A good portion of my calendar has been focused on pounding out two mixes, or samples of my DJing style. Coming from an online background this concept was at first foreign to me, but now it’s quite standard for a DJ to have a mix for a promoter or a bar to listen to. For the past several months, I’ve made a conscious effort to make my mix, but I always hit the same wall, there’s no crowd, there’s no sound system, no atmosphere. Just me and my bedroom.
There’s a lot of expectations when I make a mix. Sometimes I would focus on a friend who I know really wants to hear it, sometimes it is for a specific crowd or audience, sometimes it is for myself. Each mix I approach differently, struggle with, and then try again.
Some tips about making a mix that represents your style:
- Pre-select your songs: pick and choose your songs before you play them, understand what you want to do, and where. It makes all of the difference opposed to being caught off guard 15 minutes after recording your mix.
- Know your audience: this is the same rule for when your doing a gig, know who your audience is going to be. Is this a promoter, friends and family, yourself. Each of these force you to do something different with your music, for a promoter you may want to play more recognizable music but for yourself you may just want to fool around with things and hear how they came out.
- Listen to your mix when you’ve done it: a perfect example, I just finished doing a mix that I’ve dubbed my “garbage mix”. Personally, it’s a piece of crap. I made a lot of mistakes in it, blending in music late, not overlapping songs properly, putting song segments together that don’t work (at all!). Even through it’s a horrible mix, there are things that I did very well that I will put into the next version of the mix.
- Listen to a mix that your trying to emulate: what helps is listening to other really good mixes or compilation CD’s that mirror the style you are trying to emulate. Compare it to your mix, what did you do right, what did they do better.
- Try, try, try, again!: Go back to your mixing studio, and try it all over again, from scratch, and see how it sounds like.
Now, it’s time for me to go back to listening to some of these compiled mixes… and hear the cursing from my friends who I dropped my garbage mix on!