DJ Mixing Techniques - 5 Ways To Get Creative
Do you want to start mixing creatively to help you stand out from other DJs? Read on for 5 creative DJ mixing techniques you can try on your controller/equipment. First let me say you don’t have to be a creative DJ to make a living in this industry, however it definitely helps keep your passion for music and DJing alive. By showcasing you can do more than just blend two tracks together it will help you stand out from 1000s of other DJs. In turn, helping you get that gig or residency you've always dreamed of!
Tutorial video with examples is embedded at the bottom of this post!
Make sure you're confident at beat matching, phrasing and basic mixing before trying to master these tips. If you think you need to improve these skills still why not take a look at any of our beginner DJ courses here.
5 tips to help you become a more creative DJ…
Tip 01 - Sampling
You’d be surprised just how many songs contain samples from other tracks. Hip Hop pretty much became a genre because of sampling, by looping breaks from the funk era and rapping over the top. House music has re sampled and remixed songs from previous decades as well as many other genres. DJs can explore the world of sampling and showcase where certain samples originate from. It’s a fun way to catch the attention of your crowd or audience.
Where to get ideas...
WhoSampled.com is an amazing community run resource that highlights where in songs samples are used and what the original sample is from. You can type in an artist or song title and whosampled will tell you where in that particular song a sample has been used. It also shows the original track that contains the sample too.
Tip 02 - Wordplay
Used throughout DMC or Red Bull Thre3style routines, wordplay is a way of combining tracks together using the same word or phrase from two different songs. Off the top of your head now just think how many songs have the word ‘love’ or ‘baby’ in. Even phrases to do with ‘putting your hands up’ for example. The possibilities are endless...
Start listening out for these key words or phrases then try to combine different tracks, getting clever with loops, cutting or scratching between the two.
Do you want to master this technique and see some examples?
Tip 03 - Tone Play
This is another technique that has become way more popular with the digital advancements in DJing. It's is a much more advanced technique calling for a musical ear to figure out. How it works…
Well there are a handful of keys that songs can be produced in. A key is a combination of notes on a piano scale. If two tracks are produced using the same key then it’s likely their melodies may have very similar notes. If you start searching through your music library for songs in the same key and they listen for any part of that song where the melody is isolated by itself. By setting hot cues a DJ can then replay them in a different order to replicate the melody of another track.
This one takes a bit more planning & much more practice to perform, but the outcome can be really cool.
Tip 04 - Mixing instrumentals and acapella’s
Why not totally remix a song using it's acapella with another instrumental. Try to use tracks in the same key for this effect to work best. Don’t always rely on the visuals or bpm display to mix acapellas. 90% of the time they’re usually analysed wrong. Beat matching acapellas by ear is more advanced, however if you need help we have a free lesson here to help you master it.
Tip 05 - Live Performance
This one requires a bit more technology to perform however most DJ softwares now have samplers built in.
On higher end controllers you can access the sampler pad mode. This allows the DJ to set off loops and one shots underneath the mix or current playing track. This means the DJ can either finger drum a new beat in live or layer loops in the mix.
Depending on which DJ software you’re using you may need to either set up some hot cues or loops prior to loading the tracks into the sampler.
Video explaining 5 creative mixing techniques...
Free DJ Lessons
Want to learn how to master some of these techniques? Click here to check out these free DJ lessons!
Thanks for reading and happy mixing!