Preparing for a mix.
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  1. #1
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    Default Preparing for a mix.

    Here's a question that I've been wondering for a while now after the talk about 'reading the crowd' and such.

    The way I've been making my mixes is by setting up my songs in the exact order I want them played, setting my cue points exactly where I want to bring in and out tracks, cues for different fx, etc..

    My question though, is when you guys make a mix, are you just picking from a list of songs you have or do you have the list already preplanned on what your going to play?

  2. #2

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    I have a playlist entitled "Club Music" for all the music in my collection that I might play in a club. Before the gig I make a "Tonight's Gig" playlist and pick 2-3 times the number of songs I think I'll actually play that night from the Club Music playlist. I sort by BPM, pick my opening track, and work off the list once I get there. I prefer to go more "off-the-cuff" so that I can better accommodate requests and play based on vibe I get from the crowd.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru BradCee's Avatar
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  4. #4
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    Once a pro dj/producer told me big names like tiesto, sasha, digweed, cox, etc had everything planned. Of course their situation is very different from the vast majority of djs that have to win the crowd.

    What I do is be at the party a few hours before and see how the crowd reacts. The first track is very important, but then I usually improvise on the fly depending on the crowd. Of course I have my little routines of tracks that work together, but I never stick to a detailed plan from A to Z.

    Reading the crowd is everything, unless as I said everyone is happy because they are going to see the big names. In those cases people love everything the dj puts... in part because of self-suggestion/expectations ("that man is the god of djs!!!!"... ehem), and in part because if you go to see sasha at ibiza and pay 60 euros you already know what kind of music you're going to listen to.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru basspenetrator's Avatar
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    i don't prepare that much for a live situation. got my gridded and cued tracks and play them in the order i think they are the best for the crowd.

    if you want to record a mix at home, your approach seems for me pretty good, but if you play out live in my eyes it's a little bit too much preparation
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  6. #6
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    The problem is that I am very very critical of my mixing and I haven't really even sent out any demos to promoters because I feel that everything has to be 100% perfect before I do.

    I'll post a link to one of the mixes I've done. It's about 37 minutes but I was thinking about showing it to some promoters in my area but I'm not sure because I'm too critical on everything lol

    http://www7.zippyshare.com/v/32163178/file.html

    I think it sounds decent but I'm really not sure if it's worthy to get me a gig or send to promoters just yet

  7. #7

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    I'll take a listen. In the mean time, the reality is that you will never mix 100% perfectly when playing live. A demo CD set that is planned for hours on end and is flawless from start to finish isn't truly reflective of how you mix live. I believe that a demo tape should be recorded in the same conditions as a gig where you are actually playing live.

    I prefer to pick out the tracks I'm going to include in the demo and wait until I feel rested and relaxed before recording it all in one take. Of course, if it has numerous train wreaks or a big mistake (like dead air) scrap it and try again. In my opinion, if you have kept the beat going steady and people are having fun, then you have done your job as a dj. The rest is just fluff.

  8. #8
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    I have a different perspective on demo's. If I get a demo, something that a DJ can really take the time to work on and perfect, and it sounds like every other club situation, I'm not going to be impressed. If it's recorded during a live session at a club, that's one thing. But if you have the time to practice and perfect, then it should be much closer to the perfect end of things.

    But I think you have the right idea. If your concern is making the mix live and getting it perfect, then get it right before you give it out. It might not be an exact image mix for mix as you would do live, but at the same time, the demo should, to an extent, be a great mirror of what you can do under optimal circumstance.s
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  9. #9
    Tech Guru belchman's Avatar
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    I have the 1st 2 crate slots set to Track Collection and then Music (to filter out my sample tracks) - both of those sorted in BPM or Key, so I can search my whole collection. All of those are beatgridded, and most of them cued, so I know them and shouldn't have a problem using them Live.

    the next 4 crates are sorted for different Genres, usually grouped BPM wise (ie i don't differentiate between funky house and dirty electro, they're all in the same list) so I know either if i'm dropping dubstep all night or house - I can see them all there.

    The next couple of crates are for more specific genres and/or a sort of drop box playlist for new tunes, most popular tunes, routines i've been playing with, or any playlists I've prepared for a certain night...

    Finally, leaving a couple spare in between, on the far right are Samples (I throw in a lot of quotes from films, and audio drops of my name etc) and Scratch Samples - the ones which came with TSP along with some extra varied white noise tracks to play with.

    This means that I can see all of my tracks laid out nice and simple like It lets me comfortably search for tracks if I get a particular request (bearing in mind, the only RnB i have stays safely in an itunes playlist, not on Traktor!) I can find it - move through to it harmonically if needed, and not worry about coming across random tracks that aren't keyed or beatmatched.

    What I'm getting at is - it's never a good idea to prepare 100% of your set, as you might find that the dubstep section that you absolutely cream off, clears the dancefloor, and so you need to move back to a more commercial tune to build the atmosphere again. As you play more crowds, this becomes more natural, and you get used to knowing when to let a tune go, and what kinda stuff to play - reading the crowd... - and the necessary preparation is already done. Preparation is more in the general organisation of your 'record box' if you like. In the same way that you'd organise you're CD wallet well if you didn't use software.

    I'd probably recommend that when you cue your tracks in the prep stage - don't do it as rigidly as you are. If you develop you're own kinda standard system (I have to confess, mine is only about 60% to mine) then it allows you to mix between songs more freely, and less rigidly - for example load marker at the beginning, grid marker at the main drop, cue point at the breakdown, cue point at the outro (that's pretty much my system)

    I'm on the DL with your mix by the way

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DvlsAdvct View Post
    ... If I get a demo, something that a DJ can really take the time to work on and perfect, and it sounds like every other club situation, I'm not going to be impressed. But if you have the time to practice and perfect, then it should be much closer to the perfect end of things.

    But I think you have the right idea ... the demo should, to an extent, be a great mirror of what you can do under optimal circumstance.s
    Right on. The demo should be representative of your best work without going to the extreme of producing it like a studio album.

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