To mix or not to mix (hint: mix)

By Tony Fernandez:

Its 2018 right? Which means that since the late 1960s DJs have been segueing from record to record, song to song, to maintain a vibe and the consistency of that vibe, roughly some 50 years. So why is it in the technologically advanced world that we currently live in that some DJs still chose not to mix?

Before I continue on my diatribe, let me step off the soapbox for a moment…

I do realize its America. As such, I know I have no right to dictate how one should DJ. I’m sure there are plenty of DJs that don’t mix and make a lot more money than me.

Back to my soapbox…
I’m not saying that all DJs need to be qualifiers for the DMC battle for World Supremacy or finalists for Red Bull Thre3Style. Just asking how is it possible that some DJs put no thought or effort into mastering a fundamental skill that all DJs should have in their arsenal.

Let’s put it this way: If you don’t mix, you’re pretty much a bag of bones that pushes buttons.
You’re just navigating a playlist. And yes, for those who don’t know, I am NOT a fan of playlists.

Let’s frame it another way: On some level we’re all pretty much playing the same songs. We all subscribe to the same record pools (shameless plug for Promo Only here). We all have the potential to have the same content. So… how are you as a DJ going to distinguish yourself from everyone else?

Come on kids, you have to do better. You have to maintain a certain set of fundamental skills. Know your music. Know how to read a crowd. Know your gear. Know how to say no to that seventh cocktail. And know how to mix.

While I’m pontificating, let me add: If you don’t mix (for whatever justification you hang your headphones on) don’t post up and comment on how ‘I haven’t needed to mix in the two centuries I’ve been a DJ and I’m still getting work…’ Honestly, to me, that’s a cop-out and a mitigation of a rudimentary skill you should possess. Besides, stating that you don’t know how to mix isn’t really painting yourself in the best light.

Mixing isn’t neurological surgery. I’m truly not trying to make mixing more important that what it is. But there is a method to the madness, as it were. Mixing is more than just finding songs with the same BPM. Mixing is more than just blending two (or more) songs together. You have to pick the CORRECT song to mix with. You have to know when to START the mix. You have to know when to END the mix. And you have to be consistent from song to song to song, usually for 4 hours or more.

I truly do not understand how someone can find solace in not mixing, ergo, not being a complete DJ. Mixing music is what a DJ does. It’s part of the essence of being a DJ. Dare I say (if I haven’t said enough already) that mixing is a requisite skill that every DJ should have in their toolbox.

Till next time DJs. Keep ‘em spinning.

And mix those spins.

 

 Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

 

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