Pre-mixing songs - Yea or Nay?

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soundinmotiondj

DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 23, 2008
734
303
DFW, TX
I have been working on putting together small groups of 3 to 5 songs to mix live during events. I set load markers, loops at mix in & out points, and add a common tag in the Comments to help search for all the songs efficiently. I have also pulled the songs into Audacity and pre-edited the mix together - so I can listen to the 'perfect' mix and get use to the transitions.

On the risk management side, it certainly is MUCH less risky to play the pre-mixed version. But, it is also quite a bit less fun. Part of the fun comes from the danger of a train wreck. But, since someone else has their name on the party...on balance, I am OK with anything that reduces risk.

What are your general thoughts on playing pre-mixed arcs of songs at an event?
 
I have been working on putting together small groups of 3 to 5 songs to mix live during events. I set load markers, loops at mix in & out points, and add a common tag in the Comments to help search for all the songs efficiently. I have also pulled the songs into Audacity and pre-edited the mix together - so I can listen to the 'perfect' mix and get use to the transitions.

On the risk management side, it certainly is MUCH less risky to play the pre-mixed version. But, it is also quite a bit less fun. Part of the fun comes from the danger of a train wreck. But, since someone else has their name on the party...on balance, I am OK with anything that reduces risk.

What are your general thoughts on playing pre-mixed arcs of songs at an event?
Maybe I'm misreading what you're saying... but do you not mix at all during your events? I mix every song, so there's no reason for anything to be premixed. I'm against premixed stuff though as it doesn't allow you to adapt to the moment (sometimes a song needs to be mixed in quicker to match the energy and momentum of the crowd).
 
Maybe I'm misreading what you're saying... but do you not mix at all during your events? I mix every song, so there's no reason for anything to be premixed. I'm against premixed stuff though as it doesn't allow you to adapt to the moment (sometimes a song needs to be mixed in quicker to match the energy and momentum of the crowd).
I do mix during the event. I tend to mix songs that are not specifically prepared. I also add re-drum patterns to older tracks that benefit from it.

When I do quick mixes or live remixes, I use tracks I have prepared, and I have rehearsed that specific mix. I do not try to do spontaneous quick mixes at a wedding, playing less than 60 seconds of any given track. I MAY try to spontaneously quick mix or even remix at a club event - there is more allowance for a train wreck.

These are some specific quick mixes that I like - 3 to 5 song arcs that I (almost) always play in that order. I can always dump the pre-mix and go another direction. 5 songs in 5-7 minutes greatly benefits from preparation of the tracks - load markers, cue points for mix out, pre-set loops. This requires quite a bit of focus...and there is an element of risk. This is more akin to a "routine" than a "spontaneous mix."

When constructing these quick(er) mixes, I always make a reference mix - hearing that on repeat helps a lot to prepare. I prefer to play this reference mix at weddings, and to do the mix live at club events. YMMV.
 
I do mix during the event. I tend to mix songs that are not specifically prepared. I also add re-drum patterns to older tracks that benefit from it.

When I do quick mixes or live remixes, I use tracks I have prepared, and I have rehearsed that specific mix. I do not try to do spontaneous quick mixes at a wedding, playing less than 60 seconds of any given track. I MAY try to spontaneously quick mix or even remix at a club event - there is more allowance for a train wreck.

These are some specific quick mixes that I like - 3 to 5 song arcs that I (almost) always play in that order. I can always dump the pre-mix and go another direction. 5 songs in 5-7 minutes greatly benefits from preparation of the tracks - load markers, cue points for mix out, pre-set loops. This requires quite a bit of focus...and there is an element of risk. This is more akin to a "routine" than a "spontaneous mix."

When constructing these quick(er) mixes, I always make a reference mix - hearing that on repeat helps a lot to prepare. I prefer to play this reference mix at weddings, and to do the mix live at club events. YMMV.
Gotcha. Even on the quick mixes I will still do it live. Sometimes I'm 30-45 seconds in and out. But again, doing it live gives me the flexibility to go an extra verse/chorus if I need to in the moment, which is why I don't look to premade mixes to begin with. If it's done rarely or to ensure you don't screw up, I don't think anyone's gonna tell you not to do it. The only thing I like to do to make my life easier, with mixing as a whole not just quick mixing, is having stored certain cue points so as soon as I load the track I'm ready to mix it in asap.
 
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I don't think it really matters anymore. When you consider the amount of mix information that can be stored with a music file, and the variety of software capabilities the notion that anyone is truly mixing "live" in the historical context of the phrase is a misnomer.

The mere fact that we can save cue points, loops, samples, beat grids, etc. and have that auto-synced completely changes the context of what we are really doing, and the very nature of the program that results.

This issue of how technology would actually supplant the old school DJ became rather clear to me in the mid 1980's when Laser discs with alternate endings, languages, and scenes hit the retail market. It took a lot longer to get here than I thought, but the manual labor of a DJ is no longer necessary to achieve a successfully mixed program. The preferences of the audience alone are enough to do that in a Chat GPT world.

What a DJ service needs now to survive will be true entertainment - people with very strong emcee, motivation, and dance or dance instruction skills. Our media is dominated by talent shows - people want to experience qualified live entertainment now because they already have a 24/7 'DJ' available in their own pocket.
 
Honestly,

You can use Auto mix, and just pre set the mix in and out points to your liking on each song. You can also choose how long of a duration you want for the switch from song to song. Pre choose the songs you want to play, and have a list going. There is ZERO difference on the crowd participation level on the dance floor. I use it for dinner music, and any time I need to run to the restroom. It works great!

This is even better if you have clients that want you to play from a long list of music they have chosen. Especially if they want to hear full songs all night. Just switch mix style to "Skip Silence" and let the list run. Just pick the order you want the songs to play in. You can throw in random songs as the next song if you want to in the que, or just load the song to the other deck, and mix on over yourself if you need to put that song on ASAP. If you want to throw effects in at random, you can do that too!
 
I was doing lighting at an event with a touring DJ. The entire mix-show had been per-configured in Ableton Live and the DJ was only ever behind the booth when he wanted to change the order of tracks, or add something new.

That was at least 20 Years ago.
 
I was doing lighting at an event with a touring DJ. The entire mix-show had been per-configured in Ableton Live and the DJ was only ever behind the booth when he wanted to change the order of tracks, or add something new.

That was at least 20 Years ago.
Amateurs practice until they can get it right.
Professionals practice until they can not get it wrong.
There is quite a lot of reputation riding on a stadium show for any artist...and they will go to rather extreme lengths to minimize risk, and guarantee a smooth and seamless show.
 
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Let me ask you this. Do you know how to mix smoothly from one song to another?
Yes. I do mix at all my events. I tend to mix songs that are not specifically prepared. I also add re-drum patterns to older tracks that benefit from it.

When I quick mix, it is with tracks I have prepared, and it is more like a routine than a spontaneous mix. These routines tend to move my focus from the crowd, to the decks. In a club environment, I am OK "ignoring" the crowd for 5 to 8 minutes at a time while I complete a routine. At a wedding, I do not like to lose focus on the crowd for that length of time. I tend to default to playing a reference mix I make of these routines.
 
Let me ask you this. Do you know how to mix smoothly from one song to another?
I don't place a high value on that anymore.

"Mixing smoothly" (extended beat-to-beat) is a relic of old school music and club mixes. It's nice when the crowd at a mobile gig aligns nicely with a playlist that lets us older DJs resurrect that style, but the art of the segue has evolved quite a bit.

Today's mobile gigs generally don't have an audience unified in their music preferences and the diversity in popular music today is huge. There are young weddings and sweet 16's where you can bang out a steady stream of club mix anthems, but that's just one little corner of reality. Mixing today is more like the fast food industry. :)
 
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I don't place a high value on that anymore.

"Mixing smoothly" (extended beat-to-beat) is a relic of old school music and club mixes. It's nice when the crowd at a mobile gig aligns nicely with a playlist that lets us older DJs resurrect that style, but the art of the segue has evolved quite a bit.

Today's mobile gigs generally don't have an audience unified in their music preferences and the diversity in popular music today is huge. There are young weddings and sweet 16's where you can bang out a steady stream of club mix anthems, but that's just one little corner of reality. Mixing today is more like the fast food industry. :)
I quick mix and am still able to beat mix 90%+ of everything played in a night.
 
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I quick mix and am still able to beat mix 90%+ of everything played in a night.

It only takes 1 beat. :)

Quick mix is not new DJs have been doing that for decades, but unlike today's ADHD audiences - we did it only with legacy familiar tunes so not to p*** off people by cutting short the new hits they really want to dance too in length. Younger adults (25-45)today have the attention span of middle schoolers. Grown women who literally run out on the floor, dance to 16 beats and then stare at their phone as they walk back to make their next request. It's not a dance party - it's more like a "tasting." It's not normal and it's not healthy.

I joke about it relative to DJing - but it's bigger than that and it is affecting every facet of societies worldwide. These screen and smart phone addictions are unraveling functional human intelect. The proof is in today's music itself - or lack thereof. So much garbage being produced, and so little real talent out there.
 
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It only takes 1 beat. :)

Quick mix is not new DJs have been doing that for decades, but unlike today's ADHD audiences - we did it only with legacy familiar tunes so not to p*** off people by cutting short the new hits they really want to dance too in length. Younger adults (25-45)today have the attention span of middle schoolers. Grown women who literally run out on the floor, dance to 16 beats and then stare at their phone as they walk back to make their next request. It's not a dance party - it's more like a "tasting." It's not normal and it's not healthy.

I joke about it relative to DJing - but it's bigger than that and it is affecting every facet of societies worldwide. These screen and smart phone addictions are unraveling functional human intelect. The proof is in today's music itself - or lack thereof. So much garbage being produced, and so little real talent out there.
Totally agree on everything said... I do see a big distinct behavioral difference between those in their early 30's and above vs below.

As far as quick mixing goes.. 8-16 beats lol