How To Mix Genres As A DJ

Are you ready to genre-mix?


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When you set about doing your own DJ mixes you’ll realize you have a lot to learn about the art of mixing. Sure you’ve heard some of your DJ friends put together some really well thought out and unique mixes and you’re confident you’ve got the skills to pull one out of your own ultra-hip knitted cap. Then you sit down at your DJ kit and you realize that mixing isn’t quite as easy as it seems.

When you really want to push the envelope you decide that you want to mix genres. But mixing musical genres means you need slightly more skill than ‘regular old mixing’ because you have to listen to the beat and figure out how to make two different things sound alike enough to go together.

So here are a few tips to help you mix genres for a really cool DJ mix.

Practice

As a DJ ‘practice’ is your middle name, your first name and often the bane of your existence. But practice is a necessary evil of all most all aspects of life. If you want to learn a computer program, a new language or a new DJ skill…practice is the way to achieve it. Since we DJs tend to hate clichés we often disregard them but the truth is…practice does make perfect. Or damned near perfect.

I mention this first so you always remember—no matter how hard it gets—that you need to practice your craft. The more you practice the more it will become second nature to pick up the sound cues and beats for a pretty flawless mix.

Listen To Other Genre-Mixers

When you want to know how to do something really well the first step is to look to others who already rock at it. Whether it is writing a novel, becoming a master of French cuisine or mixing genres, look to the so-called masters to guide your hand.

I don’t mean hang out at a club one night and listen to the token genre-mixer. Nope, I mean grab as many mixes as you can get your DJ paws on and watch as many live performances as you can. Listen carefully and watch closely to all the little nuances that make this person superb at what they do.

Listening to others is the DJ version of homework so make it part of your regular schedule. As much as you need to browse for new tracks, practice and work on sets for upcoming gigs, you also need to be constantly working on improving your skills as a DJ. This is part of that.

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Find Similar Songs

When the idea of an inter-genre DJ mix first enters your mind, you probably think of finding two songs that are completely opposed to one another and putting them together. It’ll be some ultimate test of your skills as a DJ, right? Not hardly.

My suggestion is to start with baby steps. By this I mean see if you can find a song that’s been released within different genres. It doesn’t have to be the song in its entirety but think of taking part of it from another song that has mixed it. This is an easy way to start because it’s basically the same song so you have the same beats to match. Look to SoundCloud or YouTube to find acapella or rock versions of your mix.

Get A Beta Audience

One of the worst parts of trying out new things as an artist is finding an objective party. Your friends and family are likely to be overly supportive and you can’t really count on the so-called competition to be objective and even if they are…you won’t really believe that.

So what you need is a group totally un-invested in your DJ career. The best place to find this is the internet of course. Look for a group of music lovers that can be objective about your skills and your style and have them listen to a few of your genre mixes. If you want specific feedback I suggest you come up with a questionnaire so you can get the answers you’re looking for.

You can also simply volunteer to DJ a house party where the patrons are sure to tell you what they thing—whether you want them to or not.

Going Forward

Embarking on this new stage in your DJ career is exciting but it is also scary. You don’t know if this hard work will produce anything good; anything that anyone will want to listen to but you work hard anyway. But if you’re practicing and making a genuine effort to produce work that is good and appealing to people then you will succeed.

But don’t be afraid to reach out for advice or help when you need it. You will get stumped or suffer from blockage and when that happens only someone who understands your goals will be able to help you through it.

I hope my advice has helped you learn how to mix genres in your DJ mixes. Email in the box below to get access to Free video DJ lessons that will answer all of your questions on how to become a disk jockey!

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