DJ Survey – Size Matters: Big or Small Room? Feelgood, Morales, Sharam, Fanciulli, Huckaby +

In our ongoing survey of DJs we address professionals with questions about their craft. This week we ask: do you prefer playing in a big room or a small room? Why? We gathered responses from A-list professionals Charles Feelgood, Sharam, Nic Fanciulli, Mike Huckaby, David Morales, Badawi, DJ Endo, and Gary Beck.

There’s a huge difference these days between big rooms and small rooms for sure. Certain kinds of music and sound lends itself to different environments or should I say venues. Big room tracks can sound too much for a small intimate venue and some tracks can sound too little for big venues/festivals. It really depends on what kind of audience you’re catering to. In the 90s it was mostly house music. Nowadays you have techno, trance and EDM. So times have most definitely changed. - David Morales

Smaller parties are more intimate, but in some ways they are all the same because they contain people that want to be entertained. Either way, I always overestimate the crowd’s knowledge. If I underestimate the crowd, nothing can be built from there. If I overestimate the crowd, there’s plenty of room for growth, which will leave me with the possibility of playing what I want to. In the end, it will leave the person attending the gig the chance to grow, and re-evaluate the night several weeks later. Puff Daddy said it best in an interview. “Play that shit that only one dude in the corner of the club can understand where you’re coming from.”Mike Huckaby

For me it would have to be small room. I feel more comfortable  in these situations as I feel I can really be patient with my sound and find it easier to control the room. - Nic Fanciulli

I love playing smaller rooms (Cielo in NYC for example) because it allows me to connect with the crowd more and create more of a vibe, especially when the crowd is right and ‘gets it’. My personal favorite is playing at a proper afterhours party (with good sound, and the right people, and decent numbers), because the people are primed to be taken on a proper journey, time slots are longer and it feels less like “work” and you have more freedom to experiment and play records you wouldn’t normally get to play for a massive crowd and take them on a ride. Big rooms however can be amazing as well and you can really create the atmosphere with your music, especially if you have the right crowd and the right sound system and production (visuals, pyrotechnics, decor etc.). - DJ Endo

The small room vibe is what I love most. I can bring the BPMs down while bringing the funk up! King King in LA is the perfect venue for me, 4 to 500 people, all grooving and moving — there for the vibe, and not the “hits”, which seems to be expected when playing larger rooms — especially in the US. - Charles Feelgood

I enjoy small rooms , especially when the crowd is close to you. Sweat on the walls and a great interaction with the crowd, nothing beats it. Sometimes this can be lost in large, open-air festivals. - Gary Beck

I’ve thought a lot about how an experience can change when performing in all kinds of places: bars, lofts, bath houses, caves, sex hotels, opera houses, concert halls, outdoor raves, BBQs, big room clubs and of course, inside Chris Petti’s head (my favorite venue by far). To me it’s really about the audience, they act one way in big rooms and another in small rooms. Basements can be amazing because of the vibe, which is shared by both the audience and the performer, it gains momentum like a tidal wave because of how close the audience is to the performer. Big clubs can be the same way but only when they are packed. - Badawi

It doesn’t matter! DJing is like driving a car. If you really know how to drive a car, it doesn’t matter if it’s manual or automatic, a Ferrari Enzo, a Mini or an SUV,  the basics never change. With a Ferrari you can go faster and feel ‘elite’, with an SUV you can carry more people and be more comfortable, and with a Mini you can get away driving in the smallest of roads. But it’s how you drive that counts, so whether you are DJing at an intimate yet powerful joint like Spybar Chicago, or a big posh club like Mansion Miami or a megaclub like Green Valley Brazil,  what matters the most is that 1) you are good at your craft and are prepared for the crowd 2) you are paying attention to your instruments (the sound, the lights, the vibe, the feel, opening DJ, type of crowd, etc.) and 3) you are willing to let loose and entertain while you educate. Obviously the kind of music you can get away with at a 500 capacity club or smaller is different from the stuff you end up playing at a 8000 capacity club or a festival. But at the end, it doesn’t matter. Just do your homework and be prepared for the ride. - Sharam