Electronic DJ etiquette

DJ changeover in shifts was once a very simple thing. The DJ who is on next simply brings their records or CD’s into the DJ box. The DJ who is playing puts on the last track and takes out their headphones and the new DJ plugs their headphones and puts on the next record or CD. Simple, right?

With increasing use of laptops and electronic systems the changeover has become a far more complex process. No matter how glamorous the DJ box looks from the outside, from the inside it’s a very different story. It’s small, cramped, dark with limited room. In many ways it’s like a 17th century coal mine with better music and the option of having a drink.

 There are two major electronic systems used by DJs; Traktor and Serato. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but one thing they have in common is the need to repatch plugs into the mixer (that’s the thing that controls the sound levels) and find a space for a laptop. In the cramped environment of a DJ box this can easily turn into a nightmare of plugging and unplugging leads, moving equipment and making sure that the music continues.

 Electronic systems mean that DJs have every track they own handy to play, can find tracks quickly, mix better, setup playlists for the night and still cope with unexpected crowds and requests. Most of all DJs can spend a lot more time thinking about what is right for the room and a lot less time looking for the next track.

 While many DJs still use CDs this isn’t yet a major problem. An electronic DJ can set up and plug in pretty easily from someone who is using CDs – or unplug for someone who is following and using CDs. Things get a lot more complex when both DJs are using computers.

 When it works it can be a smooth transition with minimal disruption and stress. When it doesn’t work it can be a complete nightmare. I have had the unfortunate experience of trying to swap with another laptop DJ and being faced with a tangled Gordian knot of wires, much swearing under my breath and some disruption to the flow.

 So here’s the deal; we need to establish DJ etiquette when doing the changeover. This means the DJ who is playing needs to switch to CDs or USBs to run the music and disassemble their equipment. The DJ starting needs to be ready with CDs or USBs to start the shift and then set up their equipment.

 It’s simple, takes a little more time but means that we can remove the chaos from the DJ box. And you, out on the dance floor don’t notice a thing.


Be careful what you wish for

Back in the 90s when DJs would hang out and chat, one of the popular topics was the fond hope that ‘one day dance music would be played on the radio’. In that era, dance music was a special pleasure and something you had to go to a club to hear. Radio stations played a mix of oldies, rock and ballads. Fast forward to 2012 and it seems like nothing but dance music is played on the radio.

The tracks that work well on the dance-floor are an endless stream of David Guetta, Calvin Harris, will.i.am, Swedish House Mafia et al. It’s not that these are necessarily bad tracks, but you can hear them on any radio station, music TV show, city or suburban club. They’re everywhere! But of course this exactly what we wanted… wasn’t it?

Ubiquitous commercial music has led to the death of the ‘club hit’; the track that you just had to go to a club to hear because it would not be played anywhere else. That’s why it’s so refreshing to hear an artist who gets club play and nothing else.

Angelo Paciotti, otherwise known as Tradelove, has a string of club hits fashioned from his own work and collaborations with other artists. He first came onto the radar with his catchy sample rework of ‘Rock the Casbah’ and has followed that up with a string of infectious, quirky and funny tracks that have a pounding beat and an unexpected sample. ‘All Right’ with a Lionel Ritchie sample, ‘Hold On’ with Wilson Phillips and the current track ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ (which obviously samples Kim Carnes) have given us back the club-hit.

A DJ since 1996, Tradelove knows what we want in a club hit and he consistently delivers. The tracks are dance-floor friendly but fortunately not radio friendly. There is no 3:30 cut down for radio play. There is no clip for MTV. You will not hear this in a shopping centre. You will not hear this on a dance hit compilation CD played by neighbours your neighbours at 3am. 

Best of all, you will not hear this after a radio prank call.

Listen to Tradelove:

Rock the Casbah http://youtu.be/97v7ObJQ8XA

All Right http://youtu.be/ORcg02_n9Y4

Hold On http://youtu.be/pdX5MdWgKB8

Bette Davis Eyes http://youtu.be/O7dindplYPo

Tell Me Boy http://youtu.be/wOecA1a3tZ8

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