Mixing songs with drumless intros or awkward first beats can be challenging. Luckily most modern DJ apps come with tools to help make mixing tracks like these easier, and with just a few tweaks to the usual beatmatching method, you can make sure that these songs are dropped perfectly and right on time.
What’s a “beatless intro”?
Some songs have a clear, defined drum beat at the start that makes beatmatching easy. Think of EDM or house songs that start off with a “four to the floor” kick drum beat – that makes songs like these easier to beatmatch.
There are some songs though, that don’t have a drum beat at the start – maybe it’s just a synth pad or a vocal, or some other instrument that doesn’t have a clear, defined drum beat. That makes it harder to beatmatch songs like these because you don’t have a steady beat with which to line up against the track that you’re mixing out of. Here’s an example of that:
The “Mixing Backwards” trick outlined in this tutorial makes it easier to mix songs like these that don’t have an obvious beat at the start.
The Mixing Backwards technique
As the name suggests, the trick involves beatmatching from a point in a song that has a drum beat, and then “mixing backwards” by using the Beat Jump feature of your DJ software. Beat Jump lets you move backwards or forwards in a track in beat increments (eg 4 beats, 8 beats, 16 beats) while staying in sync and on time. Almost all DJ apps have the Beat Jump feature or some variation of it.
Here are the steps to the Mixing Backwards technique:
- Make sure the track is prepared correctly with a beatgrid
- Set a cue point on the track where you’d like the song to come in (eg the “one beat”)
- When mixing the track in, start beatmatching from the cue point you just set
- Beatmatch the two songs
- Use Beat Jump to jump backwards in the track
- Complete the transition
The key to using this technique is making sure the beatgrids in your tracks are set correctly. Beat Jump uses the beatgrid information to know how to jump backwards or forwards in time correctly, so make sure you take the time to check and lock in the beatgrids for your tracks, otherwise this trick won’t work.
What do you think of this tip? Do you find it useful? How do you mix songs without any beats in their intros? Share your thoughts with us below.