What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

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pete.devnull
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What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by pete.devnull » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:30 pm

This might come across as tl;dr and crazy, but I'm stuck in front of a pc for a bit killing time so I figured I'd write this up...

What it is exactly that gets people excited about (newly recorded) oldskool mixes in 2015? With 22-25 years worth of mixes from basically the same finite pool of tracks, it's hard to imagine too many people mustering up much enthusiasm for brand new mixes (unless this music is still new to them). Most of the people on this board seem to be a bit more "veteran", so I'm curious: what does and doesn't get people really excited in this day and age about newly posted mixes?

DJ / Artist
  • New mixes by well known artists from "back in the day"
  • New artists who you like but maybe from their more modern music etc
  • Friends from forums / people you talk to online
  • Stuff other people you follow have favorited/reshared
Track Selection
  • Lots of favorites.
  • Stuff which might not be a favorite but is familiar from pirate radio / classic rave sets (vs similar tracks which weren't played as much)
  • B sides and "underappreciated" tracks off of well known records
  • consistent/ "historically accurate" (lol) selection, eg records being played which would have been played together back then, not 91s pitched up mixed with 95s
  • Lots of obscure stuff you've never heard of before
  • "Themed" selection (all stuff on a particular label, by a particular artist, etc)
Mixing Style
  • Technically adept, no dodgy beatmatching or records getting off-time
  • Energetic, records coming in fast and furious (possibly at the cost of tightness)
  • Letting tracks "breathe", each tune kept in the mix long enough for the melody to be established etc
  • Subtle , tracks which blend together nicely or slowly build in energy etc
  • Spontaneous / crazy - Tracks thrown together which you'd never think would work but wwhich actually do (sometimes)
  • Tricks and fancy stuff - scratching, acapellas, etc.
  • Personality (live shouts / humorous banter ala dugs' show)
  • Who cares? All about the tunes!!
Format/site
  • Soundcloud
  • Mixcloud
  • Iheartthis
  • mp3 downloadable (one of the above or otherwise)
  • Real radio (kool, rinse)
  • live net radio (one of the above, jungletrain, breakpirates)
  • Scheduled sets vs spontaneous mixlr streams
  • Full tracklisting
Definitely not listing these so I or anyone else can modify their sets to be more "crowd-pleasing", I'm just genuinely curious in this day and age what other people care about?
Last edited by pete.devnull on Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by pete.devnull » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:34 pm

On my side, I think it's pretty clear what interests me the most - crazy tracks I've never heard / heard of, energetic sets with lots of tracks chucked in fast even if sloppy. That's just personal preference (as are all the factors I mentioned), I'm definitely open to other stuff too, and quite enjoy more "classic" sets full of good more established tunes when I do check them. But only so many hours in the day...

Also I guess I left off one other crucial option - people who much prefer / mainly listen to classic mixes actually recorded back in the day, either raves they were at or pirate radio stations they listened to back then, or just stuff recorded at the time.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by lien » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:06 am

Rapid & Jedi smash it for me. I could hear both them Dj all night long.

They are the Dj's Dj if that makes any sense ;) lol

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by drift » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:43 am

What do I like?

Hearing tunes I haven't heard before. Old mixtapes and radio sets. Live radio (with mic, otherwise you may as well be listening to a recording). Fast mixing, chopping, etc. I do often listen to stuff that friends share, but also have a rummage through YouTube or Mixcloud if I have the time.

What don't I like?

Digital mixes using the sync button and modern effects. I like things to be authentic. I actually like to hear minor errors as it's reassurance that there's actually a person mixing the tunes. I think it also adds a bit of character.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by Restless » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:13 am

1) Tunes I've never heard before.

But not a mix that's filled with obscure tracks for the sake of being a purist. That never goes down well with me.

The tunes HAVE to be good, simple. Just because they aren't "played out" doesn't mean they are "good".

2) Really tight mixing (with vinyl, of course!), turntable/mixer trickery and GOOD EQ'ing.

I struggle to listen to boring/bland/unimaginative sets, especially those done by Dj's who are big/semi-big names on the scene. And if it's a mix by someone who has been Dj'ing longer than 10 years and it's clanging on the first mix, I discard it straight away. No excuses for that!

If it's just intro/outro style mixing then it won't "grab me", so to speak. Mix it up! Each track offers something different, so mixing it all in "one way" is ludicrous, although if that's your "style" or you're stuck in your ways, then hey-ho.

3) Mixcloud. I won't go near Soundcloud - utter dross! Just wish it had a d/l feature. Barring that it works well!

4) The Dj plays a huge part in it.

There are some Dj's that have never interested me, or I've thought their hype was unjustified or they are just rubbish. Those kind of Dj's I will NEVER listen to.

