Coming from a bass music background, and only having gotten into electronic music in 2010, my experience with extended sets is admittedly limited. The longest I’ve ever seen a bass DJ play has been 3 hours, and that’s always just Andy C – often, DJs will max out at the 2 hour mark.
However, veteran DJs, and those in the house/techno/trance realm, are much more used to the concept of an extended or open-to-close set, sets that can go anywhere from four to twelve hours. These sets are more of an opportunity for storytelling, and less about dropping banger after banger. It’s an art in keeping the crowd’s attention long after they’ve become exhausted.
Chad Cisneros, one half of the popular duo Tritonal, recently posted on Facebook about an apparent growing trend of DJs “who have lost hype and momentum and all of a sudden” having “this burning passion to play 5-10 hour sets” mostly as a marketing ploy. And Chad was insistent on that last point being salient – that not all extended sets are wrong, but that he’s seen a recent uptick in the amount of DJs who do it just to eke a little more out of their ticket sales.
It’s important to note that this was posted on Chad’s personal account, so this is not a sanctioned or endorsed Tritonal statement, in the official sense. It’s more the musings of an artist on the larger scale of marketing and relevance.
In a surprising turn of events, Dave Dresden of Gabriel & Dresden actually entered the conversation and the two began to hash out their ideas in the open, with only the goal of understanding each other in the end. In another part of the comments not captured below, Chad states, “maybe this is something that will interest me more later. I can def see how it could be cool playing real progressive house, minimal or techno. Anything big room for that long is mind numbing.”
Max Graham, another popular DJ, also hopped into the conversation to add his own two cents, though he seemed to focus on only the part of Chad’s argument that would support his own.
Now, rather than use our platform to crucify Cisneros and his admittedly completely acceptable opinion, it would be a better use of our platform, and my own time, to talk about what other DJs might think.
For instance, in our last interview with Oliver Heldens, he mentioned how he thought festival sets should be universally longer. He definitely doesn’t think that every DJ should do a marathon set; he thinks a hour and a half would be sufficient. But at the same time, he isn’t advocating for essentially unending sets, either.
There has to be a happy medium, where producers can play their heart out in a succinct way, without it seeming like seven hours in they’re just struggling to keep going with whatever music they can beat match. Perhaps some DJs are capable of 10 hour sets, most won’t be. But really, if people are paying to see those sets and they’re genuinely interested in standing in a room for 6+ hours while they’re taken on a journey, then so be it.
If you’d like to check out the full thread from Chad, which has since been deleted, you can do so here. [Credit to Keith Wozniak for the screengrab.]
H/T EDM Sauce