The Clash – The Magnificent Seven
I’e attended and played many after parties in proper venues and private apartments. I’ve never really given much thought about what tracks I would consider my “favorite” for after parties in particular, but there are some I hear everywhere, play often and just work. I guess that means I do have some favorites. Either way, a DJ should be able to curate anything and after parties should maintain a certain energy without sounding like the main event. Here’s a list of tracks that I would not only play in an after party set, they’re a blueprint of the entire vibe from the drunken start, to the you-got-to-go-now closing song.
Magnificent Seven is probably my most heard / used track at after parties. I suppose this is because many of my nights ended at either some Lower East Side dive like “Robots”, or at the apartment of the girl who came with the friend you invited out, who happens to live around the corner from “Robots”. Either way Magnificent Seven is a perfect opener because the intro is just as famous (if not more so) than the song itself. Of course it’s a groover throughout, but keep your eyes on the group of girls with their shoes off and drinks in hand the second the intro drops.
Brenda Russell – Way Back When
Way Back When is one of may favorite tunes period. However I chose this because frankly it’s a great “pace keeper”. It’s one of those tunes that’s elegant, groovy and builds on you. The groove builds and the track breathes, allowing dancers to “get into it” without being overbearing. As a DJ, I find records like this to be helpful in transitioning between styles and genres. You could literally get into some House or keep it groovy and funky if you wanted.
Billie – Nobody’s Business (Original Mix)
I chose to get into some House and keep it groovy with Nobody’s Business by Billie. Frankly this was a main event anthem in its day but I’m still a fan of the whole thing today. I also think lyrically it’s fitting as after parties are often the most decadent part of the night and everyone can use a little affirmation that whatever happens at an after party, stays at an after party. Women tend to love it and as long as they’re comfortable, everything else falls into place.
Steve Silk Hurley – Jack Your Body (Home Made)
Why not? We’re already deep into classic House territory so it’s only fitting to throw in something familiar. Also I’ve been hearing Jack Your Body out at early morning sets lately. I usually play the “Home Made” mix and ride it while transitioning. I find it to be well received as it’s not the popular version, so it’s familiar without being too on-the-nose. The mix is open and breathes with elements of dub and that’s always a nice element at after parties.
Theo Parrish – Sky Walking
There’s no shortage of tracks that are open, deep, dubby and ethereal in Theo Parrish’s repertoire. I chose Sky Walking as it’s one that I play out often. It’s just the right amount of groove, just the right tempo and the jazz elements are a nice touch to welcome the morning sun.
Ray Barretto – Stargazer
Stargazer has been a go-to track for me for many years. I don’t play many after parties these days so I find it to work really well in opening sets. I grew up on Ray Barretto’s Latin catalog and was introduced to his funk, jazz and dance titles in the mid ‘90s. It’s just funky, percussive, and works every time.
Pam Todd & Love Exchange – Let’s Get Together
I think by now you can tell I’m partial to the soulful and funky. After parties often give you a forum to play music you don’t often have the chance to play out. I love Let’s Get Together. I’m a huge Patric Adams fan and can hear his signature production and arrangements a mile away. This one winds down the tempo while keeping the energy up.
J Dilla Ft. Common “E=MC2” (Instrumental)
If I’m playing an after party today, you better believe I’ll be playing some hip hop. There isn’t much in J Dilla’s catalog that won’t work as far as I’m concerned. E=MC2 is one of my favorite Dilla beats. It just knocks and that vocoder and baseline are infectious. Again, we’re not looking to kick everyone out yet, just change the vibe and gradually bring things down. The women already trust you, now so will the guys.
Kareem Riggins – Cia
I absolutely love Kareem Riggins beats. I think CIA is a perfect follow up to any Dilla track. You also might get into a conversation with that seemingly sober Dilla fan that doesn’t quite know about anyone else in the genre. They’re bound to ask you which Dilla track you’re playing. Good luck with that.
Thundercat – ‘Show You The Way (feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins)’
I feel like Show You The Way by Thundercat makes a perfect closing song. First of all, I love this song and I’m a huge fan of Thundercat’s music. But Show You The Wayshows you the way out the door without making anyone over emotional. In fact it’s positive. The melody is nice and light and the tempo is actually somewhere around 150 BPM so you’re actually tricked into thinking you’re listening to a ballad when it’s the fastest song on this list. Keep your eye on the same shoeless girls, they’re actually still dancing, they’re just a little more wasted. Also the inclusion of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins bridges generations of after partiers together, but you might wake up wanting to call your parents because you’ve realized it’s been a while since you’ve last spoke.
Son of Sound’s ‘No Loitering’ EP is out now on Delusions of Grandeur