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Is beatmatching the be all and end all of djing?


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Poll: Is beatmatching the be all and end all of djing (22 member(s) have cast votes)

What's your view of the importance of beatmatching

  1. Unless you've got four records on the go in perfect time (without sync), you're cheating. (2 votes [9.09%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 9.09%

  2. It's the cornerstone of dj skill - it's the first and most important skill to learn. (5 votes [22.73%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 22.73%

  3. It's one way of mixing but not the only way. I like to beatmatch, just not every record. (13 votes [59.09%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 59.09%

  4. Fuck all that - on beat or off beat, just bang it in! (2 votes [9.09%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 9.09%

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#1 jeljms

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 07:13 PM

This poll was inspired by the Mr Scruff thread. Just wanted to get people's views on beatmatching and how important it is to you all.



#2 Wax On

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 07:40 PM

Selection above all else.

 

And if you can't do it well (beat mixing/blending etc) don't try it at all.


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#3 djdiggla

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 07:44 PM

Selection above all else.

 

And if you can't do it well (beat mixing/blending etc) don't try it at all.

 

Agree. It should still flow though even if not explicitly mixed. It's important to be good at mixing but not always a requirement especially with certain genres. Club and electronic music obviously prize mixing above everything else so if that's what you spin it's pretty important.  


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#4 danswift

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:19 PM

Beatmatching is not particularly important to me personally but then again i'm more the type who believes that the use of things like odd time signatures and not being constrained by tempo or convention can actually be the musician or the D.J.'s best friend if they're used wisely within a mix or a composition.
Symatic on O9 May 2016-08.49 PM said
oh dan you filthy bastard why open such a nerd can of worms to a bunch of beat perverts like you find on here ???
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#5 Steve

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:22 PM

In a bar/club situation, I'd say for me it's at least 80% down to the tunes and the technical stuff is the rest of it, but it also depends on my expectations, which vary depending on who the DJ is.

 

I used to go to a local funk night where the DJ didn't mix at all. He had a couple of regular portable CD players hooked up to a shit mixer and he just faded tracks in and out, but I still loved it cos the tunes were great. If he was technically amazing at DJing as well, that would have been the icing on the cake, but the fact that he wasn't didn't (and couldn't) take enough away from it so that I no longer enjoyed it.

 

With mixtapes, I definitely appreciate the technical stuff more, cos there's so much choice and I can listen to them on demand and repeatedly.

 

I think it's a good idea to learn to beatmatch manually and I'd recommend that any wannabe club DJ learns it, cos it's one of the 4 fundamental basics of mixing. Whether you go on to use sync or not, I think it's still worthwhile learning it, but the answer to the question posed in the thread title is a resounding "no".


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#6 Jam Burglar

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:36 PM

Just another skill as far as I'm concerned, and how important it is probably depends on your style.  

 

Personally, my mixes tend to be pretty heavily blended so I rely on mixing skills a lot (beat matching, peek-a-boo techniques, EQing, etc.)  I don't even fuck around much with "electronic" or club music.  I'll mix hip hop tracks for long stretches.  If you arrange shit right you get a way with really long mixes.  I like my mixes to flow and shape shift but I also see that as a personal choice not a "rule".  There are really dope DJs who will just drop stuff in and bounce around all over the place.  Mixmaster Mike is a perfect example of crazy drops.  It works really well for him.

 

I see mixing as the technical aspect of the skill but the arranging is just as important.  I always try to look at it like the sum of the parts being greater than just the parts alone.  So, I want to trip out on stuff like the harmonics playing off each other, or different drums and percussion kicking in/dropping out to take the energy of the track in a different direction.  If you don't have shit arranged just right that won't work.

 

Anyway, I think it's maybe over-appreciated in the electronic realms and underutilized in hip hop and other realms.

 

As for mixing 4 channels at once.  It only impresses me if you're doing some clever shit.  All these electronic records with sparse sounds, that's not that impressive to me.  Take 4 soul records from the 70s and make that shit sound right and then I'm impressed.


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#7 djdiggla

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:53 PM

which vary depending on who the DJ is.

 

^^Good point.

 

Not to mention, radio DJs. Which still are DJs even though people want to distance them from that fact. 


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#8 danswift

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:21 PM

 

 

 

Not to mention, radio DJs. Which still are DJs even though people want to distance them from that fact. 

 

sitting in a big swivel chair, playing some music and actually getting paid for it ?

 

sounds like a fucking dream job if you ask me.


