How To Mix Pop Music
How To Mix Pop Music
Many people ask the question ‘How do I learn how to DJ pop music?’ It’s a common question among new DJs. Learning how to mix pop music requires a good understanding of many fundamental theory and skills. There is no quick answer to the question of how to DJ pop music but here’s some helpful tips!
What is pop music?
Essentially pop music is anything commercial, it normally encompasses many genres including Rock, RnB, Hip-Hop, Dance and in particular very vocal songs. Click here to read what Wikipedia has to say about pop music.
Where can I download pop music?
DJs can download pop music from a variety of sources including iTunes. Many DJs who play pop music or commercial music in their sets will still buy the CD so that they can copy the music onto their computer and keep the CD quality. This is because some download sites will only give you compressed MP3s that won’t sound as good when you DJ them in a club.
For more help on where to download music to DJ with click here.
Why is it harder to mix with pop music?
It’s often seen as harder to mix with pop music because by its very nature it’s a very vocal form of music and the tracks are often very short. This gives the DJ less options when trying to transition from one track to another.
How do you DJ with pop music?
The first step in learning how to mix pop music is to understand what a radio edit is and how it differs from a club or extended edit. When a song is released they often release different versions of the track. You might have the radio edit, the extended or club edit and the remix.
Club or Extended Edit
Club and extended edits are longer, DJ friendly versions of the song. They are longer because they will contain a long intro and a long outro. In some cases you might have a 30-60 second intro where there are no vocals, and the same for the outro. This makes it easier for the DJ to mix the track because there will be no vocals at the start or end of the song and more time to complete the mix. Club edits can be layered on top of each other without the vocals clashing.
Radio edits are shorter versions of the song designed for radio play. Time is money on the radio so they prefer to play short versions of the songs where there is no intro or outro. Radio edits will be short, normally only three or four minutes. In many cases there is no intro at all and the lyrics start right at the beginning of the track. If the DJ is lucky there will be a few bars of music before the vocal comes in.
So what’s the problem?
The main problem is that if you want to mix with radio edits you’ll struggle to avoid the vocals clashing with each other. So, the secret to mixing this genre successfully is to find solutions that allow you to mix with radio edits.
How to mix radio edits
There are many ways to transition from track to track when DJing. Some of them don’t even involve beat-matching! Here are some common solutions for mixing radio edits!
- Wait till the end - Okay, it seems like a cheat but some DJs won’t mix radio edits at all! They will simply wait until the end of the track and the play the next track making sure there is no silence between them.
- Crossfade - Some DJs playing pop music will crossfade the music. The crossfader allows you to fade between the two tracks, the volume on one goes down while the other goes up. Most DJs playing pop music are not always beatmatching because the BPMs are very varied. If they are not beatmatching they should crossfade for a maximum of three seconds and use the crossfaders ‘X’ setting that will dip the volume during the transition. The dip in volume will hide the clashing in the mix.
- Beatmix - Sometimes the two songs will be a similar BPM and you can beatmix them by matching the tempo and mixing quickly before the vocals clash. For example, some hip-hop songs will give you a four or eight bar intro beat which is great for beat mixing. It’s like mixing a club track but over a shorter overlap.
- Sample - Some DJs will use a sample to bridge the gap between songs. It’s common in genres like Dancehall to hear the siren sound used to bridge a gap. Some DJs will also use radio jingles or other sound FX to cover a gap when swapping tracks.
- Mixer FX - If your DJ mixer has some sound FX you might be able to use them to transition between the songs. Common FX to use would be Filter, Echo and Reverb.
- Vinyl FX - If your DJ decks have a vinyl mode you can use vinyl tricks like a backspin, break (slowdown), rewind or scratch to help your transition.
- Acapella - Some DJs will use an acapella to bridge the gap between two songs.
- Instrumental Beats - Some DJs will use instrumental tracks as a bridge between two very vocal tracks. An instrumental track is a track with no vocals.
There are literally hundreds of ways you can mix and DJ with pop music. These examples should get any beginner DJ started! For more help come to us for our one-to-one DJ courses! Click here to browse our courses or click here to contact us. We can also teach you how to DJ online, from the comfort of your own home!