I remember many years ago we booked Stu Patterson for a gig at Sankey’s where we ended up having far too much fun, and halfway though a mix that went absolutely south so I just stopped the records and then kicked in the one I was haphazardly mixing in after probably a little too long and the place went mental. Stu turned to me and said, “that’s right house music is all about the drama” and that has stuck with me ever since. That tension and release in one record or built up through a succession of tunes.
That’s also a good trick for when the atmosphere has gone flat and the dance floor needs a reset.
I’m also partial to slowly fading the volume down, watching everyone’s confused faces then increasing it back up for maximum effect. Its a really, really cheap trick but works every time. Once saw Harvey so he learned that from Larry Levan so if its good enough for them…
I’ve always thought a big part of djing is, once you’ve learned how to mix, is to learn how not to mix. When’s the right time to just smash one in or, when to fade out and start afresh etc…
I love all those Morales and Knuckles remixes from the early/mid 90s which seem designed to be unmixable - things like “Melody Of Love” or “Stronger Together” with these beatless, dramatic introductions where they don’t attach to the tempo or structure of the main track, and you have to just kill everything to start playing them in full.
i get a bit irritable if i don’t hear someone clang a mix up now and again. i need to hear something going wrong, drifting off a bit to remind me that it’s still spontaneous.
Pretending the power has gone to the decks is always a good one too
I agree. It can easily get too clinical and dull.
I don’t play out but I’m sure my neighbours hear a fair bit of ‘spontaneity’ on a regular basis
That’s very true. Doesn’t always have to be a long blend and sometimes a tune is meant to be heard start to finish.
I saw Goldie at WHP a few months back, he was playing Jungle like it was Hip Hop - just cutting track perfectly and slamming the next tune in. It worked brilliantly.