Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Every week for over a year I've selected 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 new tracks to play on a radio show. I drive to the radio station and listen to as many of the tracks as I can, or just the ones I think might be good to open the show. I make a quick decision about the first 3 tracks to play by 21.00 and from there I just go with what feels right for 90 minutes. At the end I have a mix, which I listen to on the way home, which is a 30 minute drive always made in darkness.

The next day I upload the mix to my webspace and make it available for download. Sometimes people comment, sometimes nobody comments, sometimes I listen to the mix everyday the next week, sometimes I never listen to it again. In a way I let myself be controlled by the music, rather than controlling it. As a radio host I think this isn't a bad approach, you become a conduit for good music for others. In any case, I know I have my own style, which even if I wanted to, I couldn't subsume. Where my control ends is that, in playing an entirely new set every week, I never really know which values will be given more emphasis on a given week. I never know how I'll feel as I play the set, what direction I'll go or for how long.

Yet when I look at other mixes, around the net or on CD, I sometimes feel I'd love to just play whatever I wanted, to gather all the absolute best records from all the shows and present them in one really great mix. When I DJ in clubs, I get to try and do this, but there's pressure to fit whatever mould that the club fits. Sure, you can play with individuality and take risks, but even the timeslot of nightclubs dictates things like tempo.

So for this mix I've tried to just play some of my favourite records of the last few months in an order that feels right. It took me months (and then a day, and one take) to actually complete this, as Rayna will attest. I think this is because I had to readjust to life outside the prison of my usual format! I became insitutionalised from playing 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 tracks on a radio show, every week for almost a year. The way I created those mixes was a bit like a British TV show called Ready Steady Cook where chefs are given a surprise set of goods and have to make a meal (I think Americans have a similar show called Ironchef, interesting cultural differences in the names there). I gathered ingredients and made the best mix that came to mind.

Choosing some favourite tracks and trying to create something with no real rules or restrictions was actually much harder. Another analogy would be to compare me to that stereotypical military man that can't exist without rules. As such, entire record collection at my feet to choose from for every mix was far trickier than just 15 new tracks. But eventually I did a mix that I'm happy with, after lots of overplanning and writing lists. I wonder if casual listeners will be able to tell the difference between it and the radio shows.

These aren't necessarily my 14 favourite records, of the year, or of right now, but this is my favourite mix. Or at least, it should be!

01. Luna City Express-Absent Minded (Aerobic Studio

02. Sten-Undercover (Lawrence Mix) (Dial Records)
03. Liebe Ist Cool-Gluhwurmchen (Cassy Mix) (Electric Avenue)
04. Daniela Stickroth/Walter Ercolino-Giant's Sleep (Ripperton Mix)(Meerestief)
05. H.O.S.H.-Themes, Rhythms and Harmonies (Diynamic)
06. Argy-The Storm (Deeply Rooted)
07. Chugga-Theme For The Buck Rogers Light Rope Danec (Shinedoe Mix) (Mule Electronic)
08. Deetron featuring DJ Bone-Life Soundtrack (Radioslave Mix) (Music Man)
09. Rejected-Lost (Rejected)
10. Simon Baker-Confused (Viva Music)
11. Mountan People-Mountain 003 (Mountain People)
12. Paolo Olarte-Solo Tu (Isolée Mix) (Fresh Fish)
13. Henrik Schwarz-Walk Music (Mood Music)
14. Roland Appel-Dark Soldier (Sonar Kollektiv)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather dull and I think this has come from spending so long analysing the mix – I just cant get into this, and sorry, some of the mixing isn’t that good. I cant pick out a flow or progression in the mix and to be constructive, I like a mix to go somewhere, you have an idea what’s being thought by the artist – feeling.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Ronan said...

Well, different tastes I guess. I could have written about what I was feeling making the mix but actually what informs the mix and everything else I do lately is quite personal and sometimes I get sick of talking about that, hence the detached analytical explanation that I did do.

Thanks for checking it out, even if it wasn't to your taste :)

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel horrible now :( Sorry, maybe hyper critical! Its just nowadays, there are so many DJ’s doing the same thing and when you put a mix together, you can think about it for far to long until you forget the direction you wanted to achieve in the beginning. It’s a very hard thing to achieve. I have been DJ’ing now for 14 years and have only created 2 mixes that I listen back to, all the others were pap :)

2:30 AM  
Blogger Ronan said...

No don't feel bad, I actually feel some of my other mixes are better than this one, and with those sometimes I have zero time to think about them.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't see anything wrong with this mix. i really enjoyed it on my way to work. it's not the usual minimal trendy minimal shit every dj plays nowadays, but a lot of great, deep tracks with wonderful sounds and melodies. i love it

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