Creative Structure for a Unforgettable Mix

“Fare un cinema” Is an old Italian saying that literally translates to “make a movie”.  Think of all your favorite movies.  Why do you love them?  Aside from all the big budgets and beautiful people, chances are you loved a movie simply because it was- a good story. In this article, we’re going to cover creative structure and how you can apply a very simple formula to your mixes that’ll make them- tell a story.  Turning mixes that people will like into mixes people will love…

WHAT IS CREATIVE STRUCTURE?

Music and literature are two of the things that really define us as humans.  Songs and stories, wherever they come from, are similar in that, they all have a beginning, middle, and end.  This was the simple formula that the Greeks were using in the 3rd century B.C., and what Danny Tenaglia uses today (although he refers to it as the Appetizer, entrée, and dessert). Simply sounding, there are in fact smaller (more complex) categories within these that can be combined in very creative ways, to produce wonder. The two types of creative structure we will be discussing today are musical structure and dramatic structure.

MUSICAL STRUCTURE

As DJs, the knowledge of musical structure is a must; it is the foundation of music mixing.  Most songs usually have an intro, hook, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, breakdown, and outro. Let’s first take a look at these elements individually, and then see how musical structure fits into creating a killer mix (you might be thinking the obvious, but just follow me on this one!)

INTRO

  • Usually introduces melody or mood
  • Can sometimes serve to contrast the other main parts

HOOK

  • The catchy part that will generate interest

VERSE

  • Same bit of melody or chords that’s repeated
  • If vocals, the words usually change each time.

CHORUS

  • The catchy part of the song.
  • The part you probably hum in the shower.
  • Repeats but never changes

BRIDGE

  • Serves as contrasting mood to a repetitive verse & chorus

SOLO

  • Part that features a particular instrument
  • Can serve to change the pace of a song

BREAKDOWN

  • All instrumentation is removed except for percussion & vocals

OUTRO

  • The conclusion or end of a song

Now that we’re familiar with the structure of a song, lets examine the subject at hand a little more closely.

When you mix music, you are combining the musical structures of two songs and fading from one song to another; we all know this.  Though when creating a mix, you should not only think about the song structure from song to song but also think of the entire mix, as one song.

Your mix should contain all the important parts of a song: A beginning, middle, and end.  You dig?


DRAMATIC STRUCTURE

 


According to the book, Introduction to Media Arts, “It can be said that the purpose of art is to provide pleasure.  If so, then it stands to reason that pleasure can be defined as the release from tension.  The greater the tension from which the audience is released, the greater the pleasure afforded.

By this philosophy, the climatic dramatic structure of a script [or mix in our case] is specifically arranged to create, build, and eventually release an elevated measure of tension.”

CLASSIC THREE-ACT PARADIGM

 


The three-act paradigm is a concept used in screenplay, film, and animation.  Interestingly enough, I’ve come to find can also be used for music.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

ACT I

The Hook – Depending on your genre of music, your hook can be a long intro that builds into something or even just a really captivating song. The more creative you are with this, the more interest you will build in your listeners.

The Exposition – After your hook, this would be the time to establish your style as a DJ.  This part sets the “ground work” for your taste in music and your abilities to manipulate your music creatively.

Plot Point 1 – At this stage of the mix, you can either have gradually increased the tempo up to this point, or slowed it down, depending on how you started.  This is also the point where you can experiment or change genres all together.

Be careful not to get too crazy here.  If you don’t sustain the listener’s interest, they will never make it to the midpoint, which is where you want to get them to!

 

ACT II

The Midpoint or Point of No Return – If your listener has reached this point, give yourself a pat on the bum; you have intrigued your listener thus far. It’s important to reach the midpoint because by this point, they will feel they have to finish the mix to “See how it ends.”

It starts to be smoothing sailing from here but again, be careful, because if your listener gets to act three and hasn’t had their tension released properly, they’ll hate your mix like they hate a bad movie (Like Rush Hour 3…)

ACT III

The Climax – This is where your prized songs come in.  You are in full effect and are probably at a faster tempo then when you started; this is like the peak time at a club. At this point, your listeners are probably dancing their ass of in their bathrobe while getting ready for work.  You have released all that tension you had been building up, and your listener has fallen in love.  Bravo.

