When you look around the internet, there are a lot of DJs but not a lot of them seem to DJ pop music. The only DJs that DJ with pop is the open format DJs. Because pop music is not very popular among DJs you won’t find a lot of information on how to DJ with op music. If you want to DJ pop music but want to know how then this post is for you.
The best way to mix pop music is to start the next track at the start of the chorus or the start of the bridge. You can make both tracks overlap and slowly fade in the next track while fading out the first track, or you can drop the new track in and cut the new track off, creating a surprise effect for the crowd.
In the remainder of this post, I will take you through all the steps to create a good pop mix.
Why Pop Music is Hard to Mix
It’s not a surprise that a lot of DJs like to skip a pop song. They are one of the most difficult genres to mix. Of course, if you download DJ-friendly edits from DJ record pools, any track can be mixed easily. However, your mixes will start to sound predictable and boring if you only mix intros and outros.
Original pop songs have a more difficult song structure than most other genres. Pop music is also unpredictable and has a lot of vocals.
The song structure of pop music often looks like this:
|Intro||Verse 1||Chorus||Verse 2||Bridge||Chorus||Outro|
If you look at the song structure, you could think that there’s nothing wrong with it, however, you can’t really tell from this structure that there are a lot of vocals in all these parts and the intro is often very short. The intro also often has vocals which make it even harder to mix.
The short intros and the vocals are the main reasons why pop music is so hard to mix.
How to Mix Pop Music the Right Way
Mixing pop music the right way is a matter of knowing the song structure and knowing which part of the song has room to mix in the next song.
If you look at the song structure of pop music there are a couple of places you could mix in a new song. The best place, in my experience, is the part right after the second chorus. There is always some kind of breakdown called a bridge. It’s a distinct section that will introduce the beginning of the outro of the song. Often times this bridge section has room for another song to come in.
After the bridge sometimes there is one more chorus and then the outro. Sometimes this chorus also has more room than the 2 choruses before, to mix in a new song.
So, the best part to mix in another song in pop music almost always comes after the second chorus.
Overlapping or Drop-mixing
If you don’t know what overlap mixing is or drop mixing, let me give you a short explanation.
Overlap mixing is when the two songs, the current song and the next song, overlap. So you hear both songs at the same time.
Drop-mixing is when you cut out the current song on the 1 count of a new phrase and start the new song at the same time. So you’ll only hear the second song, after your drop mix.
If you want to overlap mix two pop songs then your second song needs to start at the beginning of the section in which you want to mix out the current song. So if you want to mix the bridge with the intro of the new song, start your next song at the start of the bridge section.
Start the next song with its volume all the way down. Now slowly bring up the volume of the next track while turning own the low frequencies of the current song down. Now the low frequencies of the next track will slowly take over the low frequencies of the current track. When you’ve done this slowly bring down the volume of the current track.
When you reach the end of the bridge section on the current song the volume of the current song should reach the lowest point as well.
With drop mixing, you don’t start the next song at the beginning of the section in which you want to mix the current song out, but you start it at the end of that section. So if you want to mix a new song in after the chorus, start your new song at the first beat after the chorus.
This time though, we’re not going to gradually mix in the new song but all the volumes and frequencies should be all the way up. We’re going to swap one song with the other song on the 1st beat of the next phrase by either switching the crossfader to the other side or slamming down the volume of the current track and pressing the play button on the next track, all at the same time.
Tips for Mixing Pop Music
So how do you find 2 sections that will mix well together in pop music? You can’t mix vocals over vocals, but the intros often have vocals or they’re really short.
Here are a few tips that I personally use when I mix pop music.
When there are no sections in the music that you can use to mix with another song, there is no other option than to create one yourself.
The best way to do this is by creating and using loops. Loops are repeated sections of songs that can be as low as 1/8 of a beat to as long as 32 beats or more.
What you have to do is find a part in the song that you want to mix into the current playing song, that only has instrumentals. This doesn’t have to be a whole phrase, it only has to be preferably at least 4 beats long.
When you set a loop on this part of the song you will have created your intro to mix into the current song.
Play the loop when the current song reaches the 1st beat of the section where you want to mix in the second song. Mix the frequencies like you would do normally. When the section of the current song ends deactivate the loop so it continues to play the remainder of the song like normal.
You could also set a hot cue at the point where you would like the next song to begin when the section ends. For example, the loop is playing, the section of the current song ends, and now you press the hot cue that is set on the chorus of the next song. The mix will nicely drop into the chorus of the next song.
Use hot cues
Hot cues are a real-life saver when it comes to pop music. Because there are so many different kinds of sections and elements it’s nice to be able to jump to a useful section with one press of a button.
Search your pop songs and find useful sections in the music, like instrumentals, or other sections that have room for a second song to be added to the mix.
If the song has a short but instrumental intro section, don’t be afraid to use the intro as an outro. Set a hot cue on the intro, activate a loop if you want and there is your outro.
Pop music might not be the easiest genre to mix but it’s definitely not impossible. It’s actually a nice way to practice mixing because it offers so many challenges.
If you use the tips I provided in this post, then I promise you can mix any song and any genre.
Let me know if these tips have helped you and if there is something else I can help you with.
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