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MIX LONG & PROSPER The XDJ-AERO is the industry’s first Wi-Fi® DJ system that can wirelessly obtain music tracks from smart devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers. The XDJ-AERO enables users to mix and arrange their favorite music tracks stored on their smart devices via Wi-Fi Direct with the use of the rekordbox™ app. The rekordbox™ app is available at the App StoreSM and Google Play™ Store (at no cost). DJs can also play music tracks on USB memory devices and computers via included rekordbox™ DJ Music Management software. The advanced technology featured in our XDJ-AERO allows anyone (or any thing) to Mix Long & Prosper.
XDJ-AERO WIRELESS DJ SYSTEM Industry’s first DJ system using smartphones and tablets via Wi-Fi Direct USB port located on top of the unit enables users to quickly connect an external storage device for easy access to music files Can be used as an independent 2-channel mixer Wide range of onboard effects including jog drum, Sample Launch, and more Two automatic mixing functions Record your mix directly to a USB storage device Slim and stylish design Available in Sleek Black and Pearl White
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MOVEMENT: AMERICA’S BEST DJ TO KICK OFF IN DETROIT By Jim Tremayne Detroit – After a 2012 event that smashed its own attendance record by drawing over 107,000 fans, Motown’s Movement festival will rock Hart Plaza again this Memorial Day weekend. Many of the globe’s major DJs and electronic acts will perform on the festival’s five stages and a slew of afterparties will keep the beats going all weekend long. Movement is produced by Paxahau Event Productions. Set for May 25-27, Movement will serve as the kick-off event for the America’s Best DJ promotion and its Summer Tour. Presented by title sponsor Pioneer DJ and DJ Times, the 20-event tour will support an online vote that will answer the annual question: Who’s America’s Best DJ? To vote and see the latest tour details, please visit AmericasBestDJ.net. At Movement and other tour-related events—like Baltimore’s Moonrise Festival on June 8-9, Minneapolis’ Bassgasm on July 13, Denver’s Global Dance Festival on July 19-21 and a variety of major club gigs—DJ Times will maintain a dedicated America’s Best DJ exhibition booth and collect paper-ballot votes from fans supporting their favorite U.S.-based DJs. Both the voting and tour will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the America’s Best DJ Award Show/ Closing Party will take place October 13 at Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Fans who vote (in-person and online) and fans who keep up with America’s Best DJ on Facebook and
Twitter can win a slew of prizes. Additionally, one lucky voter (chosen randomly) will win a trip for two to the Las Vegas closing event. Vote ABDJ and win. Visit ABDJ social media and win. Out of the 100 U.S.-based jocks nominated for the America’s Best DJ title, a good handful will perform at Movement. They include Amtrac, Carl Craig, Dennis Ferrer, Derrick May, Dubfire, Fran������������������������ ç����������������������� ois K, Green Velvet/Cajmere, Kevin Saunderson, Louie Vega (of Masters At Work), Moby, Nicolas Jaar, Paper Diamond, Soul Clap, Stacey Pullen, and TOKiMONSTA. This year’s Technology Area at Movement will include some of the DJ and production world’s top brands, distributors and services. They include: Ableton; Allen & Heath; Alpine Hearing Protection; American Music & Sound: Dubspot; Focusrite; Kurzweil; Moog; Native Instruments; Novation: SubPac; and Vestax. Some of Movement’s more entertaining official afterhours parties include: Desolatismus with Martin Buttrich at Bleu on May 24; Movement presents Jak Attak with Richie Hawtin at City Club on May 25; CLR Detroit 2013 with Chris Liebing at St. Andrews Hall on May 25; Nightsneak presents DirtyBird Players with Claude Von Stroke at Russell Industrial Center on May 25; Blackflag Recordings present Stacey Pullen at Bleu with Maria Moudaber on May 26; and Klockwerks Label Night with Ben Klock and DVS2 at The Works on May 27.
Local Hero: Carl Craig joins a deep lineup.
Vote & Win: ABDJ booth will bestow prizes.
Five Stages: Movement will rock Motown.
Looking forward a few weeks from Movement, several ABDJ nominees will perform at the Moonrise festival at Sun Park in downtown Baltimore. Presented by Steez Promo, its lineup includes: Pretty Lights; Flosstradamus; Porter Robinson; Morgan Page; Crystal Method; Nadastrom; Paper Diamond;Tittsworth; Enferno; and Shiftee. The 2012 America’s Best DJ vote resulted in a victory by Markus Schulz. The Miami-based trance jock edged a diverse group of DJs that included
Steve Aoki, Skrillex, BT, Z-Trip, Porter Robinson, Wolfgang Gartner, A-Trak, Diplo and Bassnectar. At promotion’s end, Schulz was flown to Las Vegas and on Oct. 7 was presented with a gold-plated Pioneer DJM-900nexus mixer from Davey Dave Arevalo, Pioneer’s Sr. Manager – Marketing/Artist Relations. Afterward, Schulz wowed the crowd at Marquee Nightclub, enjoying an evening of glory that comes with being voted America’s Best DJ. Who will it be this year?
ASOT 600 @ MSG
N e w Yo r k C i t y – A r m i n v a n Buuren rocks Madison Square Garden during his A State of Trance 600 event this past March 30. Playing with a top global lineup, including Markus Schulz and Ferr y Corsten’s New World Punx, van Buuren became the second DJ act to sell out The World’s Most Famous Arena.
VOLUME 26 NUMBER 6
How Disclosure’s Lawrence Brothers Improved Upon a Decade-Old Club Sound & Won Over a Global Audience BY CHRIS DAVIS
18 Hardware Choices
Building a Home Studio on a Budget? A Great Audio Interface Can Hold the Key BY WESLEY BRYANT-KING
22 Lessons Learned
Veteran DJs Sound Off to Help Up-&-Comers Negotiate Their Start-Ups BY JEFF STILES
SAMPLINGS 8 Amtrac
10 In the Studio With…
Azari & III
DEPARTMENTS 7 Feedback
As Always, the Answers to All Your DJ-Related Questions
24 Making Tracks
Mixed in Key 5.5
26 Sounding Off
28 Mobile Profile
Beantown Sound’s Sam Lurie
30 Business Line
How the DJ Expo Changed My Business
New Products from Korg, Chauvet & More
Phat Tracks from Classixx, Andrew Bayer & More
40 DJ Times Marketplace
Shop Here for All Your DJ-Related Supplies
41 Club Play Chart
The Hottest Records, As Reported by Our Top U.S. Record Pools
Contents Images By Jason Bergman
M ay 1– ne Ju 30 ,2 3 01
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L1 Model 1S with B2 bass
FROM THE EDITOR
Back & Forward, Musically
Ah, a little bit of change in the musical landscape. After what seems like a two-year-long onslaught of sub-banging bass music (dubstep and all its bastard children) and thumpy, radio-friendly pop-house (y’know, what some folks call EDM), I’ve seen evidence—anecdotal as it may be—that some musical tastes may be evolving among America’s masses. Enter Disclosure, the pair of young U.K. siblings who have given clubland a view of the future by nibbling a bit from the past. Our Chris Davis caught up with Ben and Howard Lawrence at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival to discuss how they’ve melded bits from bass music with classic U.K. garage sounds. And by sprinkling in some vocal hooks amidst the moments of wobble, they’ve dropped a series of DJ faves—like “Latch,” “White Noise,” and the newer “You & Me”—that seem to be finding audiences beyond the DJ booth. Next big thing? Stay tuned. If you’re a DJ interested in creating a studio on a budget, you might want to check out Wesley Bryant-King’s roll up on audio interfaces. He’ll give you some tips on what you should be seeking in assembling a digital studio, plus a few solid product choices. If you want to begin making tracks, you might want to bookmark this entry. And in our Making Tracks section, as if on cue, Wes takes a look at Mixed in Key 5.5 and 5.6, which will help DJs with their live harmonic mixing and in the studio when creating mix comps. Also in our Sounding Off pro-audio column, Robert La France put Pioneer’s CDJ-2000nexus through its paces—and he declares it a breakthrough piece. In the mobile-entertainer world, our Iowa-based scribe Jeff Stiles connects with a handful of DJ vets who offer valuable advice on getting their businesses started. In Mobile Profile, we meet with Boston jock Sam Lurie, who explains how the right pricing and good value can add up to a successful business. Also, in Business Line, former “DJ of the Year” Steve Moody explains how DJ Expo changed his business—for the better. And, a quick reminder: DJ Expo is set for Aug. 12-15 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J. Back to the music, our LA scribe Lily Moayeri connects with up-and-coming Toronto faves Azari & III, while new Motown-based writer Rachel Skotarczyk helps preview Detroit’s Movement festival by interviewing youthful DJ/producer Amtrac, who will make his Movement debut this coming Memorial Day weekend. Speaking of Movement, the Hart Plaza festival again will serve as the launching point for our America’s Best DJ promotion. With its supporting Summer Tour title-sponsored by Pioneer DJ, America’s Best DJ will feature 20 events. At each of them, DJ Times will maintain a dedicated ABDJ booth. Fans can vote at the events or online at www.AmericasBestDJ.net, and once they vote they are automatically entered to win prizes, including a trip for two to Las Vegas for America’s Best DJ Award Ceremony/Closing Party Oct. 13 at Marquee Nightclub. Fans who Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter are eligible to win prizes as well. Bottom Line: Vote and Win, Visit ABDJ Social Media and Win. See you in Detroit!
