How to make the ultimate pres playlist

It’s 8:00pm, you’ve done a house clean to standards your mum would still find disgusting, and your mates are only an hour away. As resident DJ, you begin to get butterflies before the big performance. The rest of your house either shower or run to the Co-Op to rinse the reduced section, whilst you begin to piece together a playlist for the night from your Spotify collection. A playlist so good that it will make you forget impending deadlines, the £1,400 you owe Barclays, and that burning sensation when you pee.

Everybody coming has queue jump to Sin Savers. There is no copping out: this is the big one. Three hours of binge drinking and people listening to your very own baby: the playlist you’ve been working on for years. The heat is on. Pull this off and the night will be legendary, your folklore will be told for years. Fail, and you’ll never be passed an aux cord again.

A good pres playlist isn’t just about having the best songs or the coolest new artist, it’s about allowing people to enjoy themselves. The pres could be in a house infested with black mould or your sweet mother’s kitchen. The venue is unimportant. So, what do you play to appease your friends?

As people begin to arrive, you start the night off with a few songs they’ll recognise but probably won’t know the words to (the classic bangers come later). I’m talking about Rejjie Snow, Milky Chance and maybe even a bit of Loyle Carner; good songs, but nothing that’s going to blow anyone away just yet. The numbers are increasing, so you start rolling out some tunes. Some classic Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys and Gorillaz – well-known songs that people love to hear and get you in the mood for a night out. Anything that reminds you of being 16 and all the activities that followed, the nostalgia adds to the playlist’s effectiveness.

9:30pm rolls around, and the masses begin to pour in. People begin to turn up with their wheelbarrows full of cans. As everybody has now arrived people want to start getting royally ruined. The best way to start is through drinking games, and this is when you bang on Roxanne. You watch as your friends binge drink to Sting’s everlasting words. As everyone falls to the sofa after spending 3 minutes and 11 seconds necking their drinks, you hit them with the big guns: Toto’s Africa. Some may even say that it’s the greatest song of a generation.
One of the key aspects of any great playlist is balance, you want to maintain some variety. As much as it may appeal to some, you can’t just have 80’s banger after banger. So you throw in something different, maybe a bit of Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak (basically anything off his new album) or Childish Gambino.

By 10:00pm, everyone has turned up, and you’ve even attracted a few randoms after word of your banging playlist got out. Everyone is smashed. You’ve had a bit of Indie/Alternative, you’ve had some great new age Hip Hop – you may have been ballsy enough to throw in some old school stuff like a Tribe Called Quest. At this point, you want to begin to build up the tempo to get people bopping. You’re heading out soon and want to send your mates off to Sin raring to sink four VK’s. Now I am not the biggest fan of Drum & Bass, Jungle or Techno, but my flatmates have informed me of some reliable tunes. You cannot deny that a bit of Macky Gee or General Levy will guarantee a step up in the quality of the night.

11:00pm: The end of pres is nigh, and Sin is calling your name. Going out songs get a bad rep, but everyone loves a sing-a-long. Whether it be Robbie Williams’ preferred anthem for football lads, some classic ABBA, or Neil Diamond’s enduringly popular Sweet Caroline, you chuck one on. You then proceed to herd your friends into the taxis to a cacophony of shit.
Obviously, this is a generalised idea of how a pres playlist could be great, so change it up for your crowd or the event you’re going to – have fun with it.

Congratulations! You’ve held a successful pres with a superb playlist. Now go out, have a great time, and think about the Tom Misch and Rex Orange County mashup you’ll be listening to with your greasy takeaway at the afters.

by Alex McDougall


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