This is a great mix from earlier this year that is getting a lot of play. Enjoy!
This is a great mix from earlier this year that is getting a lot of play. Enjoy!
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.
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
There has been a disturbance in the force of the DJ world with the release of the Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus and its auto-synch button. Some think this will be the end of DJ-civilisation as we know it, or at least the end of their DJ jobs as, apparently, ‘now anyone can be a DJ’.
[DJ’S CAN SKIP THE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS]
This isn’t a ‘how to DJ guide’ but you will need to know some basics of what DJs do to understand why they’re upset about auto-synch and what the hell it is. When you hear DJs play music, you’ll notice that one track moves seamlessly into the next. Part of what is happening is that the new track matches the one that’s playing beat for beat and this is called ‘beatmixing’. A DJ can spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours learning how to quickly get two tracks in time.
The industry standard for CD players is the Pioneer series and the new model of these has a simple button that automatically gets the two tracks in time. This will save a lot of time, but also means that those hundreds or thousands of hours spent leaning how to get two tracks in time are apparently wasted and have led many DJs to see this is as the end of the world – or at least the end of their world.
I happen to think there is a lot more to this DJ business than simply getting two tracks in time. Frankly, if that’s your only skill, then you’re not much of a DJ. Punters don’t really care how the music is put together, what they care about is what comes out of the speakers. A DJ can have the best technique in the world but if your music is crap then the technical side isn’t really very useful.
The most important skill of a DJ is the music they choose to play, the music they choose not to play, how the music suits the mood of the crowd and the order they play the tracks in. This is something that really can’t be practiced; you’ve either got it or you haven’t. No technology in the world can help them here.
Those hundreds or thousands of hours of practice aren’t likely to be useless anytime soon. Nightclubs and hire services have a very simple policy about equipment replacement – you buy a new one when the old one breaks. So while there is a machine with an auto-synch button available, don’t hold your breath till it’s installed in every place a DJ will work. Aspiring DJs are still going to have to learn the basics or carry their own Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus to every gig!
My message to the DJs who are still horrified by auto-synch but started their career working on CDs is now you know why all those old vinyl DJs complain so much. Their skills-set required for their job was wiped out years ago with the switch from records to CDs.
Read what all the fuss is about.
And they say pop music is dying? This week Katy Perry continues her Proactiv-assisted takeover of the world by matching the number of #1 hit singles from her album “Teenage Dream” with Michael Jackson from 1987’s “Bad”. Of course Michael had an extremely long career, which you can’t confidently say about Katy.
But this isn’t a story about hits, it’s about lifetime and legacy and that’s something that Michael Jackson has in spades. I’m sure it’s sad for Michael’s family and friends that he’s dead but in the oldest cliché of the music business it was a spectacularly good career move. We can put aside the dubious relationships with children, problematic parenting, even more problematic procreation, monkey lovin’, chameleon skin tone changes, dancing on cars and general craziness and focus on the music.
The last 12 months has produced three excellent takes on the MJ sound. The first comes from Italy the powerhouse of Italio-house in the ‘90s and still a country that turns out an astonishingly good dance music sound. “Off the Wall” was covered late in 2011 by Milan producers ‘The Black Project’. There isn’t much info about who or what ‘The Black Project’ are but the track has been remixed by Tradelove who is responsible for the club hit remix of “Rock the Casbah” and the wacky “Bette Davis Eyes”. This version kicks with powerful percussion but still retains the haunting MJ melody. Have a listen here http://youtu.be/hOv9KfR41XE
Next case is ‘Bad’ remixed by Nick van de Wall who you probably know better as the Audi R8 driving Afrojack. This mix takes original MJ vocals and ads all the 2012 bells and whistles creating an exuberant celebration of the song with the big sound builds that we all love right now. Listen here http://youtu.be/BER-NijGKpc
The final track, and in many ways the best, is the remix of ‘Black or White’ by Pittsburgh DJ/Producer Andrew Craver. You might not think that Pittsburgh is a musical hub of the world, but you need to remember that this part of the US was where house music has its roots. Andrew says that he’s conscious of the Chicago sound and it shows in this smooth, classic and majestic remix of the track. This is easily my ‘song of the week’ and one I’ll be playing at the peak for Daywash in September. Listen here http://youtu.be/GkA1V0IokZs
So back to legacy; how many people will be covering “Last Friday Night TGIF” in 25 years?
Neil Hume www.neilhume.com
South Beach has the reputation of the classiest place for clubs and dance. And it delivers most of this. The exclusivity is slipped away, so it isn’t the haunt of the celebs that it once was but South Beach still delivers an almighty experience.
The clubs are huge and the sound is excellent. Outstanding are Wall Lounge in the W Hotel, Set, Bamboo and funky hole in the wall gay bar Twist.
Dishonourable mention goes to Nikki Beach. What was once the cool place is a faded star. What do you have to wear to get in? Clothes – and not good clothes. And if you’re the chick with the bikini bottoms and reading this…never wear that anywhere again. Even to the pool.
So what was the music like? With the exception of Set on the Sunday night, it was disappointing. No DJ fired up the crowd in the way we would expect in Sydney’s Oxford Street. If I did two sets in a row of the standard I heard I would get my sorry ass fired.
Of course I was listening to the ‘regular DJ’s’ rather than the internationals, but it was a sad, sad experience.
Before we get all jingoistic about this don’t forget that if you came to any club in Kings Cross Sydney (with the exception of Goldfish) you would also walk away shaking your head.
On the upside, you can’t take away the look of South Beach and its classic art deco architecture, not matter how many stumblebums you run into walking down the street with their mega-cup margaritas.