Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Structuring a Mix

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    5

    Structuring a Mix

    Hi!

    So, I'm relatively new to DJing, and obviously with the current situation there is no opportunity to play at parties or gigs so I'm focusing on getting some mixes recorded and uploading them to MixCloud. I'm really enjoying honing my skills by doing this but I've been finding it difficult to know what to play next, in terms of the journey through the mix as a whole.

    Obviously, I want there to be changes in bpm/key/vibe throughout the mix but without a room/crowd to read, it's hard to know where to go with it.

    This might be a redundant question that doesn't really have an answer and it's each to their own, but thought I'd use this *amazing* forum to gain some insight from people with far more experience than me.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    The Green Pea Manu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    On your screen
    Posts
    8,037
    but without a room/crowd to read,
    Play what you like.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    5
    Cheers for the reply, Manu. I am doing that but was just wondering if there are generally any structuring tips to make the mix better to listen to. I'm almost picturing a 'mountain' image atm, where I start relatively low-mid in energy, build to a peak (the summit) and then bring it down to finish again. Is this overthinking it? Is it really as simple as playing what I like at this point?

  4. #4
    The Green Pea Manu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    On your screen
    Posts
    8,037
    If you run out of inspiration just break it down and script it.

    Pick two songs, try a mix. If song two does not work, pick another, try again. Doesn't work again, pick another, try again. Find what works for you, take a note, repeat. Eventually you end up with a list.

    When I do a mix, it's usually calm cool-ishquiet intro into full slam and I don't ever let go, I will sustain. I had this tip once from a pro friend who sold millions of singles, "don't let the beat drop, or the sense of a beat, ever".

    I do think you're over thinking it, instead of just letting go and trying things. I usually let my instinct dictate the choice of music, then try combinations until I get something that really stands out, and that's when I start thinking about how/when/how much EQ/effects/ etc. I don't like boring blends, I typically hate anything like key clashes and poor structure...

    In all my home made mixes, each blend has been tried, tested and approved before I even looked at the record button. When I am producing a mix on a DAW, it has been polished and overchecked again and again because I'm OCD like that. I have many times spent hours and hours on 10-20 second bits before. When I'm doing a live mix, I just remember all the tryouts I've done, then my instinct still takes over.

    I also frequently put myself into a mental place of "what would the audience like if the audience was here". Easier said than done, but I have the advantage of having performed thousands of gigs, at some point it becomes kind of second nature to place your mind into that kind of thinking.
    Last edited by Manu; 05-13-2020 at 08:30 AM.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    5
    Quote Originally Posted by Manu View Post
    In all my home made mixes, each blend has been tried, tested and approved before I even looked at the record button. When I am producing a mix on a DAW, it has been polished and overchecked again and again because I'm OCD like that. I have many times spent hours and hours on 10-20 second bits before. When I'm doing a live mix, I just remember all the tryouts I've done, then my instinct still takes over.
    I've been going through this a fair bit, agonising over tiny sections, switching in and out songs from the set altogether if I change my mind. I found that I put together about half an hour of the mix where I was firmly led by instinct and everything seemed to make sense.

    So it gets to a point where I have a 30 minute section that I'm really happy with, but then the inspiration goes and I need to really grind to get any more material to make the mix up to something of a fuller length. As you say, this is where I'll try to be a little more calculating about what works and what doesn't. Thanks for the help!

  6. #6
    Technoez Rek_Aviles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    2,466
    Quote Originally Posted by Gardfall View Post
    Cheers for the reply, Manu. I am doing that but was just wondering if there are generally any structuring tips to make the mix better to listen to. I'm almost picturing a 'mountain' image atm, where I start relatively low-mid in energy, build to a peak (the summit) and then bring it down to finish again. Is this overthinking it? Is it really as simple as playing what I like at this point?
    I went through this myself, figuring out the best structure for my recorded mixes and started out with that "mountain" format you mentioned but ended up with the peak closer to the end, the last 1 or 2 tracks to settle out the mix. This fit my style more and its what I end up doping regardless if i'm pre-selected tunes or just freestyling live.


    I made a post about this a few yrs back - http://www.djforums.com/forums/showt...nce&highlight=


    At this point, the only advice I can give is that music and what we consider "low" or "high" energy for any particular track in a genre is very subjective. You mid-level energy can be someone elses peak track and vise-versa. Best way to figure this out is to play how you would normally play a set without overthinking your selection and you'll notice your own style/flow. Like Manu said adove, you really shoudl play what you like and your come to notice your own style.

    Now as far as playing for a crowd, there's no real way to practice that. Most you can do is keep mixing to learn your tracks inside and out. Where to mix out of, where to loop, lengths of the breaks, ect... Then when you're finally in front of a crowd, practice reading the room. If you know your tracks well enough, you'll know when and what to switch to.

  7. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Philippines
    Posts
    9
    I don't think there is anything wrong with a 30 minute mix. If its good and you are happy with it perhaps move onto the next one. Keeping things flowing can be more useful than getting caught up with something and spending too much time or energy on it. If you plan to make this one you are working on a really well thought out mix then you can always add to it later on.

    I always find the more mixes I record the more I understand what I'm doing that works well, next week I plan to make a 30 minute or so mix everyday for the week. They will be different genres or different sub genres / styles within the genres. If some of the 30 minute mixes come out really well then I'll keep them if not no worries. Some of the best mixes are just off the cuff with no planning mixing in a relaxed state without feeling the pressure of the recording and the more you do it the more you will improve as it adds a little more incentive to make the mixes solid if that makes sense.

    I find its also a really good way to familiarize yourself with new music you've purchased. I listen to them in the gym or on the way to work.
    Best,

    I/O

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Posts
    5
    Thanks guys.

    I think I'm going to leave the mix where it is, maybe show it to couple of friends who I know will give me brutally honest feedback, listen back extensively myself and take from that what's working and what's not. Then on to the next one!

    In terms of familiarising myself with new music, I've been doing that as much as is humanly possible. I create a spotify playlist alongside my beatport purchases and listen to that playlist on repeat, making notes as I go with any ideas that come out of it and try them out when I get home.

  9. #9
    New Member Heliotropic27's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    48
    I've only been mixing records for about a month so take this with a grain of salt but I figured I'd share my two main ways of putting together mixes, which only differ due to differences in physical vs digital:

    1) When I'm mixing actual vinyl records I just play around and try to mix everything. After a while I start to figure what does and does not go together. I even bought a package of green/pink/orange stickers to place on my records to sort of organize genres and keep track of records that would probably fit in a set.

    2) I also have Serato control vinyl that I use to mix a growing library of digital tunes (typically songs that never got vinyl releases or are just too damn rare/expensive). This is where building a set is much easier since I can just use Serato DJ Pro to create a crate, add some tracks to it, and then use practice mode to see if they work together. I've made about 5 mixes so far with this method and it's a great tool, and I assume other programs have this feature.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
a