101 Ways to DJ Holiness, Serenity and Control: The Mixing Sutra

Check out Fatboy Slim’s Eat Sleep Rave Repeat, with beatboxer beardyman doing the vocal sample:

21 – Adding Wordplay into Your Sets.

This is extremely common with turntablists & hip-hop derived genre DJs. Watch any DMC champion’s set and you’ll see that most of them open by hot cueing samples that introduce their set.

 

Take Featurecast’s The Main Event! Promo mix for example:

22 – Adding a Little Comedy

Like a recognisable sample, using a little comedy in your set can go a long way. Obviously you’ll have to know your crowd and where you’re due to play. Some people aren’t necessarily going out to laugh. The chemical brothers are one example of DJs who don’t take themselves too seriously.

 

23 – Get some of those classic scratch sample vinyls –

This one’s for the vinyl DJs out there. If you want to use great vocal and beat samples, so many  great scratch records were released in the 80s and 90s, all of them with unique samples that can add flavour to your set.

 

A lot of these records have disappeared into the aether, so you really have to search your local record stores, online, thrift stores and garage sales.

24 – Take an iconic or at least recognisable sample and use it. distort it. Play with it. Make it your own.

This applies to remixes as well. People love anything that’s familiar to them, so taking some classic songs and making it your own goes down great with a crowd. It’s a good idea to record some of your own remixes and mashups for promotional purposes.

 

25 – Using acapellas

If you’re mixing acapellas onto instrumental tracks, make sure that they’re in the same key and at the same BPM. Learn the acapella well. You want to know exactly when it starts so you can begin the acapella when the instrumental hits the first beat of a phrase. Alternatively, shorten the acapella in a sound editor so it begins instantly, this way you don’t need to hot cue the track, just simply play it when you want the vocal to begin.

26 – Scratching

This post could have easily been called “101 scratching tips & tricks”. Simply because in the world of turntablism, scratching is king. There’s so much to it, and so many different kinds of scratch. It’s not commonly used in high tempo or 4×4 dance music, but does feature a lot in hip-hop, breaks, metal and certain subgenres.

 

We’ve listed some of the different types of scratching. Scratching is difficult to explain, but we’ve linked some youtube videos to help you along. Practice your scratching regularly to get your tempo and timing right.

27 – Baby Scratch

This is the most basic type of scratch. Just cut to the scratching record as you move it forwards and backwards, then back to your backing beat. It’s best to scratch forwards for half a beat, and then backwards for half.

 

Mr. Choc from the Beat Junkies has a great video on youtube showing you how to do this essential scratch.

 

28 – Forward scratch/backward scratch

The same as the baby scratch, except the crossfader is closed when scratching the record back. A backward scratch is the opposite of the forward scratch. You close the crossfader when moving forwards and leave it open when bringing the record back.

 

29 – Release Scratch

The release scratch is the same as the forward scratch, except instead of bringing the record back to its original position, you release it. Effectively you’re pushing the record forwards a beat or two. Time this over certain sounds to get a various effects.

30 – Tear Scratch

The tear scratch is when the record or jog wheel is staggered within the forward and backward movements. For example, going 1 beat forward, then back to the starting position, then 2 beats forward then back the original position. This can be done without using the crossfader and can be used to create more complicated rhythms.

31 – Chirp Scratch

Cut the backwards sound out of a baby scratch with the crossfader to do a chirp scratch. When done rapidly, this scratch makes a chirping noise. If done on an isolated drum track or section, it sounds as though the scratch is at double speed due to the attack of cutting in the crossfader.

32 – Scribble Scratch

One of the more simple scratches. A scribble scratch is performed by tensing the forearm muscles and moving the record backwards and forth rapidly. You only move the record a short distance, but very quickly.

 

33 – Hydroponic Scratch

The Hydrophonic scratch is essentially a baby scratch, but your thumb performs a tear scratch by running the record in the opposite direction of your scratching fingers. This scratch has a great, wobbling sound.

Check out this example:

34 – Transformer Scratch

The transformer scratch is what you might think of when someone mentions “scratching”. The crossfader starts closed, the scratch begins and then the crossfader is rapidly tapped open.

 

Skratch school has a great video of the Transformer scratch on youtube:

35 – Flare Scratch

The crossfader begins in the open position, then as the scratch begins, the crossfader is tapped close to cut out the scratch. A DJ can get extremely rapid scratching with the flare scratch, especially when combined with the crab scratch

Example below:

36 – Crab Scratch

The jogwheel or record is scratched whilst the free hand rapidly taps the crossfader open, but the thumb prevents the crossfader from opening all the way.

 

It’s probably easier to see it done than have it explained, so it’s back to skratch school:

37 – Orbit Scratch

Double tap the crossfader from the open position. Again, this is a little too complicated for words to explain, so check out the video below:

 

38 – Euro Scratch

The last item in our scratching section. The Euro scratch is based on the flare scratch we mentioned earlier. Two faders are cut simultaneously with one hand to increase the speed of the cut. You use the main crossfader, and the channel gain.

 

Start/Stop breaks are a turntablist technique wherein you turn off the turntable whilst the record is playing, which slows the record down. You can either start the record again to bring it back up to speed, or let the record come to a complete stop and mix out.