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How to make the perfect DJ mixtape from BBC

01 Introduction
A good mix tape will really show off your skillz at mixing and track selection and if you haven’t got a residency in a club or bar it may be the only way people can get to hear your stuff.

02 The Basics
A mix tape doesn’t have to be a tape it can be a CD as well, it’s just what deejays call their demo.
Make your mix tape last somewhere between 45 minutes and the full 74 you can fit on a CD.
Remember, it’s your chance to show people how hevvy you are on the tables that turn!
It’s important not to blatantly copy other deejays’ selection and mixes.
Obviously certain tunes go well together and if a tune’s smashin’ it, you should play it but try to think of a fresh angle.
Hunt down those exclusives and make a point of knowing who the up and coming talent is in your scene.
It’s worth doing because if you can get a dubplate from a hot new artist with your name in it that can make all the difference.
A lot of promoters’ big complaint is that the mix tapes they receive are too similar to name-brand deejays sets they already hire.

03 Start a Tape
A mix tape is its own thing.
It’s different from a set you’ll play in a club and will probably have a different vibe from any radio show you might do.
It needs a strong, attention-grabbing intro with your name in it and a steady stream of weighted tracks to keep the momentum going.
Remember, promoters will probably skip through it at some stage so make the middle and the end as strong as you can.

04 Don’t Bluff It
With the technology that’s around now it’s easily possible to put together the ‘perfect’ mix.
Think carefully if you plan to do this though.
If you start trying to bluff it out, chances are you’ll get rumbled when you play live.
That’s gonna hurt your reputation and will also be very embarrassing.
It’s important to allow the human element to show itself.
Everybody makes mistakes and a mix that has minor adjustments while still sounding good can actually be quite pleasing to listen to.
It also shows your skills in action. That’s what it’s all about.

05 Where to Send Them
A lot of people in the music industry say you have to mash up your own area first and it’s no different for DJs.
If you’ve got a bar or a club that you go to on the regs then that should be your first target.
If you haven’t, go out there and find one.
Experiencing it first hand will give you a chance to see what kind of crowd they attract and hear what kind of music they play.
This could also influence your mix tape that you’re gonna send the promoter.
Once you have an idea of where you want to send your mixtape you need a name.
Just sending it to ‘The Manager’ will probably not be enough.
Clubs can have many different nights and you need to target the promoter of the specific night you’re interested in.
Give the venue a ding and find out who you need to deal with.

06 Packaging
Although there are ’nuff DJ’s out there and a whole heap of mix tapes flying around there are a few things you can do to make yours stand out and boost your chances of getting comebacks.
Include a tracklisting. Promoters are busy people and may not have time to check out your whole mix so this will let them see at a glance which tunes you’re into.
Make sure you include a covering letter, CV and any write ups or articles about you that have appeared in music mags or local press.
This will give the promoter some confidence in your skills and give them something to read while they listen.
Very importantly, include your contact details. Write your DJ name and phone number on the actual CD/minidisk/tape because cases get lost all the time.

07 Follow Up
There’s a million deejays out there so don’t expect a call straight away.
Give it about a week and then give the promoter a ding or try and hook up with them at one of their nights.
If they’ve been too busy to listen to your demo this will give them a reminder.
The music biz is about personalities and if the promoter likes yours you could be in!

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