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Mallenaut

How do you mix?

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Mallenaut    18

Hey guys,

 

the title is pretty obvious. How do you mix the kind of trance you like? How do you prepare your set? What is your focus? What kind of transitions do you use?

I'm pretty curious about all the stuff you have to say. :)

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Anoebis    418

"What a DJ does is this: he knows music. The DJ knows music better than you, better than your friends, better than everyone on the dancefloor or in the record shop. Some DJs know their chosen genre better than anyone else on the planet."

THIS must be your strength, know EVERY track you play and make sure it is the exact right one fitting after the other exact right one... out of 300 other tracks ;)

As for the mixing itself, it is highly personal, but for me the trance flow is very important... So no sudden cuts or no unneeded effects. Simple as that I guess :)

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pdinklag    85

unneeded effects

 

Most effects you have on mixers are unneeded when it comes to goa trance, which is already full of them. :D

Some DJs think it's cool to add some hype to fills by using a hi pass filter (also see every Full-On track), but I personally hate it.

 

In general, all that Anoebis says.

 

You'll have to decide for yourself how much you mix. Personally, I like to mix just to make the transition, but I know DJs who do long mixes of tracks that really blend together perfectly. That way you practically create a new track, but obviously it takes a lot more preparation.

 

I'd got at this like this: I have a huge set at a festival in October - ie lots of time to think deep and prepare something special. If you're booked for "next weekend", however, plan a set as your free time allows it. You'll have to prefer "simple transition mixes" - how simple or complex they are depends on your practice. It gets better by the time and you'll develop your own style. :)

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Paul Eye    454

I have quite an eclectic style of DJing, especially when it comes to playing downtempo (which is still my forté and my preference). I don't do much tempo sync but prefer mixing tracks in keys that go well with each other. Of course I don't usually do completely ridiculous tempo changes from one track to another (but it happens sometimes if I'm feling adventurous). And even if I don't do much tempo sync I like to align measures when transitioning from one track to another, and not just play intros/outros on top of each other (because I usually like playing tracks practically from start to finish).

And yes, I use a laptop. This style of mixing would be a bit tricky (if not impossible) to do with CDJs. And also, I can't beatmatch by ear for shit so the laptop is rather necessary especially when playing goa, but in the end it's a tool and doesn't exactly do anything automatically (because I've set my software not to do any of this).

As for the structure of the set, I think of it as a dramatic curve. It can have lots of different shapes depending what I'm after for a particular set, but it's still always a curve. A flat line would be the most boring thing ever :)

And at this point I actually need to do some planning if I want to play a satisfactory set. My music collection is nearing 14000 tracks so even if I know it quite well I still need to do some digging to find suitable tracks (and tracks I haven't played that much).

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Depends on what I'm mixing and what I'm mixing on

 

I sure do love the Xone:92. That 4-band EQ is magic and beautiful to mix with

Never touch the crossfader, pretty much all mixed through the EQs

 

Some times you want to hide the new percussion so that the melody is what moves your attention from one track to the next, other times you want to hide the melody so that you notice the new percussion first. Other times, you do a quick cut at a sample to give a sharp change of energy or change in style. Then there are the abrupt tempo changes which is much easier to pull off now with a computer but is also good to show off with when playing out vinyl...

 

DJing is fun!

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Paul Eye    454

I sure do love the Xone:92.

Yeah, Xones are *lovely*, unfortunately not too many organizers or venues have one (or not too many I've come across). Of course DJMs are nice too but basically anything else is either meh or complete rubbish. Don't even talk to me about Numark mixers :lol:

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Imba    318

I know DJing but i am not dj and due to no time i have no time to practice on players even if i know them... so i play from traktor from time to time on my/our parties when needed or requested by crowd.

