September 2nd, 2012

The tortured art of the bespoke mixtape

This weekend, I was asked for a mix by someone who is generally unfamiliar with electronic music and wanted something introductory.

Is there anything more nerve-racking?

It’s an extraordinarily high-pressure situation: I want the mix to be approachable, but I also want it to expand the listener’s horizons. As someone who regularly makes mixes borne purely of his own tastes and interests, I now have a discrete, identifiable listener to take into account. You need to walk this fine line between blowing their mind and keeping them from throwing down their headphones in disgust five or ten minutes into the set. And this might be my only chance — if she doesn’t like this mix, will there ever be another opportunity, or have I permanently turned someone off to an entire category of music?

This is why I keep Tums nearby while mixing.

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