Just remember that before you end your mix, you slow the tempo down to cool them off, and you leave them with a song that makes them feel good.  You kind of want them to leave with a sense of accomplishment or that they’re life has become more enriched because of your mix.

Cleary you can see that creative structure is important in creating a good mix but these are just guidelines and aren’t set in stone. Some other things to consider are:

  • Dance to your mix! David Mancuso once said, “A DJ is there to participate. He should have one foot in the booth and the other on the dance floor.” I’m surprised how very few DJs even dance.  Before I was a DJ, I was a participant on the dance floor; I never lose sight of that.  If your mix is making you shake your booty, you’re on the right track.
  • Think of your mix as a generic soundtrack to everybody’s life.  Try to capture your mix in such a way that when the person you gave it to pops it in and plays it, it fits their “movie” perfectly.  I know that sounds a little crazy, but try it.  You’d be surprised.
  • Don’t be afraid to be daring.  Take risks. Make mistakes.
  • Watch your favorite films to see 3AP in action then try to duplicate that experience.

“Here are 2 links to my personal mixes Troy’s Freak Mix 2007 and K-PAXin’ the Potato, which were both created with the information above.  I challenge you to spot the various parts of the three-act paradigm and I want you ask yourself, “What was going on in his life when he created this mix?”  There is a story in them and I’d love for you to find it… “

–       DJ Matthew on the Rocks

ADDITIONAL READING ON THIS TOPIC

 

 

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  • AudioWolf

    Viva La MINIMAL!!! 😀 hell yea man those mixes are dope for a second i thought this was ean goldens writing and then i saw it was matt from el paso!! props matt good article and nobody does it like we do it in the borderland !!

  • Paul Smith

    [quote comment=”41787″]One more thing, this too sounds like boring, mainstream, Hollywood bs to me:

    “Just remember that before you end your mix, […] you leave them with a song that makes them feel good.”

    Worst article on DJTT in a long time.[/quote]

    ^^ROFL You have no fucking clue.

    • ivo1xcu

      You’re an idiot.

  • bdrmdj

    whats wrong with rush hour 3?

  • heisnam

    great article. but worst is the crowd where i play have this thing about singing along. they wont just move there ass until i play something they know. it kinds of break my rhythm most of the time. it saddens me to see people just standing and staring at you to play something which they know.i end up stumbling to popular tracks and thn tend to loose my progression.

  • Always helping us to better ourselves. Thank you and Happy New Year!!

  • Great comments on this article. Personally I’m with most of the others on here in terms of my own workflow. For recording mixes I spend weeks sorting tracks and refining the vibe. This is where the dancing thing comes into it. Dance to your selections… When I’m ready to mix it up, I’ve already got a pretty good idea which track to start with, and end on. Then its all about fill in the gaps however you want to. This can be very challenging with you’re dealing with a lot of vocal and melodic music.

    When playing out, just plan out the first cut or two, that way if things get rough you know your shit. This helped a lot at a gig I played last week. The guy on before us got off 30 minutes early because he was frustrated, so we had to frantically get our shit hooked up. Needless to say it was a mess, but having those first few cuts planned out made it a lot easier to get situated. The rest of 2 hr set was an improv v.s. battle, epics vs epics.

    Check out this Latest Mix:
    http://soundcloud.com/dubkush/120810-dubkush-uplifting-dnb

  • MAKE A MOVIE = FAIRE UN FILM (it’s french, not italian !!! ……. )))))))

  • CharlieSoWhat!!

    Matt……… dude, I been look up for something like this, Becoming the next super Star Dj, seen to me, looking this “must be structure” of a success misxing Dj….. basic stuff like this, is a must be knowledge for any Dj!!!………. when I hit the Number one spot in Dj magazine… I will mention, ” Thanks to DJ Matthew on the Rocks for show me the Basic Path to inlightmentmixing music “

  • Great article. I’ve been using a very similar concept for my podcast/mixes.

    I usually pre plan my dj sets as well. Part of the job imho is to be prepared. I usually have a track list and stick to it more or less unless I’ve totally miss judged the club/crowd. To me it is easier to switch gear from a track list to a more un planned set then trying to create a nice build up etc on the fly every time. A pre planned track list usually have more then double the tracks I can fit into my set as well. Leaving me plenty of room to “change” it up.

