Back in the Day at 2 minutes into the song , the guitars were just kicking in , bodies twirled and spun around on the dance floor anticipating the beautiful Disco strings at around the 6 minute mark , meaning halfway through one of Alec Costandino’s or Cerrone Masterpieces ( which could sometimes reach the 17 minute mark) . Fast Forward, I mean really, Fast Forward to 2018 when the average life span of a track before it gets mixed to the next on is about 2 minutes according to most DJs ( the time increases if the DJ is older ) but in this short attention span world we live in , crowds just want a taste and it seems just a few minutes will do.
We can argue that the quality of the music produced today pales in comparison to those produced in other decades when musicians had to actually play instruments , but I believe it’s more the fact that Content in all outlets today is delivered in spurts and you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention. We , or most of us have been conditioned to receive information in short sentences or soundbites .
Why, I ask myself ? Are there so many great songs out there that if we don’t mix this way we won’t be able to get to all of them? Is this genre specific? Ok for Hip Hop but not for House or Elektro, what about older styles Disco, Freestyle . An informal polling of members of the South Florida DJ Association lean toward the ” Quick Mix “style, of course there is NO Correct way of doing it . Each DJ will be unique in his approach tailoring it to his crowd and demographic.
Here are some points of view from various members of The South Florida DJ Association:
AJ Falcon: “The 3 Minute Rule is a pretty safe bet usually, although you shouldn’t focus on length you’ve been playing a song, rather the crowd’s reaction or lack thereof, OR reading cues of when they’re over song presently being played.If you see the crowd going nuts to a song, why cut it prematurely? Your next song choice may lose that energy of the previous song. There’s always that risk.Be “in the moment”.
Grant Gannon : 2 choruses max unless it’s a special request
Anthony Keys : I’ve started cutting songs at 1:30 to 2 minute mark
Jason Holiday : Here’s my take: Let’s say you’re eating your favorite meal, whatever that may be. It comes to the table, you’ve been waiting to savor it all day! It finally arrives!! You take the first bite and then a second. You’re thoroughly enjoying the moment of the meal and then just as you go in for that third bite, the waiter swoops in an yanks it away from you!!! To me that is what the “quick mix” style is. At the end of the day we are the “Waiters”, and the music is the “Food”! It’s our job to serve it up and stay out of the way! Let people enjoy their favorite song before you swoop in and take it away after 30 seconds or whatever. And like I always say, you’re entitled to your own opinion and how you decide to do things when you’re spinning! For me personally, you wait for the break, with very very very rare exception!
CNewtown :When you blend a song for 32 bars its pretty hard to get the gains wrong so you end up with a nice volume, but when dropping tracks in quick you need to pay special attention to volume,
if it comes in too loud or too soft it can be very noticeable and have negative effects…
Secondly the best thing is to know your tracks, know in your head where exactly you want to mix and how you want it to sound and then work towards that…some you win, some you don’t…
also make sure you don’t cut popular songs too short, some crowds might get annoyed with that…
Just my tips for you, at the end of the day do what you feel is best.. your instinct is your best friend when it comes to Djing!
For veterans like myself spinning to older crowds I think I’m pretty safe letting the track go at least until the ” Break” just like we learned to do it when we first started. Old school Latin music is even more challenging since fans of this genre know every word and any premature fading or mixing will be met by very bad stares from your audience.
It all boils down to how skillfully executed the transition is, and how well your crowds tolerate this style.
DJ Alex Gutierrez