Rider
Ellis Dee
Slippers
Fabio

Not my thing at all.

Now, if I see a mix with these guys on it I'm all over it...

Sy
Hype
Ratty
Finn
Top Buzz
Randall
Bukem

5) Same goes for events.

I've never heard a Dreamscape set that I've really liked, ever (sorry!). But I've heard COUNTLESS Helter Skelter, Obsession, Fantazia sets that are legendary to me.

Now, HS and DS did have the same Dj's playing the same tunes in the same era, but the HS sets sound like the best atmosphere I have never experienced and everything just sounded "right". They just grab me, and the sets ALWAYS deliver. DS never did that to me.

Great thread, Pete. Like it a lot, buddy! Good idea. ;-)

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by Elusive9T2 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:02 am

I don't listen to big DJ sets anymore, as they are clearly only in it for the money & I've heard it all before
Breakpirates DJ's do it for the love & dig deeper & I'm nearly always locked into there
As drift says mates sets really, I don't need anything else

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by lixx » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:58 am

Interesting questions. I definitely like sets that take you on a journey no matter what the style. Not of fan of fast and furious choppy mixing, I like letting the tracks breath. I tend to hold my mixes forever like a house mix so I get excited when DJ's do that. I hate it when DJ's squeeze in as many tracks as they can in a short amount of time. I'm a big fan of the 93-96 era, I own plenty of 91-92 tunes but if it gets too cheesy with the chipmunk vocals or pianos 24-7 I check out. Happy hardcore I'll instantly turn off as it's utter shit to my ears. I don't care if the DJ played 5 tunes I liked previously. I also get a little salty when DJ's go too ragga. Like ragga is the true junglist measuring stick cliche.

Even though oldskool sets are subject to a finite amount of tunes from that era the sheer amount that were made still makes it interesting to me. I still discover gems I've never heard. I like a healthy dose of more obscure mixed with some bangers. Not a fan of all anthems.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by Restless » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:02 pm

lixx wrote:Interesting questions. I definitely like sets that take you on a journey no matter what the style. Not of fan of fast and furious choppy mixing, I like letting the tracks breath. I tend to hold my mixes forever like a house mix so I get excited when DJ's do that. I hate it when DJ's squeeze in as many tracks as they can in a short amount of time. I'm a big fan of the 93-96 era, I own plenty of 91-92 tunes but if it gets too cheesy with the chipmunk vocals or pianos 24-7 I check out. Happy hardcore I'll instantly turn off as it's utter shit to my ears. I don't care if the DJ played 5 tunes I liked previously. I also get a little salty when DJ's go too ragga. Like ragga is the true junglist measuring stick cliche.

Even though oldskool sets are subject to a finite amount of tunes from that era the sheer amount that were made still makes it interesting to me. I still discover gems I've never heard. I like a healthy dose of more obscure mixed with some bangers. Not a fan of all anthems.
Ha! Agreed with the ragga school of thought. Hate it, in all honesty.

A little bit of it here and there is alright (everything in moderation etc), but a full blown set of it is a turn-off.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by lixx » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:24 pm

Restless wrote:
Ha! Agreed with the ragga school of thought. Hate it, in all honesty.

A little bit of it here and there is alright (everything in moderation etc), but a full blown set of it is a turn-off.
I don't mind ragga, own plenty of ragga tracks and to be honest everyone dives too deep into that hole at times (myself included) it's just when the entire set is ragga exclusive, I get a little ansy and say "OK got it, ragga to the max can we move on now!"

Actually I'm really not sure anymore what constitutes a ragga track lol! I use to be sure but years later sometimes just having a sample or two doesn't really make it ragga I think. For example: I was just test mixing all three tracks off the Just Jungle Gold EP in a mix I'm working on and Come Fi Nice It Up seemed to be the only true ragga sounding track. The other two have samples but man those soaring strings in Double Crisp and the nice jazzy rolling atmospherics of As We Enter, kind of hard for me to say "ok all three are ragga"

Anyhow agreed we you 100% Restless. Everything in moderation, nice mix of styles, and always tracks thrown in you might not have heard that often or sometimes never. Makes a good mix IMO.

Oh and Pete I like what you do on Blog To The Oldskool. You tend to play some killer obscure tracks on your show among tunes we know. So much out there you can never get bored. :)

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by Restless » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:58 pm

"Incredible", "Champion DJ" - That's "Ragga Jungle", in my eyes. Commercial, but you get the point.

But I like Jungle sets which incorporate the whole spectrum, as it was only a short lived genre, so it's a bit daft to go "all in" on one style of it.