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Symatic on O9 May 2016-08.49 PM said
oh dan you filthy bastard why open such a nerd can of worms to a bunch of beat perverts like you find on here ???
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#9 broke

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:30 PM

It totally depends on the venue and the type of music, but it is a fundamental skill. Loop-based or sample-based production, cutting up sentences for choruses or whatever... it all comes back to being able to beat mix first and foremost.
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#10 rasteri

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:31 PM

Yay, another chance to use this ridiculously overplayed clip (skip to 2:39) :


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#11 Jon

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:44 PM

Selection and flow of a set are the most important for me. doing crazy cuts over a beat that isn't right for that moment or doing a perfect blend with an inappropriate record doesn't make a good set. If you've got the selection right then everything else will make it an amazing set. However, clanging mixes does disrupt the flow for me, particularly in electronic music, so i consider good mixing a strong priority but choosing the right songs to begin with trumps that.
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#12 Jam Burglar

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 12:36 AM

Selection and flow of a set are the most important for me. doing crazy cuts over a beat that isn't right for that moment or doing a perfect blend with an inappropriate record doesn't make a good set. If you've got the selection right then everything else will make it an amazing set. However, clanging mixes does disrupt the flow for me, particularly in electronic music, so i consider good mixing a strong priority but choosing the right songs to begin with trumps that.

 

I'm a mixtape fiend so that colors my perspective but I think this ties into the concept of "arrangement".  Like, not just selecting good songs, I mean selecting the song that's going to fit with the other song, and the next, and how you're going to build up and break down throughout the set.  On top of that, arranging the mix so that you drop a song at the right spot and the tracks marry together right.  So for instance, there are some songs where there is only one good place to set the mix in motion and if you hit it, it works great but if you miss it, then its a disaster.  I had never really heard of the concept of "harmonic mixing" back in the day but I damn well know when it sounds right.  You can beatmatch the shit out of two tracks but if they don't fit right musically then it just doesn't work as well.

 

But like Steve was alluding too, I think its different for a mixtape than it is for a live show where you have interplay with the crowd.  I think song selection REALLY matters with a live crowd but with a mixtape its got to be more about arrangement and technique.  For instance, I've also come across plenty of times when I have to EQ or fade the songs just right for the thing to work.  Or maybe only dropping in the first few notes of the bar until the time is right to switch it over.  In a live situation nobody cares but on a mixtape those details matter a lot to me.

 

The more I think about it the more I think mixing is basically the same thing as composing a song, when the drums kick in, or the bass line drops, etc.  Mixing is just a long-hand version of that.

 

I also think I'm kind of an outlier when it comes to mixtapes.  I'm way more interested in the mix than the song selection.  To me song selection is just personal taste.  You can go into a country music venue and play the best dubstep in the world but they aren't going to feel it and vice versa.  But if you can make a Country song flow into a dubstep mix, that's interesting to me.  


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#13 joeClockwork

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:45 AM

Funk is live so if you can beatmatch two human drummers without it sounding like a car accident, you're a better man than I! You might get lucky if it's a particularly tight 8 bars that happens to fit the track you're blending with, but in my experience you can only mix funk with drops, fades, echoes and stop button kinda stuff.

 

I agree with Steve - selection trumps skills/technique when it comes to funk. Having said that, you can't beat two copies of a funk break being fucked with properly!

 

As for the poll, I think it's a mixture of 2 and 3. It's probably the first skill you should learn as a DJ but not the be all end all.


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Holy shit. Not even Bitches With Whips prepared me for that. 

 


#14 DJ Rock Well

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:52 AM

For me, the essence of DJing can be stripped back to a great collection of music and the ability to read the crowd and decide what to play and when. So in the same way that the essence of music production is 'good sounds, well placed', good DJing could just as easily be described as 'good songs, well placed'.

Beyond that, the DJ can further enhance their selection with good presentation of their selection, which is where all the technical skills come into play with beat matching being one of the fundamentals.

As I said before in the other thread though, as much as I love mixing, scratching, trick mixing and all the other technical skills, there's quite a bit of music in the world I really don't want to hear them applied to... if the final outcome reminds you of Jive Bunny then it's almost certainly wrong.
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#15 broke

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 10:45 AM

As for the poll, I think it's a mixture of 2 and 3. It's probably the first skill you should learn as a DJ but not the be all end all.

EXACTLY

For me, it's both 2 and 3. You definitely should know how to do it, but you don't have to all the time. Beatmatch when appropriate.

If you're playing to a dancefloor, playing 4/4, you should probably think about beatmatching and doing eight bar layers. If you're playing reggae or hip-hop for example, there might be other ways of going from track to track. Use your judgement. And yes it's about selection first, but you know what? That's should be a fucking GIVEN. Have a great selection AND good programming AND mix some of it.
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#16 Jam Burglar

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:04 PM

Funk is live so if you can beatmatch two human drummers without it sounding like a car accident, you're a better man than I! You might get lucky if it's a particularly tight 8 bars that happens to fit the track you're blending with, but in my experience you can only mix funk with drops, fades, echoes and stop button kinda stuff.

