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Thread: What techniques would you use in this situation?

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    What techniques would you use in this situation?

    So.....thinking about the situation where you are currently carrying alot of energy in your set, you want to maintain that energy level (maybe even take it up a notch with your next track selection) - you`ve already chosen the perfect track to mix in, but the incoming track is in a different key and its discordant. You dont want to take the easy option and chose another track which is in key, you really want to play this track....

    What methods, tricks do people have to deal with this situation?

    I was motivated to post this question becuase I`ve previously been put off mixing in the new track in a "safe zone" (like just drums) becuase i felt that pulls alot of energy out of the mix, and its precicely that energy level I was looking to maintain with my mixing. I know there are other ways out of this situation (the easiest one being, chose another track which is in a compatible key) but I wanted to see if I could find a method which works for me so I can navigate though my collection when playing a set without those pesky key restrictions....

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    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    If it's dissonant, it sounds off. If it sounds off it's not the perfect track to mix in. Choose another one and keep the perfect track for later.

    If it's not a live set, choose something else. If you're live, shout ''Scoob is in the house'' with your arms in the air and use an air horn. It's hard to be specific, sometimes you get away with it, sometimes it will sound bad no matter what you throw at it.

    What works best for me so far is two things. 1. shift the key of the track around and press key hold if your equipment allows it. That's hard to do without ending up with sounding off, merging minor keys with majors usually may turn weird in parts, as you have no control over the structure of both songs (unless you pre-edit your tracks in advance, different subject) . 2. It's very easy to merge two tracks with riffs that complement each other rhythmically. As in riff from track 1 does not overlap riff from track 2. It's something that I tend to do a lot (go listen to the transitions in my mixes if you have time to waste lol), it also allows me to do abrupt key shifts, rather than keeping it all in the same key.

    You're quite right to choose to experiment on the risky way, it's a definite plus to know your tracks inside out. If you do that and actually become proficient at it, you can play one track and then pretty much you will know how to figure out what to play next. It's not easy, it needs practice, and lots of tryouts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manu View Post
    It's hard to be specific, sometimes you get away with it, sometimes it will sound bad no matter what you throw at it. .
    Thanks, that helps.

    I think the other thing I need to get my head round is how far round the camelot wheel you can go and get still away with it. Theres plenty of tracks I mix which are not in key, but sound perfectly fine in the mix with some EQ and filter work.
    Last edited by scoob101; 01-10-2022 at 09:54 AM. Reason: typo`s

  4. #4
    For me it's pretty simple.. I don't use any pitch shifting features on the mixer (I'm on CDJ/XDJ).. I don't even use key lock/master tempo except very very rarely.

    If the new track really does follow the old one great, and just doesn't mix well.. then I might try a couple of things.

    1. Put some space between the basslines.. that is, bring the bass out on the first track (generally, fade it out), mix with just mids and highs.. usually I would bring the new track in with mids only or mids and a hair of bass if it's a Pioneer mixer.. otherwise you lose too much mid... Then, when the phrase comes around on the new track.. drop in the bass.

    This works with the psytrance/techno etc that I play most because usually the bass is the only solid indicator of what key you are in.. and I do it pretty often. If you play pop or more melodic music it may not work. But.. obv it does not work for every track combination, if the tracks don't work together then they just don't.

    2. If you really wanna.. just do an intro to outro mix.. this also puts some space and provides an overall reset that allows you to switch key.. but obviously you are interrupting the beat, dancefloor will stop. If you have got an amazing room going and the track is right, it'll blow up.. if you don't.. you'll kill your dancefloor. Maybe not the thing you want to do when things are going great and you want to keep it there.
    Last edited by light-o-matic; 01-10-2022 at 09:47 AM.

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    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    ^^^^ Nailed it, listen to the bass as an indicator.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoob101 View Post
    Thanks, that helps.

