4 Reasons Why you should mix with other DJs

There is something awesome about arranging a jam with new people, whether you are a DJ or just a musician, a good session can completely redefine your sources of inspiration. By forcing yourself to adapt to another person's style, and having them adapt to your's, you can create brilliant new ideas that wouldn't have arisen otherwise.

1. You Are Introduced to New Music

They could be the same style as you, or a completely different style. Either way, they are not going to have the same songs as you do. By DJing with someone else, you have to mix with unfamiliar songs and learn them as you go.

This is a great way to learn new styles of mixing and develop your abilities on the fly. If you make a mistake, you can then discus with them new ways of solving issues and likewise, you can share your skills with them!

No doubt you'll also dig the songs they play, especially if you play the same style of music and so mixing with other people can be one of the best intros to new music.

Of course, they could exclusively play awful songs
in which case you'll have to work even harder to mix out 
of - which will improve you even more!

2. You get to Learn on New Gear

Assuming you both bring your own gear, or agree to bring a combination of the two, you now have a new DJing rig that you may never have played on before. Perhaps you run Serato, but they've only brought Traktor, you now have a way into playing on a new software without investing in it. 

A good DJ should be able to perform well on whatever is in front of him, and the only way to practice this is by playing on unfamiliar gear. As with the point above, it's cool to make mistakes, as you are only practising and they can give you tips on ways to improve your technique on that specific piece of kit.

If you are used to platters, and they bring a controller without
any, you'll have to totally re-evaluate how you play.

Likewise with them, if they start doing something cool on your equipment, you could discover a new feature that wasn't apparent before. Try and pick up everything they are doing as you will always be able to learn a new trick or two.

3. You'll have to Play in a Different Style

Playing with another person is very different to playing by yourself. You have to relinquish control  and let them take it in their direction. Assuming you do a track or few each and take it in turns, you will have to completely rethink the pace and song choice you are going for. 

Perhaps you have a rough direction that you follow with all your mixes, perhaps the other DJ decides to play a track that completely changes the direction. You will need to be able to listen to where they are going to provide a suitable follow up that isn't jarring to hear.

It's tough, especially if they bring the mix even deeper when you are trying to build the intensity and so it will teach you to have plenty of tracks in all different styles prepared as backup for such a situation. 

This is particularly good if you expect to play live, mixing out of another DJ's set. You will need to be able to correctly ride off their last few songs, this could result in a completely different start to your norm and so practising it is a brilliant way of perfecting it.

4. You have to Adapt to a Different Workflow

By adding a DJ to the set, you will have to work very differently. Simple differences include different crossfader preferences. I imagine many DJs prefer not to share their headphones, so it may be necessary to switch headphones in the mixer when you swap over. Small changes such as this can be quite a lot to handle at first.

Some DJs may have vastly different workflows to you!

Always look out for their crossfader preferences. I like my crossfader to be in scratch mode where the incoming track cuts right in when the crossfader is moved. This is because I like to mix with the volume faders. 

A DJ who prefers to mix with the crossfader may be caught out by this and cut their song into the mix full volume and so it is essential that they know your settings, and you know theirs to stop a really crappy mix.

The other thing to consider is they may be more or less into using the EQ. It is always good to reset the EQs when you finish your track, or before bringing one in after them as their tracks may not match yours. No point dropping in a track, only to realise that it is sounding incredibly thin due to their eagerness on EQ mixing.

Other things to consider are master tempo, and scratch modes. I like to keep both enabled as that is how I mix most comfortably. They may not like that and disable it during their turn. This could lead to difficulties if you go and change the track speed and end up completely shifting the key.