House music. It’s where it all began. Most modern EDM music owes its origins to the early house sound of Chicago and Detroit. House music has come a long way since then, and has merged into a range of different sub-genres but the essence of the groove remains the same – funky, big bass, vocals, leads and booty-shaking
Any professional DJ worth their salt should know how to throw down a room rattling house set, so let’s look at five techniques for mixing house music like a pro.
1. Beat Matching
Learning how to DJ house music requires knowledge of beatmatching. Making a really good mix is essentially about getting two or more tracks to play together in perfect time to create a unique sound. So disable those sync buttons and learn to juggle some basic house beats together.
2. Harmonic Mixing
While beat matching is an essential mixing tool, so is learning how to create perfectly harmonious mixes. Mixing house music in key is a way to make your mixes really flow and gel well together. There is harmonic mixing software available that helps to determine the exact key each track is in. They can help the DJ choose a relative minor or major key to make transitions smoother.
3. Mind the Vocals!
One potential pitfall when mixing house music is overlapping vocals - especially in traditional house music. While soaring or husky vocal lines can really make a track pop on the dance floor, mixing in another song at the wrong time can cause a train wreck of conflicting vocal lines. Pick the right moment to mix songs like this, and try to leave a few bars in between to give the mix some breathing room.
4. Phrase Mixing
Another hot tip for mixing house music like a pro is to learn how to phrase mix. A musical phrase in house music is usually 16 or 32 bars of 4 beats each. To mix house music, count each bar and bring in the next track on the 16th or 32nd bar of the outgoing song. DJ Controllers that have loop functions can make this easier to practice, but it’s also worth a try without loops – as there is a certain skill required to mix on the fly! And it is definitely a skill worth having.
5. Know Your Songs
This is an old tip, but one that is worth mentioning again. A DJ who really knows their arsenal will be able to select the perfect groove time and time again. Make time to listen to your songs of choice and get to know them intimately! This will really take any house DJ’s game to the next level!