From a young radio spinner to becoming the best remix artist of all time at Crack4djs, X-Factor has come a long way. Cementing his mark in the DJ scene, he has been touring in countries like Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Holland, and Sweden while sampling tracks in different clubs and not to mention, a show in one of the largest TV networks in the Philippines.
Combining his killer scratching and looping skills to make a unique brand of EDM, Trap, Twerk, Electro, Bigroom, and Melbourne Bounce remixes, it’s no doubt that X-Factor definitely knows how to work a crowd. UNCOVR.CO chats with the DJ and remix artist on his craft and what he has to say to anyone who’s wondering how to keep the crowd happy.
On reading the crowd:
Your job is to make sure everyone is having a good time.
Bigay mo lang ano gusto nila marinig . That’s the problem with other DJs nowadays. They only play the music they like. They won’t observe the crowd. So, paano na yung mga VIPs who are spending a lot of money on their tables? How about those people na nagbayad ng entrance? You need to keep them in mind too. Don’t be afraid if baka tawagin kang baduy for playing “Closer” or “Roses”. You are just doing your job, and don’t worry about not being a purist because this was meant to be fun. Break some rules.
At the end of the day, you’ll be remembered for it. I admire DJs like Ace Ramos and David Ardiente who know how to play the crowd. It doesn’t matter if there are 30 or 1,000 people on the dance floor, kaya nila pagalawin yung tao young or old crowd. They have expanded their musical knowledge for any given situation.
If people know the music, they will relate to it. If they relate to it, they’ll dance to it. If they are dancing, then you’re doing a good job. Good DJs can read the crowd and supply the right music.
Back in the days, I used to sell my remixes and edits to Crooklyn Clan’s Crack4djs, Strictlyhits and other sites. My homeboy, Ron Poe, had this separate folder “X-FACTOR Remix / Edits” in his Serato. He told me pag kailangan ko i-hype yung tao bubuksan ko yang folder na yan sure yan. Now, Ron is doing his own edits and remixes for his club and festival gigs.
It’s a lot easier if a DJ can edit or remix tracks. There are good songs that can be better with some retouching. You can edit the boring parts, make your songs mixable, cut short for quick-mixing, or restructure your songs to remove long-ass breakdowns. Editing isn’t that difficult as it may first seem. You just need to use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) the right way.
On planning your setlist:
As a headlining DJ, you know that the programming has to start strong and end strong. It’s best to plan out several solid playlists that can switch-up depending on your crowd. Always keep some big hits and banging tracks in your playlist that will surely fill the dance floor at their first beats. Just make sure your playlists have been created with some thought.
Plan your sets, so you wont have to scramble between tracks, looking for something to play next. For festival sets, I always plan in threes. I like to find three tracks that mix well together at a time. Optimally, these three tracks can all be played together at once, or they can transition into one another. Next, I will find another set of three tracks, then another. Eventually, I have a stack of tracks that are organized by how they mix together, and I start to organize those sets of three into a flow.
As an open format DJ, I have my Rekordbox and Serato crates set up as: “CLUBBING FOLDER”, “FESTIVAL FOLDER”, “HIPHOP RNB FOLDER”, “FUTURE BASS & TRAP FOLDER”, “TROPICAL & VOCALS FOLDER”, and “EXCLUSIVE BANGER FOLDER”. Mas madali ko mahanap mga songs, especially when using USBs lang. Serato is super easy. You just type the title, then okay na. Using USBs, mas mabagal mag-search and worse, if you are using older models of CDJs.
Nowadays, stage showmanship is part of the game. Other DJs use drum sets, Ableton Push, Maschine pads as part of their live sets for extra entertainment. Even though I have an Ableton Push and Maschine at home, I never use them for live performances. I can scratch naman and I know how to play around with DJM effects. Malaking tulong na sakin yun sa set ko.
On pre-show rituals and opening sets:
Before my set, I always take shots. Never naman ako kinakabahan even in big festivals pero mahiyain lang talaga ako kaya need ko uminom (Lol). Once the alcohol kicks in, I’m ready! My Partner, MC Victor Pring, already knows how we’re gonna start the show.
I usually start with Uptempo Banging tracks followed by 2 more upbeat tracks and then I need to quickly-mix them all para hindi boring. Then, my fourth track is commercial – something downtempo with vocals. Most of the time I use original tracks intro, so I don’t have to mix it. I just play around with the mixer then drop the song. Most of the time, original tracks work better than mixed tracks. That’s why I always have edited tracks original from the beginning, then I build it up to a remixed version.
On Working with an MC:
About 70% of my sets are my own edits and bootlegs. I always have my MC listen to my new edits or remixes, especially before out of town gigs. Malaking bagay pag kabisado ng partner mo yung mga tracks and tricks na gagawin mo, so he can hype it up properly with right timing. For our finale, I always have commercial tracks for the ladies to sing to. Of course, it has to be my personal edit.