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AmericA’s First mAgAzine For ProFessionAl DJs estAblisheD 1988
MiaMi Mania ’13 ultra, WMC & MorE MArquee MAn
MarKus schulz America’s Best DJ 2012 Plus: Miss Kittin * Eats EvErything * BEst sEts at sXsW * Crazy for ControllErs * CuBasE 7 * soCialMEdia tiPs
WhiCh MoBilE MarKEt has BounCEd BaCK?
rectly to the sound engine. For the MIDI tracks of the Octatrack, Param‑ eter Locks are sent as MIDI CCs. Also, you can use external controllers to write Parameter Locks in record mode, and it’s easy to assign using MIDI Learn. Some users are doing incredible things using custom con‑ trollers like iPads and such. I hope this helps. Happy sequencing! – Phil Moffa, DJ Times/Butcha Sound Studios, NYC
Aug 12-15 Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City, NJ
4/17/2013 1:35:50 PM
This is Feedback, a monthly feature that fields questions from you, our readers, and funnels them out to in‑ dustry professionals. If you have any questions about DJing – marketing, mixing, equipment or insurance, any at all – drop us a letter at DJ Times, 25 Willowdale Ave, Port Washington, NY 11050, fax us at (516) 944‑8372 or e‑mail us at email@example.com. If we do use your question, you’ll receive a free DJ Times T‑shirt. And remember, the only dumb question is the ques‑ tion that is not asked.
DEAR DJ TIMES, First off, I’d like to say to DJ Times writer Phil Moffa: Great review of yours on the Elektron Oktatrack (Mak‑ ing Tracks column in the October, 2011 issue). It’s a piece of gear that really inter‑ ests me because it seems really cool and creative. Also, as I have an Elek‑ tron SidStation, which has surprising depth and grunt, I think Elektron is a great company. One thing not covered in all reviews, yours included, has to do with Elek‑ tron’s Parameter Locks. In Rolandspeak, on say one of their MC-*** Grooveboxes, you have MIDI CC# (Control Change Numbers) and NRPNs, which are recorded into a MIDI track by turning knobs and sliders. They can also become a single event, not a series of increasing/decreasing values. So I’m thinking these Elektron Param‑ eter Locks must be CC#, NRPNs or MIDI System Exclusive single events in a track. Is this correct? Great review, as I said.
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HEY TERRY: Thanks for your response. I agree—Elektron makes great in‑ struments. Look for my review of the company’s Analog Four in an upcom‑ ing issue. I contacted the manufacturer in Go‑ thenburg, Sweden, to confirm the following: For the internal tracks, Pa‑ rameter Locks are not sent as MIDI messages; instead, they are sent di‑
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AMTRAC’S BLUEGRASS BEATS
One may not peg Kentucky as an EDM hotbed, and perhaps it isn’t. But, as unlikely as it may seem, it is the home of one of America’s rising talents Caleb Cornett (aka Amtrac), a DJ/producer whose impressive studio versatility meshes serious dancefloor kick with the occasional dash of sampled cheekiness. His ascension has been swift ever since his recruitment to Super Music Group in 2010, the same year his Came Along EP put him on the map— namely the ethereal-turns-electro title track. Cornett’s follow-up—the Hey There Kiddo mixtape—took the blogger world by surprise with the unlikely favorite “Summer’s Over,” which featured a melancholy Karen Carpenter sample (from 1971’s “Rainy Days & Mondays”). Rounding out 2012, “Those Days” found Cornett biting a Stevie Wonder snippet (from “I Wish”) and morphing it into a hand-in-the-air house thumper. And with more recent gems like his ultra-funky remix of Chromatics’ “Birds of Paradise” and his latest EP, The Scheme, which features the high-octane, speed-garagey banger “Preacher,” the immediate future looks very promising indeed. We caught up with the Louisvillebased Cornett, 24, just as he was embarking on his latest mini-tour, one that will include his first gig at
Movement, Detroit’s electronic music festival, set for Hart Plaza Memorial Day weekend. DJ Times: So this will be your first time in the Techno City—excited? Amtrac: Yep. Most excited about Movement. I hear it’s a really good time and people are all about the music, not so much the trends. DJ Times: Who are you looking forward to seeing on the lineup? Amtrac: Nicolas Jaar, Azari & III and Audion’s live sets, along with some DJ sets by Brodinski, George FitzGerald and T.E.E.D. DJ Times: How do you feel about DJing festivals, as opposed to clubs or house parties? Amtrac: I love festivals. The basis of everyone being there is centered on the music—people are there to get down. House parties are always great—grab a beer, play some tunes, no pressure. Small clubs are great for the really deep sets, when everyone in the room is on the same level. Although, the bottle-service megaclubs seem to veer away from appreciating the music, and sometimes it ends up just being the place to be. DJ Times: What are you using in the studio? Amtrac: Duet from Apogee, iMac, Powerbook, KRK Rokit 8 monitors, Technics 1200 turntables, Moog Little Phatty, Alesis Micron, [Rocktron] Ban-
Amtrac: Sample-happy tracks, serious club thump.
shee Talkbox and a Monome, along with a bunch of different headphones. DJ Times: When sampling, you draw from a diverse lot of classics: Beach Boys, Karen Carpenter, Barry Manilow, Lionel Ritchie. Are you trying to bridge some musical/generational gaps? Amtrac: I’m not trying to bridge any gaps, but I do think there’s a lack of appreciation for the classics. I just dig for sounds I like and I just happen to love older records. The recording equipment that was used back in the day makes the sounds that much better when sampling. DJ Times: Tell us something unique about your studio process. Amtrac: Well, I don’t ever route any MIDI anything when I produce. It’s lots of tinkering around for hours and bouncing down a straight WAV to chop and screw, sometimes ran through some outboard gear. Once I get everything together, I kind of DJ the track as you would live and that ends up being the final product.
DJ Times: Have there been tracks that you thought would be banging live and just didn’t translate well? Amtrac: There’s been tons of tracks that I thought weren’t tough enough to play out, but usually I hear another DJ play it out and I’m like, “Damn, that knocks!” A lot of the times, it’s some of my own material. DJ Times: If you could describe yourself in five words, what would they be? Amtrac: Silly, calm, focused, driven, bizarre. DJ Times: Walking away from an Amtrac show, what do you want people to remember? Amtrac: I want the audience to feel as if they are getting something they couldn’t hear at home, as if they felt the way I did in the studio when I made the tracks—each sound bringing new elements into the mix. Rhythms are very key to me. I want people to walk away knowing that I have a passion for what I do. – Rachel Skotarczyk
IN THE STUDIO WITH
The Duo: (from left) Dinamo Azari & Alixander III
Toronto’s Azari & III serve as another juicy example of what can happen when longtime traditional musicians get turned out by house music. For Dinamo Azari, he began by playing drums and key b o a rd s i n b a n d s ; fo r Alixander III (pronounced “Third”), it was commercialstudio work. But two decades ago, after going to his first rave, Azari traded in his drumkit for Technics turntables, while III continued to hone his production skills by producing jingles and bands from all genres. Lucky for DJs loving the deeper side of house, the pair converged creatively in 2008 to make some of the underground’s more respected tracks, like “Hungry for the Power.” Since the release of their eponymous debut album in 2011, they’ve toured the globe to larger and larger audiences. When performing as a DJ combo, Azari & III use what Pioneer has to offer with two DJM-900 mixers and two sets of CDJs (or turntables if the club can swing it, as they still carry a good bit of vinyl). The setup, they say, is modeled after and inspired by legendary Chicago house jocks Derrick Carter and DJ Sneak, whom they experienced at Toronto’s Industry club. “You’d get some interesting techniques with three decks running at once,” says Azari, recalling their back-toback sets. “There was a kind of symmetry between the two of them. We decided to work off of that base, as opposed to fiddling in front of a computer or one mixer and fighting for it. Both of us are too aggressive to be fighting over one mixer.” Additionally, they have been known to bring
AZARI & III: CLASSIC & DEEP vintage Roland TR-909, TR-808, and TR-707 drum machines to enhance their DJ sets. Their live PAs are a step up from that, however, as they integrate Ableton Live and present their attention-getting, silver-throated vocalists Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full. “Essentially, it’s still us DJing,” says Azari, “but we’re incorporating new systems and making it more sample-based. It’s not like we’re pre-determining our sets by any means, but we’re adding value and intricacy to what a DJ can do. Our next step is to flip the technology inside out and make it sound filtered—and bring things in and out.” Serving as a stopgap until the two complete their next artist album is a recently released remix collection—Azari & III – Remix Album on Turbo/Dim Mak—that includes varied versions of the debut CD’s standout tracks. The bumping house stormer “Reckless (With Your Love),” the skittering, R&B-flecked “Hungry For The Power,” and the moody shuffler “Manic” are reimagined by Guy Gerber, Jamie Jones, Disclosure, and Tiga, to mention just a few. “You bond with someone over a track,” says III of the myriad of remixers, “and they go, ‘I really want to remix it.’ Or it’s a short list the label gives you that you add to it and see who is available. That’s the unromantic version. Either way, all those interpretations are interesting.” In both their DJ sets and recorded output, Azari & III have a healthy dose of acknowledge-
ment of the music that influenced them—be it ’80s synth bands or secondwave Chicago house producers. Luckily, their sounds are anything but dated, as they bring a contemporary flavor to those classic dancefloor grooves. To do it, they use dual studios—Azari’s vintage Eastside space and III’s more-modern Westside spot. “In the beginning, we thought we would go the ‘Atari, two-inch-tape, and automated-mixers’ route and make it a real classic record,” says III of their creative process. “That became a part of our sound. But to keep the workflow going, we went predominantly digital for the recording side.You don’t want to be too dated. But if you listen back to the arrangement these guys pulled off on tape, it was insane. Even with computer technology, few producers are as classy as some of the guys back in the day, like Juan Atkins.” Their compromise, they say, is using samples from a 1986 Akai or random guitar part, for example, and recording it through both old analog and old digital gear with just a touch of the newer computer technology. In this way, they like how the rhythm slinks, so it’s not perfectly in sync at all times. The result, to their ears, is a warmer, more authentic sound. “Good music doesn’t age—even electronic music, which can be highly genrefied with passing trends,” says III. “People go back. It just adds to global consciousness of the art. Tracks that are just body-moving arrangements will always be good—right?” – Lily Moayeri
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By Chris Davis
Miami, Fla. – In case you’re a club DJ living under a rock and haven’t heard the news… Disclosure is on quite a roll these days. Hailing from suburban London—Reigate, Surrey, to be exact—the young sibling duo Guy and Howard Lawrence broke relatively quickly. After one 2010 release, they really burst into the global dance-music consciousness two years later with a critically acclaimed sophomore EP, The Face (Greco-Roman), and their hybrid sound has resonated ever since. Armed with a retro-leaning musical toolkit, the brothers blend a throwback U.K.-garage sound with a touch of hip hop. They also give an ample nod to modern house music and maintain a distinct pop-vocalist sensibility. It’s obvious that the young lads know their dance-music history. At only 18 and 21 years old—Howard’s the younger—the brothers represent a refreshing anomaly in today’s me-too dance music market, their success largely attributable to their careful revival of the past. Drawing unabashedly on late-1990s Speed Garage sounds, the Lawrence brothers have given the genre a reboot and a much-needed re-imagination, with each new single sounding more polished and even catchier than the last. Adding somewhat to their fresh-factor is their insistence that they are not DJs first—they’re instead a live act supported by their original productions. When they do DJ sets, it’s typically “just for fun.” So how did they get so big so fast? Following the 2012 success with The Face, their remix of Jessie Ware’s “Running” (Ministry of Sound) was picked up for heavy summer rotation on the Ibiza circuit. It was eventually featured in the 2012 edition of the popular Annie Mac Presents series. Subsequent singles “Latch” (PMR) and 2013’s “White Noise” (Island) charted at No. 2 and No. 1 in the U.K., respectively, and Disclosure’s upward trajectory hasn’t slowed since. This year brings the spring releases of the Control EP (Greco-Roman) and The
How Disclosureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lawrence Brothers Improved Upon a Decade-Old
& Won Over a Global Audience
Photos By Jason Bergman
Disclosure: (from left) Guy & Howard Lawrence
Singles—yes, a singles-only EP on Disclosure’s new U.S. label home (Cherrytree/Interscope) that includes the infectious new track “You & Me” (ft. Eliza Doolittle). The worldwide release of their debut album, Settle (PMR), expects to follow soon after. With all this on the horizon, we sat down with Disclosure’s Lawrence brothers in Miami this past March after their set at Ultra Music Festival’s Bayfront Stage. We talked shop and explored their views into the blossoming American dance-music scene, namely their passionate opinions on today’s hot-button issues surrounding trap, dubstep, and lazy “machineoperator” DJs. DJ Times: How long has Disclosure been around? Howard Lawrence: Just coming up on four years now. It just started out as a little fun thing—it wasn’t a serious project. I was at school, and Guy had a job. DJ Times: How did Disclosure develop into what it is now? Howard: It really slowly just developed into our jobs. I had to leave college to do this full-time, and Guy quit his job. It began to be what we did every day, and it still is, yeah.
DJ Times: How would you describe your sound? Guy Lawrence: It’s dance music influenced by house music and ’90s garage—anything from the ’90s, really—so there’s a lot of ’90s hip hop, production-wise. We do a mixture of club tunes and instrumentals, and fully-vocaled, pop-structured songs as well. DJ Times: It seems like you draw a lot from the Speed Garage/U.K. Garage scene, which happened a little bit before your time. How did you get into that kind of music—through your parents? Guy: When we started producing, we were basically trying to copy what was going on in and around London at that time—around 20082009. Dubstep was at its prime, and new things were starting to happen, and people were starting to change it. I remember going to watch Joy Orbison and a few other DJs like that who were playing songs around 140 BPM, but it wasn’t dubstep. It had chords and melodies, and it was nice to listen to. DJ Times: You didn’t like dubstep? Guy: I listened to dubstep, and it was cool, but I never wanted to
make it. I guess, to get into the older stuff like the garage and house music that we missed because we were so young at that time, we just kind of started to look back at what those peoples’ influences were—why they were making that sound—and that took us back to house and techno and things like that. We learned all about it, bought loads of records, and yeah, we’re still trying to learn everything about it. DJ Times: You have a lot of highpitched, sensual female vocals in your tracks. Do you sample a lot of that stuff or do you work in the studio with vocalists? Howard: We used to do a bit of sampling when we first started, just because we didn’t know any singers, but now we don’t sample anything. We just get singers in the studio and write it all ourselves. DJ Times: So leading off that, I have to ask, who is the female vocalist and what was the process of recording those breaks in “What’s In Your Head,” off The Face EP? Howard: There’s another song on that EP, called “Boiling,” with Sinead Harnett, and we wrote another song with her for that EP that didn’t make the [cut], but we sampled that song to make “What’s In Your Head.” Guy: And the sexual noises are just cut up from porn. DJ Times: That’s what I was hoping you’d say! Guy: So no, I didn’t have sex with Sinead and record it, if that’s what you’re saying. Although… that would be great! Sinead, if you read this, just call me… DJ Times: Not worried about any licensing issues? You don’t expect any porn studios giving you a ring any time soon? Guy: I dunno, it was a free download, so… Yeah, I think it would have happened by now if it were going to happen. Howard: It’s had like 25 million views and no one has called us out so far. Guy: I’ll show you the video lat-
er… [laughs] DJ Times: Let’s head into the studio and talk about gear, starting with what DAW you use. Howard: We just run Logic 9. We don’t really have that much [hardware]. We’ve got a [Roland] Juno-106, just because everyone should have one of those, and then we’ve got a really basic microphone and quite a nice preamp. Guy: We used to have a [Fender] Rhodes, but that blew up, so now we’ve got a Moog Little Phatty, which is really good. We also have a couple of Casio keyboards, and I’ve got a nice guitar and a nice bass—so, not a lot of outboard gear. As far as production tools, we do it all inboard on Logic and use plug-ins. DJ Times: Care to name any of your favorite plug-ins? Guy: To be honest, we make all our own patches, all our own samples, and for chords we just use the EXS24 in Logic as a sampler, and just layer stuff up. The same goes for our drums—we still use Ultrabeat and load up our own samples that we’ve created. There’s not much to hide, nothing too fancy going on. We just work on the balance of the sound and choosing the sounds very carefully. We definitely have gotten simpler and simpler in our production as time has gone on. Howard: When we started out, we were doing a lot more complicated stuff in terms of production—not necessarily in a good way or even correctly, just overusing it. When we made our first single… that was the first single we’d ever made, as part of the first [group of] songs we’d ever made. Guy: We mixed it in my car using the car’s stereo. DJ Times: As for traditional instruments, what all do you play? Howard: I play more bass. Guy: I used to play bass, but we swapped for some reason, so now I’m doing most of the drumming. We change around every couple months. DJ Times: Does your family have
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a musical history? Guy: Well, that’s just it. Our parents didn’t get us into dance music, but they did get us into music and playing instruments. I started playing drums when I was 3-years-old and I used to teach drums when I was a teenager. I started playing guitar as well when I was 7 or 8. Howard: I learned bass and piano from a simpler sort of age. We grew up not really learning about music, but more learning about playing it. Our parents always really encouraged us to learn to play instruments. When you play bass and the piano you naturally go towards funk, because that’s where all the best bass playing is—funk and jazz. So I listened to a lot of stuff like Stevie Wonder. Then, after I had learned how to play bass—and got really good at
it—I started getting into more singer-songwriter types and started researching chords and harmony and working out other peoples’ song structures, which has really helped us now. Then we went to college and learned about classical music. Guy: I always thought I was going to be a drummer in a band. I never thought I would produce songs, let alone dance music. Then I started getting into hip hop and music production, and started to learn how electronic sounds can sound fucking awesome. I was just waiting for something to come along like Joy Orbison and Burial and stuff like that [that I wanted to produce], and dubstep was nearly it for me—but again, I didn’t want to make it. It was fun to go out and listen to, and now I hate it. [Though] I still like the old stuff,
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back when it was good, but now it’s not good. DJ Times: What are you using when DJing? Howard: When DJing, we either use vinyl or USB sticks with CDJs, depending on the gig. Guy: We used Traktor for a long time, but it gets annoying to set up, and now that all clubs have Pioneer CDJ-2000s in them, there’s just no point really. Howard: Traktor is a brilliant software, but it’s so easy to just bring some USBs and some vinyl. Guy: We’ve gotten quite lazy recently. I don’t like taking records out anymore because I love them too much and don’t want to damage them. Howard: We don’t really take ourselves too seriously as DJs because when we started making music we didn’t know what DJing was. Guy: Right, we had our first three singles out before we even knew how to DJ. We didn’t get into it for that. DJ Times: That seems to be the model for a lot of young DJs as of late. You put out a few singles that get enough buzz on the Internet, and then you go learn to DJ and go out on tour… Howard: For us, we’re a band, we’re a live act, and we can DJ as well—but we’re not DJs. That’s more for after-parties and such. DJ Times: What gear do you use during your live act? Guy: It’s ever-changing, but at the moment—what you saw at Ultra Music Festival today—was Ableton Live on one laptop, and Apple’s Mainstage on the other laptop. On Ableton we have the parts that we can’t play, because there’s only two of us and so much we can do. The laptop handles vocals when singers aren’t available to perform with us live. Then, we just take the bits out of the track that we want to play. Howard mainly does the chords, the pads, the sub, and the
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bass, and some samples sometimes. I mainly do the drum hits on the Roland SPD-S [sampling pad], which has some triggers plugged into it, and then I have some wood blocks, cowbells, and cymbals, bass guitar, and I usually play synth for a bit. Today is quite a scaled-down version. We usually have loads of lights and visuals, too. Howard: I’ve recently started singing live as well, because I sing on two of the tracks on our new album. It adds a nice element, I think, because it’s hard for the audience to connect sometimes. If you’ve ever heard of Mount Kimbie, they do a similar kind of setup in their show, and I remember seeing them live once after they had added a singer, and thinking to myself, “This is so much better now that they’ve done that!” You can see that it’s actually a person and not just a machine operator. Guy: With live sets, the hardest thing is to build them in such a way that the crowd can interact with them. You can go from the shittiest of live sets, which is most people’s live sets, where they just stand there with an Ableton controller and do nothing. I don’t even see the point of that. I’d rather watch a DJ because they’re actually doing more. A man with an Ableton controller—ugh! DJ Times: Does nothing for you, then? Guy: Sorry, I feel quite passionate about that. It’s fucking ridiculous. When it comes to Mount Kimbie, their live set is really good, and it’s really live, but it’s kind of fiddly, and you can’t understand what they’re doing. When [Kai Campos] plays guitar, it’s cool. So we wanted to do something more along the lines of when you see me hit that, you hear it, and when Howard’s playing bass, you hear bass. When I’m playing a pad, you hear a pad. It’s more of a visual live set. Howard: If you don’t make it vi(continued on page 42)
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There’s little argument that, along with the evolution of technology, the expanding number of products on the scene, and the general reductions in the price of admission, more and more of us are producing and remixing music pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Doing so, of course, brings up all manner of issues from studio-monitor choices to creating the proper environment for audio engineering to building makeshift booths for vocal recording to you-name-it. What you need, of course, depends on the type of producing you intend to get into. One of the common elements, however, is an audio interface. Computers are great, but whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, you need some way to get audio into and back out of your computer and whichever DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software you want to use—because whatever ships with your computer probably won’t take you where you want to go. Why not? Connectivity for one; you’re not apt to find a Neutrik connector on your laptop, for example. Issues of latency (i.e., performance) can play into things as well. In this article, I’ll present some of the things you may wish to think about when choosing an audio interface for your studio (makeshift or otherwise), with an emphasis on not spending a fortune in the process. I’ll wrap-up with a quick look at some of the choices available to you today. My aim is to make you—by the end of the article—a more informed audio-hardware consumer. So let’s get started, shall we?
