DJ duo Zeds Dead attached heart rate monitors on their fans and analyzed the results

A truly great DJ, just for a moment, can make a whole room fall in love, because DJ'ing is not about playing a few tunes. It is about generating shared moods; it's about understanding the feelings of a group of people and directing them to a better place. In the hands of a master, the right music can create rituals of spiritual communion that can be the most powerful events in peoples' lives. – Bill Brewster

In electronic music, the beat is everything. As an artist, your goal during a set is simple: take the crowd on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. How do you do this? There are countless mechanical elements, of course, things like the pace of songs and the tension and tempo, but the paramount thing is reading the crowd with as much focus as you can. You need to intuit what they’re feeling and thinking, read what hits and what flops, and then fine-tune along the way and in future sets. It’s not an easy thing to judge with accuracy: Your best guess at what the crowd is feeling comes in the form of yells, fist pumps, or that all-important but ever-elusive “vibe.” Subjective? Sure, but it’s all you’ve got.

But it’s what separates a mediocre DJ from a great one: their ability to absorb the crowd and work them. In that last 6 years, we’ve performed for well over a million people. In front of 100 people and in front of 100,000 people. We’re not perfect or the best in the world at, but we’ve gotten pretty good. Read the rest