MASTERS OF THE MARATHON DJ SET

There is certainly one thing that all DJs can mutually agree on, that a Marathon set is truly the most challenging test they can embark on, yet a challenge that most relish and live for. Back in the day, forerunner DJs would be hired to play all night long as standard. Pioneers such as Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy would take charge of the booth and would stay there from the time the club opened, until it closed, often putting in 12 to 15 hour shifts.

The generation that followed carried on this tradition with legendary megastars like Danny Tenaglia, David Morales and, of course, Sasha driving through performances of epic magnitudes.

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite DJs, past and present that are best known for performing mammoth DJ sets.


DJ EZ

For two whole decades DJ EZ has been widely regarded, as one of the best DJ’s to grace the world – a true UKG music phenomenon. Saluted by fans, peers and industry fellow as one of the most creative mixers, DJ EZ is a true legend behind the decks!

After many years of performing marathon sets to the masses, DJ EZ wanted to give something back to those less fortunate than himself. On the 10 th February 2016, the North Londoner announced to the world that he had set himself the ultimate challenge of playing a non-stop, 24-hour, live DJ set to raise awareness for Cancer Research UK.

Despite the lengthy run time, the UK garage don asserted his status by keeping the energy high, the mixing tight and the tunes banging throughout. Proclaiming himself as one of the all time legends of the marathon DJ set and UK garage in general, he also raised a whopping £60,000 for Cancer Research UK.


Frankie Knuckles

The “Godfather of House music” Frankie Knuckles will live in the memory as a true legend, the kind of artist to whom one could point as a real cultural lynchpin; without his influence, present day dance music would likely be wholeheartedly different to what we know.

Back during the ‘70s and early ‘80s via his club the Warehouse and later on the Power Plant, Knuckles was a committed craftsman and originator, honing his skills as a DJ by performing marathon sets to open minded audiences and helping make the remix its own art form by constructing extended versions of classic soul, funk and disco tunes.

Knuckles found his home on the dance floor, and that’s also where he perfected his craft, often performing eight-hour marathon sets that would require all sorts of pacing and track selection, which, back then, didn’t mean a memory stick rammed full of MP3s. The originator would lug around stacks of wax to each and every show he would play. He said, “A lot of people would check in on Friday night and they wouldn’t check out until Monday morning”, during an interview with the BBC.


Andy C

Having been at the forefront of the Drum & Bass scene for the past 20 years, Andy C has been able to establish the reputation as one of the most pioneering and respected producers and DJs of the genre. Not only have his exploits in the studio and behind the decks helped him cement such a stature, but Andy is also the founder of RAM records, a highly influential Drum & Bass label that has helped launch the careers of the likes of Chase & Status and Wilkinson.

As we have already established, the all night long set is arguably the biggest test of a DJ's ability. Andy C is one particular DJ within the Drum and Bass division acknowledged for his powerful, diverse and absorbing marathon long performances.

Speaking to Ticket Arena, Andy C gave some advice for any of those thinking about taking on the all night long set. “Don’t go in with the attitude I am definitely going to play this track or that track, you know, you can’t prepare the entire set. Just go for it, don’t pace yourself too much because before you know it will be the end of the night. Finally, a little disco nap before-hand would never go amiss.”


Marco Carola

Marco Carola is certainly no stranger to prolonged sets. Performing all night long at Electric in Brixton and with Loco Dice during Miami’s WMC in March ‘15, he certainly had a good amount of experience in these endeavours. However, he stepped up a notch when at 2015’s Sunwaves Festival in Romania, he went all out, playing non-stop for 24 hours in it’s entirety.

Carl Cox, Ricardo Villalobos and tINI were all scheduled to perform at the infamous eastern European festival, however all had to cancel for what they each reportedly announced as “unforeseen circumstances”. Basically, Carola wouldn’t budge from the booth.

The Italian techno don certainly created history at the festival, crafting a special moment that nobody in that crowd will ever forget.

The Italian techno don certainly created history at the festival, crafting a special moment that nobody in that crowd will ever forget.


Sasha

Multi award winning Welsh DJ & producer – Sasha – is a legend certainly not scared of backing away from a marathon set. As one of the first DJs to use Ableton for long sets, Sasha has cemented himself as not only a pioneer but an innovator. For years Sasha has been playing “all night long” sets, from Electric in Brixton to Ibiza and even at world-renowned party Elrow.

The best DJs know that Djing is first about being able to read people and then about being able to tap into that human experience and take it on a journey. Sasha has always been noted for being a master at this and probably gained the requisite experience through playing the almighty marathon performances.



On the 16th September, Sasha heads to Concorde 2 in Brighton to perform an extended set at the legendary South Coast club.


Oh yes, and of course, last but not least how could we forget but to mention Nigerian selector - DJ Obi, who very recently broke the world record, performing a 240- hour long DJ set, apparently he suffered from Hallucinations along the way. We’re not surprised!



Get tickets to see Sasha's Extended set at Concorde 2