The Impact Of Requests On A Dance Party

Often overlooked, but not to be ignored, is the subject of requests and how to handle them. Having this conversation with your DJ is essential, so that clear expectations have been set and there’s a plan in place. When your big day arrives, you want to party and enjoy yourselves; you don’t want an unhappy guest chewing your ear off about how the DJ hasn’t played his request yet. Not to be party poopers, but rarely if ever have we seen a request ‘blow the roof’ of a party. More often than not, it’s a song that holds a special memory for only a very select group of guests and that can be great if timed properly. However, if your goal is to keep everyone dancing then playing the request is going to clear the dance floor quicker than announcing that the bar is closing. We’ve all been to one of those parties. No further explanation required.

If you’re in the ‘No Requests’ camp, let your DJ know. At Vinyl Countdown, we work as a pair at events. The role of the non-DJ is to interact with guests, while the DJ focuses on rocking the dance floor. It’s surprising how well guests respond when a polite Englishman tells them that he’s really sorry, but the hosts have given us a strict no request policy. The key here is having a clear expectation.

In contrast, having an open request policy is absolutely fine, but talk it through with your DJ before making a final decision. In no way are we suggesting that requests are not option, but it’s important to consider their effect on the flow of a dance party. The DJ’s role is to read the crowd and play the right music at the right time to keep the dance floor filled. He/she builds chemistry and trust with the crowd, whose feet and body language do the talking. They’ll quickly let us know if the song isn’t working and it’s time to quick mix in a new song. Quite simply, the DJ and the crowd become inter-connected, they feed off each other’s energy.

Now let’s drop requests into the mix. If the DJ is currently playing songs in the 90-100 BPM (beats per minute) range and a guest requests a song with a BPM of 80 or 125, two things are going to happen. Firstly, the tempo of the music will noticeably change and the blend (the seamless transition between songs) will be less than smooth. Beat matching two songs with a large BPM difference is not easy and won’t sound great. The DJ may even cover the transition with an effect (air horn, laser etc.) or just stop the track that’s playing and start the new one. How will your guests react? No simple answer here. Worst-case scenario. The dance floor empties because the song is a vibe-killer. Best-case scenario, everyone stops for a second and then adjusts to the new song, but either way the flow and energy of the dance party will have been interrupted. If the requests come thick and fast then this scenario will repeat itself over and over again. Spare a quick thought for the DJ who has to field multiple requests, the more time they spend talking, the less time they spend focused on the music.