Category: Music Programming

DJ Beats: Summer Playlists

Mastermix have created a range of Summer collections including 4 albums compiled from the hugely-popular DJ Beats range. Each track is a proven floorfiller with added intro & outro beats making mixing even easier and allowing DJs to create unique & innovative Summer playlists.


Top Ten Mobile DJ Tropical House Floorfillers

Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee lists his top ten Tropical House floorfillers!

Brilliant track that has everything…great riff…awesome chorus…and that drop is quite nice too!

One of my absolute favourite Tropical House anthems. A beautiful song that sounds even better in the sunshine!


The Mobile DJ’s Guide to Tropical House

Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee takes a look at the cooler side of dance…

As DJs we are expected to keep up with current music trends and one in particular really has captured my interest…Tropical House! If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be playing cool dance music I would have laughed in their face but that’s exactly what has happened. I don’t specialise in it, nor do I play it all night, but I now almost always include it as part of my DJ sets.


Top Ten Reggaeton Floorfillers for Mobile DJs

Reggaeton is a style of music featuring Latin & Caribbean vibes with a strong Hip Hop influence. This genre of music has been around since the 90s when it became huge in countries including Puerto Rico, Cuba & Columbia. Its popularity continued to grow across Latin American countries before exploding globally.

Here’s a quick reference of the top Reggaeton tracks for a mobile DJ to play, that will guarantee to fill the dancefloor!


A Mobile DJ’s Guide to Reggaeton

Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee gives the lowdown on the music genre that is Reggaeton

I’m asked on a regular basis by DJs to help them with certain styles of music and one that has been mentioned quite a lot recently is Reggaeton. Now I’m no expert…far from it…but I have taken the time to research this music style and found that I knew more tracks & artists than I first thought. It’s allowed me to create a range of mixes & collections both for Mastermix & for personal use on my DJ events.


TOP TEN MOBILE DJ 00S URBAN FLOORFILLERS

Mastermix DJ Dave Evans takes us back to the Old School – for some of us anyway!

As a DJ you sometimes get asked for “Old School RnB” or “Throwback Anthems”. But what is Old School nowadays? For people of my age (47, don’t remind me) it could be dipping back in to the 80’s for the likes of Jocelyn Brown or Luther Vandross or even some classic 90’s such as Mark Morrison or TLC.

But to your younger crowd, a ‘throwback’ could be something from 10 years ago. Considering that we are one year away from the new Roaring Twenties this blog is going to look back at 10 urban tracks from the 00s that still provoke a big reaction today, even when some are nearly 20 years old.

Instant hook with the strings, uplifting intro and smooth vocals. This record is one that you will hear a least once a night if you are out regardless if it was an Urban night or just a commercial venue. Great R’n’B record which spent nearly half a year in the charts. It seems strange though that he only had one other minor hit in 2004 and hasn’t been in the charts since. But at least he charted, unlike…

  • Serani – No Games

Released in 2009, this record has never been in the UK top 75, yet it is one of the most well-known urban records of the decade and one that is certain to fill any floor. A true “sleeper” track with a distinctive intro and smooth dancehall appeal, No Games is a great record.

Alongside Turn Me On, this record is 16 years old in 2019, unlike Kevin Lyttle, Beyoncé announced her departure from Destiny’s Child with a horn filled stomper of an anthem designed to make you strut onto the dancefloor and show the world just how fabulous you are. The only down point to this
track, for me, is the Jay-Z rap section which slows the track down a little but, taking that aside, Crazy In Love is a track which will always get reaction (unlike Single Ladies which is sounding dated now)

The song is too long, it has no real outro point to cut it down if you want to mix out of it early and it isn’t even Usher’s best song (U Remind Me). But, Yeah! Is his biggest hit and one that has stood the test of time with regards to filling a floor. A shorter version or one with a break in the middle would
make it better for DJ’s to work with but, as long as it makes people dance, I’ll keep playing it.

After 2 minor hits in the UK and as the first track released from their 3rd album. Where Is The Love exploded onto the scene and went straight to No.1 across the world with its message of peace and love that still resonates today. An end of night anthem certain to make people throw their hands up at the chorus and one for the ages.

