Friday night I did a DJ set at the Wreck Room in Bushwick. Bushwick has been transforming from a war zone to partly artist area for a while. Arriving on the block of the venue it reminded me of going out in the East Village in the late 80s. The Wreck Room is awash in red lights and graffiti with a long bar as soon as you enter. The sound system is wack as in not much bass but it’s loud enough and distorts in a way that feels more punk than just plain cheap. While I have been making DJing mixes for a long time I rarely play as a DJ out. I’ve been solely focused on my live act but this event signals a push to add DJ gigs to my overall repertoire. In fact I purposely didn’t promote Friday night because I wanted a warm up gig. I plan on playing a few different styles depending on where I can play. Im working on an old school EBM set and an cold wave obscur synthpop set. The first style I have ready is purely techno. You can hear about 30 minutes of what I did on Friday on Mixcloud (link). Track selection is really important to me and I’m spending a huge amount of time finding not only what I like but tracks that fit a certain danceable mindset. DJing and playing live feel and are very different to me. However, I do have an F1 Controller (like a little Monome) and I plan on deconstructing some of my own songs and playing them “live” in my DJ sets too. Thanks for Josh, Bill Kraemer and the others who played with me (Shawn O’ Sullivan & SSPS). To see more photos from the event on flickr: click here
“Outside, the streets bump and buckle like 1980s Beirut but inside, thanks to car part light fixtures, a pressed-tin ceiling and the rose brocade wallpaper, this cavernous, bare-brick space conjures up an atmosphere of languid libertinism that’s more like 1890s New Orleans. As the name suggests, Wreck Room is something akin to a punk-rock community center: A pool table offers stimulation on those rare nights when DJs aren’t spinning slinky industrial jams or when bands aren’t playing gritty trash rock. During the latter nights (mostly weekends), a double-doored buffer confines the din to the back room with its delightfully over-the-top tropical mural and thereby leaves the eerily indistinguishable boys and girls in black T-shirts to their earnest, tallboy-fueled conversations about the art of making ‘zines.” – nymag.com
I’ve been using my Traktor S4 a lot lately. Besides preparing for some upcoming DJ gigs I’ve been learning about the Loop Recorder and Remix Decks. I was surprised how fun these tools are for remixing songs on the fly. You have a lot more control in Ableton but with Traktor you kind of do things live and in real time. Watch the video above for an idea of what I am going on about.
“Watch and learn how to use the Loop Recorder as the main tool to build quick and powerful Remix Deck Sets.” – Mad Zach
It really doesn’t matter to me what method you use to play me music when I’m out at a club. All I want is a party with great music. I still press vinyl when I can but I also love all this touch stuff. Traktor DJ from Native Instruments was inevitable and it’s pretty fun to touch waveforms. I think the Freeze mode shows off a cool feature you can’t do with desktop Traktor. Available now for $20.
“TRAKTOR DJ brings the leading pro DJ software to iOS with an intuitive app for instant, high-impact DJ sets. Create mixes in seconds – put your hands directly on beautiful waveforms and manipulate them using gestures you already know. Auto tempo detection makes track syncing effortless while iTunes integration turns your library into a virtual crate to dig through – TRAKTOR PRO’s acclaimed sync engine keeps tracks locked together so mixes hit hard. TRAKTOR DJ also syncs effortlessly toTRAKTOR PRO 2, allowing you to share essential track data – beat grids, BPM counts, and cue points.” – native-instruments.com
The Ion Audio Scratch 2 Go can’t be real because it’s so stupid.
“Scratch 2 Go is an ultra-portable DJ control surface that turns your iPad into a mobile mixing experience. Just download the free Scratch 2 Go app and start mixing, scratching, and adding effects to your music— Scratch 2 Go works with iTunes, so you can mix the music you already own. Its two turntables, crossfader, and control knobs gently attach to your iPad’s screen via soft suction cups for hours of mixing fun.” – ionaudio.com
There’s no reason to be jealous because money doesn’t make a person happy. There’s a lot of proof to that but let’s all agree Pauly D’s take is a bit unsettling. I’ve never seen any of these DJs live or even listened to their sets somewhere so I also can’t really scream out any true reviews. Here’s what Forbes says these guys earned last year: Tiësto – $22 million, Skrillex – $15 million, Swedish House Mafia – $14 million, David Guetta – $13.5 million, Steve Aoki – $12 million, Deadmau5 – $11.5 million, DJ Pauly D – $11 million, Kaskade – $10 million, Afrojack – $9 million and Avicii – $7 million. Keep in mind these are artists making money. That’s an excellent thing.
“Every so often, the tectonic plates of mainstream musical taste shift. In the 1960s, there was the British Invasion, followed by disco in the 1970s and the rise of glam metal in the 1980s. The 1990s saw the advent of grunge and the resurgence of boy bands, followed by hip-hop’s hegemony in the 2000s. Now, the tables are turning again.” – forbes.com
The new mix from Rolf Mulder’s Public Stand features The Horrorist – Take This Step (Brian Burger Remix) among some other hot tracks. This mix already got me through my Sunday morning work out.
“Simplicity Is Beauty – Operators Manual (The Exaltics Remix) (Forthcoming on The Public Stand)
Phase – Binary Opposition (Innigo Kennedy Remix) (Token)
Horn Porn – Old Sketch (Death Proof Recordings)
Toni Alvarez – Offline (Mr. Jones Remix) (Forthcoming on Monkey Recordings)
The Horrorist – Take This Step (Brian Burger Remix) (Things To Come Records)
Roy Davis Jr. ft Bear Who – Automatic Principles (Roy’s Autoelectrik Speaker Killa Mix) (Rock It Science Laboratories)
Romplex & Tanz Organelle – Epicentre (Unreleased)
Joseph Anton – Epic (George Lanham Remix) (Unreleased)
All Tourettes – Mind Over Scatter (Electronic Explorations Compilation
Sunil Sharpe – Saturana (Work The Long Nights)
Mike Humhries – Cassini (Unreleased)
Ryogo Yamamori – Iesukak (Unreleased)”
Here’s a funny story going around. Apparently there is a David Guetta “Dj tribute act”. Loudat severely hates the idea. I think we are in a free world and if someone has the balls to try this and people want to see it why not.
“Well this is new. A tribute DJ. I’ll say that again: A tribute DJ.As in: a nobody who is pretending to be a Famous Disc Jockey, advertising himself as such and actually getting booked.” Loudat
Destroy and twist along with mix. I see nothing wrong with this trend ala Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol F1. I know there will always be vinyl guards but I always say keep to the future. As a musician I welcome tech that lets me vomit audio pixels at crowds. Don’t look back because I won’t be there.
“The F1 blurs the lines between DJing and live performance.” – Native Instruments
I’ve DJed on and off over the years and recently I picked up a Traktor S4. I love the thing. Native Instruments really has the software and hardware working together in a dreamlike manner. With the Sample Decks it’s also very interesting from a producer’s standpoint. What you see above is Vestax’s answer to the S4 the VCI-400. It does much of the same with a few differences. You can easily switch out the faders, the filter knob has a light when it’s on and some other niceties. The S4 is probably still the best choice for most people though. The new VCI will be available early next year.
“At about 2 inches shorter than the s4, the VCI-400 strikes a nice balance of being well spaced but looking reasonably portable. It will fit in more backpacks and conveys a nice solid look that feels at home next to turntables and mixers. Most other plastic controllers do seem a bit out of place in the rugged and utilitarian dj environment.” – djtechtools.com