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS There are myriad audio-interface choices on the market today, and they range from quite affordable to out-of-reach for most of us. For the typical EDM producer or remixer working from a home studio, you truly don’t need massive amounts of functionality or capacity. There are a number of things to think about when choosing an interface, and following are some of them that I’ve found particularly important.
L AT E N C Y & G E N E R A L P E R F O R M A N C E Latency refers to delays introduced in the audio signal chain, for whatever reason (or reasons). In my experience, it’s most noticeable, perhaps, when you load a soft-synthesizer (lead synth, piano, etc.) into your DAW, and tap a key on an attached MIDI keyboard. Do you feel a delay between the keypress and the sound you’re supposed to hear? If you do, that’s latency. It can be caused by inline effects, the configuration of your DAW, the configuration of the audio interface, or numerous other factors—including the general quality and nature of the audio drivers for your audio interface. Broadly speaking, most modern name-brand audio interfaces for modern computers, especially those for music production, are specifically designed to add as little latency as possible to the signal chain. It’s probably worthwhile to scout online feedback, discus-
Propellerhead Balance: Tailor-made for Reason.
sion forums, and so on to see what people in the field are saying about any audio interface you might be considering. Occasionally, bugs or other issues with audio drivers can introduce latency issues which are often fixed in later versions. (This is perhaps one reason not to update driver software unless you’re personally experiencing issues; updates are not always an improvement.)
of the nuance in an image you’re photographing. It’s really quite similar with audio; better-grade A/D and D/A conversion means “taking a better quality picture” of your sound—one that captures more fidelity and nuance. The difference may not be as evident as pictures from two different cameras, but it’s still perceptible. So trust your ears when comparing interfaces.
A/D & D/A CONVERSION QUALITY Perhaps the single biggest difference between any two given audio interfaces is the quality of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion processes. This is, in fact, the entire reason we need computer audio interfaces to begin with: to get analog audio (the stuff we hear) into the 1s and 0s of the computer. Unfortunately, objectively testing analog/digital conversion quality is the domain of engineers; the rest of us have to trust our ears, and quite often, the difference is, in fact, noticeable. The best comparison I’ve heard about A/D and D/A conversion is to digital cameras. Your cell phone can take pictures—but they don’t match the quality of a digital SLR, for instance. A better camera, with a bigger, better sensor can capture more of the light and more
INPUT & OUTPUT CHANNELS For my purposes here, a “channel” is both the physical representation, in the audio interface itself, as well as a digital signal path into or out of your audio interface. One cost-related choice is the number of channels, and if you’re a digital DJ, you probably already know a thing or two about this. My personal advice is that unless you have a full recording studio and a need to replicate a mixing desk in your DAW, two mono channels in and two stereo channels out (that’s often numbered as four output channels, since they can generally be used alone as mono, or in pairs as stereo) is sufficient.You may want more input channels if you need the ability to bring-in audio from off-board devices like turntables, off-board hardware synths, and so on. The input channels can generally be used for mic, instru-
By Wesley Bryant-King
Building a Home Studio on a Budget? A Great Audio Interface Can Hold the Key
Hardware Choices AUDIO LEVEL CONTROL Some audio interfaces include dedicated volume controls for your master outs. These come-in quite handy in my experience for the reason I just mentioned with headphones: It’s easier to twiddle a physical knob that click a virtual control with your mouse and move it around. MIDI INPUTS Many MIDI devices, such as keyboards or drum controllers, use their own dedicated USB connections to your computer. But it’s still useful in my experience to have classic 5-pin DIN MIDI connectors, in and out, and many audio
PHYSICAL CONNECTIONS Related to the above is the array of physical connectors available on the device. Does it have ¼-inch? XLR? Both combined in a Neutrikstyle connector? RCA? Evaluate what you need, what you think you might need in the foreseeable future, and make sure that your audio device of choice has what you need. Converters and adapters are nice, but you eliminate one potential point of noise introduction (or failure) with them, so it’s preferable to be able to patch-in exactly what you need.
I N T E R FA C E M E T H O D Any audio interface device needs a way to get stuff to and from your computer, and many use USB. Smaller interfaces with fewer channels are fine with the older, slower USB, which more channels need the greater bandwidth of USB 2.0 (or even USB 3.0). Products on the market also use Firewire (in its various iterations), or even Thunderbolt, Apple’s latest interface. The main issue here is to make sure that your computer has the ability to support the physical interface of the device. OTHER EXTRAS There is a range of other little extras, like direct monitoring, that can add value and capability to the mix. Some of these are mentioned in the product run -
Apogee Duet 2: Speedy, portable, effective.
HEADPHONE SUPPORT I’ve always found it useful if the audio interface has a dedicated headphone output. Sometimes they’re paired up with one of the master outputs, and occasionally they get their own stereo output pair. But having a headphone jack with a dedicated volume control knob (in hardware) beats having to tinker with virtual controls in software.
devices include them. I still sometimes haul out my old Korg synth, which knows nothing of USB-based MIDI.
ment or line level input, while two pair of stereo outs let you connect two pair of monitors—a common desire for A/B comparisons during mastering. If you’re using condenser mics with the need for phantom power, make sure your audio interface supports that (unless you have a separate mic preamp in the studio).
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4: Compact, 2-in/4-out
downs below; studying specs for interfaces you’re considering might reveal other niceties you’ll want to have. SOME RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS For the products that follow, all appraisals were conducted using Ableton Live 9 Studio. For general evaluation, a past remix project was used, with 30 separate tracks containing a mixture of audio and MIDI-based soft-synths (both sample-based and synthesis-based). Dozens of individual effects modules are used in the project. I selected it primarily because I know how the project is supposed to sound, and how the project has performed on my gear in the past. I did not endeavor to test or prove manufacturer-stated specifications or other factors scientifically. Rather, I evaluated ease and speed of installation; general usability of provided applets (control panels, etc.); usability with the DAW; perceived latency and quality when live-playing soft-synthesizers in the project; overall feature set and approach; and perceived overall sound quality.
FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2I4 U.K.-based Focusrite produces a small range of audio interfaces under the Scarlett name, and I was able to take the 2i4 for a test drive. As the name suggests, the unit has two input channels, and four output channels (typically used as two stereo pairs). With its dualing stereo outs, it’s a nice choice not only for studio use, but DJs as well, allowing for one live master out, and one cue out.
