

While it is great to have a wide range of genres in your arsenal for an open-format DJ set, you still need to select the genres you mix during your set based on the vibe of the crowd. An open-format DJ set for a crowd more in to popular music may include, hip hop, rnb, pop and dance music whereas a more underground crowd may enjoy a set that includes house/techno, UK garage, jungle and/or drum and bass.

2. Consider the arc of your set

While some genres like pop, hip hop and rnb can exist throughout the entire bpm range, other genres like house (115-130 bpm) and techno (~120-150 bpm) or drum and bass (160-180 bpm) occupy a much more limited range. Consider at what point in your set you may want to play your limited bpm range genres and mould the rest of your set and genres around that.

Click here to find out more about different genres and their BPM range.

3. Remember the half-time/double-time principle

Don’t forget that bpms at half-time or double-time can match. For example, you could mix a 120 bpm house song into a 60 bpm hip hop song. This principle can help you easily jump between different bpm ranges and genres. You can also use bridging tracks that have a tempo change within them. Check out DJCity for a ranging of bpm bridging tracks.

4. Be careful of moving between too many genres too quickly

Pacing is everything. As always, read the crowd and their energy level. The average crowd will likely respond better to a more gradual transition between genres. Meaning, aim to create a vibe using several songs in one genre before transitioning to another.

5. Start to pinpoint some transition songs that work really well in between genres

When blending genres, consider what songs can help you move into a new genre seamlessly. For example, if mixing from hip hop into jungle, perhaps the first jungle song you play is a remix of a popular hip hop song and you can use this song to move from hip hop fully into the jungle section of your set. Or a pop song with house elements in the instrumental could lead in well to the house section of your set.


Lastly, once you have learnt how to DJ as an open-format DJ you'll need to find paid DJ work. Consider applying to join EPIC, London's trusted DJ agency providing open-format DJs for weddings, parties, events and venues in London.

If you would like one-to-one open-format DJ training with the author of this piece please contact us.

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