Beatmixing!!

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DJ-Luke

New Member
Allright guys, im still sticking with this beatmixing and ill stick with it till I get it. Anyway, at one of the clubs I dj at, they have a PCDJ program on their computer, PCDJ has a BPM calculator on it and Ive been messing around mixing some funkymixes back and forth, some of them sound REALLY good. Ive been matching up the BPM's and cueing up the next song on right on the high hat and starting it when the last song hits a high hat. I know a little bit about music , measures and counts but not that much.

Some of my mixes sound pretty good and sometimes I cant even tell when the new song is coming in. BUT some of them I cant match up for anything, they either have an odd beat and maybe Im not picking good back to back sets, but they end up sounding like a train wreck even though they are the Same BPM.

Is this because I am picking bad sets to beatmix to? Or am I not following and cueing up on certain counts. I know something about cueing up on the 4th count but I havent quite got the count thing down right. Anyway, I need to get some in depth beatmixing knowledge, Ive read the DJU article and Im looking for something more geared towards the musical aspect of it. Dealing with counts measures etc.... Anyone that can give some good advice or a link to some good advice, im just trying to get to where im doing this thing right so I can practice practice practice and ummm oh yeah, do some more practice. Thanks for your input!
 

polarsounds

In Self-Imposed Exile
Some songs just don't go together, no matter what BPM - especially if you are crossing genres.

Randy Mueller advised me to put together a notebook when I practice to note which songs mix together especially well and which ones don't. It's a great idea, but I am a remarkably bad note taker.

For me, I try to break in on the 16th or 32nd beat instead of the 4th. It is common for songs to repeat or transition on these beats. If you come in on the 8th or 12th beat, a vocal may pop in or the song that you're mixing into may do its thing at a seemingly unnatural spot.
 

scottyd

New Member
Post your BeatMix Playlists

Beat mixing is an art for sure... It has always been a passion for me to ensure two songs don't sound like the "train wreck" during transition.

If you take notes on what songs mix together the best (which I am guilty of not doing)... post them in this forum discussion.
 

DJ-Luke

New Member
I like the taking notes idea. BUT!!! I dont want to compromise my performance for the sake of mixing. I still want to wooo the crowd with music and make it sound well. Some of the DJ's around here just pick their music by BPM and not the song itself. Some of them can mix well but their not good DJ's because they DONT PLAY GOOD MUSIC!!! But I do like the note idea's im going to try that this weekend.

PS> Anyone have that new GREY BPM 104 beatcounter? Im thinking of getting one to help me out. Ive heard good things!
 

polarsounds

In Self-Imposed Exile
In a Top 40 club/"trendy" bar situation, you have a point. If a DJ makes a smooth mix and no one is there to hear, it doesn't matter much. But in those situations, you always have the option to fade out of one song and into another or use the platter to slow down or brake the track and punch into the next. You can also find rhythm & beat discs that can help you segue from fast to slow or vice versa.
 

Paul Dailey

Club DJs Moderator
A good DJ should be able to mix anything at 100 with anything else in the reasonable range (97 to 103) and make it sound good. DJs in the past used to mix Funk, Disco, Rock, Soul, Freestyle, Trance, House and make it all flow perfectly. It is really all about practicing and working it out over and over, until you have it down.

As for making a notebook, I honestly think it is a bad idea unless you are only doing a club gig once in a while. If you are at a venue every week, the LAST THING people want to hear is the same songs mixed in the same order, over and over.

Creativity is one of the most important tools a good DJ should possess...and learning to make ANY TWO SONGS sound good together is a much more valuable tool...than keeping notes on what songs to mix together.

There are some good articles on beatmixing at DJ University http://dju.prodj.com/ and I would also recommend picking up the DVD called "Intellect" which has an entire disc devoted to teaching you how to DJ properly.

Good Luck.
 

TNTDJ

New Member
All good points listed above. For those that focus on wedding receptions, beat mixing is not as useful and/or critical considering we play to the entire audience ( ages 8-80) and genres are changed quite often unlike club mixing. When transitioning, for the most part is as simple as fading one song out, and fade in the new genre or BPM.
Here's a follow on question for those beatmixing guru's out there. What are your "never fail” tunes that go together like clockwork? When the floor is packed what are your favorite combinations that work every time? As diverse as this group is, I can't wait to see the response! :wink:
 

Paul Dailey

Club DJs Moderator
For those that focus on wedding receptions, beat mixing is not as useful and/or critical considering we play to the entire audience
Since this is the "club board", I would expect mostly responses from Club DJs...and in that regard, I also would hope to see people rarely mixing the same tracks together gig after gig.