For studio use, however, the unit sports a pair of Neutrik-style connectors for input with switchable level controls and a 10db pad button to tame input levels. The front panel sports a nice big volume control knob, and separate headphone jack with a separate control. Output channels 1 and 2 have both RCA and ¼-inch���������������������������� outputs, which output channels 3 and 4 are RCA-only. It has a pair of 5-pin DIN MIDI in/outs. Interface is via USB 2.0. Supplied software includes drivers, Ableton Live Lite 8, a plug-in suite, Novation Bass Station, and loop content—all obtained via download upon registration. Both Windows and Mac are supported; for Windows, both WDM and ASIO (preferred) drivers are provided. Installation was fast, smooth and trouble-free. A PDF manual was available with the software for download, which while short, had clear, wellwritten, well-illustrated instructions for installation and use. My test remix project in Ableton played well with absolutely no observed issues of latency, crackle, or other issues, and overall sound quality seemed consistent with my previous gear. The Scarlett 2i4 is relatively compact, and is intended to sit on the desk within reach. (It might not be the best choice in my view for mobile use, however; it’s a bit bulky to cart around with a laptop.) I found the volume-control knob, simple thing as it may have been, one of my favorite features. For vocal recording—a frequent need in my home studio—I appreciated the choice of Neutrik connectors, and the dedicated gain knob on the front panel for each input. With a street price of roughly $200, the 2i4 seems like a nice performer and a great value. Also available: Scarlett 2i2 (2-in, 2-out, $249 street price) and Scarlett 18i20 (18in, 20-out, $499 street price). APOGEE DUET 2 In terms of the features on the label, Apogee’s Duet 2 is on-par with the other audio interfaces tested, but with a street price of just under $600, it represents a bit of the Cadillac among this particular group. But the Duet 2 has a number of features that make it worth of consideration. First, however, one must understand that the Duet 2 is a Mac-only solution—the company doesn’t make drivers for Windows users, and has no intentions to move that direction. As a result, this particular test was conducted on a MacBook Pro, under OS X 10.8.3. Installation of the Duet is a breeze. No disc is provided in the box; a quick download was required, which was easy to find on the Apogee web site, along with FAQs, manuals and other support information in the same location. Once downloaded,
with the package mounted, installation took under 30 seconds, followed by a required reboot. A couple of producer friends of mine swear by the Duet, and I can easily see why. First is the size and appearance. About the size of a small trade paperback (the small ones you see for a few bucks each), the top surface sports a small OLED multifunction color display, a pair of touch-sensitive hotspots, and a single rotary knob. With a rubber bottom, and a nice weight, it stays put on the desktop, but is perfect for packing in a laptop bag for use on the go. The display doubles as a metering display, and level display. Press the knob, and you can cycle between the inputs and outputs; a quick twist changes the level. It’s decidedly elegant. Secondly, however, is perceived audio quality. Apogee boasts about the Duet’s A/D and D/A conversion quality, and it’s with good reason. Using my test project, things simply sounded… better. Granted, this is a subjective reaction, and perhaps nudged by what I’d already heard about the Duet, but it sure seemed noticeable. On the front of the unit is a ¼-inch headphone jack; on the back are spots for USB, power, and the unit’s breakout cable or optional breakout box. For basic use, the breakout doesn’t have to be connected, and you don’t need the AC power either unless you’re using a condenser mic with phantom power while cranking up the output level. I preferred the elegance of the optional breakout box to the “octopus-cable” approach, but I can see doing both: Keep the box at home and plug in when at your studio workstation, while using the cable on the go with a laptop. In fact, in my view, that’s the real appeal of the Duet 2: One solution that easily transitions between my desktop Mac and my MacBook—a fact that largely mitigates the higher price point. In terms of performance, I was impressed. I experienced no perceived latency whatever while live-playing the synths (as expected). But what I didn’t expect was that with default settings, recording from the mic and monitoring it back (with the DAW in the middle of course) was possible with so little latency that vocal recording straight into a project in the DAW would be a pretty pleasant experience. (Granted, there are many factors involved in latency issues in these situations, but the performance of the audio interface is key among them.) The Duet 2 is a 2-in, 4-out interface, and it’s worth noting that while the review unit was in my possession, Apogee have introduced its successor, the Duet for iPad & Mac. As you may surmise from the name, it now works with the iPad, and has
had its internals improved even further. Apogee have also added a USB “A” connector to the back of the unit specifically for USB-based MIDI devices so you can effectively connect both a keyboard and the Duet to your iPad at the same time, while the unit provides enough juice from the “B” connector to charge your iPad while it’s hooked up. Of course, it all works just as seamlessly with the Mac as ever too—adding a third rung of usability (desktop + laptop + now tablet, too) for the investment required to own one. Oh, and one more plus: The Duet is one of the few devices in my studio (perhaps the only one) that’s made in the good ol’ USA. PROPELLERHEAD BALANCE Sweden’s Propellerhead software—best known for its Reason DAW—has taken a path similar to other vendors in the space by venturing out from their strictly softwareoriented roots, and into hardware products that complement their software. That is (pardon the pun) the reasoning behind Balance: to provide an audio interface device that’s ready to go, and tailor-made for Reason. With a suggested price of roughly $450, it’s the mid-priced entry into the group of options covered here.
C O M P U T E R S A R E G R E AT, B U T W H E T H E R Y O U H AV E A P C O R M A C , Y O U N E E D S O M E WAY T O GET AUDIO INTO AND BACK OUT OF YOUR COMPUTER.
For studio geeks who happen to use other DAWs, Balance is still fully usable, and provides 2-in, 2-out audio support, with an array of connectors on the back panel. (Note that the master output and headphones are not separate stereo channels on the Balance.) With the exception of the mic inputs (which are XLR with phantom power available), all ins and outs use ¼-inch connectors. Both of the two input channels are switchable, letting you choose between guitar, mic, or either of the two line inputs. Like most audio interfaces, the two channels are mono, and can be used singularly that way, or together as stereo. The top panel sports the input selection switches, gain controls for the 2 inputs, and volume level knobs for the master and for the headphones. One feature of the Balance that I
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especially liked was the direct-monitoring button. Essentially, activating the button mixes the inputs locally with the output coming back from the DAW with zero latency. This allows you to record vocals or live instruments accompanying an arrangement already present in the DAW, and it’s perfect for musicians like so many of us are these days: A single individual in a home studio doing it all solo. Installation of the Balance was particularly simple on the test MacBook Pro system. Under OS X, drivers are not required; the software installation is solely for the provided Reason Essentials software—a starter version of the Reason DAW. If you intend to use only the audio interface, leave the disc in the box. Windows users, however, will require a driver;
Propellerhead provides ASIO drivers via its download page. Performance with my test project was on-par with expectations. Everything worked great, sounded great, and I experienced no perceived latency issues. Finally, the physical design of the Balance is one of its selling points. The elegant, aesthetically pleasing wedge design is a nice complement to any studio, and reflects the Scandinavian roots of the company in terms of its design ethos. However, it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of portability; it’d be pretty chunky to carry around in a laptop bag, and is likely best left at home, wired to your monitors and other studio gear. SUMMARY The three audio interfaces covered here represent just a few of the many audio interface options on the market. Ultimately, what you should choose for your own needs depends on which bells and whistles you’re looking for, number of channels needed, and of course (as stated before), which interface sounds best at your preferred spot on the affordability curve. As I discovered, however, there are good options to be had whatever your price tolerance and specific requirements might be. n
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Veteran DJs Sound Off to Help Up-&-Comers Negotiate Their Start-Ups
By Jeff Stiles
It’s best to define early on whether you’re getting into the DJ business just to have a fun hobby or if you’re interested in running a business with the potential of earning a nice income. At least that’s the thinking of Joe Martin, who has operated Mad Martin Productions in Wichita, Texas, since 1973. “This will especially come in handy when considering how much money a person needs to spend,” says Martin. “I’ve seen many with hobbies spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave, while those serious about business have to be very aware of the financial bottom-line with each expense. “With that said, if you are set on running a business, you’ll have to scrutinize each expense to determine if it will financially benefit your bank account. Far too many new guys to the business spend money to buy the latest toys, but actually lose money for the business. Be advised: Too many of those purchases may send your business into ‘hobby status’ with the IRS.” As someone whose business has shown a profit for the past 40 years, Martin knows what he’s talking about. “I’m happy to say that my ‘business’ has shown a profit every year since 1973,” he says. “It was never intended to be a hobby, and as such has provided me with a nice full-time career. In fact, I will log 80 one-nighters in 2013, which ain’t too bad for a 62-year-old about ready to take Social Security!” We asked a number of DJs—several of them veteran mobile jocks—to offer advice to a person embarking upon a DJ start-up in 2013.What advice would they give, based on their decades of experiences? Not only what to do, but also what not to do? For Jason Weldon of Synergetic Sound & Lighting in Bensalem, Pa., this CEO and company president says he knew when he first started out in this line of work exactly what he wanted the end result to look like. “I took the time to write down the goals I knew I wanted to accomplish, as well as the steps that would get me to those goals,” recalls Weldon, who has been in business since 1999. “You also have to believe in yourself. Practice. Become great at what you do. Talent will always rise to the top. Then read as many books as you can on business. Learn how to network with people. You have to take the time to meet other people.”