Moving from the harder edge of Gimme The Light to a more commercial style of dancehall Sean-A-Paul found the formula to success and this track, along with Get Busy or Like Glue, will still work 13 years after it was first released and is one of the most requested records I get asked when working.

No list of 00’s Urban anthems would be complete without Mary J Blige and this string inspired anthem still holds up as a pure hip hop/soul fusion that tells you what to do. When she says “get you’re a** on the dancefloor” then you have to obey the queen.

This could have been “In Da Club” and if I was working a commercial venue then I would be more likely to play that than Candy Shop, but if you were doing a night more dedicated to urban music then Candy Shop would be the de-facto choice for a 50 Cent track. Heavy driving bass and powerful suggestive lyrics makes this a track for couples to “enjoy”.

“OH!” and with that vocal we are off on a 3:47 masterpiece of r’n’b dance music. A catchy chorus designed to evoke loud voices, and also the occasional shirt off combined with a funky back beat makes Hot In Herre a record that will ignite a dancefloor when dropped. Even though Dilemma was a bigger hit, this record still has the bigger crowd appeal

By the time Without Me was released, Eminem was already established as one of the most successful rappers in the world. Without Me managed to combine the lyrical fun of Real Slim Shady with a more commercial beat giving him his 3rd UK No.1, and a song that still works in both a commercial venue and a more specialised night with its bouncy chorus and strong lyrics.

In compiling this there are so many artists such as Rihanna, Notorious B.I.G, Missy Elliot, Akon and others that could quite easily have made the list. But this blog should give you a guide to tracks that for me, still fill a floor in 2019.

Where possible I’ve linked to the DJ Beats version of each track mentioned. With added 8 bar intro and outro beats, it makes live mixing seamless!

Need some more bursts of floorfilling inspiration? Check out our Top Tens for 90s Dance, 80s and Soul & Motown!

The Best Of Mashed Up!

The ultimate collection of Old School Mash Ups taking you back through the decades with a classic Mastermix twist! 30 exclusive 2-track mixes including Freaks vs. Flo Rida, Eminem vs. Batman, Shapeshifters vs. Usher, James Brown vs. Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk vs. Indeep, Black Eyed Peas vs. Natalie Imbruglia, Eminem vs. M and loads more.


The Ultimate Guide to an 80s Theme Night

Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee presents the ultimate guide to programming the music selection for an 80s theme night!

Introduction

If I had to pick one theme night that I really enjoy programming music for above all others it would have to be the 80s! It’s my most loved decade and includes many of my favourite songs of all time. It’s was such a wonderful era for music with so many tracks standing the test of time to this day. Whilst other theme nights fall in & out of favour, 80s music continues to grow in popularity and with it the 80s theme night.


10 Mobile DJ 80s Floorfillers

Do you need a burst of inspiration for a few 80s floorfillers to drop into tonight’s set? Here’s some suggestions from Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee

Wham! – I’m Your Man

This 1985 UK number one is a guaranteed floorfiller. It’s a brilliant pop track that appeals to everyone! An almost perfect pop track from start to finish!

Erasure – A Little Respect

When an act has such a large & impressive back catalogue it’s often difficult to pick one track but this one stands out head & shoulders and is always well-received when played.

Spandau Ballet – Gold

This 1983 gem is a perfect Main Party or End Of Night track and is always accompanied by a sing-a-long among the audience. The steady intro builds before kicking in to the upbeat section and complete audience euphoria.

Madness – It Must Be Love

So many great tracks to choose from but it is this 1981 classic that is included in our Top 10. A unique band who’s appeal has spanned over 40 years and shows no sign of letting up anytime soon!

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

The essential 80s song! If one track defined the decade it’s this one! It is simply perfect in every way!

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Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

From the opening guitar riff, through the verse to the chorus…it has everything! Stick it on and let the audience do the rest!

Bryan Adams – Summer Of 69

Turn the volume up a little higher to maximize on the intro to this pop rock classic that failed to hit the UK Top 40 but has become one of the decades most loved tracks!

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen

The best selling record of 1982 has, unfairly, been tagged as a novelty track by many DJs but this one is a must-play for any 80s set. Unique, innovative and that chorus…not to mention the slow section that builds back up to the crescendo…boom!

Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam

Often overlooked as an 80s track but this 1989 classic always hits the spot and allows other 80s dance hits to follow including ‘Ride On Time’ & ‘The Only Way Is Up’.

Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)

That one song that ensures a full dancefloor…usually dancing around a large pile of handbags! It’s the ultimate 80s pop floorfiller!

More inspiration of floorfillers can be found in our Top Tens of classic 90s Dance and Soul and Motown tracks!


Top Ten Mobile DJ 90s Dance Floorfillers

Mastermix DJ Dave Evans takes us on a trip down memory lane into the world of 90s Dance…

Ah. The 90’s, The end of the Soviet Bloc, Dolly the sheep, New Labour rising to power, heartbreak at Euro 96 (Football’s still coming home, it’s just taking the long way round), Trainspotting and much much more.

But what about the music? Acid house was still around at the start but the emergence of Jungle, Speed Garage and Drum n Bass spread the world of dance music into faster BPMs. Britpop exploded onto the scene with the likes of Oasis and Blur but the biggest hit of the 90’s was the emergence of “Girl Power” with the Spice Girls spending 800 weeks (or so it seemed) at number 1 with their debut single “Wannabe”. Across the pond groups like N’Sync, New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys dominated the mid 90’s before Britney and Christina shook off the shackles of the Mickey Mouse club and burst onto the scene at the end of the decade.

But what records do you still play from the 90’s that are certain dance anthems which people still love to jump onto the floor to. In no order, any of these would get a good reaction if you were asked to play some 90s Dance!

Come on admit it, just reading the title already has you doing the intro in your head. Infectious beat. Some partisans would say DJs Take Control is the better track but you can play this anywhere and someone will try to shuffle to it. This should have been Number 1 instead of Deeply Dippy.

Get this one out of the way early. When Robin Stone first released this track (Montego Mix, big hints of Jocelyn Brown to it) in 1990 there was no indication that it would become one of the most successful and remixed dance records of all time. Whether you go for the classic Stonebridge mix or one of the 100’s of remixes of it, you can find a version for virtually any genre. One that will never die.

  • N-Trance – Set You Free

Hands in the air! While it may not have had the commercial success of Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy, this rave anthem has certainly outlived its rival on the dancefloor. With its uplifting vocal intro and big beats, this track is a sure-fire winner for the dancefloor.

Yes, not Dreamer. For me this is the better record, its more tighter and compact to use plus it has a better outro point if you don’t wish to use the entire track. Dreamer is an anthem but lingers a bit too long for me. A good alternative to have from the same group.

Released in 1990, this is my joint single of the decade along with Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy. Its everything a dance record should be, great vibe, funky beats, sing-a-long vocals, Bootsy Collins and it makes you smile. What more could you want from a dance song.

For me, this and the next track sum up the mid 90’s dance scene. The Balearic scene was really blowing up commercially and this track captures more of the fluid side of the dance floor. Instead of being an “hands up” (see the next track) belter, The Nightcrawlers gently ease you onto the floor without you knowing it and will not let you go till its finished………….

Whereas in comparison, The Original comes screeching out of the speakers within the first 5 seconds, hits the strings and picks you up by the hands throwing you onto the floor. A true house record with an almost gospel chorus to it. This records still sounds fresh even 24 years after it was first released (I now feel old).

Taking away the “are they a pop or dance band” debate (they had Hacienda’s Mick Pickering, they are a dance group), M People made some brilliant records. Elegant Slumming contained some cultured tracks and none more than Moving On Up. Heather Small’s vocal is instantly recognisable and the horns are crisp. This may be one more for the over 30s than the teen market nowadays but it is a certain 90s dance floorfiller for those who know it.

I have one DJ bucket list item; To play Insomnia at St Pauls Cathedral in the dark with a laser show. But for a dance anthem, this record is a bit of an oddity, the first minute you can’t really use as it has no beat. The main verse is quite slow but…….
THAT DROP
Nothing else needs saying.

Is this a 90s dance record or cheese? Depends how you look at it. Up and Down was a dance record and in Europe the Vengaboys are treated as a dance group so it goes in the list. Don’t believe me that it’s a dance tune? Put it on, watch your audience and tell me after that it isn’t.

It’s hard to pick out 10 from a decade where there was so many great dance records but hopefully this list is a sure fire quick win crib list.

