How to Mix Pop Music

Pop music comes in all shapes and sizes, but when you’re mixing it in the club setting, all that really matters is the fact that each track adheres to a pretty traditional formula. Whether it’s a hip-hop tune, a slab of indie rock, or even Justin Bieber’s latest hit, each one typically falls into the intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/outro standard. Those elements are the building blocks for today’s lesson about mixing pop tracks, from DJ TechTools’ Ean Golden.


When mixing pop tracks, the interplay between one track’s chorus and another’s verse is integral.

1. When you’re ready to mix out of track one, loop track two’s intro and begin to tease it beneath track one’s verse.

2. Beneath track one’s chorus, extend the loop of track two’s intro.

3. Fade out of track one’s chorus and into the verse of your new track.

Read next: Mixing Techniques for DJs: 5 Creative Tempo Changes

dance hitship hopmixing pop trackspop music
Comments (62)
Add Comment
  • sense

    phrasing is important but those tracks do not go well together big key clash!

  • Sebastian Naitsabes

    Thanks for this technique!
    It works great because these 2 tracks are on the same key,
    what are the alternatives for 2 tracks in different key?

  • MadHausNYC (Engr. Mehedi)

    Now That was a very helpful video

  • J2O

    I liked the quick ‘Vinyl Stop’ style exit from the snoop track – what effect was that?

    • Sean Cvtter

      Turntable Stop Effect

      • J2O

        Thanks mate!

  • TheQuakerOatsGuy

    THANK YOU for posting this. There are still a few DJ’s I’ve known since I’ve started (in 98) who don’t follow this template but it’s just so standard that I was pretty sure everyone did it. Guess not. That dead space in the intro when they mix in too early is just the biggest vibe killer.

  • Greg Lane

    I liked the video but I think a better combination of tracks could have been used, it just didn’t sound right to me.

  • djeae

    I remember the days when beat-matching was the hardest part of mixing two tracks together.

  • Funke

    Not the best sounding example, but it got the point across perfectly. I like to use 4 4 8 4 4 8 or 2 4 2 4 beat loops for introductions.

  • Duy Tu?n

    Where to buy that cute usb cable plz!?

    • Martin Petrik

      In da shoppaaaaa. 🙂

      • Duy Tu?n

        Any link to buy?

        • Martin Petrik

          Unfortunately no, I’m shopping such things in our local store or at the e-shop which is selling in our country only.
          Edit: But they don’t have it as well.

          • Duy Tu?n

            oh…thank you.

  • jgroove

    Awesome vid!

  • jason u

    awesome, thank you for the knowledge!

  • I'd rather post as guest

    Those midi fighter pros look enormous!

  • Chaser720

    Any tips on mixing into tracks with vocals in the intro? Effect chain?

    • djfreesoul

      When I mix into a song that starts with vocal+music (no intro) I use the previous songs break (which I loop at 8 or 16) and the vocal (use kill to take away the bass in the vocal track), and then I switch over right at the beginning of the first chorus. You can also use filter, and filter out the low freq.

      If you do this, keep in mind the key, and that some breaks might drift (check with metronomen).

      • djfourmoney

        Watch’in You by Slave need one more bar….

  • Kirk Holland

    Eyup everyone!! Anyone know what the deck brake effect Ean used to mix out of Drop it like it’s hot? Can’t see it on the effect chain – cheers in advance!

    • Sean Cvtter

      Turntable Stop Effect.

  • Dennis Parrott

    Would this have been as straightforward to do if you were actually using the original Pixies song?

    I would expect that the Basssnectar remix would be laid out on a grid (and the original warped somewhat to force beats to line up to the grid) which would make it feasible for Traktor to sync the two tracks.

    The Snoop joint, like most modern hip-hop, has a pretty strong, regular beat — no drifting like you get in “actually played by people” music from the old days. (you know, back before computers were a musical instrument?)

    But what if you wanted to work with the original songs?

    If you wanted to mix these two songs would you have done an edit of the Pixies in Ableton first to make it work out? Are there some other things you could have done using the original Pixies track?

    …and having beaten my question horse a bit, I’d like to say thanks a ton for this one. As a wedding/party/mobile DJ I have to say this sort of tip is far more useful than the other stuff that I read here (not that I don’t like the other stuff — I do — it is just that this is directly applicable to what I do today…)

    • Toontown

      If using unwarped tracks you can bet it would be less straightforward. You’ll be nudging the crap out of certain tracks and playing off of manual in/out loop points. You’re right that the WIMM remix is warped/gridded so it’s more akin to synced mixing. I happen to know the original drifts pretty significantly.

      I “fix” pretty much all “actually played by people” music nowadays. I warp it, add a beefier drum track, and EQ/boost levels as necessary. This ensures that I can pull it off in an open format mix a little more appropriately and not worry about drift if I get wrapped up in another part of the mix.

      • Dennis Parrott

        this is pretty much what I expected.

        I find it interesting that you edit virtually everything! that is amazing. on the other hand, I see what you’re saying — the prep work guarantees that you can mix in and out of songs.

        thanks for the reply.

        but here’s a thought TT — how about taking some examples of songs you’ve edited in this manner and do a few articles walking us through your techniques? that would be an awesome follow-up to this article.

      • djfourmoney

        You can fix this inside of VDJ 8 and it doesn’t change the track if played outside of the software. I’ve been working with 70’s and early 80’s for awhile now, its not easy but its not hard either and I came from turntables (1200’s) started in 1986 and be playing old beats since.

