I was introduced to the world of “the mix” when I was quite young. At the time it was mix tapes, and they were given to me by my awesome babysitter, Drinda. I think this started when I was around 8 years old or so. I’ve loved listening to the radio since I was a tiny kid, and Drinda had a couple hundred cassette tapes. I would tell Drinda about the songs that I liked that I heard on the radio, and she would make tapes for me that had songs by those artists and others I didn’t know about. I listened to these tapes all the time! They included artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Taylor Dane, Billy Joel, Bobby Brown…When I realized that I could tape songs off the radio when I heard them I was so excited! I was probably 10 or 11 when I started making mix tapes of my own. It wasn’t until high school that I actually started to make mixes and give them to other people, and it wasn’t until college that I did this on a regular basis. Almost any new friend I made would get a mix tape from me, but rarely would they give one to me in return.
Then I made some friends on the Internet who were as obsessed with music as I was and actually made me mix tapes! Soon after this I switched over to making mix CDs, as computers made this much much easier. I have to admit that a mix CD is NOT the same art as a mix tape. With a mix tape you had to come up with a Side A and a Side B and fit all the songs on each side just right. You also had to come up with good first and last songs for each side! With the mix CD it took out all the guess work. No more taping and re-taping to make everything fit! The most important tracks become the first, second, and last. I always think about the main character in the book & film “High Fidelity,” Rob, talking about how the making of a great mix tape is hard and takes a long time and there are a lot of rules. You gotta start it off with a really great song to grab attention and then take it up a notch with the next one.
At one point I realized that a good way to get a bunch of mix CDs from people would be to organize a mix CD trade with online friends. Each person makes several copies of a mix and sends them to the organizer who then sends back the collection of mixes to each contributor. It works out quite nicely. I’ve organized several of these in the past few years, but haven’t done one in quite a while. Some of the others who have participated have gone on to organize their own mix trades, and recently one of them asked me to do a trade. This is a small one with just six participants. I sent off my package today and am looking forward to seeing what I’ll get in return! It’s a great way to hear new artists and songs, or to rediscover a song you forgot about. It’s also fun to see how the songs are mixed together.
I happened upon a CD packaging idea on the Colorbok blog, and I went off of that to create these:
Here is the track list. I’ve been working on it for a couple of months- adding, removing, and rearranging songs.
- That’s Not Me The Beach Boys
- Red Tide Neko Case
- The Valley Eisley
- Octavio Viva Voce
- The Strangers St. Vincent
- Used to Be Beach House
- Blood Bank Bon Iver
- Black Tables Other Lives
- All I Need Radiohead
- Desert Song Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
- Lifelines Doves
- A Passing Feeling Elliott Smith
- Boy From School (Hot Chip cover) Grizzly Bear
- I Don’t Feel It Anymore William Fitzsimmons
- Siren Song Bat for Lashes
- Skeletons Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- The Perpetual Self, or “What WouldSaul Alinksy Do?” Sufjan Stevens
- Metal Heart (Cat Power cover) Pedro the Lion
- Train Song Feist & Ben Gibbard
- No Child of Mine PJ Harvey
I’ve got a few friends that have been asking for mixes, so my next project is to do that for them! It’s one of my fave things to do.