Now where are my glow sticks, I’ve got a Vengabus to catch to get to an S Club Party…

The 100 Collection: 90s – BRAND NEW

This premium collection contains the biggest hits of a chosen genre in one DJ friendly package. Each collection features a Warm Up, Main Party & End Of Night section that includes the right balance of songs for the perfect night.

Where possible in this article, I’ve linked to the DJ Beats version of the track, so you can get creative with your mixing!

90s Dance DJ Beats

For the full set of 90s Dance DJ Beats, check out the Collection!

50 classic 90s Dance tunes with added 8 bar intro and outro beats, for a bargain price!

The collection includes tracks from Adamski, Brainbug, Da Hool, Chad Jackson, JX, Nightcrawlers, Run DMC, Strike, Wamdue Project and loads more.

90 Dance 12″ Versions

Indulge yourself in some classic extended 90s tracks with Classic Cuts 111!

The 12″ versions of 19 of the biggest hits of the decade, including Fat Boy Slim, Happy Mondays, Shamen, Soup Dragons and Electronic!


The Christmas Party Set List

Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee takes a look at Christmas Parties past and present!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Unless you are The Grinch there can’t be many who don’t look forward to Christmas. As a father of 2 young sons, who are at that age where the magic of Christmas is at the highest level, the festive season delivers an abundance of happiness and a life-time of memories but as a DJ it can be a different story! For many DJs it is the Christmas Party season that ensures a full diary and a healthy bank account…but at what price?

For many DJs it will be a residency that will be their place of home for the festive period which often means working most weekends, mid-week nights and some afternoons too…not to mention New Years Eve! Christmas Party Nights can start as early as mid-November and have been know to carry on into the New Year to meet the high-demand of customers. It’s one thing playing festive songs throughout December and another on a cold, wet night in January!

In the late 90s I remember being the resident DJ for all the Christmas Party Nights at one of the large hotels in the city. I performed there for several years including all their Christmas Party Nights which usually amounted to 20 dates. The most events I ever did in one month was December 1999 when I performed 32 events at that hotel. This included the usual Friday & Saturday nights plus mid-week events and those afternoon parties that, if truth be told, never quite got going!

One of the challenges I faced then is a challenge I still face to this day and I’m sure so do many other DJs…how do you retain your sanity whilst having to play the same songs over & over again!

As with most events a Christmas Party can be split into sections which allows a DJ to programme music for each one. From early evening music as guests arrive to music for dinner, party intro set, main party set & end of night songs. Technology has advanced with many DJs using digital content for their events. Play-out software allows DJs to create playlists with ease and it is this has helped to alleviate the tedium that can come from playing & hearing the same songs throughout a busy December.

I have always advocated the importance of music programming over anything else. Of course sound, light & decorations in the room are essential but ultimately it is the music that gets people on the dancefloor and what you play as a DJ will be remembered long after all the balloons have been popped & the last piece of tinsel has been ripped from the ceiling.

Creating playlists for each section of an event is part of the fun and when done right can often ensure that you stand out from the competition. Guests don’t always need to be dancing to react to the music played. I have had many guests compliment me on the music selections during dinner which helps create a bond and to build the atmosphere ahead of the main party. There is no set rule as to what to play & when to play it. It is down to our skills as a DJ to observe each audience and cater the music accordingly.

As guests arrive I often use a selection of festive tracks to ensure the Christmas mood is evident as they arrive in the room. Grandmaster Warm Up: Christmas features a selection of Easy Listening & Swing classics from artists including Dean Martin, Brenda Lee, Frank Sinatra & Michael Buble with the latter allowing a transition from classic to modern Swing if I choose to continue with that style of music. Whilst some DJs like to play mixes like Grandmasters there are others who prefer to play or mix the tracks themselves and products like Classic Cuts 137 – Smooth Christmas feature individual tracks from artists like Lady Antebellum, Pussycat Dolls & Christina Perri that offer alternate festive tracks to add to your set. Classic Cuts 138 – Modern Christmas features artists like Justin Beiber, Cee-Lo Green, McFly, Girls Aloud, Kylie & Destiny’s Child all of whom are perfect to create a festive vibe but with modern twist! You can choose to stick to the same playlist each night or move things around to suit different audiences & age-groups. There is nothing in the rules that states you have to play festive music all night and I have on occasion being asked to play something other than Christmas music as guests arrive and also throughout dinner. The Good Groovin’ Grandmaster range never fails to hit the spot with other favourites including Grandmaster Swing Party & the Grandmaster Warm Up mixes all of which offer an excellent option as alternate music choices. Whatever you choose to play as guests arrive it shouldn’t be under-estimated how important this music is. It sets the scene for the rest of the night allowing each section of the night to compliment the one before.

