In Mixtapes: 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hitting Record last week, we mentioned that in a few days, we’re going to be outing our new video course, the Pro Mixtape Formula. While making the course, we spoke to hundreds of you… and one of the key questions we asked was “what’s stopping you getting started on your mixtape?”
So here are the top five answers. We’re publishing them today so that if you’ve ever trotted one of these excuses out to justify your own inaction, you’ll at least know you’re not alone… and hopefully our words of encouragement can help you to finally hit “record” and do the right thing, You know you want to…
Top five excuses DJs use to avoid making mixtapes…
- “It has to be perfect!” – Perfection is the enemy of doing. If everything truly did have to be perfect, nothing would ever get done, anywhere. The point is you should do your best, and get it done, so you can then prepare to do it again, and again. That’s how you get better. Striving for “perfect” is the biggest paralyser of the lot. Also, imperfections show people you’re doing something! It’s not about machine-perfect tedium. And anyway, there are ways and means to correct errors in finished mixes. Basically, as long as your recording is not distorted, everything else is fixable
- “I haven’t got time to prepare / practise” – Once you realise that a mixtape is just a sort of “best of” what you’re doing regularly right now, the pressure eases. Imagine the purpose is simply not to mess up – nothing more. You’d play it safe, do the mixes you know, save the tricks and experiments for another time – right? So this is how you “prepare” for a mix. Treat it as showing what you know up to this point, not pushing boundaries. Use old mixes you know well, and play to your strengths. There’s time for experimenting elsewhere…
- “I get nervous when I hit record” – Here’s something TV producers know: No matter how nervous people are on camera, they forget the camera is there in the end – without fail. It’s what makes reality TV work. So use this fact. Treat mixtape recording sessions as just practice sessions, by religiously recording every time you turn your controller on, as an unbreakable rule. That way you’ll soon forget you’re recording, and your best work will flow out
- “I’m tired of fluffing a mix up right at the end” – It always seems to be the end of a mix when you mess up, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s a momentary lack of concentration after an hour of bossing it, or the excitement at getting something done you’re proud of. Anyway, the good news is that there is a really simple way of editing a bad mix out of an otherwise good tape, using free software like Audacity. Once you know how to do this, you’re past this one. And no, it isn’t cheating. (Or – if it is, everyone does it. Do you think pro DJs go back to the start if they fluff up a mix at the end? Do you think singers do the vocal track for a song all in one take? Editing is a skill you need to know.)
- “My best is not good enough” – Your best mix might indeed be your first, or your fifth, but it’s more likely to be your fiftieth. The point is you have to start getting mixes under your belt. And here’s a comforting thought: Magic happens when you start. Things you couldn’t have predicted before hitting “record” go your way. Sure, it’s not always perfect, but just like you may lose a life at the start of a video game then go on to get your best ever score, sometimes the best mixes come out of thinking you’re not up to it. Have faith. Keep doing it. Enjoy the journey. Hit “record”…
- “I’ve got no idea about levels, or EQ, or editing, or mastering, or burning, or track markers, or sharing, or branding, or…” – Well (shameless plug alert!), this is exactly why we’ve created The Pro Mixtape Formula – because we realise that knowing this stuff now will be invaluable to DJs who need pro results right away (don’t worry – as long as you’re on our list, you’ll find out about the course in just a few days…)
So are you “putting off” doing a mix right now? Why? Have you ever taken ages to do one, and then wondered why you didn’t do it way earlier once you finally got around to it? Please share your mixtape procrastination stories in the comments!
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