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Thread: Getting your mix ready

  1. #1
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    Getting your mix ready

    Hi there everyone, i was wondering how do you guys pick your songs, by hear (when they sound good playing together) or by matching the key?

    Most of the time i improvise and i find it much better!

    How do you guys do it and what do you guys think?


    Hope many of you will answer, have a good one !!

  2. #2
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    For a "studio" mix, I pick songs/build a playlist based on the vibe I'm trying to convey, then I roughly put the songs in an order so they flow well/sound well together in iTunes. Sometimes I'll have to tweak the order in Serato/RekordBox so it works harmonically/in key, but I try not to sweat that too much - sometimes you can get stuck trying to keep everything in/around the key.

    If I'm doing a freestyle mix, I'll do the same thing but mix them according to key and energy. I don't try and mix in a certain order when I freestyle - but I'll usually pick 2 or three songs to start the mix out that work well together and just wing the rest provided I kind of have an idea where I want to take the mix.

  3. #3
    It depends on what I am hoping to accomplish.

    Just as a precursor - I use iTunes in Serato and consolidate my tracks. Many people do not like to do this, but I am constantly getting new tracks and have to process them through Mixed In Key and sometimes Platinum Notes and have 2 pcs to keep the files updated so I need to have a centralized place to keep my tracks without having to worry about moving or deleting tracks. Once I have them, they are in iTunes - I can also delete from library without worrying about losing a track.

    Live Radio Show -
    I prepare twice the music I need to perform in my slot. I usually have the first 4-5 mixes practiced before hand. Then, depending on how my flow goes - I start to flow with it. Even checking into my itunes library (I have my mixes sorted out as a playlist) I do usually try to keep the bpms not too far apart and try and mix in key - if possible.

    Making a mixtape -
    I plan out all my tracks and organize them in the way I want them. Sometimes I have a theme or idea I am trying to execute, but a lot of the times it is just "ah yea that is a good track, I should add that. Sometimes, if I really start to feel like I am getting into a groove - I go back to iTunes to find some more tracks, but for the most part I know what I want to do and stick to the order I have laid out.

    Playing out -
    I have not played in a club environment in years - I moved to my new town a couple of years ago and lost all my connects in the scene and am too old and don't have the desire to get back into it. I play a bar or lounge every once in awhile and mostly mobile DJ gigs, so music has to really be what gets the crowd going. For this I just have genres placed in playlists.

  4. #4
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    If I'm just having a mix i tend to go with how I feel and with the flow

    If putting together a mix for Soundcloud/Mixcloud, I do plan what I'm playing and build the structure to ensure it flows the way I want it too. Wherever possible I will mix in key.

    Playing out, I tend to pick a few tunes i definitely want to play and they just go with the flow on the night and have my music grouped in a way i can find it easily.

  5. #5
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    I talked about this in another thread, but I'll expand on it here. My basic idea is that when you're recording or playing live, the set should have an introduction, body and conclusion. Remember, this is art and you're the artist. You're free to paint the picture however you want; still, in DJ'ing, starting out slow and gradually building the energy is a concept you should be aware of.

    Find a track that you really, really like. Then choose a bunch of other tracks that have similarities to that track. Next, organize them by energy from low to high. Mix the set. If you don't like any of the mixes, change them or move the tracks around a bit. Whatever you do, just find a way to make it work that sounds good.

    Choose a few more tracks for the introduction and the conclusion. This way, the energy builds gradually from the beginning and reaches the most intense point about 80% of the way through and tapers off towards the end.

    This is called a Ramp. There's two different types of Ramps. The first is mostly used in Open Format where the DJ gradually increases the BPM from song to song. It's a way to build energy from low to high.

    The second way is used in a Closed / Artistic Format where the DJ increases the energy of the songs from low to high while optionally increasing the BPM as it goes along.

    Ramps are cool, because the crowd will figure out what you're doing at some point. But you don't have to play only Ramps. You can take the energy up and down intentionally throughout the set (Like a heart beat monitor). The whole idea is to create some kind of journey by playing similar tracks and steering the energy around.

    Again, you're the artist. Do what you want. But I think a lot of DJ's don't really think much about the shape of their sets.

