How can I make a group of vampires dance?
Rarely does a DJ have to think about a question like this. However, as I was asked to play at a vampire ball in an actual castle last November, I decided that I would not only take that challenge – I wanted to do it right.
I did know that there were several dance floors and that I was supposed to play electronic music on “my” floor. With a vast collection of music that I have put together over decades, I had no shortage of tried-and-tested dance floor fillers to choose from. I wanted to make this evening special though. I knew that both the organizers and the guests would put a lot of effort into this night: The decoration, lights and outfits had to be perfect. So I wanted to make the music fit as perfectly as I could.
At first, I tried to approach this from a purely conceptual perspective. Are there any tracks that people associate with vampires? The iconic opening scene from Blade came to my mind with its pumping Acid Techno. While I like that particular track, it didn’t feel quite right. This might fit well to a run-down industrial building like in the movie but not for a castle.
So I decided to learn more about vampires and better understand them. Since I don’t know too many vampires myself, I watched every vampire movie that I could find over about three weeks. Here are some of my main inspirations:
- Blade – A movie that I absolutely loved when it came out. Watching it again, I found it fascinating how vampires are shown with different facets and personalities – not only as heroes or monsters.
- Interview with the Vampire – I had remembered this one to be much better. While it does give some pretty interesting insights into the personality of a vampire, I found parts of it a bit over-the-top and cliche. Still an enjoyable movie and a good inspiration.
- Castlevania – This one was a positive surprise: I had played the video games years ago and usually movies or series made after video games are not too great. I found this one quite fascinating and entertaining though. Even the main villain is a surprisingly complex character and the overall story and atmosphere are a nice combination of classic and modern depictions of vampires.
- Underworld: Blood Wars – Nicely done from a visual perspective and certainly a good inspiration. To be honest, I have already forgotten the story again. But it did look great.
- Dracula Untold – One of the more recent vampire movies. What I like about this one is how it shows the main character struggling with his vampire instincts.
What I took from all of this: Vampires are proud and strong creatures. They live forever – unless they make a mistake. They are used to making life-or-death decisions every day. They have complex social lives and have much more time than any human to develop a relationship. Some of them are quite hedonistic and like to enjoy themselves in extravagant ways. And they all suffer and try to forget in some way.
After this preparation, I felt ready to make the vampires dance. Here’s what I played: