From an outsider looking in, it can seem like magic that DJs can find excellent records and songs these days. With so many tracks being released every day, how do they always find the perfect handful to play in their DJ sets?
Layla Benitez, the daughter of Studio 54 legend John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez, one of house music’s pioneers, is no stranger to digging deep into the record creates to find the absolute best music possible.
As a way to celebrate her skyrocketing production credits and her release on Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream label, we decided it was time to sit down with the artist and unpack just where she finds all of the records she plays at her gigs alongside superstars like Guy Gerber, Damian Lazurus, and Black Coffee…
Stream Layla Benitez’s Latest Song
All Day I Dream is the gold standard of beautiful emotion and the more melancholic shades of dance music.
The label’s yearly Summer Sampler compilation features Layla’s latest track as its leading record and sets the tone for the other artists’ releases.
Study the track below by listening to it a few times over, as it is a masterclass in showcasing what perfectly executed, softer shades of dance music can accomplish.
After that, we will pass it over to the artist for her to explain her favorite places to find amazing records to play in her organic and melodic house DJ sets.
Beatport is one of my favorite sources for finding and downloading music for my sets. In my opinion, it is the most reliable platform in the industry, featuring every genre of electronic music.
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There are top 100 charts in each genre that are updated daily. I browse through all of the new releases on Beatport at least a few times per week. I know many advise avoiding the top Beatport charts, which are often flooded with generic and commercial tracks. But for more niche genres like melodic house, organic house, and techno, the top-selling charts can be invaluable for crate digging.
I have a few colleagues that I share music with every month and vice versa.
It’s an enjoyable relationship because it’s not necessarily the music they’re playing now; it’s more of “I heard this song and thought of you,” and I enjoy doing the same. I also have many friends in the industry that occasionally send me their productions.
Any DJs at any level can take advantage of this; you don’t need to be actively touring. Share music with your friends and fellow local DJs, tell them you found tracks that would be perfect for their sets instead of yours, and I’m sure they will return the favor when they find hidden gems for your next setlist.
Soundcloud is a fantastic source for finding new music. It is a great website where artists of all levels can post their creations. You can follow and connect with artists you like and stay up to date with their latest work.
Often, Soundcloud is used for posting sets or mixes, which can be a fantastic resource for listening if you don’t have the opportunity to see them live! These mixes are a great way to find new music to download, bootlegs to snag, and unreleased IDs to watch for.
The glory days of Soundcloud are over, but I see it serving an entirely different purpose in today’s industry. Because it’s reverted to the wild west, you can find fantastic free downloads from unheard-of producers, awesome sample-based music that would never officially get released on Spotify, and so many more gems. You just need to dig deep, but it’s worth it.
Check out All Of Our Music recommendations On Soundcloud Here
So my last and probably most important source is just listening to the music around me everywhere I go.
I am based in Ibiza for my summer tour right now, so whether it’s listening to the artists perform before/after me or seeing friends perform in my free time, I am always listening.
Because of this, my sound is constantly evolving, and I can find off-genre tracks to throw into my DJ sets that nobody would have expected, but that matches the vibe perfectly.