The other day I was at the gym doing some thai boxing and I was listening to a Fisher set and I noticed the majority of the time he was playing the full track and simply mixing over the outro, but these days when watching DJs on YT it seems popular to do really quick transitions and use a lot of FX, so which way's better.
In truth it depends on where you're playing. For instance if you're playing for an online audience, sure lightning fast transitions and FX are awesome as they showcase your skills and keep the audience entertained, but when playing live people are more concerned with atmosphere and let's face it if you're turning up to hear your favourite DJ play at a festival or as art of a tour, you probably want to hear your favourite tracks from that artist, and too often in club settings I have heard DJs drop a big hit only to mix out 30 seconds later leaving the crowd disappointed.
So tip 1: when playing in a live setting, at clubs, events or even house parties, it's not about how fast you can mix it's about picking the right tracks, for the events you are playing, and arranging your tracks in a way that creates atmosphere. I teach all this in detail in my club ready courses which I'll link into the description below.
So let's say you want to DJ like fisher, not produce, but actually DJ like fisher, or anyone for that matter, the very first thing I'd do is start listening to their live sets and when you find a set that resonates with you, go across to 1001 tracklists.com and type in the name of the set. so in this case fisher at creamfields and see what comes up. Now the beauty of 1001 tracklists is not only does it list the tracks in the order they were played but quite often they even tell you where the transitions were and from that you can also figure out how much of each track was played and in which places of the track the DJs choose to transition.
This is great as let's say you want to DJ like fisher you could start by downloading all the tracks he played, then put them into the same order and then figure out how much of each track was played based on the time code in 1001 tracklists and literally practise playing the exact same set as fisher and by doing so you notice where he likes to transition and how much of each track he likes to play.
Then once you have the playlist and the transition points - meaning the arrangement, you could then listen more closely to how he does his transitions and then mirror those techniques. Personally when listening to his creamfields set I'm hearing a combination of EQ work and some filter and I'm also hearing him mixing most of the time over the end of the chorus's or sometimes even replacing the drop, all of which I broke down in one of my earlier videos called how to mix tech house, which I'll link in now, as that contains a goldmine of information that you'll 100% want to check out if you haven't already.
Ok so let me show you some of his techniques now, but mind you I have no above shot of fisher playing, so this is me taking educated guesses based on what i can hear.
So firstly let's look at the first transition he does into one of his own tracks, you little beauty.
Watch the video for example: https://youtu.be/ciOwywNYSTg
Ok so I heard EQ work, filter work emphasising the changes and also a volume drop 1 bar before the new phrase kicks in of new track, let me show you.
Transition 2: This one's fairly easy and straightforward which proves my point it's not about tricks when playing live it's about mixing in the right tracks to get a response form your crowd. So for this transition you can actually see where he hits play, exactly 16 bars after last drop, and then he keeps the new track underneath and basically drops out exiting track 2 bars before the drop to allow his famous pre drop vocal to play on it's own.
Transition 3: This is my favourite transition in the set as he brings in the crowd favourite losing it and I found this one interesting as he kind of pulls back the energy with an ok track beforehand and it seems just as everyone's getting a little bored, he drops in the intro to losing it and you hear everyone go nuts as many of them are probably there to hear fishers signature track and even though it's a basic mix and transition, it still gives me chills. Let me show you fisher doing it, then I'll reproduce it for you - the key to this one is to hit the intro in hard.
This set was created almost 3 years ago and I'll be honest the whole time I spent de crafting these transitions, I was just inspired to jump on and create my own version and that's the beauty of watching the pros play live and even immersing yourself in the clubbing culture, as you get inspired, and in truth I'm now inspired to do my own fisher inspired tech house set, so let me know if this would interest you and perhaps I'll bang one out over the coming weeks?
Anyway, if this is inspiring for you but you are still fumbling your way around your DJ gear and you lack the foundations and confidence needed behind the decks, stop wasting your time and check out my club ready courses. I am certain my courses will have you DJIng as good as the pros within a few weeks - 100% guaranteed.
I teach all these skills plus so so so much more, and once you're ready the package even includes an advanced performance course that IMO will have you DJIng better than the pros, and then once you're ready and feeling confident perhaps you can make the jump into production but the good thing about learning to DJ first is, you'll have a solid understanding of music theory, and will also know what people respond to so when it comes time to try your hand at producing your own music you can do what everyone else does and follow simple formulas and those formulas become more and more apparent the more you DJ.
Have you noticed the beats of your tracks drifting apart? Not having a visual reference to align the beats visually may affect your confidence behind the decks. Beatmatching allows you to match the beats by ear without looking at stacked waveforms. Even if you can align beats visually, beatmatching is an important tool to have in your toolbox because some venues do not have stacked waveform visuals.
As DJs, music is an essential part of our lives, and for many people, nothing compares to the feeling of a well-crafted DJ mix. Not only is it an amazing promotional tool to create or boost your current DJ career, it is also a means to form your identity and brand.
Let me paint a picture. I was once out at a club and the music was getting repetitive and some people were leaving and more people were sitting down than dancing and all of a sudden the DJ teased in the vocal: hey boy hey girl, by chemical brothers.
The key to killer psy trance sets, and TBH, any DJ set for that matter, is killer track selection and arrangement, which usually comes down to how well you know your tracks or how much research and prep you do before crafting a set. In this video I'll breakdown the things I consider when building a set and putting together a playlist.
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Not sure where to start? In this mini series I answer many of the questions beginners have about learning to DJ.