Henrik Schwarz's latest mix disc, part of the venerable !K7 DJ-Kicks series, isn't quite what you might expect from the man who's been redefining tech-house for the past couple of years. Instead, he folds together Moondog's bop-jazz classic "Bird's Lament" with Double's low-slung house jam "Woman of the World" and carries on through tracks from iO, James Brown, and Pharaoh Sanders while injecting moments of electro-tech greatness from Drexciya and Rob Hood with aplomb. How does he do it? Here are the Berliner's five steps to creating a killer DJ mix.
1. Have an Idea
In my opinion, if you want to do something special you've got to have an idea. When I did the DJ-Kicks mix, I had the idea to combine the sounds of soul, funk, jazz, and techno or house with some additional production from the computer to be able to melt the different styles together much more than would have been possible with two turntables. However' didn't want to do one of those ultra-perfect computer mixes–they can get a bit boring sometimes.
2. The Music
Before you start mixing, select the best music you can, of course. The result should be a selection that is powerful and soft, loud and silent, fast and slow, analog and digital, minimal and maximal, warm and cold, new and old.
3. The Mix
Of course, the selection is very important but even more important, for me, is the way you combine two pieces. If you choose the right combination, you create something powerful and new. Sometimes it just sounds great, however sometimes you can feel a whole universe within the interspaces of the two tracks. I like the space that opens up in between.
I think music is something that you can think and talk about a lot, but in the end you just cannot describe it in words or get it under control with the power of your brain. When it comes to music, making a plan is good but the [ability to] bring the right things together comes from somewhere else. Music comes from where we all come from.
5. The People
Finally, I believe that music is a connection machine. It brings people together. A new piece of music or even a mix CD can bring different people together. The more, the better; one from here, another one from the other side of the world.