The moment frequently pops up when you must come up with the next song in a hurry. The clock is ticking backwards and you find your self with only 1 minute left in a track and then you think of the perfect song, but wait- what was it called again? This is one area where 12″ records offered a serious advantage, instead of requiring the memorization of 4000 song names- you became emotionally attached the the visual image of the cover.
Many djs could NEVER remember the name of their go-to record but instantly pull up the most minuscule details about a cover. “Yeah- its the purple one with the little orange dot on the corner and Erika’s phone number scrawled on the back”. Hey we are artists people, and artists are a visual group of folks.
So, how to work this problem out in the digital age? Well, there are a few tricks up my sleeve that I can share with you. Next week we will expand this concept into a full blown I tunes management class but first I want to share one simple little trick that will go a long way.
I like to call this technique “association tagging” because it creates useful associations between un-related tracks. Lets say you stumble on a mix that works perfectly so you think to yourself- wow I need to remember that for the future! Put the names of BOTH songs in each others comments sections. Now, you have created a permanent association between the tracks. Finding epic blends on the night of a gig is a complete rush but to be honest most of them are going to turn up while practicing. Always using this system will create an easy way to quickly find the next song in a mix. Just search for the name of the song you are already playing and then anything you previously discovered works well will pop up. I am always re-discovering mixes that I completely forgot about this way.
This technique also works well for grouping together logical sets of music. For example, lets say you have a series of 5 songs you always play in a row. Rather than search for each of them at a time just put the name of the first song in the comments of all the tracks. You know the Techno remix of “Dont stop believing”** is the song that kicks off the epic 80’s rave rock mini mix that you always do. So put the title in the other songs that you play after that. Now you have an instant set list without ever creating a play list!
Finally, it works wonders for sub-micro genres that require grouping but don’t need their own genre. One funny example was the Outkast hit “Hey Ya”. 5 years ago that awesome track allowed me to sneak in all kinds of cut time drum and bass style songs into a hip hop/pop set. So to easily group all the songs that fit that tempo and rhythmic pattern I just put “Hey Ya” into the comments section. One simple search instantly pulls up hundreds of songs that will mix well in that part of my set. Its a search that I still execute several times in almost every set. That example is particularly good because many of the songs that work together fall into very different genres including, D&B, 80’s, Rag Time, Reggae. Instead of creating yet another genre, I have found one connection to link them all together thats easy to remember: “Hey Ya”***
** Never play this song unless its Brad’s Gama Gama Pheta Beta frat party.
*** Yes, its ok to play this song again.