    Also, if you’ve prepared you will be more relaxed and have more time to interact with the crowd, dance, etc…

    I’ve seen a lot of comments from DJ’s that say they can’t build up and make a “journey” since the crowd has A.D.D… I’m not sure that is always true, and usually if a DJ shows patience the crowd settles as well and get into the mood. It’s the job of the DJ to take charge and show people a good time. Not just act as a juke box and play hit after hit… I know this applies less to certain clubs, but I would argue it is worth a try regardless.

    Keep in mind that people leave the dance floor for many reasons. They might actually like the tune you are dropping but leaving to get a drink so they can stick around for the rest of your set that you are setting up perfectly. Be careful not to “read” the crowd to much or too fast. Don’t be scared to show some patience. The crowd might just realize that banger after banger is not the best way to spend a night on the dance floor and thank you for it afterwards!

    My 2… and not a pro by any means. 🙂

    One of my latest mixes:
    http://soundcloud.com/domas/house-music-and-beyond-024-afterhours

  • Great article DJ Mathhew on the rocks. I try to follow a song structure during a mix. And when you get an opportunity to make it work, it just works great. I highly recommend all DJs to structure their set. Keep mixing.

  • Olaf

    I agree with the idea behind it, not with how it is exactly described. As other people already said: when you’re not a big-name DJ people often just want to hear their favorite tracks, or on the other hand dance to everything with a beat.

    Still, it’s important to try to impose some structure on your track-selection, only playing peak-time records for 2 hours tires people out. It’s all about building tension, and then releasing this tension, cooling down a little, and build again for the next release. Just like good sex basically 😉

  • MAKE A MOVIE = FARE UN FILM

  • tommyu

    I tend to think of music in these dramatic terms also. I guess some people don’t. Hello Jukeboxes : )

  • I echo many of the sentiments expressed here: I was inspired to start DJing when I was taken on a journey by a live festival set by Groove Armada, and that is what I aim to do when compiling a mix. However, when it comes to DJing at a party or other event, I have learned that flexibility is the key, and it’s often a case of trying different genres / styles / tempo until the floor responds, and THEN you can build your story from this point. I believe the flexible approach is more interesting – I enjoy the challenge and no two sets are the same.
    Finally, I firmly believe you can’t trust a DJ who doesn’t dance!

  • Guy

    BIG UP MATTHEW! big up DJTT!
    WONDERFUL ARTICLE
    keep it up x

  • Kontrol – Pablo

    Great theory. I dig it, but I think beside the three-act paradigm a dose of talent and/or feeling which song to blend with the one before is what makes the difference..

  • I have pretty much used the ‘theme’ process with each and everyone of my recorded mixes that were done in my own studio. ‘Live’ mixes that are recorded at shows and such, it really has to be a long set for you to truly be able to use a ‘formula’ and work your crowd through a journey….however, in recorded mixes done at the home studio, i more or less not only plan the music to flow appropriately, but make sure all of the music that is on the mix has the same theme…for years, i’ve done a series of ‘Love Works’ mixes…all the songs speak about love, relationships, and heartfelt messages…i have a new series called ‘Positive Thinking’ and all the vocals, or snippits/samples drop positive messages throughout the entire mix..

    i’m a firm believer that not all mixes, or sets, have to only be full of the newest trax…any dj can play the newest stuff…half the time a dj who only plays the newest stuff, they simple do not know what it can really do, or they don’t know its intricacies cuz they just downloaded it 3 hours before their gig…a true dj will know their music inside and out, when the drops come, when the keys change, and be able to mix anything new with something even 20 years old and have it be good…

    Danny Tenaglia, Danny Krivit, Francois K, all those guys are the best examples of who plays the new with the old on a consistent basis and lets the music tell the story …

    my .02

  • I agree with the premise and I’ve generally tried to structure my recorded mixes using methods like this article mentions. Some mixes come out great, others certainly could have been better. But, as of others have mentioned, it can be difficult to apply this in live situations for many DJs. I’ve heard Danny Tenaglia mentioned a couple times and he most definitely is a master of telling a story over a long DJ set. The thing with a DT show though, is that most of the audience is there with the intent of letting DT take them on the journey. They are committed to the ride. Unfortunately 99% of us DJs getting a 2 hour time slot in a club don’t usually have the luxury of a devoted and patient audience to tell a story like DT does. Good article though, I like what it preaches.