 

 

As for mixing i dont like putting effects as tracks are already filled and good, for effects i can use phaser or flanger when there is no good enough uplifter to put accent on coming drop etc... i love smooth transition but not very long, 15-20 sec max and it doesnt to have that every track is beatmatched. When needed or i think is needed i put it outro/intro because crowd and myself need chilly parts without beats, and after 1 minute of no beat crowd just cant wait to explode :)

 

For selecting track its long process... whole week sometimes. And sometimes i dont prepare anything just play what i think its good in exact moment. But i love them prepared, so first of all i look first track with interesting intro to make a little break and announce that new mix is coming, not jsut to start with filter like todays music, first second with kick bass. And then i look track A and track B thats coming to have smiliar kicks and energy. If i have muddy kick on track A i will have smiliar in track B... never sharp kick on muddy or oposite. For more cleaner mixing and transition i mix one track with example only kick in another with only kick or kick in bassline. Never basslines on both tracks. I love mixes more dynamic, not just fullpower beatmatch every track :)

 

Also if i have hats on track A i will have on track B too, just ofcourse with some EQing. If one track doesnt have hats and in other ones finish it will be big sudden change in energy i noticed..

Tracklist is prepared and tested, each track for transitions and ofcourse i always have extra tracks... each DJ has his own ideas and technics :)

And i know one DJ who is in goa almost since beggining and he perfected his mixing in each way but for example he never beatmatched them because he said i didnt do it in old days with tapes and i want to remain old school.

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Paul Eye    454

I'm mostly on the same tracks as Imba here. The first track needs to be a good intro to the set, not just 5-10 seconds of some random noise and then 2 hours of kbbbkbbbkbbbkbbb without any pauses if I'm playing goa or something that's to be danced to (I know enough DJs who do this and it's irritating as fuck). And concerning this, I also like to keep some chilly/cooloff parts every now and then, if for nothing else, then for dramatic effect :) and it also goes with my philospohy of playing music and not just a soundtrack for mindless partying.

And I use effects very sparingly, most often a delay on the outro of a track (or at the transition to the next one), but in a way that it blends nicely into the next one. Maybe the occasional light flanger, but most often not, it just sounds like shit if you do it wrong :lol:

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I hate Pioneer mixers

Would rather play with a Radioshack mixer

;-)

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Oopie    159

I mix spontaneously these days, maybe there's a track or two I've got in mind but other than that I'll just see what happens. I used to prepare the tracklist like a week in advance, oh the madness. :lol: Hah, you know, me + Paul Eye and a friend of ours we organised a retro goa party last summer, lasting for two days. We played on both nights. I remember there might've been like 1-2 tracks I played both times (Subcouds - On Red (1999 pHlatline Mix), Logic Bomb - Neighbour of The Beast??) so I don't really stress about it any longer.

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Paul Eye    454

I remember there might've been like 1-2 tracks I played both times (Subcouds - On Red (1999 pHlatline Mix), Logic Bomb - Neighbour of The Beast??)

I think the other one was Astral Projection & DJ Jörg - Cosmic Ascension :)

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Oopie    159

I think the other one was Astral Projection & DJ Jörg - Cosmic Ascension :)

Oh yes. Good memory! Definitely one of my favourite tracks.

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JISNEGRO    107

One of the things that the goa/psy scene is missing is dj's that properly mix the music, that are adventurous, intrepid and that do not confine themselves to the use of filters, effects or easy fade out transitions.

 

I would love to see more dj's taking risks and developing unique manners of blending the tracks together. I know this is specially hard for goa/psytrance because of the many layers and melodies present in the music, but it is not impossible ;)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKMG_hZeGMA

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Dolmot    161

"What a DJ does is this: he knows music. The DJ knows music better than you, better than your friends, better than everyone on the dancefloor or in the record shop. Some DJs know their chosen genre better than anyone else on the planet."

 

THIS must be your strength, know EVERY track you play and make sure it is the exact right one fitting after the other exact right one... out of 300 other tracks

 

I still remember when Mr. Scruff, a collector with a taste both broad and deep and all around a great bloke, wrote something along the same lines:

 

As a DJ, I was now in a position where I could play a lot of esoteric and unusual music. Playing for the duration of the night enables me to create a very relaxed atmosphere, before increasing the energy levels at my own pace and taking in many kinds of music along the way. Over the course of a night the music can include blues, jazz, soul, funk, 60s R&B, disco, boogie, deep house, reggae, ska, rocksteady, dancehall, electronica, electro, hip hop, African, Latin, drum & bass, breakbeat, and any combination of the above. The only real criteria is that the music has to have soul!

 

Although I am a fairly technical DJ, it is vital to remember that the most important skill for a DJ is to play great records in the right order. Each record must complement the one before, and introduce the one that follows. Beatmatching is an obvious way of linking records, but there are other common factors, such as lyrical themes & complimentary keys that a DJ can use to aid the transition. Each piece of music has a mood and an energy level, and orchestrated carefully, you can create an atmosphere where every record that comes in is precisely right for that moment.

 

I recommend listening to his six hour sets at least once just to observe the huge diversity of music he plays while still keeping it all tied together one way or another. The real point worth understanding is that there are many ways to connect two tracks so that at least one major theme continues smoothly. That's what the audience really needs and a good DJ can do unlike the others.

 

I've known DJs who absolutely insist on beatmatching ("or you're not really mixing") even if it requires 15% pitching, fucking up the whole track and throwing the key who-knows-where. Fortunately that's typically a short phase when they're so fascinated about learning this whole new skill that nothing else matters. Sure, it's a necessary skill for a dance DJ, but only a basic one. That alone won't take you far.

 

I've also known DJs who aim at perfect beatmatching and harmonic mixing with a specific set of carefully pre-selected tracks. It's definitely as smooth as you can get, but they basically end up playing the same track for two hours with no changes or surprises whatsoever.

 

I've known DJs who demand a 3+ hour slot because they "want to build the set gradually". Unfortunately, some of them never checked whether the audience really wants to listen to them for 3+ hours. In many cases there was so much outright filler that people simply left. Have a nice evening, gradually building your master set alone. But hey, those people obviously were oafs who couldn't appreciate the real art of mixing...

 

Some make a big fuss about "reading the audience", yet in practice they still play largely the same set every time. To be honest, a well prepared set can work just fine, even better than spontaneous choices clashing horribly, but it still feels a bit wrong.

 

Then I remember listening to a set of one famous DnB DJ. It began with "OMG OMG! MASSIVE HYPE! HANDS IN THE AIR! YEAH!", continued with "OMG OMG! MASSIVE HYPE! HANDS IN THE AIR! YEAH!", and so on. After half an hour my hands were already tired. After a full hour I started to feel pretty stupid about the whole situation. After two hours it was just ridiculous. Well, maybe not if you're high as a kite but it takes some serious drugs to survive that. If not, you really start to understand the concept of dynamics and why they matter.

 

Then there's David Mancuso of The Loft, who simply played full tracks, from beginning to end, believing that a strong enough track can be played in its entirety without mixing as we know it. His parties were always fully booked.

 

I've certainly made many times the mistake of mixing too much for its own sake. Later I've realised that the result was simply too busy. Often a simple crossfade between beatless two minute outros and intros is exactly what brings the needed dynamics to the set, instead of skipping those to find the old reliable 4/4 kicks to beatmatch like thousand times before and ten times in that set alone.

 

Some genres need more active mixing. For example, in techno it's quite common that each single track is quite flat so that the DJ can mix them heavily, creating new music from its primitive parts. Classic goa is almost the opposite. If a track is already heavily layered, it probably doesn't need or cannot even take five more layers from another. It takes subtlety to introduce a small part of a new track so that it's there, prepared, but doesn't steal the attention yet. Knowing the tracks is crucial. Sometimes you can make a slow, gradual mix. Sometimes you need to switch the main components quickly with no real overlap between them because they don't benefit from each other at all. Still, having that one common theme between the tracks really helps, whatever it is.