Having said that, I don think the subject of what are some of your favorite song to mix together, might do well on the main board.
 

DJ-Luke

New Member
I like the beatmixing video idea's. Is there any websites I can go to check this out?

As far as the mixing I think my trouble is not with where to cue or what song to pick but, I think im trainwrecking with the counts, I need some more knowledge on musical counts and measures. I did some measures practice today, on the way to work I listened to Funkymix 75 - DJ 2nd natures hip hop medley, anyway I started counting when he brought a song in.
I counted on the beat 1.........2.........3...........4.......1.......2......3........4
And I noticed that all his songs that he brought in were mixed on the 1st count. I know im not doing it the 32 count way etc. But I did it by 4 counts and he always brought the song in on the 1 count. Im starting to grasp that somewhat, but if Im mixing a funkymix which has an intro, how do I determine on what count to start? Start at the lyrics and count 4-8 counts back??? I dont know im confused :?

DJ Diesel
 

djblakemiller

New Member
you mention first that your starting your mixes on the High Hat. Traditionaly, you mix on the Down Beat . . . the "Thump" and yea, it's always started on the first beat.

I personally recommend that you don't use the BPM meters, this removes all aspects of learning how to beatmatch and the true art of DJ'ing. I have only used a BPM meter simply cuz it comes with the DJM-3000 mixer that I just got a few months ago. I use it now only to tag songs for cataloging them, but NEVER use it to actualy beatmix or mix. Also if you become reliant on the BPM meter, you'll be totally up the creek when/if you get to a club that doesn't have a meter.

Secondly, are you mixing strictly Hip Hop? I would recommend trying to mix something more continuous, like House. I learned on House music first, then learned hip hop. Once you get the basics of beatmatching, then you can get into Hip Hop. Hip hop has a totally different song/beat structure, and isn't as easy to learn beatmixing.

All (club/dance) tracks follow 32 beats (many radio edits and other versions don't follow a 32 count). Therefore, Vocals / Chorus usually follow the same. After time, you will be able to recognize when to start your mix without counting. Now, if you don't have any rythym at all built inside of ya, then you may never be able to recognize 8, 16 and 32 counts . . . then you may re-think the whole DJ thing anyway.

There are alot of books and videos out there. When I learned years ago, I bought Turntable Technique : The Art of the DJ which actually includes 2 practice records (which are the exact same sets of beats, scratches and exercises), so you don't have to worry about 2 "different" songs. You can buy it new for about $25 on amazon.com.

Practice, practice, practice. . . . put the BPM counters, automatic beatmixing controls and all of that other "you can be a dj" tools aside, and wreck that train 9,000 times before you truly get it. Good luck.
 

ninjamusic

Member
Rob Clark has written a pretty thorough practical guide to beatmixing which you can find on his website.

http://www.robclarkdj.com/html/practical_beatmixing.shtml

And...he's a mobile DJ.

Also, check out the archives at DJUniversity. Great stuff, including video demonstrations on timing, etc...

For those that focus on wedding receptions, beat mixing is not as useful and/or critical
I respectfully disagree. Like all the skills a DJ possesses, beatmixing is another tool that adds more value to one's service. And while for some genres beatmixing may be impractical, for others (like hip-hop, house, disco, etc.) it makes it easier to keep the energy on the dancefloor constant. For me, beatmixing is a very useful tool!

I should know. I beatmix...and I'm a wedding DJ.
 

djblakemiller

New Member
I beatmix, but I'm originally (and still am) a club DJ . . . there's no choice there!

A few more points on beatmixing, I believe:

1. If you can do it, within a genre (say Hip-Hop, Disco or House) you have no choice to put two tracks together that are close in Tempo. This provides a better flowing, and building (if you do it right) set. Now, you may only play 3 or 4 tracks within a genre at each time, but it stil can be enhanced with a good flow. Nothing like slamming a 103bpm Funk song with a 125 Dance song back to a 96 bpm hip hop song . . . .your crowd will be all over the place. And even if withing the same genre, a natural progression of Tempo is a good thing.

