Digital DJ Tips reader Aantiik writes: “One thing that I struggle with when making a great mix is finding the right transition style. I try to show diversity with my mixes to keep the crowd happy, but that can come at the cost of serious jumps in BPM. Sometimes listening to other DJ mixes, I am impressed with their transitions but find it difficult to recreate those same builds and drops that turn out smoothly. I love to play house and trance (that always mixes easy), but like to throw in those occasional old school funk, dub and trap bangers.”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Great question. The first step is to study the DJs who you respect, which is already what you’re doing, so that’s great. I often think good mixing is a bit like being a magician; You are aiming to fool “most of the people, most of the time”, and of course as the guy pulling the tricks, you’re never going to fool yourself! So I guess what I’m saying is don’t be too hard on yourself.
Having said that, there are tricks you can employ. Funnily enough we’re currently filming a dozen or so advanced mixing tutorials for the Digital DJ Masterclass, our forthcoming course, but my main tip right now is to stop trying to do the perfect mix (ie make the actual point where the two songs join perfect), and start thinking about the perfect way to complement both songs. If they are choppy, changing songs, then a choppy mix can be the right thing to do!
Mixing at breaks often helps, as does matching similar sonic elements (white noise, basslines) . Finally, dropping in a new track on an instantly recognisable riff can win the crowd before they start thinking about BPM or style change. Think “the right tracks, mixed simply” rather than big, grandiose, complex mixes for the sake of it. As I say, we’re spending many weeks on filming a load of videos to go deeper into this, but I am sure in the meantime many of our readers will want to share some of their personal advice with you as well, as I know lots of folk struggle with the same question.
So, over to you! Do you play different genres in the same set? What tricks do you employ to keep things following and the dancefloor grooving as you shift around the BPMs and styles? Please share your thoughts in the comments.