Party People finished. Now what?

When I finish a mix I always feel a combination of pride, happiness, excitement, and a little bit of sadness. I really enjoy working on mixes. In this post I talk a little about the origins of Party People and some of the process that goes into putting it together.
Whenever I work on a mix I feel a creative energy that energizes and calms me at the same time. When I’m sitting at the computer working on transitions or digging for tracks to include or working out the flow of the mix the rest of the world dims to black and for those few hours the only thing that matters is the music and the process of creating something.

I marvel at those who create from a blank canvas. I’m still working on that portion. I love putting together mixes.

Most mixes I have created have posed some kind of problem during the process. I had a creative block after moving to San Francisco that really threw me for a loop at the time. I was into late night progressive music at the time (Sasha & Digweed, Timo Maas, etc.), but what I heard going out in SF was totally new to me. I couldn’t believe I would go to a party and hear breaks for 6 hours in a row! And it sounded good. It wasn’t crap.

So I scrapped my new 2 CD mix I was working on and put together my first all breaks mix. To show that I belonged amongst the SF DJs. It wasn’t a total success in my eyes but I’m proud of it and I think it proved a point.

Now after going hardcore Burning Man-style music for the past couple of years I felt I didn’t want to go any harder with my sound. Electro music is veering towards fidget (that brand of electro you hear that sounds particularly tweaky) and I usually prefer a cleaner sound. I found my salvation in remembering Big Beat music a la Fatboy Slim from 1999.

With a helping hand from my DJ and all around partner-in-crime DJ MB in Seattle he pushed some music on me that got me thinking in new ways. It was like hearing a newer version of Big Beat. A little less synthetic than Big Beat, more real instrumentation, but the tone and feel was pretty much the same.

When I went to put together Party People I thought it was going to start mid-tempo funky breaks and move on to electro and then rockin’ breaks. The first part of the mix practically put itself together.

That’s where I ran into my first obstacle. The electro and breaks that I figured would make up the bulk of the mix just didn’t quiet mesh with the first part. I had already decided that genre didn’t matter to me for this mix. It was all about tone.

Another thing I feel strongly about is that sometimes there is the mix that the DJ wants to put together and sometimes there is the way the mix wants to be put together. You can try and make things work that sometimes just don’t work. This is one of those times I had to step back from what I wanted and put together the mix the way it should be.

This was going to be a fun, bouncy, funky, old skool flavored mix or it just wouldn’t have worked at all. If I had stuck with my original plan you would have gotten 25 minutes in and wondered if someone changed the DJ.

The final result of Party People is more even in tone while still upping the energy as it goes along. It has distinct parts.
Act I: Tracks 1-7 have a distinct old skool electro hip-hop flavor.

Act II: Tracks 8-11 bring in a 4/4 beat and includes my first real remix of a song. I took a remix of Sly and the Family Stone’s Dance to the Music and sampled bits of the original and laid them over the top of the remix which brings back even more flavor in my view.

Act III: 12-19 begins a very upbeat breaks remix from one of my current faves A-Skillz. He is mastering the art of fun, bouncy breakbeat right now. We move on to harder sounding but still firmly rooted in hip-hop origins on Splitloop’s Party People and Yo Majesty’s Club Action with a monster remix from breakbeat kings the Stanton Warriors. I couldn’t resist throwing on an encore track of sorts and another nod to the old skool. QDup’s new take on the classic Renegade Master.

Now that I’m finished with the mix I can sit back and enjoy the mix. My next blog post I’ll write about the mix from a listener’s perspective. Why I chose particular songs or went a particular direction with the flow. What changes I made to the songs that might be of interest, etc.