Here is the first instalment of Foolboyz ‘DJ in 1 hour’ tutorials series. Paul Foolboy takes you through a set he did recently for Brick Lane Radio giving insights into the mind of a DJ as he talks through the decisions he is making in the mix in realtime. For the full series click here.
NB: expand the video using the full screen icon (bottom right corner) to follow the accompanying text commentary
This is episode 1 in the Foolboyz DJ mixing tutorial series. Throughout this series Paul will be taking you through the building blocks you will need in order to learn to DJ. Each video will cover one topic in a straight-to-the-point fashion. For the full series go to our YouTube channel.
Following on from last week’s Foolboyz tutorial series we discussed the Circle of 5ths and how to use this to guide your track selection so that when DJing you are mixing harmonically, i.e. using records that are in complementary keys to each other. This week we are going to discuss how to work out which key a track is written in so that you apply the Circke of 5ths practically.
There are a number of methods to do this:
1) Use your ears. The quickest and old school way of doing this. Do the two records sound good together when mixed or does something sound wrong musically (‘key clash’)?
2. Use a keyboard. To do this play the record whilst you have a keyboard or piano to hand. Play each note from an octave from C though to B (i.e. C, C#, D,D#, E etc.) and listen to which one sounds right, closest to the overall tune of the record. If you are struggling with this try and identify a musical part and compare the notes you are playing to this. Basslines are always good for EDM and often start on the actual note that comprises the parent scale. If you are still having difficulty ask yourself “is the note I am playing sound higher or lower than the tuning of the record?” and work your way up/down the octave until you hit on the note than sounds most in tune. Next play the same note, e.g. C2, one octave up, e.g. C3, at the same time to reinforce the harmonic content of what you are playing. If you feel that you have got the correct key but are still a little unsure then play all the notes from the key’s scale (you can find these everywhere on the internet) and listen to whether they fit with the record playing. If all the notes fit then you have the correct key!
3. Use software. This is the easiest way to do it. There is a program called Mixed in Key which analyses your MP3, Wav or Aiff files and works out which key each of them is in. It then allocates a number to the track based on its key and then you use a simple algorithm to work out which other records in your collection will go with it. The algorithm is based on the Circle of 5ths and is as simple as a track with a given number, e.g. 4, will go with another track of the same number, or one higher or lower, e.g. 3 or 4. Simple! And better still if you use Traktor or Live Mixed in Key will export the track’s number code automatically in it.
This week in the Foolboyz tutorial series we cover the DJing technique of harmonic mixing, i.e. track selection based on the key of the record.
Nearly every song/track/record is written in a specific key and dance music is no different. By ‘key’ we mean that the track is built around a note from a scale, e.g. C minor, with all of the musical parts (bassline, riff, chords, vocals and even drums) made up of notes from that parent scale.
You know when you are listening to an amateur singer (or even some pros!) and they are out of tune, well, this is because they have sung a note from outside of the scale of the key the song is written in (literally ‘off key’). DJing is no different: you cannot mix two records together that are not in complementary keys without getting a ‘key clash’. Even if you do not know music theory you can tell when this happens as it just sounds wrong to the ear.
So this is all fine and well but how do you apply this in a practical manner to track selection. The answer is to analyse the tracks that you want to mix together, work out what key they are written in, and then use a thing called the Circle of 5ths to decide wether they will go with each other musically. The Circle of 5ths is a music theory chart that has been around for years and which tells you which notes/chords complement each other.
If you look at the chart below you will see that A minor and E minor complement each other because they are adjacent to each other in the Circle of 5ths. I won’t go into the theoretical reasons for this as all you need to know is that keys with the same number, or one number higher or lower are related musically and will therefore complement each other. Another example would be C minor would go with E-flat major, F minor, G minor, B-falt major or A-flat major. So in this fashion if you work out what key two tracks are in will know whether they will work together in the mix.
Next time I will go through how to work out the key of a track so that you can use what we have discussed here and apply it to your DJing.
Been a bit quiet on this site recently but that is because we are very busy taking bricklaneradio.com forward and working on new material.
The radio station is really rocking with over 35 DJs on our roster now, 60 new listeners a week and we had House legend Todd Terry on as a guest last weekend.