  • tony

    Im curious, In a normal club [not a festival] can anyone on here who is a pro dj honestly say that they have pre planned an entire live dj set and that it worked?
    Please tell

  • Jester

    1st track. grab the listener by the balls.
    2nd last track. big epic anthem.
    somewhere near the middle. throw in a “WTF?! hey this is pretty groovy” type track
    last track. back down to earth
    all other tracks. filler
    must have a breakbeat section in there somewhere.
    3 bpm diff between start & end

    happy holidays mates, J

  • rhombus_77

    [quote comment=”41793″]who the chick? she howt[/quote]
    looks like annie

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_%28Norwegian_singer%29

    Great article. Thanks DJTT

  • nice , very nice article, but you censored the opinion i´ve posted.. and did´nt allow it to appear

  • Mylestec

    I see merit in this approach and mostly agree, however I also realize that this article seems to be geared more toward mix CD’s and less toward live DJ performances. That said, with regard to live performances it is important to plan the general direction of the set, but stay flexible enough to respond to the audience.

    Another factor not really mentioned, but that applies to the live performance conversation, is the length and position of your set. If your one of several DJ’s playing the night, then your position in the DJ line-up will really dictate where you can take the crowd and what you can play to do so. It should be obvious, but all too often it isn’t; if your playing first at the beginning of the night then your set should probably be composed of gathering tunes rather than big bangers.

    Over the years DJing, I’ve found that the beginning of the set – when your trying to catch everyone’s attention and unify the audience – is the most important part of the set. I’ve also found that this part requires the most flexibility in what you play in terms of genre and attention to maintaining consistent energy levels. You can begin to move past background music once there is a solid foundation of peeps tapping feet and nodding heads. Once you’ve got that foundation, then your can proceed to build up the energy and volume levels and eventually move in for the kill.

    Just my humble opinions! Cheers.

  • Hooker T

    It’s a great article. However, how many people actualy care about mixes anymore? Or even a “set” structure? We as Djs’ can do everything in our power to capture the audience, but most people now a days go to places for the hype or to be able to say “I was there.” I go to my local club to see producers/Djs all the time and the place is half full and these cats rock the house.

    Then I also go when say a certain cast member from The Jersey Shore headlines (who has no
    idea what structure or beat matching is) and the
    place is at capacity.
    I love this web site and the community it is building. But false hopes are worse than running out of ice cream when you have the munchies.
    I guess I’m just venting. Sorry.

  • J. McGrory

    Great article, some of my most memorable nights out have been because I’ve been in the hands (not literally!) of a DJ who has played a set with a beginning, a middle and an end. I agree with darasan, DT is a master of this, but it does seem to be becoming less common these days.

    Have a listen to a few of my mixes on Soundcloud, I always aim to have ‘stages’ in my sets, without actually pre-planning anything other than perhaps the first and last tunes:-

    http://soundcloud.com/johnmcgrory

  • darasan

    Nice article, and while this idea of structuring a mix is old knowledge, its good to remind everybody about it, so thanks for writing.

    Unfortunately, the sentiments in the article are not reflected your mix that you linked to on Soundcloud…I mean, it’s just a load of cheesy house and electro, mashed together! I was really disappointed with that, considering the great article. Sorry dude…

    If you want to check out a REAL journey of a mix, try Danny Tenaglia’s Athens and London mixes, from the Global Underground series. Not since Homer’s Odyssey has there been such an epic voyage!

  • VanGogo

    Dance to your mix! David Mancuso once said, “A DJ is there to participate. He should have one foot in the booth and the other on the dance floor.”

    Best tip in the article IMO.

    The other info was inspirational and informative also! Thanks Matthew on the Rocks & DJTT.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Faire un cinema’ is French not Italian… Great article!

  • Good article! Fun way to think about DJing and mixing in general. Also love the commentary. Keep it up!

  • dlfsahk

    english is not my native language but, shouldn’t it be “an unforgettable mix” instead of “a unforgettable mix”??

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment=”41825″]id have to agree with DJ Dennis on this, and not just for “event DJ” but for all DJs. one of the things that sets a decent DJ apart from a great one is flexibility. planning out your entire set may sound like a great idea on paper, but in reality its not a very good idea as having a rigid plan will eliminate that flexibility. a DJ HAS to react to the crowd and select music accordingly.

