Why do you need DjBPMStudio.com


How I Started

When I was a teenager, I started playing music in my friends' parties.

With borrowed equipment, I enjoyed playing my vinyl LPs all night long. I always got a weird sense of fulfilment when people crowded the dance floor because the music was just great. I didn't charge any money, I was just happy I got to play my LPs. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun too.

One time in a friends' gathering, an acquaintance pull a tape from his pocket. Then, he put it in the stereo's deck and hit the play button.


Beat Matching? Mixes?

The cassette contained the most amazing mixes I had ever listened.

One after the other, the mixes and the beat matching were just perfect. It was impossible to know when the beats of a song were beginning or ending. Until that moment, I didn't know you could do that.

So, I decided to learn how to do it. I wanted to create that kind of experience. It was mind blowing to me. My goal was to learn how to mix and beat match, just as DJs do.


The First Good Mix

I still remember the first well beat matched mix I did. It was Prince's "Baby I'm A Star" with Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing".

"Baby I'm A Star" tempo is 137.94 beats per minute. "Money For Nothing" tempo is 134.19 beats per minute. The tempo of "Money for Nothing" had to be adjusted +2.79% to have a match. Of course at the time I didn't have a clue.

It wasn't an easy or quick win. I spent more than an hour just to find the right pitch adjustment to make both songs match their tempo. The Technics turntables in those years didn't have BPM display so I had to work hard to get it right. But once I got it, I played it for hours.

At the time, some people said to me "mixing those two songs is just wrong!". But it didn't matter to me. Because it was the most enjoyable moment I had playing my LPs. Once I felt the power of achieving my first good mix, I just wanted to repeat its success more and more. At the end, the recorded music in my cassette contained more of a mash up version of these two songs.

But one fact was clear to me. Finding that these two songs could be mixed, was just pure luck.


30 Minutes of Great Mixes

After I got my first good mix, I came up with a more ambitious goal: To play well beat matched mixes to record the side A of one hour cassette.

I had a rule, to play songs for around 3 minutes to keep the audience engaged to the music, thinking the cassette could be used in a party. This meant that I needed around 10 songs that could be continuously beat-matched. It didn't seem like a big deal to me.

The first difficulty I found was that it was hard to repeat the success of a well beat-matched mix. Even with the same known songs. It took me hours to master every single new song I added to my list. To find the right pitch adjustment under 3 minutes it was frustrating.

But that wasn't the biggest impediment. My real problem was to find the right songs. I couldn't buy many LPs. I started recording cassettes with music played on the radio, so I could obtain the tempo.

To obtain the tempo, I needed to count out loud the beats during a very long minute. Then repeat the process a couple of times, if I obtained different numbers, I had to start again. Once I had the rough BPM estimates, then I could finally make a decision on what LPs I wanted to buy.

Having to write down the BPM numbers in loose sheets of paper was another matter. It was just too damn hard to keep those BPMs in a way that could be useful for later occasions. Once I bought the LP, I made sure to write down the BPMs in the back of my precious records. That was the best way to keep the numbers safe.


This Looks Like Work to Me

Literally, took me months of work to get 30 minutes ready. I was discouraged by the process and cost. I didn't even try to record the side B of the cassette.

The effort to accomplish great mixes was not small. With the knowledge I had, this just became the most difficult task I had to do regarding playing music for the fun of it.

Hours had to be invested. This was taking away the joy of the mixing music.

But not everything was bad. That little struggle, helped me understand that I needed to be good at getting and keeping my BPMs.

This is it. This is how the DjBPMStudio.com idea was born in the 80s.


What about you?

This is just the first part of story on how I started mixing music. In a future article, I will explain to you the lessons I learned. Also how those lessons can help you avoid the problems I had.

In the meantime, tell me your story. Email me to Admin@djbpmstudio.com. Tell me about your first beat matched mix, why did you start, the problems you have or had, your favourite genre or artists, etc.

Hopefully, your story, your ideas will help us build a better website.

Thank you for reading!

Miguel