Hello Future Producers,
Antonio "SAT" from The Maniac Agenda here. In this post I wanted to share some useful
inside info to keep in mind when developing your mix demos to get yourself booked on
huge gigs. In addition, provide an example of the mix I used to get booked to open for
Rusko and tell my hypotheses on why it worked.
How To Develop a Mix Demo To Get You HUGE Gigs!
by SAT of The Maniac Agenda
There you are at the top of your game. You have a decent local fanbase. Your social
networks soundcloud, facebook, and twitter are off the charts. You released some tracks on beatport that did fairly well and/or even charted if not you have quality videos of you rocking the local crowds. You have the equipment you need, experience under your belt, and a awesome press kit. You are now in the perfect position to get HUGE gigs, but still have to make your mix demo
Now it is time to create your mix that is going to give the world an eargasm so you find
the hottest tracks with all the hardest hitting beats you can find. You even have that
unreleased Bassnectar track from his sister's counsin's best friend's uncle's room mate.
You take them all and stuff them in a mix. You pass it to all the big promoters, but no call
back....Why is that? Here are some tips to keep in mind when going for the HUGE gigs…
Who is The Star?
Many DJ's forget promoters shell out lots of cash (or sell lots of ummm never mind) to
pay for headliners. They do this in hopes to make a return profit so everything is themed
and designed around the headliner (or headliners) - which is probably not you (yet). Your
job is to be the PERFECT support act to get the crowd warmed up and ready to blow so
when the headliner comes on they are in frenzy.
Maniac Tip #1 don't stuff your set with Peak hour high energy tracks the whole
time save only one or two for the end the big climax so the crowd is left wanting
Maniac Tip #2 : Many promoters have a hidden "agenda" guidelines and only
want certain genres to open as to not steal the headliners thunder. If the headliner
is say Drum N Bass the promoters don't want a Drum N Bass act opening for
them so they may book a Glitch hop act. Plus this is more profitable because it
has more genres on the bill therefore appealing to more people. However some
promoters like to do themes as well.
My advice do your research: ask your friend that went to see the headliner you are
looking to open for. Find out who opened and what genre was played. If you have some
extra lunch money left over from mom go out to the show yourself, and (don't take too
many drugs or alcohol lol) take notes about the openers. Also networking is great at the show. We
once landed a big festival gig, but “Networking” will be another article.
Building Your Mix
Length – Promoters don’t have a lot of time so try to make your demo the shortest
possible that still gets the point across. I recommend 10mins-30mins max unless you are
asked specifically for more.
Sound Quality: I prefer 320 Kbps, Flac, and Waves, but do the best you can, but try not
to go below 192 Kbps MP3s unless asked other wise
Intro: This need to be attention grabbing! Have a great sample from a movie? Do you
have a Killer up lifting sounds effects or a breakdown of a track with live guitars that
sound like the end of the world is in the 2nd verse?
The intro needs to grab the listener’s attention and let them want to hear what you are
about. Please don’t start with 2 mins of kick drum Techno 12 minute mix from 1998.
Save that for the 12 hour dune rave party you are doing next week.
1st Track: The first track needs to establish a GREAT groove something listeners can’t
help but bob their head too. You ever find a song you keep tapping your foot too no
matter what? That is a good candidate. Something that is basic that can build into
something more (progressive anyone?)
Familiarity: People are habit forming creatures and enjoy things they have past
experience with and can relate too especially on the dance floor. I’m not saying go cookie
cutter, but rather try to include something the promoter and listeners both can recognize.
· Maniac Tip : For Example: In our mix, We know that Rusko gives off a goofy,
nerdy, fun image so we wanted to included something that represents that, still
stays true to what we do, but EVERYONE knows. What we did was created a
Mash up of a remix of the Star Wars Theme song and used the vocals from one of
our originals “Flooded.” BULLS EYE!
· Maniac Tip : It is cool to find some rare experimental tracks that still fit the vibe.
Mixing: Now a days this is a no brainer with technology (shout out to all my vinyl
junkies still out there – SAT still got your back our SH*# is dropping on vinyl at some
point) so now you need your mixing to be more then just playing full tracks and beat
matching a track. Use different parts of songs – have a new song drop in and then
disappear quickly – mix a vocal of a different song on another. Do something that makes
the promoter know you aren’t just hitting play (David Guetta who let you in here?)
Song Selection: RULE #1 NEVER include a song the artist you are trying to open for in
your set (a small vocal clip is fine) That is his or her job! The rare and only expectation to
this rule, but still a risk, is if you have a badass jaw dropping remix you did that would
make the headliner cry every night wishing he made it (it better be mixed and mastered).
It is a risk still because the headliner’s ego may get in the way or the promoter my not
read the track listing and know it is your remix.
· Remember: It’s not your job to up stage the headliner (He gets super
lights, half naked chicks, fire works, arrives in a helicopter) and your get one
screen and half the lights don’t try to compete - different “C” word – you want to
Compliment. But you will have your turn to shine and still have as much girls,
food, drinks, Girls, Dr#^$, GIRLS, Fun, and did I mention GIRLs as the
headliner. Don’t forget to network
(How to Network article here:
The Maniac Agenda's Official Website - Blog)
Ending/Climax: As the opener you want your mix to end in a climax just as the people’s
“experiences” are just kicking in. Make it build excitement so your can bomb them with
the biggest build up and drop your can create to make them go F%^*ing CRAZY! Then
boom you are out. It is like Michael Jordan retiring in his prime! Your favorite TV
episode ending right before you find out if the main character dies, People won’t forget
that. Neither will the headliner or the promoter listening to your demo.
Final note: When going for Huge gigs a one size fits all method does not work. Although
you may have a great Demo to get booked for Bassnectar, Rob Swire may think your mix
isn’t has too much modern talking and pass on you. So do your research.
That's all the tips I have for now.
Remember this isn’t the only way to do things. This
was the way that works for me so if you have any suggestions, questions, or advice that
has worked for you in the past please post below
Now get out there and become a Superstar DJ. Just give make sure you book me to open
for you and give me 10 percent for the advice. :-P
As an example for you here is the DJ set Mix demo I used that got me booked to open for Rusko:
Download it Here: Download
or Stream it here:
S.A.T. of The Maniac Agenda
P.S. Finally, We have a free production pack we are giving out for free - follow the link in my signature to get it
About the Author:
Antonio “S.A.T.” Gonzalez graduated from Rowan University with a B.A. in Public
Relations and is currently the manager and co-owner of Maniacmusic.net Record label.
He is a professional record producer and member of The Maniac Agenda
1. Peaked #50 on Itunes Electronic sales Charts with Louder Than Words (Maniac All-
Stars Remix) of Celldweller
2. Releases on EMI UK, Red Bull Records, FIXT Records, and Concord Music Group
3. Performances at Camp Bisco 8, The Big Up, and Freedom of Expression Music Festivals
alongside: Nas, Pretty Lights, STS9, KJ Sawka (of Pendulum), The Disco Biscuits, Kill The
Noise & Rusko
4. Crowned the "Next great producer" by VH1 on "The Score"
5. Graced the Top 3 on Reverbnation's National Hottest Electronic Chart
6. Currently ranked 3rd in the Philadelphia Electronic genre on Reverbnation.
7. Winner of 11 National and International Remix Contests