The Art of the Mix Tape
For those of you who follow us regularly, you know that my good friend, cohost, and partner in crime recently went on a short tour. As a parting gift, I made him a mix-tape, one of the best gifts a person can give a person they care about. (and its super cheap!) However, through my years I’ve learned that there are QUITE a few RULES about making a mix-tape. Ever seen that movie High Fidelity? Well everything he says about mix-tapes are true! Here are a few rules that I live by when I create mix tapes for people and myself. One :: Your audience is important! As you pick music, be sure to keep in mind how the audience will react to it and what they will think about it. Pick music that the listener can enjoy and that will keep them interested. Personally? I like to pick music with hidden meanings that I hope the listener can decode as the songs unfold. However, if your making one for your mother, she probably won’t enjoy loud and fast music and your younger brother probably wouldn’t want music you hear on the oldies station. Two :: Every song tells a story. I like to consider each song a chapter in a book that once put together tell a whole story. Each song will add to the plot until the final song that will bring it all together with a definite ending. Most of the mix tapes I make have a definite purpose and meaning so I choose songs that fit that purpose (see why I used the book metaphor?). Keep in mind, however, that not all mix-tapes have to convey a message or a hidden meaning. And remember! You are using other peoples words and phrases to convey your feelings, so choose them carefully and wisely. You don’t want the listener to misinterpret your message! Three :: Use a variety of songs! A big no-no in my book is using more than one song by one artist. You aren’t copying someones cd, your combining the works and minds of many people. The mix-tape does not have to be made up of all one genre or one theme either. Mix it up a little bit! Different sounds and different artists add variety and make it interesting to listen to. Four :: Pick your songs.I usually have an idea in my head of the songs I want to use. I get out a notepad and write a list of about 20 – 30 songs that I’d like to include then go through and listen to them and see if they’ll work for what I’m going for. By the end, I’ll have usually whittled it down to only 15 or 16 and probably even added some that weren’t on the list that would work better than some I had previously chosen. Five :: Arrangement of the tracks is crucial. As stated earlier, a mix-tape is like reading a book. The songs should flow into each other. They should play off of each other. They should start from an introduction (I choose a very catchy first song to grab the attention) from the it should build up to a climax and come to a ending. It sometimes takes a while to get the progression right, but believe me, spending some time on this will make it better in the end. Six :: Demo your mix tape. Listen to it. A lot. I spend more time on this than on anything. For one because I usually love the songs I choose and secondly because without listening to it you don’t know how the songs flow together or if they even fit your purpose. Seven :: Presentation, Presentation, Presentation! Once I finish creating the mix tape, I’m usually not done. Sure, it’s awesome, but why not go a step further? Get crafty and create a cool looking cover or holder for the mix-tape. This is a MUST for me. Mine have ranged from a sketch on a folded over sheet of paper to a full out arts and crafts session. And that’s that! Enjoy my minions!