Playlist Perfection: The Art of Mastering Saturday Night Tunes


It can either be the most fun or the most stressful position to be in- the lights are down, and the hypothetical spotlight’s on you: you’re in charge of Saturday night DJing. Whether it’s a small group of friends hanging out, or a large audience ready and waiting to dance, picking the perfect playlist can be a daunting task full of artistic elements and musical know-how. So how is one supposed to go about creating a crowd pleasing atmosphere, adding the soundtrack to a Saturday night?

I sat down for a chit-chat with Sarah Dickert, Theta’s unofficially official go-to music gal to see her creative process in creating a danceable, mixable, lovable playlist.


CV: Whats your playlist making process?

SD:  “I normally try to mix actual party songs like “No Hands” and stuff like that but then I like to toss in throwbacks. I typically start with party songs at the beginning when people aren’t are loose and limber yet. Then after a little bit, I move into sing-along songs because people will have more fun with them later on.”

CV: What sort of music do you find people like the most?

SD: “Something they can dance to. I think people mostly like songs they know.” I tend to watch the response of the audience when a new song comes on and if it’s not making a big hit I’ll switch it up. Its better to pull a switch rather than having people linger through something they’re not feeling.

CV: What’s your go-to song?

SD: I’ve been really into “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth lately.

CV: Any songs you think are on the rise in the Saturday night playlist?

SD: I’ve actually seen a revival of Jason Derulo ever since the concert- people are listening to “Talk Dirty” again.

CV: How do you feel about being in control of the music at a party?

SD: It sucks having to stand by your phone all night. My progression is normally that at the beginning of the night I love DJing and being able to control the music and feel, but then after an hour or so I tend to get nervous because people start to get really loud and opinionated about their music preferences.

Being in control of the music is a time to demonstrate your absolutely awesome library while still taking into consideration your audience and atmosphere. Ms. Dickert’s approach to creating the perfect playlist takes into heavy consideration the time line of an evening, a detail frequently overlooked yet one that can make or break a night.

So to put it all together, the key elements of your playlist are as follows:

  1. “Party songs” at the beginning, sprinkle throwbacks in later on
  2. Make sure your audience knows the songs, maybe its not the best time to show everyone the latest underground hit you just discovered
  3. Danceable. Singable. The golden rules.
  4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, everyone’s there to have fun and so are you!