Weldon says his best advice would be to borrow the money necessary to make your company successful, and he claims to know this from experience. “It took me a little longer than I would have expected and that’s because I didn’t have the financing to make it happen,” he says. “If I would have taken out a small loan, things could have progressed a little faster. Of course, talk to a professional to make sure that is right for you—but for me, it was.” Learning to delegate is another tip Weldon offers start-up DJ owners. “You can’t do it all,” he says. “If your goal is to start a multi-op as mine was, I had to be able to trust people to help me grow to the level we wanted to be at. There was no way I was going to be able to grow without bringing other awesome people on board to help manage it.” As for his biggest mistake—at least to-date, he jokes—Waldon says he erred in buying a building to work out of instead of first renting a space while Synergetic became established. “You never know how fast it will take you to grow,” he says, in hindsight, “so renting for the first few years would have made more sense for me, but instead I bought. And when we grew out of that office within the first six months, we had to wait to sell it before we could [contractually] move, which was four years later.” Since forming Adam’s DJ Service in 1994, Seattle-based Adam Tiegs has performed for well over 1,000 wedding receptions, and is happy to offer his two cents of advice. “When starting off, make sure you’ve first got your gear essentials,” says Tiegs. “Make sure you’re even prepared to hook up live instruments or even send a record out to a videographer. Working as a team with other professionals at events is key. Also, invest in quality equipment—especially wireless microphones.” When it comes to marketing, Tiegs suggests joining entertainment associations such as NACE, ISES, Wedding Network USA or ABC. “Whichever associations have a local chapter, join them,” he says. “This will help you showcase in front of people from which you’d like to get referrals [i.e., caterers, wedding planners, venues, etc.], in addition to gaining great event planning education and networking.” Beyond joining such groups, Tiegs says it’s important to not just have a membership, but to actually show up at all the meetings and become involved on boards and committees. “Then, advertise in smart places online after investing in designing a nice website,” he advises. “If you enjoy weddings, advertise on sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot. “Another thing for those just starting out: Don’t be afraid to discount or donate your services, especially to nonprofits and fundraising events. This will help you get exposure, and you should treat everyone you encounter with respect. After all, you never know that your next client might just be a guest at one of these events.” Silver Sound Disc Jockeys in Philadelphia, Pa., employs 20 professional DJs with a combined experience of performing at tens of thousands of wedding receptions. General manager Steve Croce stresses the importance of new DJs becoming involved in the most “fruit-bearing” trade organizations before dropping money on just any association in their market. “There are many groups out there that are quick to tell you their organization is worthwhile, but they turn out to be very cliquey and a waste of time,” says Croce, a member of both the Philadelphia and National NACE and
ISES groups. “Talk to people involved with the organization you’re looking at—that is, people outside the board of officers—and ask how being a member has been helpful to them. “Take a look at their brand value on the web. Are they mentioned outside of their own website by other professional websites?” As far as gaining initial exposure for a start-up, Croce says the summertime is a great time to do charitable events—even for established DJ businesses. “I make it a point to do no less than five charitable events a year, he says. “It’s not only good for your brand, but it’s great for your soul. And charities such as the March of Dimes and Autism Speaks are often organizing huge public events for literally thousands of people. “More often than not, you don’t need to set up giant sound systems. For charitable gigs, you just need a couple of speakers on tripods, some family-friendly music playing at a comfortable level, and then someone to make announcements on the microphone, while you hand out business cards to everyone within 20 feet of your rig.” For a DJ starting up in a club setting, DJ Taino in Fayetteville, N.C., says he talking with people all the time who are interested getting started with their own DJ career. “What I always tell them is to practice a lot, practice a lot and practice a little more,” says Taino. “To listen to mixes from veteran DJs and try to mimic what they do. To learn how to beat-match without the need of the computer screen.” DJ Taino also advises new guys to not lie about how long they’ve been DJing. “I get a lot of new jocks trying to lie to the promoters in order to get the jobs,” he explains, “but in the long run they get scratched from the scene because people don’t like their skills. “Your skills will show, so just be straight and say, ‘I’m learning.’ You will get a promoter who will hire you anyway— maybe not for that upscale club—but you will get experience and money.” Overall, Taino says it takes time to build reputation, trust, skills and experience—whether DJs do mobile work or spin in a club. “Unfortunately, while many DJs find out this career is something they will quickly climb, they could just as quickly fall from it.” An entertainer always anxious to get a chuckle, Ken Knotts of All Occasion Entertainment in Anaheim, Calif., says his top advice for start-ups is to remain young, good-looking and talented. “And ‘luck’ goes a long way too,” says Knotts. n
MAKING TRACKS STUDIO…HARDWARE…SOFTWARE…
MIXED IN KEY: UPGRADES APLENTY
By Wesley Bryant-King
These days, it seems like there are more genres and sub-genres (and sub-sub-genres) of music than there are DJs to play them. But, except for some of the more experimental forms and outliers, they all have something in-common: a basis in music theory that dates back to the 17th century and involves a series of 12 tones or pitches known as the chromatic scale. Without digressing into a treatise on music theory, every modern musical composition is written in a specific “key”—24 of them in all—that uses one of the 12 tones as its base, and a series of harmonically compatible tones. Depending on how they’re combined, the song is either in one of the 12 so-called “major” keys, or one of their 12 relative “minor” keys. Music theorists and many musicians map these harmonic relationships on a circular chart known as a Circle of Fifths (named after the harmonic intervals involved). So, what the heck does this have to do with DJing? Well, it all dictates the “harmonic compatibility” of any given pair of songs—literally the mathematical, tonal compatibility between them. Equal parts art and science, when a DJ mixes two harmonically incompatible songs together, the result is a sonic train wreck that you don’t have to be a musician or a music theory professor at a university to perceive. The opposite—known broadly as harmonic mixing—ensures that this sort of train wreck never happens. It’s worth mentioning that this is only an issue when the songs you’re mixing overlap in territory where harmonic or melodic material is still present. If the song you’re mixing into and/or out of is purely percussive—just drum beats—in the intro and/or outro, there’s no harmonic issue. But if synths, bass lines, vocal parts, and the like overlap, you have the potential for serious harmonic problems. Historically, DJs have dealt with this “harmonic train wreck” risk in a few ways. Some of us have the supposed gift of perfect pitch, and just
intuitively know that Song A and Song B go together, while Song A and Song C don’t. Other DJs use their backgrounds as musicians to figure out the key a song is in (for example, C Major or B Flat Minor), keeping notes about it, and then using a Circle of MIK 5.5: Harmonic mixing, Energy Ratings & more. Fifths (perhaps one stored in their own minds) to know whether a particular mix can work. Others of us have turned to technology. While I am a musician, and I do have music theory training, I’m also a lover of automation and delegating onerout the help of Mixed in Key and ous tasks to machines. Which is why, when I discovered Mixed in Key several Camelot Notation, and trying to put years ago, I was an immediate fan. myself into the shoes of other DJs, A music software for harmonic mixing, Mixed in Key brings a couple of I’m not sure that my memory and things to the table. First, it provides a more modern take on the classic Circle music familiarity alone would serve of Fifths, replacing the key notation of musicians—like F Sharp Major and E Flat me well if I were trying to spin a Minor—with clock-like identifiers, numbered 1 through 12, with the suffix of set that started, for instance, in chill A or B. The result is known as the Camelot Wheel, and the number/letter territory—and ended the night with combinations as Camelot Notation. For example, F Sharp Major becomes hands-up techno. I could easily see 2B (major keys are indicated by the B), and E Flat Minor becomes 2A (minor this energy-level rating being of use keys indicated by the A). there. The bottom line? Depends on Secondly, Mixed in Key brings automated song key analysis to the table. The your style, your material, and the Mixed in Key technology analyzes songs, and discerns based on their harmonic venue you’re playing. content which key the song is in—and then notates it using Camelot Notation. Conclusions: Mixed in Key 5.5 is Obviously designed for digital DJs, the software can tag your digital music in a worthwhile upgrade to the veneraany number of ways (ID3 tags embedded in the file, file naming changes, etc.) ble Mixed in Key application. Available so you can refer to the information during a set no matter what software or for both Windows and Mac users, the technology you happen to use. Mixed in Key also provided BPM analysis and software takes a difficult, time-conresults in the same manner. suming task and automates it comThe beauty of the system is that you can mix songs back and forth between pletely, allowing even non-musician the letters if the number is the same (2A to 2B or back), and you can move 0, 1, DJs to follow some simple rules and 2 or 7 numbers if the letter is the same (2A can go to 2A, 3A, 4A—or 9A). Just virtually guarantee a great sound in keeping these simple rules in mind, and using the tags provided by the software, terms of harmonic compatibility. The you can mix harmonically and not have to worry about any of the ugly details. new energy analysis and rating may The company behind Mixed in Key released its 5.5 version of the software not be terribly useful to single-genre after working tirelessly on improving it in some key (bad pun) ways. The applicaDJs, but those who blend and cross tion has been dressed up a bit, and sports some needed polish. There is a range genres over the course of a set may of under-the-hood improvements to make key detection even more accurate. find it extremely valuable. But the big new feature in Mixed in Key 5.5 is the software’s new “energy” Update: Since my review was analysis and rating. The rating—a number between 1 and 10—is a relative originally written, Mixed in Key has indication of the energy level of the song. Much the same way that harmonic issued an update—Version 5.6— compatibility is important, the idea is that energy compatibility is important that rolls out a few improvements too—that avoiding “jarring” movements results in a more cohesive set. to the product. Still costing $58 So how did it work? As a DJ who performs a fairly narrow range of mateand available at the Mixed in Key rial—I call my music “mainstream dance,” and consists mostly of pop remixes site (mixedinkey.com), the software and dance-specific material along the same lines—Mixed in Key 5.5 reported now handles very short samples in virtually my entire music collection as having an energy range from 6 to 8. In addition to conventional full-form the studio, I did some playing around, mixing a set that started at 6 and ended tracks, while adding support for AIFF at 8. While the result is quite subjective, I was able to detect a defined increase and FLAC file formats. Additionally, in energy over the course of the short test set. I can’t say, however, that the rethere’s support for Mac users running sult was dramatic, and I’m not sure it would be detectable to the casual listener. the latest hardware sporting “Retina” That being said, I know a lot of DJs—notably mash-up jocks, and club guys high-DPI displays, and a number of who play in markets and venues that embrace a broader genre base—who general improvements and bug fixes. could really benefit from this energy-level insight. I know my music pretty The update is free to licensed users well, but certainly not well enough to recall keys and key compatibility withof the 5.5 version.