Bit of Ragga, Bit of the R&B/Hip Hop based stuff, Non-Vocal stuff ("Circles" etc), Rollers - the works.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by dj jedi » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:40 pm

I find it interesting that people would write off a set because of who it's mixed by, what event it was at or even what download site it's on! All about the tunes for me, as I have a pretty extensive collection myself I only really listen to mixes that have mostly tunes I don't know, otherwise I could just listen/mix the tracks myself.

On that note it has to have a track listing, I won't listen to a mix unless it has one as I want to know what's on it.

I can appreciate all styles of mixing (fast/choppy, long etc) so no preference there really as long as it's mixed well, as others have said if it's full of clangers I'll probably switch off, you've got to have some pride in what you do.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by Restless » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:34 pm

I hear you mate, but it's all preference.

Mixcloud works like a dream. I never see any faults with it, loads quick and it's EASILY the best site on the net for rare sets. Soundcloud on the other hand is like the Myspace of these kind of sites... Finished! Better for posting up productions I find.

I KNOW I will never like a Rider, Fab, Ellis Dee set - God know's I've listened to a lot of them! So if I see a set of theirs I'll give it a miss.

Some events you just know what you will get - sh!te. From the music to the finished product (tape/cd).

I will listen to a set filled with tunes that I own just to hear the Dj's mixing, their style etc, no problem. They might do stuff with the same tunes that blows me away, you never know how some approach it/mix. And I just love to hear Dj's mix. See if they keep getting better or not. Bang on with your pride comment. Saddens me how Dj's don't give it their all (well, a lot of them). Then again they are no doubt bored stiff with it. Vicious circle of being bored to tears with it but not being able to give up the money (ar$seholes!).

If someone does a digital mix and it's "lazy", I won't give it the time of day. But if it's done say in Abelton, it's re-arranged/hit the decks style, I am ALL ears. In other words; Making the most of the technology/using your initiative. Just having the gear is not enough, you have to get the most out of it. Bit like having a Ferrari and never putting your foot down. Pointless!

Ie: Producer - I'm listening to a set of his which was done on Ableton. It's top quality stuff. That's how it's done!

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by lixx » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:02 pm

dj jedi wrote: I only really listen to mixes that have mostly tunes I don't know, otherwise I could just listen/mix the tracks myself.

On that note it has to have a track listing, I won't listen to a mix unless it has one as I want to know what's on it.
I agree with this also, I hate not seeing a track listing. Yeah I get that surprises are fun, but I want to know what I'm getting into at least a little before the time commitment. Unless it's a DJ I know previously has rocked my world mixing wise I prefer to see the track listing. I tend to get more excited it when it's a few tunes I don't own or have no idea what they sound like.
Restless wrote: Mixcloud works like a dream. I never see any faults with it, loads quick and it's EASILY the best site on the net for rare sets. Soundcloud on the other hand is like the Myspace of these kind of sites... Finished! Better for posting up productions I find.


I will listen to a set filled with tunes that I own just to hear the Dj's mixing, their style etc, no problem. They might do stuff with the same tunes that blows me away, you never know how some approach it/mix.

See now I differ on Mixcloud. I love Soundcloud (although I use Snow Leopard on my Mac and I'm pissed I suddenly have to divert to a Firefox browser to listen now which started this week). The reason I don't like Mixcloud is the controls, no tracklisting, and no downloads. Seems very limited unless you're listening from start to finish.

At the same time (with your second point) even though I like to see a track listing I love to listen to other DJ's- so sometimes I'm completely conflicted. So ultimately it depends on mood. Another DJ could have the same exact 10 tunes I have and mix them completely different so it is nice to see other people's perspectives.

All in all I'm sure we're all as fickle with listening as much as dj'ing :)

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by Restless » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:51 pm

No t/l on Mixcloud? That'll be the uploaders fault, as they can do it if they want.

Well this is it.

We could both have the same 10-15 tunes, but your ideas of putting them together could be world class and mine could be amateur hour! I love having the same tunes as someone else and listening to them mix them as I could be in for a hell of a surprise when they get mixed. And I've found that due to things like that the ideas can rub off on you and, if your initiative goes into overdrive, you'll add or better that style of mixing/mix.

But with some Dj's (Ratpack etc) if you see a t/l and it's the usual suspects in there you just know that there will be none of that. A quality Dj, though? Yeah, they will probably do something a lot different with them.

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Re: What do people look for in oldskool mixes these days?

Post by jamsco99 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:15 pm

i tend to be a bit safe and will not hunt around for new mixes from unknowns (dont have the time) - if i go for a newer old skool mix it will be an event recording from a big name dj i liked back in the day and i always listen to world of rave radio show and sometimes uncle dugs show.

interesting before the recent Amnesia event, Jason Kaye was asking on facebook if he should play "Cheese or Dark"

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