2. beatmixing promotes natural rythym. And this will allow you to better mix (or "slam" if you'd like) one genre to another. There is a big difference when you get the 1st down beat of a hip song "timed" up with the last down beat of a disco track, as opposed to radomly timing a non-matched fade. This works best on turntables, where you can "brake" the downcoming song at the same time as the 1st down beat kicks on the upcoming song. 1) it can create some good "sound" and 2) is better in synch. While the tempo drops rapidly, at least it's in somewhat of a "synch" if ya know what I mean. This may have to do more with rythym, but beatmixing is the same thing in a sense. Just pushing the play button at any old time, can have dramatic results on how a set will sound.

I've spent years practicing and perfecting the ability to beat mix (again for the club/underground scene) - I can only believe it has greatly enhanced my ability to be a mobile DJ, where yea, you don't have to, but it can help alot!
 

djjuice

Juice
For those that focus on wedding receptions, beat mixing is not as useful and/or critical considering we play to the entire audience
I do a good amount of weddings each year and I beatmix most if not
all of my sets (even the conga line)...I've booked other weddings from word of mouth just for this reason....some B&G's want the DJ to keep the energy up with club style mixing (albeit shorter sets)...although I've done a 45-minute beatmixed set at a wedding that started from urban...to... disco...to...progressive dance...then top 40.

The way I learned back in the day was to practice on songs that had
16 or 32 count beat breaks and bring in the next song on the 1st beat of the break and "phrase" to the next song...remember you can still have a bad sounding mix even if you are right on beat (i.e. mixing 2 songs not in the same key...)

I agree with Paul...making notes of your mixes is a bad idea...who wants to hear the same songs in the same order week after week at a club? I would first learn the beatmixing and counting/phrasing aspect then learn how to mix harmonically...then you can mix anything at anytime!!!

Good Luck,
Juice
 

fastdos

New Member
Beatmixing for dummies

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and disagree with Paul. I rarely do because his points are always valid. However the notebook idea actually is useful.

Here's my take on it: If you are new to doing gigs then you'll need to understand what sounds good and what doesn't. Some mixes sound really good. For example, "Yeah", "Shake that Monkey" and "Salt Shaker" all flow together in a good powermix. Now as a new DJ you need to write down a mix like that which is working and then go back to it later on and ask yourself why it worked so well. Is the beat similar on all three songs? Themes? BPM's? Tone? Energy?Tempo? If you're not writing down what sounds good then you won't remember what you did afterwards unless you're recording your set (which I advise at home and abroad).

Dailey is right in one respect. If you're a club DJ and you're playing the same old mixes over and over then you're in for a short and generally uninteresting career. But if you want to get to the point where you understand how the music fits together then write it down. When your show is over, pull out your notebook and start listening to what you did. Sooner or later you're gonna figure out why it worked.


Dj Malik a.k.a The Professor :lol:
 

Paul Dailey

Club DJs Moderator
When your show is over, pull out your notebook and start listening to what you did. Sooner or later you're gonna figure out why it worked.
Fair enough...I can agree with that.

The bottom line is to practice over and over and play out as much as you can. There is no shortcut for experience.
 

Emir

New Member
Record your set and listen to it later be it tape CD or MP3... so you can critique yourself and hear what works and doesn't work. Making Mix CDs and Mixtapes helps one to judge one's own abilities, mixes and progression over time. You go back later and listen to the old ones compared to the new ones and you should hear a clear difference in both mix quality and skill quality. :shock: :D

You'll then know what to work on and also have a few mixes in your head ready for those occasions when you just can't think what to mix in.

Of course I should first ask are you using CD players or Vinyl/WAX Turntable skills? For there's a big difference in DJ's and Skill sets there. I personally started and still use Techniques Turntables but have also added one Pioneer CD Dj as it is the closest proximity CD player to an actual turntable. I can scratch with CD's on this almost as easily as I can with real records and my Techs- I prefer records however (except at the end of the night when the CD dJs pack up by closing their little CD organizer- while I'm stuck lugging 8 Flight cases to the car) :cry: :lol:
 
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