I apply the same principal to the music played during dinner. Again there is no set rule as what to play but careful music programming can make the difference. Once again Mastermix has plenty of options. Grandmaster Christmas features all the big hits and builds in pace throughout the mix. Individual tracks can be found on products like Classic Cuts 153 – Christmas Cuts and for a more gentle pace I often favour Music For Food: Christmas all of which compliment the other tracks that I program as part of this section. I like to create playlists for dinner that remain as background music but aren’t boring. The days of sticking on any old Christmas compilation are long behind me and I like to create innovative playlists that my guests enjoy whilst they tuck in to their Prawn Cocktail or Soup followed by the standard Turkey dinner with all the trimmings and finished off with a festive pudding – leaving many with full stomachs and no intention of moving anywhere for the foreseeable future…until the main party kicks off!

I watch the room carefully as dinner service comes to an end. Taking the music up in tempo and adding a few more of the bigger festive hits to build the atmosphere in the room. I have played at some venues in the past where some tables have finished eating whilst others are still on their starters. I’m sure things have moved on since but it may still happen somewhere and if it does it can make for an interesting situation for a DJ. Selecting music that appeases all guests isn’t easy. I personally like to stick with the festive tracks and add a few crowd pleasers like Last Christmas‘, ‘Mary’s Boy Child&Christmas Wrappingall of which pick up the pace and often attract early revellers to the dance floor.

When it’s finally time to move in to the main party set I like to play an opening track that signals the night is changing from background music and that it’s time for guests to get their dancing shoes on! I favour the Dean Martin classic Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!. It’s an iconic song that sets the scene perfectly and allows me to make a general welcome along with any additional announcements before heading in to the main party set.

The main party often throws up music selections of all kinds and no two nights are ever the same for this section of the party. There will be many songs that will be played on each night of course but I’m always amazed at the variety of music that is requested. As a DJ we have the unenviable task of not only trying to play them all but in an order that keeps everyone happy. I usual start my set with some current hits before mixing up the big floorfillers from every decade making sure to include a few more Christmas anthems like Merry Xmas Everybodyby Slade & my personal festive favourite Merry Christmas Everyoneby Shakin’ Stevens. I find the DJ Beats range to be invaluable for creating innovative sets. The collection has all the big hits and with the bonus of added intro & outro beats it allows me to mix seamlessly from track to track, decade to decade and cut in & out of tracks with ease to ensure all, or at the very least most, of the requests are played…the guy requesting Iron Maiden is probably going to be disappointed!

Of course, the whole evening won’t be filled with non-stop Christmas tracks… even the most ardent of festive fans might get a little green at that idea, so as well as playing the current big chart hits, I like to dip into the collection of failsafe mixes from the Christmas Collection and Christmas Party ranges. These albums are the perfect resource for Christmas parties, containing a variety of mixes to suit all times of the evening and featuring both festive and non-Christmas themed tracks!

Another good resource if you’re looking for mixes are the Deleted Classics Christmas and New Year albums! From the Mastermix archives, these are mixes that have really stood the test of time and can guarantee a full dancefloor if played at the right time!

The end of the night usually concludes with Mariah Carey –All I Want For Christmas Is Youand as the song fades, and the house lights come up, it would be rude not to leave the guests with the greatest Christmas song ever –Fairytale Of New Yorkby the Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl…pure magic! Both of these tracks could easily be played at any other time during the night and that is the great thing about music and our skills as DJs to know when the best time to play a song is.

The Christmas Party is a strange animal and one that some DJs struggle to tame but with a little preparation, some careful music programming, and a fair bit of tolerance you’ll find that its bark is worse than its bite – Happy Christmas everyone!