Mastermix Label Manager Richard Lee explains how creating & offering a new concept can help DJs to navigate through that awkward ‘can you play a bit longer’ conversation…

We’ve all performed at events where the last note of the last song ends and is followed by a chorus of “More…More…More” by some of the guests…usually slightly worse from the effects of alcohol! DJ’s are often under-valued and being asked to play beyond an agreed time can be an awkward situation to be in. As professional DJs we are expected to be flexible and will often play on for a little while longer than has been agreed…but where does it end?

Most DJs factor in a small buffer to play a few extra tracks but how long should that be and at what point does that extra time have a value? If the party is going really well then an additional 30 minute set may be an option but that can lead to the night going on longer than you have been paid for and often extends past 30 minutes and the event doesn’t end until the last reveller has left or passed out…

I’ve performed at many events where the organiser has asked me to DJ until the early hours with a 3:00am finish being quite common for the clients I work for. I have no problem working until that time but I have on occasion found that 3:00am still isn’t long enough for some, and I’ve watched the sun rise many times whilst spinning the tunes after being requested to “carry on”. Not wanting to spoil anyone’s special day I have adhered to their request but always with a slight feeling of being compromised at being asked to provide a service beyond what has been agreed and paid for.

I’m always flexible but there has to be a cut-off point or at the very least the mention of a few extra £s in your pocket. Fortunately we have seen a positive change in the value that clients put on DJ services in recent years, and it’s important that we continue to build on this.

As more clients began to request a little overtime I decided to add to my services and created a concept called ‘After Dark‘. This was devised after a few events had ended at the agreed time but, after being asked to keep going for little longer, then went on only to fizzle out rather than end on a high.

The idea behind the ‘After Dark’ concept was to offer my clients an extra DJ set of an agreed length that featured a selection of tracks that create a unique atmosphere to continue the party without distracting from the high that had just been achieved. The music can be anything of course but I usually guide the client to a set that features lower BPM tracks without compromising the event. By changing the music to a smoother, cooler sound it allows guests to continue to enjoy the party whilst giving the DJ control to programme and play a selection of agreed tunes for an agreed time and charge a fee for this service.

By creating & offering a new concept it differentiates from the main party and the fact that you have simply agreed to play on for a while. Many DJs factor in an additional fee to cover this but I found that offering an actual concept was received much more positively.

Offering the ‘After Dark’ concept immediately alleviates the issue of whether to play on or not. It’s already been agreed and paid for so it takes away that awkwardness of clients asking you to keep going and also allows you to create an innovative play-list that takes the event to a new place musically and with it your audience…safe in the knowledge that they will understand the music you are playing and the vibe you are creating.

Since I launched this ‘After Dark’ concept I have played music themes including Chilled Dance, Urban, Soft Rock & Soul, with the latter being hugely popular especially when creating a ‘Good Groovin” vibe and including tracks from artists like Luther Vandross, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Alexander O’Neal & Jocelyn Brown. Check out the following Mastermix releases for inspiration:

There’s also a selection of recently produced tracks created for this purpose:

I have also performed, on many occasions, an ‘After Dark’ set that includes artists like Elton John, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Oasis & Beatles which was the inspiration for the recently released Classic Cuts 167: After Dark. This album includes some amazing tracks that can be used to create a stunning ‘After Dark’ set list. You can choose some of the higher BPM tracks like:

Before reducing the BPM using tracks like:

And then end the night with some chilled out tracks including:

I like to complement the above music selections with a reduced audio level and ambient lighting to create the desired effect for that part of the event. It always hits the mark with many guests complementing the music choices and has lead to numerous referrals including one client who booked me to play nothing but ‘After Dark’ style music for a large corporate event he was hosting.

Music is subjective. There are many styles of music that could be adapted to fit an ‘After Dark’ concept and cater to a clients requirements. If you can add to your music library and at the same time the services you offer then surely that has to be a good thing?

Classic Cuts 167 – After Dark

A stunning collection of cool tracks for the perfect chillout playlist. Create a unique vibe for your clients with tracks from Beatles, Elton John, Van Morrison, Eagles, Bob Dylan & Talking Heads. All tracks are digitally remastered. Un-mixed.