Digital DJ Tips forum reader ScottoRobotto (great name, btw) writes: “Do any of you sit down and diagram where you’re going to go with your set? I been working on breaking my music down into mini-sets of three or four songs that mix together well, and then play them sequentially. I try out different transitions until I find ones that work, then practise them until I have the set down. The mini-sets are grouped by music type so I can shuffle up the mini-sets within the genre.
“Some of the songs have elements from another genre or thematic elements I can use to segue to a song from another genre and another group of mini-sets. I’m planning on drawing a spider diagram to visual map out how I get from one genre or song to another. This also mapping routes to ‘safety songs’ or top 40 pop. I would be interested in hearing how other people structure their sets…”
Digital DJ Tips says:
Interesting question, ScottoRobotto, thanks! We always say it’s a good idea to have such “mini-sets” (see this post), even if it’s only pairs of songs; it kind of halves the effort when DJing, but still leaves you an awful lot of room to go off in the direction you or your crowd chooses. Plus, any kind of organisation like this is not a bad thing, because it gets you listening really hard to your music and trying more adventurous mixes.
One place where planning really shines is when you’re putting together the tunes for a mixtape, of course; when I’m doing that, I love to mix live (still not down with using Ableton for recording personally), but I do plan it meticulously; as well as song order, I write down EQ settings, exact start and mix in points, and even BPM changes so I can basically perform like a robot from the piece of paper in front of me.
I’d like to throw this one over to the crowd, through, as there are lots of ways of doing this and it would be good to hear some other methods ands opinions.
So, over to you! How do yuou plan your mixes, and to what extent? Do you have a method of “knowing” your way around you collection so you can always pull a clever genre change, hart hit or “floor saver” from the bag? Do you plan everything ? Or nothing at all? Please share your thoughts in the comments.