Creating The Mix

The subject of the show this week is the process I take when cultivating the music mix. It is a delicate but fun process, and I believe that if you can’t have fun with music, there’s something wrong.

We all have different mixes we put together on our iTunes library (or whatever music library/collection outlet you use). I have a different mix for each episode of The Appetizer. I have a ton of other mixes. I need them. I have a mixes that I keep adding to and some that just stay (usually Top 10 best whatever mixes or something like that). I have mixes that are just great love songs, or excellent covers, or my favorite tunes from a particular year or style, and on and on. You have that too. We all do. That’s what makes the mix I put together each week for the radio program so interesting to me: there’s a chance that you and I have similar mixes, or that I play a song/artist/style you don’t know and then you add something to your mix.

That goes both ways too, you know? Like I’ve said on the show the past few weeks, you are a pretty big source for new music for me. Whether it’s conversations with friends in person or online, you really help pick out some great stuff that gets radio play every week, and I really appreciate that.

As for the subject of how I put together a playlist that features a combination of artists you know and those you don’t, all with some very different styles and music genres, there’s not really a secret to that. Or at least I don’t know of one. I have been doing this show for a long time (since September 2003) and that time with experience does make the mixing and blending more natural. I can say that pairings of songs back to back need a certain flow and feel. You can hear that. A jazz track with a little upbeat drum track flows into an indie rock song. It doesn’t flow into a softer vocal ballad. So when I do pairings, I take songs that flow from one to the other together nicely, so the overall groove of the show doesn’t lose anything (primarily your listening).

It’s in the transitions and segues that allow me to go from one style or artist and switch gears, somethings completely changing into a style that is more upbeat, fast-paced, and progressive. This is illustrated in last week’s final 10 minutes when we heard a few more acoustic tunes and then ended the show with a really progressive track from Stavesacre and a cool punk tune from Face to Face. Truth me told, I’ve been wanting to do that Stavesacre song on the show for a very long time, and I finally just broke down and did it. Some might think it’s too hard rock for the program but it concluded the show really well. If you missed it you can hear it online for another week here.

That’s it for secrets. I think we all know the best ways to do certain things and our experience, expertise, and God-given abilities help us do that, or at least guide the way. If you have any tricks of mixing music and you’d like to share, please do so. Or if you want to keep it to yourself that’s fine too. Keep the mix going, and suggest a track or band. It just might get heard on the show.

This is one of my other favorite Stavesacre songs.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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