Anyway we thought we’d post our latest DJ mix on here. It’s a show we did recently for Brick Lane Radio and features all the up-to-the-minute deep and bass house slammer rocking the floors of London and beyond currently.
We ran a music production workshop two weeks ago with the Specialist Addictions Unit team in Tower Hamlets. We made this house track in a few hours with the service’s patients, most of whom had never made music before. OK, it may not be quite the finished article yet, but it’s pretty impressive in the circumstances.
It’s so great to see people trying to turn their lives around from a negative situation.
Here’s the track…
We’ve been a bit quiet on the site for a while because we have been busy in the studio and running the radio station. We’ve got a 4 tracker deep house EP and an absolute stonker of a bass house single ready to go and will be giving you a taster here soon.
Also, Brick Lane Radio has really taken off. We’ve been running it for 5 months and the response has been amazing. Head on over to http://www.bricklaneradio.com and check it out.
We are loving the new Daft Punk album. Essentially they have got the kings of disco on there playing live and then used the recordings like samples. Dance music has come full circle!
We are really excited by the new deep house material we are working on. Here is a sneak preview of the a dub mix of one of the tracks…
After such a great response during the 24 hour period that the tracks from our debut EP Human Nature were posted on this site we have decide to put edited versions of the tracks into a short DJ mix…
We are delighted to announce that the Deep Addiction radio show collective – coming straight from the home of house music, Chicago – have agreed to contribute a regular show to BLR.
Deep Addiction Bio
Deep Addiction is a DJ collective from Chicago (US). Together we’ve hosted successful events, opened for well-known acts, held residencies, and played abroad. Collectively we appreciate those opportunities and understand it’s about more than us. It’s about good music!
We are inspired by multiple genres of House Music. Tune in and you’ll hear Deep House, Soulful vibes, Afro tech/dub, and other interesting sounds.
Together we are: Toby G, DJ EF, Maxflow, Simply J, and Miles Franklin
Are you addicted?
Toby G – http://nomadicdeep.podomatic.com
Simply J – http://djsimplyj.podomatic.com
Brick Lane Radio DJ roster
DJ Lone bringing the best in techno from France
Jack Kandi from the Netherlands who will be spinning Hed Kandi and mainroom house
Igor Jukovsky aka Lovesky who will be laying down the latest deep house and tech cuts from Russia
Paul Kennedy, Ireland’s favourite UK-based DJ, playing underground house
Lord Heyz from NYC who will be bring the love with his US deep cuts
Alex Jolliffe (DJ Deranger) and Uzul Hybrid who will be showcasing France’s finest dubstep n beatz
Chris Banbery aka DJ Neptune who will be spinning the latest D&B and jungle jams from Wolverhampton
Alex Sandereva from Belgium who will be giving us the best in house
Dominic Houldey aka DSTA from London who will be spinning an eclectic range from house to D&B
DJ Nizzy, Scotland’s finest, bring in techno from north London
Sticky Micky will be banging those electro house basslines from Norwich
Producer extraordinaire Richard ‘Jack’ Guy from Australia/London will be bringing in the rock hour
Our crew from the Tower Hamlet’s Addiction Services (with whom we are running music workshops) will be playing the latest in UK garage, dubstep and reggae from east London
And of course, Foolboyz, who’ll be bringing their love of house and more to the airwaves
The station will be hosted from this site for the initial period before moving to a dedicated site.
There is much debate at the moment in the clubbing scene as to whether the new Pioneer CDJ 2000s with their tempo sync button is the death nail in the art of DJing. Those familiar with laptop DJing using Traktor, Ableton or Serato will be familiar with beat matching/syncing/warping etc. functions for some time now, but DJs who use CDs had, up until recently, to beat match two tracks manually to ensure they were playing at the same tempo.
We respect both sides of this argument, but our view is that people want to dance and have a great time in a club and are not so worried about whether the DJ is manually beat-matching and, in that sense, the end product is the most important thing. Furthermore, if a sync button saves the DJ 60 seconds or so of time then they can use this to take advantage of the myriad of creative functions that come with the new Pioneers and programs like Traktor to enhance the mix further.
We’ve tried the Pioneers and they are great, but we are also part of a band of select few DJs who can mix across various platforms from vinyl through CD to laptop.