To Beatmix or Not to Beatmix

March 5, 2018 by Brian S. Redd

What’s up? Happy Memorial Day to all of you. I talk a lot about programming on my Facebook and even here on my YouTube channel, but what we don’t talk a lot about is mixing. Mixing is part of programming. Programming is knowing what to play, when to play it, how to play it, and why to play it. Today, we’re going to talk about how and why. So that goes to the mixing bay.

I’m going to show you a couple of different transitions, if you will; some are beatmix, some are not. And I’m going to tell you why sometimes you want a beatmix and sometimes you don’t. Because some people want to beatmix all night long and that could get real repetitive if you’re not careful. Mixing and beatmixing, especially, is all about continuity. Continuity with beatmixing and breaking continuity when you don’t beatmix and sometimes that’s not always a bad thing. We’re going to give you good and bad examples of that as well.

So first of all, I’m going to throw track on — a couple of tracks, actually. Going to mix them. It’s going to be a 32 bar mix. So eight measures. Pretty typical of what I do when I mix. Let’s pretend that the first track we’re going to play here is the track that was real big last fall. And the second track we’re going to play is maybe the track that just came out last month. This is the one that everyone is asking for.

So here. Let’s go ahead and press play. Okay. We’re going to mix into our next track. We’re in the mix. We have a nice outro and a nice intro to work with. So we could go a full 32 bars. You know, throw color mix in here to break it up. All right. So that sounded pretty good. We had a nice outro and a nice intro.

Now, this works well when you have real strong intros. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO comes to mind. Now, why is that a strong intro? Everybody knows it; they’re familiar with it. And it builds. It’s, like, boom, boom, boom, boom. Swells, then it goes to that [sound effect]. Thing is is that it builds anticipation for the next song. That’s cool.

Now, what if these two tracks do not have important intros and outros? Do you really need to beatmix them? Not always. Here, check this out. I’m going to cut out the outro of the first track and the intro of the second track and just do a slam mix. I’m just going to take the fader at the right time and slam it from A to B. Here, check it out.

There was no beatmix there. We didn’t ride any bars at all. That was just slamming from one track to the next. Now, in all fairness, both of these tracks at, what,126 BPM in the key of E. So they sounded beautiful. So they work well together. But still, you can do this, totally. You do not always have to beatmix. We cut out all the extras. We gave them all candy. It was the last chorus to the real intro instrumental of the second song. Also notice, we did not break continuity there at all. Something different happened. Enough for people to be alert, oh, this is different. But if you program properly, it was a positive change and it got people excited.

So let’s look at two different songs now. Maybe something more reggaeton, something more hip hop. This could be any kind of weird transition you’re doing from maybe ’50s to ’80s or dance to hip hop and things just aren’t going to beatmix well.

You could technically beatmix these two songs. You could probably beatmix most anything as long as there’s a constant drum beat. Sometimes there’s not. A lot of times in ’50s songs or slower songs or rock songs, you’re not using a drum machine. So the beat isn’t dead on. So it’s not going to perfectly mix right unless you’re really right at that pitch. These songs, though, you could technically, but it wouldn’t sound right. The keys are wrong. It just wouldn’t work.

So I’m going to give you a bad example of this type of mixing. Check it out. We’re going to break continuity in a negative way right here. You have dead air. People are walking off the dance floor as this song starts right here. Definitely not the effect that most of us are looking for. Now, there’s a way to do it and it’s more of the slam mix stuff we talked about where it actually works. It breaks continuity, but just enough for people to be, like, oh, something’s different. I like this. You might lose some people on the dance floor. You’ll probably bring some more out if you’re playing the right tunes. I would consider this the proper way to handle the situation. Check it out.

Oh. Something’s different. This is my favorite song and it’s not playing ’60s and now they’re playing disco. I’m going to go out and dance. Dramatic reenactment there for you.

Now, let’s change this up a little bit. This first track, I just want to show you this. The outro of this track sounds like this. Okay. We broke right before the, I guess, spoken word bit came on. So what if we went ahead and rode that open fader into the next track, what would that sound like? You can do this with spoken word. What comes to mind are things like Michael Jackson’s, Thriller. At the end, there’s some laughing. It’s almost cool to let that lay over whatever in the next track you’re going to play is. So here, let’s just give it a quick listen and see what that sounds like. That wasn’t bad. You can totally get away with that sometimes.

So breaking continuity isn’t always a bad thing if you do it in a positive way. Dead air is always a bad thing. The only time you want dead air is if you’re trying to clear the dance floor and sometimes you want to clear the dance floor. Dead air, bringing the lights up, definitely a good way to make everyone go away.

So here’s a quick little video for you today. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it helps somebody. Pretty basic for a lot of you, but some of you, maybe it’s a nice refresher or you’re hearing this kind of stuff for the first time. Let us know what you think in the comments section. Practice, and enjoy.


Brian S. Redd Brian S. Redd (56 Posts)

Although he can be seen Djing in places like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or even the UK & Europe, DJ Brian Redd is proud to call Milwaukee home. Brian specializes in mobile events such as wedding receptions, corporate events, quinceañeras, parties and special occasions. He has also been a resident DJ at several major Milwaukee night clubs and also performs at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. From the beginning Brian has had a passion for music. His talent emerged at the young age of 13 when he was asked to DJ at a local skating rink. After realizing his calling he progressed on to weddings and mobile gigs and by age 18 he was DJing regularly at nightclubs. He understands people & what motivates them music wise, which helps keep them on the dance floor. Brian has been recognized for his work in various DJ publications both domestic and abroad. He has made a name for himself in the DJ community where he is known and respected as an industry consultant. This recognition has led to his contributions as a writer for Disc Jockey News. A true international DJ, Brian travels worldwide to not only perform but to educate and share industry ideas and concepts with DJs everywhere. His career has gone to the next level working with industry leading manufactures bringing new products and services to his peers helping them become better DJs.

Filed Under: Digital DJing, Mobile DJ Performance Tips