    BUT im not trying to put this article down, like i said its a great idea in theory. i think the way to make it work in practice would be to categorize your music in a way that lets you quickly determine whether a track will work better for the chiller part of the set or if its a peak time banger. that way the DJ has many tracks from which to select for that particular phase of the set.

    or in other words: KNOW YOUR MUSIC.(period)[/quote]

    I agree…
    personally I think it is boring to preplan… I think its better to be flexible than it is to be anal about the whole gotta do this or gotta do that a certain way. If you see the club isnt full yet… why go through the motions and blow up a half empty room…
    This article is more for making a mixtape mabey. Either way the advice is sound for people who may not have thought about the terminology.

    The 3 act system works for the bartender who is there from begining to end . It also works for some headz who are listening to every beat. What if your dj slot gets moved to a later or earlier slot and you put your epic 3 act mix into a context which breaks the flow of the whole party?
    for example drum and bass parties where you have a guy Rinsing out amen breaks and double drops and suddenly a jazz, smooth running dnb dj takes the next slot right at 2am. Not all promoters see the whole music curve with the lineup… and when your at a club once it opens… what are you going to do force him to rethink the lineup and deal with the other djs.

    again.. I think its good to know song structure like mentioned in the article… but I think a better article would be how to be flexible and atleast prepare for making a bridge from your style to the next… even setting up the end of your mix so the next dj can pull off a great transition

  • JOSHROBBS

    Great article bro. I do always try piece together a set. I have even caught this when mixing on the fly with no game plan I find a little bit of this going on unintentionally.

  • wikkid1

    id have to agree with DJ Dennis on this, and not just for “event DJ” but for all DJs. one of the things that sets a decent DJ apart from a great one is flexibility. planning out your entire set may sound like a great idea on paper, but in reality its not a very good idea as having a rigid plan will eliminate that flexibility. a DJ HAS to react to the crowd and select music accordingly.

    BUT im not trying to put this article down, like i said its a great idea in theory. i think the way to make it work in practice would be to categorize your music in a way that lets you quickly determine whether a track will work better for the chiller part of the set or if its a peak time banger. that way the DJ has many tracks from which to select for that particular phase of the set.

    or in other words: KNOW YOUR MUSIC.(period)

  • tony

    Im sitting on the fence with this, its one of those taking the crowd on a journey type of articles, this is great if your crowd has a good attention span,but we live in days of quick gratification,channel hopping ipod on shuffle. the lowest common denominator is king [not in my eyes] millions of people sitting infront of the tv watching a glorified kareoke competition.
    Im sure this style can work and I wish it did nore often.
    Sometimes when you start trying to take the crowd on a journey the only journey they take is to the next bar or club up the road.
    I see this style working better for mix cds.
    In some ways your average crowd could not care less about the way you mix,they dont have the attention span to follow the story,they are only interested in hearing music that they like and our job is to keep the place as busy as possible so that the venue makes as much money as possible!
    Sad but true!
    I tend to think of my dj sets these days as telling a series of very short storys!

  • Top advice! 🙂

  • DJ Dennis

    as an “event DJ” (somebody who shows up to make those gathered at private parties “happy”) i would observe that you don’t always get to plan out the “story arc” for an entire evening (or even just the tunes you play until the next bio-break…). that sort of sucks because your own ego drives you to want to get people to recognize your inherent greatness at choosing “Good Music”.
    BUT GUESS WHAT!! it rarely works out that way. i’ve selected “great” music and planned nice sets that i think will play well to a certain crowd only to find them sitting on their hands, sipping their drinks. sigh. my policy of playing requests only complicates the situation — you can’t “plan” a set when you don’t know everything you’re going to play until you play it!!
    DO NOT GET ME WRONG HERE — i really like the ideas in this article. having some idea of how to structure things is important, real important. in my situation though, i tend to think of things on a less grand scale than telling an epic story. i think about telling a short story or a long joke. someone comes along and wants to hear some song. unless there is already a good place in the tunes i’ve got queued up to play to drop the requested track, i will think of other songs that fit with it as lead-ins and lead-outs. instead of 60 minute long performance sets, i am thinking about 3 or 4 songs that will hang together nicely with a request or two to make the crowd happy.
    IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS making the gathered people happy is what this is all about. it would be nice to have the opportunity to tell an epic tale once in a while but if i can’t do that, short stories are where its at…

