We asked DJ Kam Shafaati to talk us through the process of selecting music for a Mardi Gras set.
In preparing for a massive party like Mardi Gras, the thought process that I go through involves asking myself a number of questions.
How do I entertain thousands of party-goers of all ages and musical interests? People who might be experiencing the party for the very first time right up to those who have been part of the action for decades.
How do I connect with them through sound? How do I engage the crowd and give punters the mind-blowing musical journey they desire? In my mind there is only one option — be brave, be creative, be yourself.
It all starts on the computer in my bedroom — searching through numerous music websites, discovering new artists and labels, and really taking the time to listen to the tracks.
If I can picture myself playing it on a dancefloor or in a bar, and visualise the energy and the crowd’s response, I’ll add it to my collection. My tracks are categorised into 22 self-made genres.
Music plays on emotions. Whether it takes you up or down, it needs to pull at your heartstrings and take you on a journey. When I’m hunting for music, I look for tracks with clever progression, beautiful melodies and nice thick clean bass.
Complementing vocals can also enhance the enjoyment of a track, but for me it’s always the beat that is the primary driver on the dancefloor.
Dancefloor psychology has always fascinated me — reading the crowd, understanding human behavioural patterns and timing my tracks to match. The aim is to mentally lock people in.
If the energy and the mood of the tracks are consistent, a solid atmosphere can be created and people won’t want to leave the dancefloor. The right music selection and manipulation can give a DJ total control over the crowd.
Understanding the identity of the party and the demographic of the punters is crucial, as are the size and layout of the dancefloor, the musical style of the other DJs and the timeslot of my DJ set. And these are just some of the many factors I take into consideration when making track selections.
My DJ set at the Mardi Gras party is in the Hordern Pavilion, one of Sydney’s largest entertainment venues with a standing capacity of 5500 people. This year Mardi Gras has themed the Hordern as the Emerald City of Oz — the land of deep, dark and sexy sounds. This is exactly what partygoers can expect from my action-packed set — an atmospheric, high-energy journey with plenty of twists and turns.
I want punters to lose control and surrender to the hypnotic sounds that surround them, to experience my interpretation of dark music, which is not only sexy and dirty, but also uplifting and empowering.
It is a true honour to have been asked to play the Mardi Gras party for a second consecutive year, not only as a DJ fulfilling his dreams, but also as a proud gay Middle Eastern man celebrating his sexuality with our incredible community.
The opportunity to entertain thousands of people at this iconic event is an unforgettable privilege and a moment I personally cannot wait for.
Music is liquid, music is logic. Let it inspire you!
Words: Kam Shafaati
Photo: Bad Behaviour Publishing
INFO: Find out more by checking out the following sites: