How To Make A Mixtape | 10 Tips By DJ A-L
1. Create a Theme
Identify what the vibe for your mix will be. Will it be love songs for Valentine's Day, old school 90’s hip hop, or maybe a tribute to a single artist's catalog?
2. Select Music
Pick which songs you want to share with your audience. Selection is one of the most important and underrated aspects of DJ’ing. Most people would rather hear an unskilled DJ with good selection than an extremely talented DJ who plays bad music.
3. Make a Note of Tempo
Blending a slower song into a much faster song by adjusting the speed of the music is not only impossible in some cases but it can also compromise the integrity of how the artist intended you to hear the song.
4. Make a Note of the Energy of Each Song
Would you put Bone Thugs-N-Harmony “Crossroads” next to Bone Crusher’s “I Aint Never Scared” in a mix? I wouldn’t. One is a song about dead homies and the other is a song about being a badass at the club. Two completely different vibes will make the flow of your mix feel inconsistent. Find songs that are compatible with each other.
5. Arrange Songs to Create a Flow For Your Mix
There should be a build up and break down to your mix. There are many different ways to introduce, sustain and break down the music you will use in your mix. Do you want to get people’s attention right away by having a dramatic introduction or do you want to start off modest and have your listener get more invested in your talents as a curator as the music in your mix gets better and better and builds up towards the end?
6. Practice Your Mixes and Transitions
A mix that will be listened to for years to come deserves as many hours of practice that it takes to get it done right.
7. Check Your Levels
Different songs have different levels of volume than each other. Before you hit record make sure that you eliminate either coming in too hot or losing volume in your mix by checking each song’s loudness.
8. Record Your Mix
Decide what software or hardware you are going to use to record your mix and then execute your mix when you are ready.
9. Fix Your Mistakes
If you’re recording a live mix you will inevitably make mistakes. If you are a perfectionist like me here’s some bonus advice 1) If you are recording your mix into software you can perform multiple takes of your DJ mix and alternate the parts you are unsatisfied with afterwards by cutting and pasting sections from your back up takes. 2) If you are recording a 30 minute mix and make a mistake once you reach the 29 minute mark, stop immediately, skip back to the exact moment you were satisfied with and try again also using the cutting and paste method in your DAW to eliminate the time in between.
10. Master Your Levels
Find places in your mix that came in either too quiet or too loud and adjust the levels. You can use a combination of compressors and limiters to get consistent volume output.
Check out DJ mixes from DJ A-L on Soundcloud