Art of Deejaying, WK 13 – Spice Up Your Mix, Pt 1

Welcome to SKAH DJ Blog! So you have mastered transitions and beatmatching skills, you are working a DJ set for a party, you have a window of 90 seconds or less in between tracks, you need to spice up your mix, by adding some flavor to it. There are several skills, techniques and tricks you can deploy to make your set really unique and above all, wow your audience. We will be looking at a few of such skills, techniques and tricks in a series of articles centered on spicing up your mix.

Beat Juggling

The simplest form of beat juggling involves using Instant Doubles (clone deck) to copy the track playing on deck A to deck B and in time with deck A. Thereafter, slow down deck B by half a beat and use the crossfader (set your crossfader curve to sharp) to switch rapidly between both channels. I would recommend using this within sections of a song that has only beats and instruments without vocals. Beat Juggling originated from hip-hop turntablism.

On most DJ software and controllers, hit the load button (rapidly twice) on the deck you want to apply Instant Doubles on or with the track highlighted in your library, load it on the inactive deck. You might also need to activate Instant Doubles within the Settings or Options of your software.

Flanger

Still using the same Instant Doubles technique as shown above, get the same track playing on both decks and at the same play position (do not put any deck behind, instead ensure both decks are playing in time). Move the crossfader to the centre position with both channel faders up. It is important the crossfader curve is not set to the sharpest so you do not max out the master instead keep the crossfader curve smooth or in-between. This creates a flanger-type effect on the master output as if the music is being played through a pipe or a tunnel.

I will recommend using this technique during a build up, breakdown or over vocals.

Transform

The transform originated from old-school turntablism. To do this, move the volume/ channel fader up and down, very rapidly, between maximum volume and about 75% volume. I will recommend using this effect over vocals or during a build up or breakdown.

Let your audience sing along.

For this to come out good, use it for a track with a very popular vocal hook, you can add some gesture to the process like turning your microphone to your audience. As soon as the hook starts to play, lower the volume/channel fader so your audience can sing the hook. Avoid doing this during a warm-up session, as your audience might not be ready. Make sure you do not do this when the dance floor is almost empty, as you need the crowd to respond to your theatrics.

Effects Using the EQ

You can also use the EQ to create different types of cool tricks.

Cutting the low

When you cut the low, the absence of the bass-line and drums creates a vacuum on the floor and your audience will be yearning for its return. You can create a lot of cool tricks by cutting the low especially when you use it with phrases and with proper timing. You can also use it for the sing along trick using a popular vocal hook.

You can also try out other combinations of the high, mid and low and create your own custom trick.

These simple techniques can create amazing results on your audience. However, it is pertinent to note that overusing a particular trick or technique or using the trick or technique at the wrong time can be counter-productive. The keyword here is moderation and timing. In subsequent articles, we will look at more of such skills, techniques and even advanced effects.

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Stay tuned for the next article. Yours truly, signing out.

@djkcydal

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