You're more likely to find Pete Wentz behind a laptop than a guitar these days.
In addition to his role as one half of the L.A.-based electronic duo
What are Wentz's keys to playing a successful DJ set? Here are the Wilmette native's dos and don't's:
Know your audience: "I usually have an 'A' batch of songs that I'm pretty sure will work after guessing what type of crowd it will be. The 'B' batch is wishful thinking: 'I really want to play these, but we'll see.' I'll also have a backup 'C' batch — these are the songs that will go off no matter what the crowd looks like."
Go early: "If there are other people DJ-ing before me, I'll get there early to see the vibe of the crowd. And if the DJs play a song I was going to play, people might get tired of it. You have to be ready to call an audible."
Choose wisely: "A couple times, I've been caught with my pants down. I remember one time I was playing with Train at this really big corporate function and (the people in the crowd) didn't know the songs as well as I thought they would. I played a Lil Wayne-Morrissey mashup … It was not going off. You can see the momentum start to not go off. No matter what age group people are, there are a brave few who start dancing: 'I'm going to dance. I don't care what people think.' You can build on that or kill that vibe really quickly with the wrong two songs in a row."
Variety is good: “My songs are all over the place. I grew up on oldies. My dad played The Temptations and The Four Tops, and I got into a lot of
Avoid obscurity: "I don't try to find stuff people don't know. I think there's a fine line. DJs who think 'Wow, people will think it's so cool that I know this song' run the risk that only one person knows the song."
Don't rely on your reputation: "People know who you are, so you get a little grace period for a few minutes: 'I'll give it a shot.' After that, it doesn't matter who you are. There will be crickets."
Showmanship doesn't always work: "It depends on what number of drink I'm on. I think it depends on the crowd, as well. I feed off the crowd. I played a correspondents' dinner in (Washington) D.C. four years ago and was stage-diving at a party where people were wearing penguin suits. Not sure how well it went over. I think I was crowd-surfing and realized 'Oh, it's not that kind of party.'"
Don't play your own songs: "I don't think I ever do. If I'm playing somewhere and someone showed up like Gabe (Saporta) from Cobra Starship, I've played a Cobra Starship song. But you can see the person thinking, 'This is kind of dorky.' It's dorky to play your own songs. Every once in a while a place will use my song as my intro and I cringe. I think I would (play them) if (Fall Out Boy singer) Patrick (Stump) was there and could sing it, maybe. … Nah, I still wouldn't. Maybe if I did party songs, it would be different."