CELEBRATE MUSIC IN THE BIRTHPLACE OF TECHNO 16 BIT LOLITAS / A TRIBE CALLED RED / ADULT.-LIVE / AL ESTER / ALTON MILLER AMTRAC / ANDY C / ANNIE HALL / ART DEPARTMENT / ATAXIA / AUDION-LIVE AZARI & III-LIVE / BEN KLOCK B2B MARCEL DETTMANN / BEN SIMS / BENJAMIN DAMAGE-LIVE BIG CHOCOLATE / BIG GIGANTIC-LIVE / BILL PATRICK / BREAK SCIENCE-LIVE BRENDON MOELLER AKA ECHOLOGIST / BRODINSKI / BRUCE BAILEY / BUZZ GOREE CAJMERE / CALICO / CARL CRAIG / CARLOS SOUFFRONT / CHRIS MALINCHAK / CHUCK DANIELS CIRCA TAPES-LIVE / CORBIN DAVIS / DABRYE / DAN WAGNER / DANIEL BELL DANTIEZ SAUNDERSON / DAVE CLARKE / DEADBEAT / DEASTRO-LIVE / DENNIS FERRER DERRICK MAY & KEVIN SAUNDERSON (HIGH TECH SOUL CONCEPT) / DJ HATCHA DJ MINX FEATURING DIVINITI AND EVA SOUL / DON DADA (DJ GODFATHER AND DJ ZEBO) DOWNLINK / DRUMCELL / DUBFIRE / DVS1 / ELLEN ALLIEN / ERIKA-LIVE / FRANÇOIS K GEORGE FITZGERALD / GESAFFELSTEIN / GRAMATIK / GREGOR TRESHER-LIVE GRiZ-LIVE / HECTOR / J.PHLIP / JASON KENDIG / JOHN DIGWEED / K@DOG / KIDNAP KID LAURA JONES / LUCY / LUKE SLATER - P.A.S.-LIVE / MAETRIK / MAGDA / MALA MASTERS AT WORK - KENNY DOPE AND LOUIE VEGA / MATADOR-LIVE / MATT TOLFREY MIDNITE JACKERS / MIGUEL CAMPBELL / MIKE PARKER / MILKMAN / MOBY-DJ SET MOODYMANN / MR. JOSHOOA / NICK HOOK / NICOLAS JAAR-LIVE / NICOLE MOUDABER NINA KRAVIZ / NiT GRiT / NOISIA / ONRA / PACO OSUNA / PAPER DIAMOND PHANTASMAGORIA-LIVE / REFERENCE-LIVE / RICHIE HAWTIN / RONIN SELECTA WITH BOMBSCARE RROSE / RYAN ELLIOTT / SAMO SOUND BOY / SANDOZ FEATURING MARCUS FLOW SHIGETO-LIVE / SILENT SERVANT / SINISTARR / SLAM / SOUL CLAP / SQUAREPUSHER-LIVE STACEY PULLEN / STEFFI / STEVE RACHMAD / STONE OWL / SUPERVISION / SYSTEM OF SURVIVAL T.WILLIAMS / TENSNAKE / TERRENCE PARKER / THE BUG-LIVE / THE M MACHINE-LIVE / TOKiMONSTA TOMMY FOUR SEVEN / TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS-LIVE / TRUNCATE / XXXY 0002013>25’26’27
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SOUNDING OFF PLAYBACK…PRO AUDIO…PROCESSING
CDJ-2000NEXUS: BREAKTHROUGH PLAYER
By Robert LaFrance
CD players seem so old school, don’t they? Nowadays, the laptop has a permanent place in the DJ booth. And in some situations, the classic CDJ unit that put vinyl in the grave has now been relegated to a simple controller for laptop-based DJ software. But Pioneer, the longtime industry standard for professional DJs, looks to alter that trend with its new flagship CDJ-2000nexus “professional multi-player.” A tall order to be sure. So, let’s see if it can reverse the course of modern DJ culture and rid the DJ of that frail and cumbersome laptop. The simple, but powerful aesthetic changes we see with the Pioneer CDJ-200nexus are drool-worthy. First off, it’s just plain beautiful. DJs get a two-toned, black-on-black top with LED platter lights, mirrored surface around platter, large prominent brushed-metal cue and play buttons, and a tilted display for easy viewing. The high-resolution, bright LCD display is a comfortable 6.1 inches, enabling complete full-color waveform readout. But looks are only skin-deep, of course; how it performs is what truly matters. Pioneer makes a strong case for ditching the laptop altogether with the performance features of the 2000nexus. As someone who prefers to mix with the tactile control of hardware and use computer mostly for library management, looping and effects, I never thought I’d ever be tempted to go back to CDJs. But DJing with hardware just seems so much more natural—especially as many of us learned how to spin on CDJs. (And with these units, there’s certainly less of a chance of interrupting the DJ while you’re trying to connect a Serato or Traktor set-up.) In addition, the looping functions that I’ve loved in software are just as accurate on the CDJ-2000nexus when combined with the quantize feature. It precisely measures the BPM of your tracks down to tenths decimal point, even without using
Pro DJ Link: DJs can sync up to 4 units.
Connected: CDJ2000nexus works with Wi-Fi sources.
Pioneer’s rekordbox software. And, if combined with an external effects processor like the Pioneer RMX1000, there are few functions available in software that you can’t duplicate more reliability in the hardware world. In fact, the unit has even some of the more advanced capabilities like slip control—great for adding micro edits and roll effects—and the ability to stop the platter during a song, spin it back, or even use hot cues and pick up the song right where it would have been if you hadn’t attempted to use your turntablist skills. The CDJ2000nexus will auto load your preset hot cues when a track loads and the cues are even quantized, so you can be in the middle of a mix and the cues will start exactly on beat even if you’re finger’s timing is less than accurate. You can see everything that you’re doing on the waveform view and even zoom in—just like on the laptop. It has a bar and beat counter that shows exactly how many beats until your custom hot cues or breaks come in. It even has a phase meter when linked to another CDJ, so you know if your mix has started on the right beat. (With Pro DJ Link, DJs can sync up to four units to share one
audio source, Beat Sync and identify music key via Traffic Light feature.) Somewhat controversially, Pioneer added a SYNC button that can automatically synchronize the BPM and phase of a track on a second CDJ-2000nexus unit. (It seems that Pioneer figures that if software has the function, it might as well offer the option for hardware also.) The SYNC also allows for some fun multitrack mixing, like slowing down the tempo, that would normally leave you without enough hands. You can edit the beat grid manually on the fly with zoom knob if you hear that the mix is slightly off. And for those musically proficient DJs, the included rekordbox software can analyze your tracks in advance to enable the Traffic Light controls and see which tracks are in key. Some of the coolest features actually top a laptop system in terms of reliability and disaster-recovery capabilities. The Pioneer CDJ-2000nexus enables wirelessly connectivity to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. So, if there is a track on your mobile device that you just have to play mid-set, you can play off the music on your phone. There is also an emergency loop feature that kicks in automatically if the USB/SD card is dislodged or a
cable is pulled out. This can also be a great for transitioning between DJs. On top of all that, the sound quality is absolutely superb, rivaling any topof-line soundcard. In my view, though, there is room for improvement. I’m sure it would boost the already steep street price—$1,999 MAP, about the price of a MacBook Pro or two Windows laptops—but I wish Pioneer included a touch screen, especially for loop length controls and the waveform zoom. Also, when using the beatloop controls the waveform view gets overwritten—this can be annoying. The only other thing missing that I use frequently in Traktor is the ability to move an active loop forward or backward by quantized beat increments (½-beat, ¼-beat, etc). This is exceptionally fun when playing looped a cappellas, so the loops maintain interest. I can’t find a similar feature on the 2000nexus. Overall, however, this is a major leap forward in CDJ design. Since it plays a variety of formats from a thumbdrive, SD card, wireless device, and, of course, CDs, it really should be the first choice for any club installation. DJs can now show up with the pre-analyzed files from rekordbox and simply plug in their format of choice and start DJing. No more risks of dead air when a chord is accidentally disconnected while setting up Serato or Traktor. The USB/SD-card option even allows each DJ to individually customize the CDJ-2000nexus settings for brightness, preferred tempo, jogwheel illumination, and SYNC on/off. This is the first time a CD player has made me feel free—unencumbered and unfettered by that bulky laptop setup. Maybe the time is now to shift back to old-school hardware. Yes! If you have any questions for Sounding Off, please send them to djtimes@ testa.com
MOBILE PROFILE CAREERS…INNOVATIONS…SUCCESS STORIES
DJ THRIVES IN TOUGH BOSTON MARKET
By Luke Chrystal
Peabody, Mass.—First, some background on Sam Lurie, owner of The Beantown Sound. He currently lives in Peabody, Mass., but it’s in Marblehead, his birthplace, where he developed an entrepreneurial spirit that eventually led him to realize, at 16, that he could make pretty good money programming music for events. Sam Lurie succeeds with fair pricing, good value. It was in August of 1999, when attending a summer-camp dance that he took an grows, I constantly need to adapt and learn new interest in DJing. He approached the DJ and asked skills on the fly.” him if he could hang out with him in the booth, Sam’s “on the fly” approach manifests itself in his watch him and push some buttons. Says Lurie: “He marketing, too. “My approach is doing a little bit of said, ‘Sure,’ and I offered to work for him that very everything I can. Instead of sinking 100-percent of night.” my budget into one or two things, I try and maxiSeveral months later, Lurie was assisting him on mize my outreach by doing a variety of tactics— a weekly basis. Several years later, Lurie branched bridal shows, WeddingWire, TheKnot, Facebook out on his own. “He and I remain friends still to this Ads, Google Ads, e-mail lists/blasts, mailings, vendor day,” he says, “and I will always be grateful for his lists, etc. ” teachings and guidance.” But number one, he says, “has always, always, alThe knocks Lurie endured going on his own ways been word-of-mouth. Nothing makes me look were of the “hard knocks” variety. “In the early better than someone telling someone else, ‘This guy 2000s, I did any gig I could, for any amount of was great!’” money I could get paid—anything to make a buck, Such enthusiasm has given Lurie the opportunity gain more experience and get my name out there to scale his business. Satisfied clients led to refera little. I DJed $100 a night gigs all the time, just to rals, which led to more clients. “I honestly think the stay busy.” addition of more DJ systems came from the need What Lurie was learning was that running a of my clients,” he says. “As I got busier, I wasn’t free business and being a great DJ were two different to do everything myself, and I started calling friends, disciplines. “They don’t even go hand-in-hand,” he or other DJs I knew and passing the gigs to them. says. “They’re two entirely different skill sets. LearnIt grew from me giving them leads, to them doing ing how to market and advertise, conduct sales things under my business name, to eventually them consultations, manage finances and payroll, and all working for me. And the busier we get, the more of the various aspects of running a small business we’ll keep doing it. We’ve been really lucky that in aren’t things that are taught in high school, when I a very competition Boston market—where I think first needed to know them. Teaching myself these some of the best DJs in the country are—that skill sets, and learning from others is always a big we’ve consistently been able to grow and expand.” challenge. As the industry changes, and my business Mention the word “competition” to Lurie and