      • Dennis Parrott

        I had completely forgotten that video! When it came out I was bowled over at hearing my old metal heroes mixed into hip-hop.

        I need to figure out how to keep other folks from taking up my time and take that video out to the woodshed! (damn jobs always getting in the way of musikcing… serious extra credit for getting that reference!)

        be curious to see how well I am able to use this technique with old 60s garage rock and Motown — the wife needs a birthday mix for her party!

        ean – as always, thanks again!

  • andreimatei

    Great video and excellent explanation as always. I felt the incoming track should probably be a little softer coming in until the last bar however. That’s just personal preference though.

  • Ben

    Horrible song choice for your demo! The N word come on you know better! You offended a lot of DJ’s and other people.

    • marquee mark

      lol Ean’s not DJing a high school prom, he doesn’t need to use edited tracks. If you’ve got an issue, you should probably take it up with Snoop Dogg

      • Ben

        Before this goes on…Ean thanks for reaching out to me on FB and much respect for the way that you handled this situation. On my part I should have reached out to you in private.

        • Clay Ford

          haha just be happy you didn’t grow up in the 80’s/90’s with Geto Boys and NWA. Man, everyone is so damn PC nowadays.

    • Toontown

      I’m not offended, FWIW.

    • alfredo otero

      I like that song…


      no, only you

    • Ean Golden

      Hey Ben, Thanks for your concern – I was also bothered when we noticed that was in the video. While not intentional in any way, it was a regrettable oversight. We will make a more serious effort to choose clean versions when needed in the future.

      • Ben 360

        Ean and DJTT thank for reaching to me and others out about this. I should have used a little different tone and discussed this with you in another way. I believe you to the fullest that you did not mean any harm. I had a lot of respect for you before this happened and now tons, tons, and tons of respect for the way that you handled this. We all make mistakes and have teachable moments from them. I will catch up with you later and again much respect!

        • djfourmoney

          Thanks for being an overly sensitive. There was no harm done and I didn’t even notice it UNTIL YOU POINTED IT OUT. Thanks but no thanks for being offended for rest of us. There is teachable moment you, the only teachable moment is for America to pay reparations.

      • djfourmoney

        How come it seems White men are more offended by that word than Black people???? Then again Black people are overly sensitive or should I say the media plays them like a fiddle. The latest flaps over Donald Sterling and Jeremy Clarkson are perfect examples. In fact it seems to me when a racial incident happens, it’s always White people pointing it out like we’re suppose to be outraged or something. Time to live the US, overly sensitive, metrosexual men, feminism has ruined lives and racism in some 2.0 phase is too hard for me to follow.

        • Ztronical

          I am half black half white. And most my life was never around blacks.
          At the age of twenty five or so I found that most black people could not stand me.
          They thought I was not black enough. I still see it a lot. No one needs to pay or take responsibility. Everyone just needs to respect each other. This would include music. To me music is the same as skin color or any part of a person.
          It’s all just being alive.

    • dj jsn

      anyone offended by the snoops N word on “drop it like its hot” should stop djing and take up sewing

  • Jon

    Actually enjoyed this, lays everything out pretty simple and it’s always nice to refresh some stables of DJ technique.

    Would lower both tracks gain if this was an actual mix though, clipping in Traktor and all that.

  • 2312

    You look high as fuck bro … Wondering what drugs you were on to conduct a great lecture like this?

    • Kontraire

      Gimmie moar of that stuff man, it waz guud.

    • marqueemark

      haha you can take a freeze frame of anyone talking in a video and make it look like this tho

    • Ean Golden

      perhaps a little tired from running 3 parallel companies for the last 7 years but def not high! 😛 I am however feeling blessed and happy to still have the opportunity to share my knowledge with others.

      • Dennis Parrott

        and those of us who were able to get into controller-based DJing ONLY because DJTT had the right “stuff” feel just as blessed. seriously, if DJTT hadn’t been hosting TSI files for things like the old Hercules controllers I would have not been able to make that leap.

        the entire controller-based DJing community owes you, big time.

        I offer my heartfelt thanks until such time that I can buy you a meal and few brews! (come back to Detroit?)

          • Arielle

            I like the tutorial, Ean. One thing though, for future videos is make sure your clothes don’t have stains on them. 😉

            To give you some more credit. You convinced me to buy my first controller which is a VCI-100.

            It’s hilarious the kind of rubbish I receive from using controllers (even though my main DJ setup only has an X1 with traktor, and two turntables and an old mixer, really old mixer. I’m given a bit more respect when people discover how long I’ve been DJing and what I started on.

      • Phatscout

        What are the other things you run besides DJTT? Honestly I thought you obit for DJTT?

    • Robert

      “So remember if you’re playing any lyric-based Pot music…”

  • celtic-dj

    very good tutorial….you can use the sample deck or a third deck with the same track..mixing into the same tune playing on two decks gives you lots of flexibility…

  • Diego

    nice one ean !

  • Steve Smelser DJ

    keep up the great teachings, many will benefit from smaller chunks of info taught at at a good pace, easy to understand

  • This guy

    This is such and important fundamental technique that can ruin a mix if done incorrectly. I don’t always agree with Ean and these tutorials, but this is a great video, a great mix, and a very good explanation of one way to structure a mix.