The mixtape is the perfect promotional tool for DJs because it showcases your personal preference in music and your skills such as song selection and mixing ability. Before you start on your mix, ask yourself these important questions:
- What do you want to achieve with this mix? E.g. if you wish to use this as a demo to send to venues to showcase your work, you will want to create it in the style of music which is played at the club.
- Who is the audience? It could be your close friends, fans of a specific music genre or something for the masses.
- Where will your mix be played? For example, if it's a mix that will used to play in public, you might want to pay attention to language and intensity.
The great thing about mixtapes is it also gives you the opportunity to listen to your own mixing and identify areas of improvement in order to help you to master your art. Once you're confident with your tracklist, you will want your mix to be perfect. It should contain perfect transitions, good set flow and takes the listeners on a journey. You want people to enjoy it that much that they will want to listen to it again and again and and share it with their friends. Pay close attention to the flow of your set and make sure the tracks sound great together. Don't force songs together if you have any doubt they actually work. Remember, you're not playing to a live audience, they aren't going to forget that abrupt transition - they can just replay it! On that note, don't release your mix until you are 100% happy with it. There's nothing worse than going back a few months later and listening to it feeling regret that you weren't more patient with your recording. Once it's out there, it's out there.
Neymar Jr with the mixtape for life and the beautiful game
- Be prepared to record MANY times before you get it right. Just one mistake will mean you may have to start all over again. Personally, I find the more I listen to a bad recording to better my final recording will be. Keep your first recording and listen to it, no matter how cringeworthy it is. You will be better for it.
- Intros: Why not throw in a fun intro to the start of your mixtape? You could use some atmospheric music, or a vocal sample to introduce your mix. You could even announce the mix yourself and record your own voice. You can use Audacity, Ableton or any other music editing software.
- Create a mix series. Get people excited for your next mix! You could choose a theme for your series based on a specific genre or you could release different types of mixes each time, showcasing your versatile ability and giving people options for different situations in which they'd like to listen to a mix.
- Keep it interesting. Don't just choose the easiest songs in the same key to guarantee flawless mixing. Don't cut corners with this. As I mentioned earlier, you could regret not being more patient with your mix. Challenge yourself, maintain the element of surprise with your song selections, phrasing and mixing styles.
- Get a second opinion before you release it if you're unsure. Share the mix with your close friends first or even better, other DJs.
Have you got any mixtape tips or would like to share your experience? We'd love to read your comments!