 

I agree with Steve - selection trumps skills/technique when it comes to funk. Having said that, you can't beat two copies of a funk break being fucked with properly!

 

As for the poll, I think it's a mixture of 2 and 3. It's probably the first skill you should learn as a DJ but not the be all end all.

 

Not "funk" exactly, but one of my all time favorites is Mixmaster Mike rocking doubles of Sound of Sunforest "Magician in the Mountain" on the Rescue 916 tape.

 

Also, I'll fly another concept: whether its mixing or scratching or whatever you're dong, you should be creating something new.  Maybe that's the be-all-end-all.  Or maybe that's too glorified.  All I know is, if all there was to DJing was selecting "good" songs to play and putting them in a certain order then I'd be bored as hell with it.


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#17 joeClockwork

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:25 PM

 

Funk is live so if you can beatmatch two human drummers without it sounding like a car accident, you're a better man than I! You might get lucky if it's a particularly tight 8 bars that happens to fit the track you're blending with, but in my experience you can only mix funk with drops, fades, echoes and stop button kinda stuff.

 

I agree with Steve - selection trumps skills/technique when it comes to funk. Having said that, you can't beat two copies of a funk break being fucked with properly!

 

As for the poll, I think it's a mixture of 2 and 3. It's probably the first skill you should learn as a DJ but not the be all end all.

 

Not "funk" exactly, but one of my all time favorites is Mixmaster Mike rocking doubles of Sound of Sunforest "Magician in the Mountain" on the Rescue 916 tape.

 

Also, I'll fly another concept: whether its mixing or scratching or whatever you're dong, you should be creating something new.  Maybe that's the be-all-end-all.  Or maybe that's too glorified.  All I know is, if all there was to DJing was selecting "good" songs to play and putting them in a certain order then I'd be bored as hell with it.

 

 

I love all of that MMM stuff. Too many highlights to list.

 

One thing mixtapes can do that nothing else can is to take tracks you've heard too many times and present them to you in a new and interesting way. Kinda breathe new life into them.


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Holy shit. Not even Bitches With Whips prepared me for that. 

 


#18 Flexinoodle

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 03:39 PM

The poll is flawed

Beatmatching is the cornerstone of DJing and should be the first skill learned, but, It is not the only way of mixing, only one, and i like to beat match but not every record, and if the mood is right at the moment, fuck it, bang it in (Fuck it bang it in is also a cornerstone of DJing, and the moments when you need to do that should be a first skill learnt too, kids call it a drop or something nowadays i believe)

 

These discussions are the exact reason that the term DJ is pretty pointless nowadays.

 

DJ = Radio presenter

DJ = Disco Keith on a staurday night at the pub

DJ = Turntablist

DJ = Mix DJ

DJ = (Yes this is actually a real thing) A producer who just wants to put DJ before his chosen name because it fits his genre of music


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#19 djdiggla

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 03:56 PM

The poll is flawed

Beatmatching is the cornerstone of DJing and should be the first skill learned, but, It is not the only way of mixing, only one, and i like to beat match but not every record, and if the mood is right at the moment, fuck it, bang it in (Fuck it bang it in is also a cornerstone of DJing, and the moments when you need to do that should be a first skill learnt too, kids call it a drop or something nowadays i believe)

 

These discussions are the exact reason that the term DJ is pretty pointless nowadays.

 

DJ = Radio presenter

DJ = Disco Keith on a staurday night at the pub

DJ = Turntablist

DJ = Mix DJ

DJ = (Yes this is actually a real thing) A producer who just wants to put DJ before his chosen name because it fits his genre of music

 

And DJ="controllerist" who is "mixing" with a program or sync button.

 

The cornerstone of DJing is really playing other people's music. Everything after that is a flourish. Should a DJ know how to mix? In modern times and most cases yes, but it's not the cornerstone of anything. 

 

EDIT: Full disclosure, I'm a pretty shitty DJ and don't scratch or mix very well so take my opinion with a grain. 


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#20 Deft

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 03:57 PM

I think we can all agree that all DJs are cunts.

We must be pretty close to a nice happy algorithm eliminating all djs.

I've spent a lot of time mixing "electronic" music of pretty much all genres, and it took me a while to get really good at it. I could beatmatch consistently as well as I think it is reasonably possible on a pair of 1200s live - and I always enjoyed it. But it's a kind of pointless and laborious skill, though somehow relaxing. If a computer can do it more easily / better, then use it. I think the only thing about learning to beatmatch on vinyl / manually is that it physically forces you just to practice the general idea of dj'ing, constructing a set etc. which pays you some kind of experience / skills dividend.


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