Any current or former DJs out there?

I've just started Tango DJing.

At the moment just using a pre-prepared playlist but planning on using specialist DJ software. As I am on Linux it is Mixxx software.
Tracktor is good but I don't think it has a Linux offering, I haven't used xwax (which is GNU) but it looks OK.
And I must point out that you ain't no DJ without turntables and vinyl, bruv. Brrraaapp, Brrraaaapppp.
I used to be a DJ in a former life - house music and all night raves on the beach. Those were the days.

Are you talking just about creating re-prepared playlists and staying with that or moving up to live performing? If live performing then I would highly recommend the Pioneer DDJ-SB2 - which comes with Serato software.]

I also use the excellent MixMeister as well, which is for pre-prepared mixes.
I have only done it twice so far with a pre-prepared playlist for an hour each time. But I pretended that I was upto something by staring at the screen and moving the mouse about. Working upto the standard four hour sets.

It has to be a live set apparently to get the street cred to manage the "mood and energy" of the moment. Basically getting people dancing and keeping them dancing by not killing the energy. Still not sure what all of that means.

I'll be using MP3 files.

It seems there is a whole new jargon I have to pick up.
As long as the mp3s are 192kbs or above, I'd be amazed if anyone will notice, and WAVs will take up an enormous amount of room.

I DJ casually, either from vinyl (which I massively prefer) or from mp3 if I need to use a simpler set-up or take a more populist approach. When doing the latter I use Mixxxx too, and an audio interface so I can monitor and sync using headphones.

For me, DJing is all about knowing your audience and responding to the context. I did a friend's wedding last weekend and although he'd said I could play anything funky, I figured many of the guests would want to hear stuff they already knew. So I switched between more obscure Northern Soul and Motown everybody knows, between Nigerian funk and James Brown, Chic and unknown but choice disco cuts. This is the advantage of mp3: you can turn up with a gargantuan back catalogue, making it easier to adjust in response to audience reaction. It seemed to work well.

When I play after gigs, at aftershows, parties full if musos, etc, I just play whatever I think will work next, worrying less about the populist punter.i suspect that the large-scale consumption of stimulants makes an audience more open to the "journey" but I don't suppose that happens so much amongst the tango crowd :p The most fun I ever had DJing was at an NYE event where I was expecting to have to roll out the smash hits but instead chanced upon a strangely wide-eyed audience who were extremely receptive to some very heavy and deep house by 1am :D

A little bit of musical knowledge - keys, tempos, rhythms - seems to help me a lot but I suppose this is something you can just "feel" too.

Have fun!
I specialise in 1935 - 1955 Argentine tango music. So most of it was recorded onto 78rpm and then somehow came my way by a variety of means.

No stimulants except for coffee and tea. Dancers don't drink. That is why they get kicked out of pub rooms and hotels.
Tango DJing has a very set internationally accepted structure amongst purists.

There are "nuevo" people but I don't get involved. Sort of like Trots. The music has to be 1930 - 1960 probably narrower. Oh most non-Tango people will probably name "Piazzolla" but Tango people will walk off if Piazzolla comes on.

There are three types of Tango - Tango, Vals (Waltz) and Milonga (a bit like Merengue). The "tracks" are all 3-4 minutes.

So the standard format is 4T C 4T C 3V C 4T C 4T C 3M

"C" is a Cortina or Curtain. It is 30-60 secs of non tango music to signify that the "Tanda" or group of 3 or 4 songs is over and please clear the floor. Couples dance for a Tanda and break away during the Cortina and match up again by way of Mirada (locking of eyes) and Cabeceo (nods and winks). No talking allowed in the form of "Would you like to dance?"

The Cortinas tend to be pop music or salsa etc. If the music is very danceable then some dance and don't clear the floor for the next tanda to start.

Here is a Tango Tanda

But the dates are too wide for a single tanda purists. Has to be close dates and the same singer.

Here is a Vals Tanda

Again mixed bands in a tanda so might get sniggered at. depending on the crowd.

Here is a Milonga Tanda

Tanda of the week 40-2012: Juan D'Arienzo (milonga)

So just as anal as wine with purists coming out of the woodwork.
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I've always been rather surprised by the idea of there being a special person to play other people's gramophone records.

Yes strange indeed. But somebody has to create the music structure to cover several hours.

Maybe there should be a jukebox?

I'm in two minds anyway of doing it as I'd rather dance than fiddle with my laptop.
I'd be very interested in listening to some 1935-55 Argentinian Tango, Warren. Where shall I start?

Well I've discovered that my current favourite Tango song misses the deadline and was a 1958. So I'm now a 1938 to 1958 Argentine Tango specialist.

This is it

"Yo tengo un pecado nuevo (que quiero estrenar con tigo)"

The Finnam Foto Photography and Jani Keinänen channels will show the music in context

Nothing at all like Strictly Come Dancing.

A 3'40" playlist in the official structure is here

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Now you know why I specialise in out of copyright stuff. ;-)

I'll have to wind up the tango DJ fraternity. Searched for a few names and not one is on there - even those playing modern music.
Have you ever been to Argentina, Warren?

Yes. But many decades before I danced Tango.

The thing is Argentine Tango in Argentina is all a bit artificial and historical though it is growing as people see it as their unique culture. Only 5% of Argentines have ever danced Tango. Unlike Salsa in Colombia, Cuba etc. where 95% of the population dance Salsa.

It was banned by the Military Junta in the 50s on the grounds that it was easy to whisper in a close embrace and only got going again in the 1990s.

So a whole generation regarded Tango as something an aunt or uncle did. Now in Argentina tourist tango os booming. Lots of classes and shows for foreign tango tourists coming to Mecca. And plenty of male Taxi Dancers ready to dance with single American woman.

Taxi dancer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lots of the current star Argentine performers learnt to dance in London, Berlin and New York, went back to Buenos Aires to get Mecca Credibility. Then they come back to Europe as travelling stars.

So I might go back to Argentina to dance tango in "situ". But perhaps not. There are authentic local places there that don't welcome tourists. But the majority are tourist traps and crass.
It means you should interact with the crowd by selecting the music as you go instead of relying on a prepared playlist.

Use wavs if you can, they will sound better on all but the most basic of sound systems.

Easy to tell by an emptying floor what the crowd does not like. More difficult to tell given a diverse crowd what the floor will like. If the DJ has to go with the crowd's tastes, as he indeed should if he wants another gig, then surely a DJ just becomes Mr Everyman? And then surely better to have a fully thought through and well-balanced pre-prepared playlist?