In one of my Beatport diatribes last week, I mentioned that I have a hard time DJing in Live. I’ve been puzzling over why. Ignore for the moment all the cool effects and re-arrangement possibilities that Live offers. Since Live keeps everything tempo-synced, once I’ve warped my tracks, I should be able to make the exact same mix I do on my decks with less effort. Right?
But it hasn’t worked out that way. My Live mixes come out sort of feeble.
I recently thought of a simple explanation: I don’t know my digital dance music nearly as well as I know my vinyl. While doing the actual beatmatching, I’m forced to listen fairly closely to both records. I also tend to let them play together for a while after the beats are aligned but before actually starting the transition. And beatmatching is something that you have to practice a bit, so I’m doing this over and over. In the process, I internalize the structure of the tracks and learn where transitions and breaks are. And that is the key to making two tracks flow together, not crossfaders or EQs.
If that’s the case, the solution is pretty simple: I just need to listen to all my digital dance tracks, all the way through, with an attentive ear. It may seem odd that I haven’t done this already, but it can be kind of weird to listen to house or techno songs straight through outside of a mix.