  • Matthew on the Rocks

    [quote comment=”41799″]Overall, a great article on the broad structure of a mix. Made me think about reading The Odyssey, since that to me signifies the quintessential hero’s journey, and if I could somehow translate an epic story (nasty encounters with krakens, cyclops’, and sirens) into a freaky booty-shakin’ dance-fest.
    I don’t know if there are any articles here on this site (or elsewhere for that matter) that address each transition point in more detail, especially in manipulating build-up/tension for greater climax… dammit, that never gets hold, haha[/quote]

    Jonn, that’s a great idea. You might also want to look into the Monomyth. there’s a book written by Joseph Campbell called “the Hero with a Thousand Faces”. This book goes more into detail about the monomyth but this idea has everything to do with the Odyssey

  • Matthew on the Rocks

    I’m glad to have got the conversation and going and the opinions flowing! Listen guys, I think when it comes to anything written on DJ Tech Tools, we aren’t writing material that is supposed to be the “end all say all” of DJing. We are merely putting information out there to inspire and educate. Like I said in the article, THESE IDEAS ARE JUST A GUIDELINE AND AREN’T SET IN STONE. I also said, there are so many ways to mix this concept up.

    Always remember that I write these articles not to talk down to anyone but so share with you my experiences with Djing; I’m on your side. Thanks you for all the feedback, and thank you for all the feedback in regards towards my mixes!

    Best, DJ Matthew on the Rocks

    P.S. Wish me luck guys, I have two interviews for two new clubs opening up!

  • Great article.

  • Rob E

    Well its one way of thinking about a dj set or mix cd, but it stinks of the kind of godawful dj sets that proliferate these days; what I call the up, up and away set – a bit of a warm up if you’re lucky, then faster and ‘bigger’ tunes all night, and a few classics thrown in at the end of the night. I know that the controllerism on this website doesn’t sit too well with a less frantic style of djing with a bit more gentle variation, being mostly electro sounding stuff with loads of big effects, but I do think encouraging a bit more subtlety in what we play and how we play it wouldn’t go amiss.

  • Grazz16

    Great article, and advice everyone should be taking into consideration for sure. One part that strikes me is this:

    “It can be said that the purpose of art is to provide pleasure. If so, then it stands to reason that pleasure can be defined as the release from tension. The greater the tension from which the audience is released, the greater the pleasure afforded.”

    I agree 100% and it always amazes me how many ppl get caught up in what is, and is not “good DJing”. Good DJing ‘provides pleasure’ from a musical standpoint. If ppl like your mix, you’ve done your job. I think the article provides a more refined way of going about that.

  • n2hf1st

    [quote comment=”41784″]Not gonna lie this whole column was a little confusing…. I thought (and have been taught) the hook and Chorus (collectively named “the chorus” or “hook”) are the same thing. In addition, the solo, brdige and breakdown were also one thing (collectively called the breakdown. For most hip hop songs, you have 1) Intro 2) Hook/Chorus 3) Verse [Collectively repeat 2&3 twice] 4) Breakdown [optional] 5)Outro.
    In a 3-4 minute I don’t think its even possible to have all those different parts…[/quote]

    mostly yeah, for electronic based music. for hiphop you use choruses and bridges, for dubstep you use drops and breakdowns. the hook is a melodic or rhythmic hook that makes the song what it is and gives it identity. and it’s def possible to have all those things in a a 3-4 minute song, it’s called pop music 😉

  • Padi_04

    I’d let her play with my decks….

  • most of the electronic tracks don’t have chorus and solo so this part is a bit pointless.
    but there is some good part in this article. a good mix is about progression and tension. if you put only tear out stuff with uberfast change like you can do it with digital mixing people will get out of the floor. so you’ve got to make a progression with some less tension part leading to your high energic tracks in the end

  • John

    Overall, a great article on the broad structure of a mix. Made me think about reading The Odyssey, since that to me signifies the quintessential hero’s journey, and if I could somehow translate an epic story (nasty encounters with krakens, cyclops’, and sirens) into a freaky booty-shakin’ dance-fest.
    I don’t know if there are any articles here on this site (or elsewhere for that matter) that address each transition point in more detail, especially in manipulating build-up/tension for greater climax… dammit, that never gets hold, haha

  • I like articles like this, they prove the point that if you want to be an interesting DJ, make sure you have interests outside of DJing – there is always stuff you can bring back to your creativity in music from other areas of your life to push the envelope a bit further.

