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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ideas for how make a good mix (or I suppose, a good anything)

The following post is on self-improvement

I've come to realize that if a DJ is going to make a mix that most people will like, they must play songs that are catchy and easily understandable for the ears. Simplicity over complexity. Oh, and a beat they can dance too. So there's this idea of simplicity. But also variance is important: making sure the ear doesn't get tired of one song over. In art that's called balance, but it exists in music too. But there should also be unexpected, but appealing noises. So just when you're thinking it might be getting boring, a new sound appears that begins to draw your attention. too many of these noises and your crowd gets overwealmed. Here again is the concept of balance.

Ever wonder why Skrillex is so popular? He goes hard, but then has soft breakdowns, then goes hard again. His songs are full of noises too, so the ear doesn't get bored, but it's not annoying as it's mastered well.

The DJ isn't trying to surprise the crowd, but IS kind of trying to surprise the crowd with how good the mix sounds. Even if a DJ drops in a song that's unexpected, it must go with the set, and be in time with the natural progression of the mix.

Now I'm not saying I'm all of what is written above, but I'm trying to get that way. This information can be applied to anything, whether it be painting, or relationships, or life in general.

I've also realized my second mix doesn't have enough balance in it, as it's too hard and too electro-y. I like it, but that's just me. We all have things we like and others don't like, but it's about appealing to the masses, but balancing that out with ones personal individuality.

I know it's like a 2 minute read, and that's more than most are willing to spend reading, but what do you think?

On another note, I just noticed John Roman posted a new remix, which is pretty dark, almost deep house, but definitely dance music. Hard to classify the man other than just 'dark dance music'.

Pluto (John Roman 'Planet X' Remix) - Milt Mortez by John Roman


  1. I think for you, as a DJ, you should probably just have two sides, the side for your benefit, that you will like, and the side for the general public or the masses. Things will end up sounding better when you are your own influence. But maybe that's me, I don't think my tastes go with the masses.

  2. Yeah. I have the side I give to the masses, but... I think like, if one played only songs that other people liked, one wouldn't be able to really enjoy being a DJ and would do something else like, work as a lawyer or an accountant. something that payed better :P

  3. Hmm, popular doesn't necessarily mean good, but then again everyone's subjected to their opinions. For me, I find alot of good DJs are underground. I think you should just play what YOU like, and mold your own style. You can't please everyone anyway, why not just play what you want to play d;

  4. Yeah but I suppose for me, the goal is to have a career DJing.

    I mean, I can't please everyone but you need to please enough people to live comfortably and without poverty, or fear of poverty.

    I think I just need to get out there more, and play more shows :D

  5. all the great songs follow the same progression even if another intrument is added

  6. Four chord songs = great song :)

  7. I can't recommend Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton's book 'How To DJ (Properly)' enough.

    They also wrote 'Last Night a DJ Saved My Life', a brilliantly written insight into the history of dj-ing and dance music culture.

    That remix had a flippin' incredible drop. I felt like I had jumped off a cliff and was suspended in mid air.

  8. I DJ electro house myself, nice tips tho. I currently use ableton's apc40 to DJ what kind of gear do you use?

  9. I got a picture of my gear on my facebook page, and the post below this one says what gear i use :)

  10. also i just checked out the APC and it looks a lot more sexy than what I use haha.

  11. My friend is a DJ...a wedding DJ (I know it doesn't really count in DJ circles)...but the boy is awesome...turned down a residence in Ibiza a few years back - but he just loves weddings, I think it's the bridesmaids...I digress

    He goes on about Hooks and draws when planning a set. The hooks are the grade A classic tunes that he knows everyone is going to love...the draws are the ones that take the crowd on the journey between hooks....sounds a lot like your balance - a set of just grade A tunes one after another loses the impact and the crowd switches off...