Building a Set\Mix - Basic tips
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  1. #1
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    Default Building a Set\Mix - Basic tips

    Hi,
    Just picking DJ`ing again after a few years off, just looking for some advice on how to go about building a set\mix.

    Take 10 tracks of the same Genre, how do people go about putting the tracks together?
    Do you start with the slowest BPM track first and then build up to the fastest? Or is it just a case of what track sounds best with the next one?


    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    How long have you got?
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru the_bastet's Avatar
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    My best advice is to stop thinking so much. Have fun with it. See what feels right to you while you start getting back into the swing of things.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks,
    Its more of just any advice on how anyone goes about building a mix.
    Not specifically a time frame or number of songs

  5. #5
    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
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    Record your practices every time and listen to them. This, not only lets you know if two tracks go together well but also what you can do next time to improve your mix of them.
    "Walking the fine line between Stupidity and Genious" Latest Mix: For You----My Mixcloud
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  6. #6
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    generally I try to create a mix with a specific purpose in mind
    I can better steer my mixes in a certain direction once I have that purpose settled on, since their is no crowd for me to mix for or to feed off of

    so what is the purpose of your mix?

    just a for fun sampling of tracks you are really digging at the moment?
    an example of your "live" sets to shop yourself for gigs?
    are you trying to create a "soundtrack" for a certain event/happening?
    is there a certain mood you are trying to evoke? i.e. amping people up before going out, chill people out after a night at the club

    once you can answer that I think making the mix becomes a little easier since there is now focus & a purpose

    I try to tell a story with my mix, there is a clear beginning, middle and end, I want to take the listener on a journey

    usually I start off slower, minimal & sparse, then add layers of sounds & energy, constantly trying to keep momentum moving forward & building tension, there may be some little peaks & valleys along the way, but this will build to a big peak/release, followed by a short resolution at the end to bring it on home

  7. #7
    Tech Wizard
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    I find a song with a nice intro and go from there.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru SlayForMoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dj andym View Post
    generally I try to create a mix with a specific purpose in mind
    I can better steer my mixes in a certain direction once I have that purpose settled on, since their is no crowd for me to mix for or to feed off of

    so what is the purpose of your mix?

    just a for fun sampling of tracks you are really digging at the moment?
    an example of your "live" sets to shop yourself for gigs?
    are you trying to create a "soundtrack" for a certain event/happening?
    is there a certain mood you are trying to evoke? i.e. amping people up before going out, chill people out after a night at the club

    once you can answer that I think making the mix becomes a little easier since there is now focus & a purpose

    I try to tell a story with my mix, there is a clear beginning, middle and end, I want to take the listener on a journey
    This.

    But, there isn't a universal answer as you may have noticed. This is for example my workflow/mindset:

    After finding a purpose/story for the mix, I start going through my collection. What's a purpose or a story of a mix? Whatever you want it. I usually mix when I feel emotional/troubled. End of a relationship, return from travel, anything that you feel you can express through songs.
    Usually I focus (or better to say, start) on newest songs in my collection. That makes it a little easier because they are still fresh in my mind from the last time I heard them but make sure you don't end up making a top50 beatport list, nobody want's to hear that.

    I make a crate/playlist about double the size that is needed (I usually make a 1h20min mixes, that translates to about 20 tracks or 15 tracks for more underground generes where the songs are 7+min long and you let them play from intro to outro), that's usually about 40 tracks. Find your first song - because I usually start somewhat lighter that's mostly something that will catch the attention of the listener, slightly slower than the rest of the records and/or has a longer intro without beats that would make it akward to mix with.

    Next is grouping the songs into somewhat more logical groups based on mood - go through your crate/playlist and move songs to the top that you find similar to your first song. Repeat until you can roughly recognise where your playlist changes moods/energy slightly ("this is where groove goes a bit tribal" that kind of stuff). When grouping you can ignore key and BPM but in your next step you will be trimming the list where you can remove songs based on such tehnical stuff.

    Now start listening from the first one, making simple transitions and re-arange the songs. Listen to what sounds good, don't focus on the key so much but if you can, arrange them so you can mix by key. You have 20+ tracks to remove from the list so anything that doesn't fit move to a different crate/list (I usually label it as - "mix name" B side ). Don't have 2+ songs/remixes from the same producer in the mix. Don't have them one after another. Why? Because there is more than enough good music in any genre out there to make a playlist that can show you follow more than one label/artist. Show you are also a good selector, not just a DJ.

    When you trim your list enough, listen if all the transitions are good. Practice the mix a few times (record it, you never know when you're gonna nail it 100% haha) and if you need to replace a certain song because you cannot make a good transition first look in the B side crate/list.
    Your live mix will never be 100% error free so don't be too hard on yourself. Small errors make it more human and more enjoyable to listen in my opinion. But, there is nothing wrong if you don't want to make a live mix and go for a DAW solution for the final step.
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  9. #9
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    (Sometimes) I do this:

    Improvise (some people call it "practice" - we talkin' bout PRACTICE) > Note any happy coincidences > keep a log of these coincidences > generate a playlist from your list of coincidences > Run through it > Start over

    This is basically what you do whether you recognise it or not. Some call it mixing on the fly. But, you do remember those nice transitions when you're mixing on the fly, and you use 'em again.

    Does that count as preparation? I'd say yes - but it's very informal, and very personal.
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
    Production: Ableton Live 8 and a mouse, Sennheiser HD400, Sony VAIO

    Click HERE to D/L Free Tracks from Soundcloud!!!
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  10. #10
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    Choose first track.
    Start mixing.
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