    I think the other thing I need to get my head round is how far round the camelot wheel you can go and get still away with it. Theres plenty of tracks I mix which are not in key, but sound perfectly fine in the mix with some EQ and filter work.
    I managed to get away with some tracks that would not line up on paper, and then it works. It's loads of trial and error and tryouts. As practice I have this routine, play one track only on deck one and stick to that, try to mix 10-20 other tracks on deck 2, you're going to find out immediately what works and what doesn't. On a rotation of let's say 50 tracks, you already have a massive amount of possible combinations.
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    Its reasurring that i`m not wildly off in my thinking. Either you chose another track that fits better, quickmix (and take the hit thats not gonna sound that great, but hell, your quickmixing, it`ll be all over in 4 beats or less), or fall back to a intro/outro mix and take the hit on energy levels.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by scoob101 View Post
    Its reasurring that i`m not wildly off in my thinking. Either you chose another track that fits better, quickmix (and take the hit thats not gonna sound that great, but hell, your quickmixing, it`ll be all over in 4 beats or less), or fall back to a intro/outro mix and take the hit on energy levels.
    In my suggestion #1, I'm saying there's a compromise between a quickmix (which will just sound bad in this situation), or an intro-outro. You can do a regular mix.. but just don't overlap the bass, eg:

    1. bring down the bass of the old track (gently)
    2. mix with the mids and highs of the old and new tracks...

    You are now playing with no bass.. so you have no strong indicator of key.

    3. drop in the bass of the new track.. when it is time.

    (4. If you have not finished your mix in the mids and highs, now finish it).

    This does not always work, but when it works it works well. Flip back in forth between the tracks in your headphones you will be able to easily hear if it will work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoob101 View Post

    I was motivated to post this question becuase I`ve previously been put off mixing in the new track in a "safe zone" (like just drums) becuase i felt that pulls alot of energy out of the mix, and its precicely that energy level I was looking to maintain with my mixing.
    You have good instincts. We've come to a time where most rooms don't appreciate long transitions from DJs, or the skill involved. They just want the tracks, and prefer them to be slammin'.

    If two tracks really clash key-wise, it often just takes a half step adjustment to make them at least somewhat compatible. I'll sometimes bump the final hook of the outgoing track up 1/2 step (which can actually add to it's intensity) take the incoming track down 1/2 step... whatever would help after checking the tracks' key signatures in my track notes. I use Traktor, and never use it's track key feature - which is often wrong and has screwy ways of sorting tracks. I check and mark all my key signatures in track notes, but I'm a keyboard player and have a pretty good understanding of how harmonics work.

    Open format club DJ for young adults. Things move fast... under two minutes per track... but I'm steadily working. UK is so different though... anything I said may not apply.

  9. #9
    BanHammer™ Manu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoob101 View Post
    Its reasurring that i`m not wildly off in my thinking. Either you chose another track that fits better, quickmix (and take the hit thats not gonna sound that great, but hell, your quickmixing, it`ll be all over in 4 beats or less), or fall back to a intro/outro mix and take the hit on energy levels.
    There's nothing that stops you from quick mixing either indeed. Choose your weapons. At the end of of the day, it's all about practice makes perfect. It's a bit like shoes. When you practice it, you can feel what fits and what doesn't. If you feel like it doesn't mix, stop and get on the next track... 4 beats or less is on the beat
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    Quote Originally Posted by light-o-matic View Post
    In my suggestion #1, I'm saying there's a compromise between a quickmix (which will just sound bad in this situation), or an intro-outro. You can do a regular mix.. but just don't overlap the bass, eg:

    1. bring down the bass of the old track (gently)
    2. mix with the mids and highs of the old and new tracks...

    You are now playing with no bass.. so you have no strong indicator of key.

    3. drop in the bass of the new track.. when it is time.

    (4. If you have not finished your mix in the mids and highs, now finish it).

    This does not always work, but when it works it works well. Flip back in forth between the tracks in your headphones you will be able to easily hear if it will work.
    Thanks for clarifying. I apprecaite I need to get my hands off the keyboard and onto the mixer - and get significantly more intimate with this stuff like everyone says. I also need to trust my ears more; too often i`m previewing a mix in my headphones and thinking "f@ck it, it`ll mix" - thats too cavalier.

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