    Of course this formula won’t work for all sets in all places, but so what? It’s another way of thinking about producing good DJ mixes.

  • minimal

    I was just gonna say the same thing 🙂

    Dj chicks are so much hotter.

  • Anonymous

    who the chick? she howt

  • malzfreund

    [quote]
    If you are not there to make people feel good
    [/quote]

    I don’t think it’s wrong to make people feel good. I object to the narrow, scripted structure proposed by the author. Part of my objection is what’s essentially the “Hollywood ending,” we must play last a song that makes people feel good.

    [quote]
    once you are in a social gathering, your responsible for people to have fun.
    [/quote]
    There is something important in here. That is, it all depends on your audience. If you’re making a set for home-listening, you can take your audience on many journeys–and I don’t think they have to follow the script proposed by MOTR at all.

    If you’re in a club, again it depends on the audience. Let’s say we’re playing for people on drugs. Again, I don’t think we need to follow MOTR’s tight story. I think we can build a lot of tension but must not necessarily reach a climax at which we release that tension. But the audience on drugs imposes other restrictions that limit what we can do. We need to play music the audience can cope with. E.g., music that’s very maximalistic, experimental, or funny is not gonna work.

  • Ponyboy

    [quote comment=”41788″][quote comment=”41787″]One more thing, this too sounds like boring, mainstream, Hollywood bs to me:

    “Just remember that before you end your mix, […] you leave them with a song that makes them feel good.”

    Worst article on DJTT in a long time.[/quote]

    LOL
    If you are not there to make people feel good, stay at home and make wonderful mixes in your bedroom. once you are in a social gathering, your responsible for people to have fun. I’m not saying that a dj is a glorified jukebox, but you have to work the crowd or else you are a jukebox for your ego….

    very nice article, btw…..[/quote]

    I think the dude was talking about that line specifically…..

  • Ponyboy

    You can sum it all up in 1 word – Progression.

    A mix needs to show progression, if it does it will draw the listener in and all these ‘parts’ will be automatically addressed.

    The article takes what is a simple premise and makes it seem extremely complicated.

    Not a bad article and interesting to read but I think it suffers from a lot of pretentious waffle :p

  • [quote comment=”41787″]One more thing, this too sounds like boring, mainstream, Hollywood bs to me:

    “Just remember that before you end your mix, […] you leave them with a song that makes them feel good.”

    Worst article on DJTT in a long time.[/quote]

    LOL
    If you are not there to make people feel good, stay at home and make wonderful mixes in your bedroom. once you are in a social gathering, your responsible for people to have fun. I’m not saying that a dj is a glorified jukebox, but you have to work the crowd or else you are a jukebox for your ego….

    very nice article, btw…..

  • malzfreund

    One more thing, this too sounds like boring, mainstream, Hollywood bs to me:

    “Just remember that before you end your mix, […] you leave them with a song that makes them feel good.”

    Worst article on DJTT in a long time.

  • malzfreund

    “According to the book, Introduction to Media Arts, “It can be said that the purpose of art is to provide pleasure. If so, then it stands to reason that pleasure can be defined as the release from tension. The greater the tension from which the audience is released, the greater the pleasure afforded.”

    Provision of pleasure and release from tension might be principal goals when producing something with wide appeal, something that’s supposed to sell. But, as a definition of art, it is too narrow, too pop-culture centric, too American.

  • Leo van Ondheusden

    Really awesome!!!
    DJTT is the school of any DJ’s Life!!!
    =)

  • Not gonna lie this whole column was a little confusing…. I thought (and have been taught) the hook and Chorus (collectively named “the chorus” or “hook”) are the same thing. In addition, the solo, brdige and breakdown were also one thing (collectively called the breakdown. For most hip hop songs, you have 1) Intro 2) Hook/Chorus 3) Verse [Collectively repeat 2&3 twice] 4) Breakdown [optional] 5)Outro.
    In a 3-4 minute I don’t think its even possible to have all those different parts…

  • Jon

    Great Article.
    Ive been trying to create a story with my mixes, but didnt know how to choose the right tracks. This really gives me direction. THnx DJTT for another great post.

  • George

    Awesome advice!!! i love this site.