 

One thing people don't realise is the sheer amount of utter garbage that gets released. I've received my share of complaints for playing "crap music", but even that selection was a result of browsing through a hundred godawful samples per each track really bought and played. It's the same in every genre. One in a hundred is really fresh. The rest is forgettable or simply atrocious copy-paste me-too junk. Some DJs play it anyway just because they get paid for pushing certain new promos, regardless of their quality, or because they no longer care about anything in general.

 

 

Meanwhile, I've been listening to a Mr. Scruff set this whole time without consciously noticing that there was a transition, even though he has gone through jazz, lounge, afrobeat and funk with five completely different tempos. And it all has soul. That guy really knows his shit. :lol:

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What do you hate about the DJMs? Just the EQ, or are there other things?

 

The way the EQs and faders react and attenuate.

The difference between an Allen n Heath or Rane and that of a Pioneer are sooooo very noticeable to my ears when I am trying play out.

 

And, if memory serves, the Pioneer's have no yellow and something like 5 bars of red. The immediate red lining and distortion was shit

 

I grew up learning on Vestex mixers and 1200s

The Pioneer always felt second rate to a high quality scratch mixer

The Allen n Heaths, or Rane, feel like proper mixers

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Stevo    19

every style of electronic music played by djs have their own ways of mixing, but for sure goa trance is the most complex andchallenging style to master dj skills, thats because the music itself have too much style difference as sound quality to deal with so djs are mostly running away to another "proper" style, or spitting in hands and try to solve all problems on its way ....

pure oldschool way (DATS, Vinyls, CDS ect) its more harder to master but mixing oldschool goa trance with computer and controlers is cool way to do it too if you have proper experience and mixer skills, last summer i was blewed away with Joseph Januaria at Lost Theory (Rabbits on Purple) where he played mostly unreleased and less known oldschool music, amasingly mixed out all of it ..... also i know some preety known oldschool dj (suckerr :D) who is mixing on CDJs and having some paperlists downside of stage with tracklists and between all of them - how much to go on the pitch for all trackslist from begining .... thats fake, not one who is using laptop for a lots of good reason ....

its not shame if you cant hear wich one is quicker or slower, in that (or other similar) case you use laptop and controlers and solve first thing in it, after that is more complex thing to master - track choice and the mixing itself! but for sure, be ready that your laptop in mostly situations on parties wount sound as good as CDS or vinlys ....

one i dont get and cant understand is those djs sets prepreparings .... im not talking about what tracks youll play on some event festival or something, selection is allways prepared but it can grow up for ect 4 weeks/years of non stop music in your cd cases or hardrives .... if you play on the party setlist you did that day earlier or day before or week before, its the SAME if you came on the stage and pressed play on winamp and danced around .... :) these are NO djs only playback fakers even if you didnt bringed mixed audio file and pressed few times play and cue they learend like for exam in school .... its highly insulting to DJs both as term and artist, espetially today where there are alots of fake artists all around .... you cant predict the future and crowds mood so preparing whole tracklists and even worse BPMs and all things is easy to hear by true fanatics coming to a party to hear something special ....

im into cds mixed them alot for years by now, did had situations where i tried Traktor and other CJs equipment, was interesting exp for sure cant say it wasnt, but my new pure and dj mixing skill energy are vinyls and they made me feel im faking too with cd mixing as you have there digital helpers as cues, bpms and more friendly pitches ... the feel to master those is nonmatchable in this musical fun .... :)

here is my latests dj mix :P cheers :D <3

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Paul Eye    454

be ready that your laptop in mostly situations on parties wount sound as good as CDS or vinlys ....

And just exactly what do you mean by this?

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Stevo    19

And just exactly what do you mean by this?

