has been added to your cart.
View cart

The Art of the Warm Up: Danny Rhys

The warm up set is often overlooked by many, but is just as important as the headline acts in creating parties that people remember for a long time. This is where the pace is set and your audience are first introduced to the dancefloor. It's an art form in it's self and Toolroom's Danny Rhys shares his top tips on how to nail the perfect warm up set.

First Impressions

As a Warm Up DJ, your audience are likely to have just arrived at the venue. They could potentially have been queueing up for a while waiting to get in, or possibly may not have had a drink yet. What you’re playing is so important as it will be the first impression they get when entering the venue. You need to make sure it’s ‘inviting’ for them to come in and they aren’t put off instantly because you’re playing a track that’s too hard.

Track Selection

Track Selection is going to be vital in a good warm up set. It’s important to look into the event and the type of audience that attend beforehand so you can get an idea of the kind of sound the night is likely to have. You can also look at what other DJ’s are playing on the night and do some research into what kind of sound they play.


Be Observant

I can’t stress the importance of making sure you regularly look around the room to see how people are reacting to the music you’re playing. You can use them as a guide for what to play next and the direction you head in. If they seem to be enjoying a particular sound, then you might want to continue going with that. However, if the music isn’t getting a good response or people are losing interest, you may need to change things up and try something different.

Start Slow

Generally, it’s a good idea to start at a slower tempo to begin with. This will help make it more inviting to those who are just arriving at the venue. No one wants to walk straight in to you hammering techno out at 130bpm (Unless it’s a super heavy techno event of course). You can always speed things up as you go if you feel the vibe in the room is ready for that.


Keep An Eye On The Staff

Staff in the venue can be a useful tool to you as a DJ. These people are likely to always be in the venue when it is open so will have a good understanding of the vibe it usually has. During the first hour or so, it’s likely to be a little quieter so the bar staff may not always be serving people drinks. If you see them bopping their head then this could be a good sign that you are doing a good job.

Never Plan Your Set Out In Full

With a warm up set, the possibilities of what could happen are endless, therefore, you can’t be sure as to what direction you might need to go in during your set. You need the flexibility to be able to adapt to what’s happening in front of you on the dancefloor. If you plan your set out in full, you won’t be able to do this as you would only have the tracks you chose prior to arriving at the event. If these aren’t working then you could find yourself in a bit of trouble as these are all you have planned to play.

Check Your Levels

Remember to regularly check your levels throughout your set, it’s important to not have the sound too loud or too quiet. Regularly turn off the booth monitors and assess what the sound is like on the dancefloor. You can often get a false sense of the volume when you have your booth monitors turned up. You want to avoid it being too loud as this could put people off as they enter.

Lose The Ego

With a warm up set, it’s VITAL that you play music to suit the room and not just play the tracks you like personally. Your job is to encourage people to the dancefloor and get them to dance so that should be your priority. It might be the case that the tracks you like, don’t go down as well as some others. You need to ‘play to the room’ so they enjoy themselves. This is what will be noticed by the venue manager and promoters that are booking you to play and if done well, will lead to more bookings.


Looking To Improve Your DJ Skills?

Be Sure to check out our On Demand DJ Masterclass with Devstar!

A truly comprehensive, 16 hour online course that will take you from the foundations of DJing, right the way through to advanced, technical skills that will elevate both your confidence and creativity on the decks.

Over the course of 85 individual lessons, you’ll follow Devstar from setting up your decks properly, learning to beat match by ear, through to harnessing the power of technology to your creative advantage. By the end of the programme, you’ll be confident with hot cue jamming, using the mixer FX for impact transitions, 3-deck mixing and much more.

This course is designed to equip you with the skills to get gigs and to stand out from the crowd and become a pro performer – someone who does more than just turn up and hit play, you’ll become a DJ who adds value, leaving audiences with an experience to remember. You’ll learn exactly how to approach any DJ environment with confidence, even if for the first time.

Learn from Devstar – renowned as one of the most technically accomplished DJs in the scene today – who has painstakingly created this Masterclass, alongside the Toolroom team, to make the definitive programme in DJ education.

  • Go from a foundational skillset to advanced DJ
  • Learn how to master the industry and club standard, Pioneer CDJs
  • Enjoy over 16 hours of pre-recorded, in-depth lessons
  • Get access to monthly live QnA webinars to perfect your understanding
  • Learn from one of the UK’s most technically renowned DJs
  • Includes over 60 Toolroom tracks

Check it out here!