  6. #6
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    I love the music so know all the tracks intimately - then i bung em together in a mix

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybotron View Post
    I love the music so know all the tracks intimately - then i bung em together in a mix
    That's how I do it 👍👍👍👍👍👍

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by steveryan View Post
    I talked about this in another thread, but I'll expand on it here. My basic idea is that when you're recording or playing live, the set should have an introduction, body and conclusion. Remember, this is art and you're the artist. You're free to paint the picture however you want; still, in DJ'ing, starting out slow and gradually building the energy is a concept you should be aware of.

    Find a track that you really, really like. Then choose a bunch of other tracks that have similarities to that track. Next, organize them by energy from low to high. Mix the set. If you don't like any of the mixes, change them or move the tracks around a bit. Whatever you do, just find a way to make it work that sounds good.

    Choose a few more tracks for the introduction and the conclusion. This way, the energy builds gradually from the beginning and reaches the most intense point about 80% of the way through and tapers off towards the end.

    This is called a Ramp. There's two different types of Ramps. The first is mostly used in Open Format where the DJ gradually increases the BPM from song to song. It's a way to build energy from low to high.

    The second way is used in a Closed / Artistic Format where the DJ increases the energy of the songs from low to high while optionally increasing the BPM as it goes along.

    Ramps are cool, because the crowd will figure out what you're doing at some point. But you don't have to play only Ramps. You can take the energy up and down intentionally throughout the set (Like a heart beat monitor). The whole idea is to create some kind of journey by playing similar tracks and steering the energy around.

    Again, you're the artist. Do what you want. But I think a lot of DJ's don't really think much about the shape of their sets.
    I like this - I generally play off the bat when playing out, yet have specific style & patterns, which I practice with sets built at home. Lots of tracks can be an option with lots of other tracks - I get more specific by putting messages in the mix, using song titles and song content to say things; for example; 'A Darker Shade Of Black' to 'Where Is The Sunshine' oh, it's gone down a 'Sad Nile' which could also be 'Psycheground' but no worries, here's 'Psychedelic Woman' with some 'K u t iri' and 'Friends, We'll Be' doing the 'Water Waltz'.

    I wouldn't go as far as to say 'I'm an artist' yet I agree with the medium being an Art; ways to do it are endless!
    Last edited by dlove; 08-22-2018 at 04:33 AM.

  9. #9
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    I spoke with a DJ the other day who plays internationally. I asked him if he plans his sets. His answer?

    "Well, no. How can you do that? You never know what the crowd needs to hear. You might have to change it up at any point. So playing a set doesn't work. I start out by playing some tracks I have in mind. Then, the music eventually reminds me of a vibe I created at a party in the past. So I'll navigate through my tracks until I find those songs. I'll go into that for awhile and then change to another vibe when the music tells me to."

    This is basically how I played when I first started. Pretty much just wingin it with a "Lets try this" kind of approach. Of course, this person has tons more experience and tracks than I do, so his "Wingin it" is a lot different than mine and certainly better. There's pros and cons to it though.

    The pros is that you have a lot of flexibility to change things around whenever you want. Your sound will be fairly artistic and unique. You'll also get respect from other DJ's who appreciate this on-the-fly style of DJing.

    The down side is that you're going to have off-nights every now and then where you just can't get anything going. Off-nights usually aren't related to technique errors. It's more of an issue just putting some decent mixes together. You pick some track to mix and it just doesn't jive. Then it happens again and again. We all have off-nights. When you play with an artistic format like the one described above, it's going to happen.

    Which is the reason why I play sets. I can play on the fly if I want to, but it's not my preference. I'd much rather take my time putting the songs in the order and use hot cues. If a set isn't working with the crowd, I'll switch to another one. If I did have an off night, it would be a technical issue and that doesn't happen often.

  10. #10
    yeah, I think the misconception of 'playing on the fly' is that the DJ just turns up with some tunes and picks them on a whim - there's a lot of preparation goes into doing a live 'on the fly' set. Considerations such as what to do with a difficult crowd, for example. It's all lovely when the crowd inspire the whole set and everyone launches off on a musical journey together, yet things have to be in place for the nights when you're up there getting dirty looks from the bunch of women in the corner demanding rock and roll :/

    ps I played them some Turkish rock and roll, because I'm like that
    Last edited by dlove; 08-23-2018 at 04:55 AM.

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