 

well ... most of my exp with CJs was like that, rare there was some CJ with proper soundcard and had good cables to plug into mixer and have at least same sound as CDs (2000s all the time, they have their own DSPs that eat for breakfast any of soundcard i remember Cjs used by now .... ) . cant even remember one good plugged dj played the signal out from comp on the party, here im not saying anything about the qualilty of mixing or playing music, just the sound .... spontaniously i think even timetables on parties or festivals are made taking that in option, first comes CJs then DJs .... but that does not bother anyone if Cj spins killers and make ppls dancing like mad .... gain and EQ is allways option to optimize sound to perfection .....

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Stevo    19

and, if you have proper vinyls turntables and stable table ... you can allways set up benge lower to take out the sound out what also will eat any signal alive if needed ...... ;)

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Paul Eye    454

rare there was some CJ with proper soundcard and had good cables to plug into mixer and have at least same sound as CDs

Well, in that case I can count myself among the people who actually do bring proper sounding gear on stage :)

 

But still, this smells a bit like elitism to me, since eventually most people in the audience don't give a shit about how you play, but what you play. The only complaints about what equipment you use to play seems to come from the artists/DJs. No one's ever come up to me and said "well that was a fucking great set you played but you really should use CDJs instead of your laptop setup because otherwise you're a fake" :lol:

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Stevo    19

Well, in that case I can count myself among the people who actually do bring proper sounding gear on stage :)

 

But still, this smells a bit like elitism to me, since eventually most people in the audience don't give a shit about how you play, but what you play. The only complaints about what equipment you use to play seems to come from the artists/DJs. No one's ever come up to me and said "well that was a fucking great set you played but you really should use CDJs instead of your laptop setup because otherwise you're a fake" :lol:

 

Hope to hear you soon somewhere mate! :) and no, its not elitism, i think i make cleared i played several times with tractor, stanton, and other computer programs, its not my cup of tea but it was not other option and i rather played my mp3s and wavs as beeing elitist :D

 

Other thing about "complaining", no way i could evert reject artists like tons of them i highly respect on my party because he or she is playing from laptop and cant soudn as good as to play from 2000s and original cds ..... all have their own way to express themself and thats the only thing that matters .... that thing about sound i told it went only to this discusion to this fellow who asked about our Dj experiences thats all! :)

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Paul Eye    454

Well, I still don't buy the claim that original CDs/CDJs sound better than CD rips (especially lossless like FLAC). But this is a technical matter rather than an artistic one that this topic was all about :)

And again, I doubt anyone in the audience would notice the difference, if any :) And the audience is who we do this for anyway (and of course ourselves too).

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pdinklag    85

Well, I still don't buy the claim that original CDs/CDJs sound better than CD rips (especially lossless like FLAC). But this is a technical matter rather than an artistic one that this topic was all about :)

And again, I doubt anyone in the audience would notice the difference, if any :) And the audience is who we do this for anyway (and of course ourselves too).

 

My own experience is that a lot of software sounds horrible when altering a track speed with key lock on (so the note stays the same). The CDJs, even the old ones do this without trouble and let the tracks run very stable, while I have experienced clicks and unstable beats on PCs.

 

It may be a matter of computer settings (buffers, audio interface).

 

About the audience noticing - if the DJ is used to this and knows what to do, nobody will notice. I often just wonder why a DJ comes with a notebook when there are two CD players standing around. :D If you don't like CD, you can still use sticks (although most Pioneer devices don't support FLAC).

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Mergi    63

I just play... I just play the shit I love the most and it mixes just nicely as is... and I have mixcloud link to prove it (4 hours vinyl only goa/psy mergi mixin').

 

Try the 1st beat in the 8th or 16th bar... then go from there.

 

Anyone with a bit of conscience will mix press and play analog... get personal with ya music would ya!

 

I might have to download myself in order to go digital... damn, that hassle when I can keep on playing vinyl... naaah

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