Over To You: How Can I Overcome Mixtape Perfectionism?

Lauren Andio
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 6 April, 2018

In today’s question, our reader wants to know if he’s being too critical of the mixtapes he’s been making.

Digital DJ Tips member James Maiga writes: “I have been DJing in some capacity for more than 15 years, but I have a problem with mixtape perfectionism: nothing passes my ‘ear test’. I compare what I am doing to famous pros, listen to a lot of live mixes that sound 100% better than mine, and it seems like what I do belongs at the kids’ table. Listening back to the ‘finished’ product, I hear mistakes and feel it lacks the emotion I want to portray.

“One of the main tenets that circles through your training is ‘trust your ears’, and my ears say my mixtapes are rubbish. Am I being too critical or should I wait for the ‘masterpiece’?”

Digital DJ Tips Says:

“Prolific beats perfect”, our founder Phil Morse likes to say. When someone agonises over their creative work, they give in to perfectionism and risk producing nothing at all. Set yourself a deadline to upload one decent mixtape to your preferred site (we like using Mixcloud), and make it happen. Perfect or not, put it in the public domain as is. The trouble isn’t lack of experience or inability to mix, it’s over-analysis. Essentially, worrying about making mistakes causes more of them to happen.

Do you think famous DJs recorded their early mixes with absolute perfection? Probably not, unless they are magic. They likely have old, cringeworthy stuff swept under the rug. The problem with comparing oneself to established artists lies in seeing them at their best, not when they first started. These DJs put their music out there, listened, obtained feedback, developed, noticed where they could improve, and did it. We think anyone crippled by perfectionism at the moment can push forward and do the same.

Over to you: What keeps you from finishing mixes? Any suggestions for those struggling with perfectionism? Tell us in the comments below!

Black Friday Sale