Fanmixes! A How-To Guide.
So if there’s one nerdy shameful trash habit I have, it’s making fanmixes. I recently got back into them after not doing them for a while, and I thought I’d share some advice about fanmixes, how to make a good one and why they’re cool and good!
is a fanmix??
So you’re HARDCORE into some crazy fandom.
Let’s call it The Amazing Antics of Stupid-Kun. You hang out on tumblr, you
reblog the fanart, you browse ao3 at night for smutty fanfiction. You may or
may not be serious when you say you’re trash and should be thrown into the
garbage. THAT’S how much you love this fandom. And the one day you’re in the
car and a song comes on the radio
“My god!” you say “This is the PERECT song
Fanmixes’ are taking that part to the
extreme. It wasn’t enough that you started to find songs to fit this
show/character/pairing. You found multiples. Enough to make a mix-tape. And you
decided to subject this list of music to
anyone else who loves good music and The Amazing Antics of Stupid-Kun.
It sounds a little silly, (and it is), but
there is a job similar to it in the entertainment industry called a Music
Supervisor, so it’s not that bad.
Much like that rhyme about the Little Girl
with the Little Golden Curl, fanmixes can be great, or they can be awful. Your
millage might vary with personal music taste, but they’re a fun way to
participate in fandom and also to share some sweet ass music with the rest of
the internet nerds. I’ve been making fanmixes for over ten years now, and I
thought I’d give a write up for what works for me, how to get the best out of
WHERE I FIND GOOD MUSIC???
Obviously your millage may vary, but I find
fanmixes themselves to be a GREAT way to get into new music. I’d say I owe a
lot of my developed music tastes to other fanmixes I heard back when I was
getting into this. I’ll be blunt here. It’s 2015, there is NO reason your
fanmix needs to be composed of top 40 hits played on your clear channel radio
station. “But I’m not some hipster living in Silverlake going to Spaceland
every night!” you say. “ I have no clue about music!! where do I start??” Well,
a few suggestions. One like I said, is just to listen to other fanmixes. Back
in my day they were around on livejournal, but in this day and age, the
majority tend to be on 8tracks. It’s easy to upload and the music streams. (You
kids have it good. In MY day, we had to download each song one by one!). If you
find a song you like, check out the artist. There’s a good chance they’re on Spotify.
Check out the other songs they’ve done. Also Pandora is a good place to find music
similar to the artist. Just don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone.
One of the best parts I’ve found about fanmixes is that people are MUCH more inclined
to listen to them and check out new music when they’re about a character/show/pairing
they enjoy, as opposed to when you’re being THAT person and insisting to them “oh
my god you need to check out THIS band they’re SOOO good”
Yeh! I found a bunch of music it’s super good how do I choose???
Ok, so now you got some music that Ryan
Seacreast has never heard of, you’re good to go! My best advice would be this.
Mood is more important than literalness. I say this because when I FIRST
started making fanmixes, I thought if I did them for a show, I needed to have a
song for EVERY single character. This lead to a LOOOOT of stretching and really
bloated mixes (I mean REALLY bloated. I once did one for Naruto), and also ment
that I had chosen a hard-rock song next to a Bjork song, next to a Mo-Town and
so on. Don’t worry so much about if you can’t find a song that works perfectly
for a specific character, or a scene. It needs to be more about the mood or
what the song is implying. Also, make sure you know what the songs about. Back
in the day, Tori Amos songs ran rampant and songs about miscarriage or sexual
abuse ended up on what were suppose to be mixes for cutsy-poo pairings all the
me more about being cohesive!!!
Say no more my friend, it’s what I’m here
for. Your music for your fanmix should be cohesive Remember what I said
earlier about how my earlier fanmixes were not very good because I didn’t have
a cohesiveness? Yep. Don’t do this. In theory your entire mix should be able to
be on the same Pandora radio station. (maybe
a very heavily tailored Pandora radio station, but still). What helps me in
being cohesive is figuring out what music is gonna work best. Is this a cute
upbeat character? A scary monster of a villain? A tragic doomed pairing? If you
can start to find music that works for these things, you’re off to a good
a bunch of songs, they all work great and they all kinda fit together!!!!
Hooray! Now you got 8
or more songs that are cool and good and you wanna upload them! Now what? For
me, I like to think of fanmixes like a color wheel. Blue doesn’t go RIGHT after
red, you need to put some purple in there first. Make sure your mix flows to
avoid a lack of cohesiveness. Also think of your mix a bit like a musical. Have
an ‘opening’ song. Make it a strong one that grabs the audience and makes them
certain that they’re gonna want to listen to your entire mix. I also like to
think of the final songs like an ending credit song. (so if you have a song you’re
worried is gonna turn off people for being too on the nose, this is a good
place to put it.)
That’s my best advice for fanmixes! As I
said, that’s simply what I enjoy and what works for me. But if you have any
questions, or wanna add your own experiences and imput, feel free to add on!
My own fanmixes (and a few regular old mixes) can be found here if you wanna have a laugh at my own cockiness.