you’ll get a complicated reply. “It’s such a vague phrase,” he says. “There are guys near me who are basement/garage DJs, with iPods. They get no respect, and they undercut the rest of us. I remember when I was that guy, though; so I can’t fault them too bad. Then there are guys who have businesses making $1M+ a year. They’re knocking down $10K+ events, truly incredible stuff. They’ve set the bar very high, and shown how far you can take DJing as a career. I’d like to think that the services I provide my clients are fairly priced, and there’s good value in the product we produce. Business has steadily grown every year for nearly 15 years now, so we must be doing something right.” Currently, 75-percent of Beantown Sound’ events are weddings, with 25-percent being other types of parties. “I’d like to think I have grown from doing kids birthday parties and Sweet 16s and bar gigs, to school and corporate events, and then Bar Mitzvahs, and now mostly high-end weddings. While that’s not the path for everyone, it’s worked well for me.” What’s also worked well for Lurie has been faithful attendance, since 2000, at the DJ Expo. He was 17, and he describes the experience as a kid in a candy story. “My eyes were opened to an industry the scale of which I couldn’t grasp or understand at the time. If I were a sponge, I was full so quickly, and just couldn’t possibly absorb the quantity of information that was being presented to me through seminars, workshops, networking and the exhibit hall. “This year, I am bringing my newest hire—a 17-year-old—to attend his first DJ Expo. I am truly excited to see him experience it the way I did when I was 17. It changed my life when I went, and I expect it’ll do the same for him.” Over the last decade, Lurie has thought that at some point he would plateau, thinking either he would only book a certain number of events per year, or people would only pay so much for a certain service. “But it just hasn’t happened yet,” he says. “We’ve continued to book more events every year, and with the addition of new offerings—lighting, photo novelties, multi-media, etc.—the contracts have become bigger, too. Even now, I still think I’ll eventually plateau. If that were to happen today, I would probably be very happy being as busy as I am right now indefinitely. Would I rather it keep growing? Absolutely! Will I continue to work hard to make myself, and my team, and my business bigger and better? Absolutely! We’ll see what happens.”
BUSINESS LINE SALES…MARKETING…SOLUTIONS…
HOW CHANGED MY BUSINESS
Marketing: One of my key takeaways from the DJ Expo regarding marketing has to be that we are “always” marketing ourselves. Yes, we have business cards, websites, mailings, but we as people, market our business all day long on a daily basis. How we dress, how we speak, the vocabulary that we use, the types of things that we say online. How we are seen in public can tell prospective clients much about our business. We must always remember that their “perception” of us is their “reality” of us. The old saying is true: “You never get a second chance at a first impression.” The reality is that you never know where your next prospective lead may come from. Is it while you are at a restaurant with your family? Is it while you are in an elevator? Is it at the football stadium? Or even when picking your kids up from school? It may be hard to believe, but people are looking at us and judging us all the time. Sales: One key thing I learned at DJ Expo was to mirror the prospective client. Countless studies have been done on this subject and they all show that mirroring someone’s body language, eye contact, tone of voice and length of sentences is a huge part of success in sales. Just think in your own personal life. You get along better with people like yourself. It’s just natural that we are more at ease with people that we have things in common with. There’s no need to put up walls and to try to act like someone we are not in order to have a conversation. This same principle is applied to sales. People are much more eager to connect with and buy from people that they like. The easiest way to make someone like you is to make them feel you have a lot in common. Being introduced to this concept sent me on my own personal quest to learn more about connecting with prospective clients. In fact, over the years I have shared my findings in other seminars in order to help DJs better connect with their clients, venue staff, and other wedding vendors. Connection is the key to sales! I plan on sharing many techniques with all of those in attendance at this year’s DJ Expo. Networking: Where would I be without my colleagues in the industry? Probably just a few steps away from where I was six years ago. I visited a mini-expo hosted by the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network earlier this month and NJDJN’s Jake Jacobsen said it better than I ever could. “We’re all good at some things, but none of us are good at everything. Why not build true friendships and learn from our colleagues that happen to excel in the areas where we fall short?” After my first DJ Expo, I had more than doubled my amount of friendships in the business. There is no way I would have ever been able to meet these people without the DJ Expo. As we all come from different markets, it seems that there is much less worry about competition and more emphasis on learning from and helping each other. This was never more evident that when I had equipment stolen last year. I posted my frustration on Facebook and within an hour DJs from all over the East Coast were volunteering to loan me their personal gear until I was able to get things under control. My eyes had filled up when I took my laptop in to show my wife all of the posts that night.
By Steve Moody
I began attending the DJ Expo six years ago. Back then, my company—Steve Moody Entertainment Connection in Ridgely, Md.—had one employee. Today, I have 17 on payroll and I’ve more than doubled my prices and quadrupled my bookings. So, yes, you could say that DJ Expo has worked for me in a big way. What follows is a brief rundown of my DJ Expo seminar—“How the DJ Expo Can Change Your Business.” The seminar will be broken down into five different categories: Marketing Techniques; Sales Techniques; Networking Techniques; Business Administration; and Live Performance Techniques. Within each of these categories I will share several elements that have been keys to my company’s growth over the past six years.
DJ Expo 2013 is set for Aug. 12-15 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J.
Business Administration: As I began expanding my business I kept finding that many days my company was “running me,” rather than the other way around. I got into this business because I loved music and I loved entertaining. I had no interest at all in “running a business.” There have been periods where I find myself barely keeping my head above water with all that needs to get done in one day. A huge help in this area has been learning to create templates. Think of how many times each week we have to answer the same types of e-mails and send the same follow up messages. So much of my time had been wasted on this sort of mindless time-consuming busy-work. When I first began the process of creating templates, I was just using Microsoft Word and copying and pasting them into my e-mails. As the business expanded and I starting using a business-administration program, they were transferred to that program. Now all of my responses to questions on pricing and logistics on planning are all at my fingertips. The amount of hours saved in a week is countless. All of my e-mails to prospective clients and follow-up during their planning process are now templates that are even automated. Once folks are locked in as a client, they receive e-mails from us on a regular basis all the way up to their wedding, which may be over a year away. Set it and forget it! Performance: Though I had always been happy with my own personal performance style, I was blown away at my first DJ Expo and came to realize that I was nothing more than a big fish in a super-small pond. The annual “Games Seminar,” the opening-night “Mobile Kick-Off Party” and, of course, the “DJ of the Year” competition have shown me time and again that there is always so much more to be learned from other DJs on the performance end of things. As my company has expanded from one person to now having 17 on payroll, branding our performance style has become as important as branding our business. Taking the lead from excellent seminars presented by Elite Entertainment’s Mike Walter, I have spent a great deal of time working with our team members on making our performance uniformed.When people contact my company they expect my presentational style, and when I am not available, the DJs assigned to their events need to represent my company in the same way. From the way they interact with venue staff and other vendors to the client and the guests, we strive to be totally uniformed. Though each entertainer has their own unique personality, our presentational style is unique to our company and not to them as an individual. The clients have come to know exactly what to expect from one of our team members and the venues have known just what to expect as they continue to recommend our service. The DJ Expo has meant so much to me—not only for the information that I have used to build my business, but also for the amazing friendships I have gained over the past few years. The Expo pass, hotel room, meals and travel expense looked a bit steep to me as a super-small business years ago. But just like the credit card commercials, I can tell you that the payoff has been priceless!
TOUR ROUTING Detroit, MI Los Angeles, CA Baltimore, MD Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA Las Vegas, NV Minneapolis, MN Denver, CO
New York, NY Atlanta, GA Philadelphia, PA Boston, MA
Washington, DC Houston, TX & More
THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING Who’s America’s Best DJ?
Since 2006, DJ Times has conducted an annual online poll to find out the most popular US-based DJ. Each year, DJ Times nominates 100 DJs and fans can vote for their favorites from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Additionally, America’s Best DJ is supported by a nationwide schedule of festivals and club events, known as America’s Best DJ Summer Tour Presented by Pioneer DJ & DJ Times. Fans can support their favorite DJs by voting and, in doing so, be entered to win a trip for 2 to the America’s Best DJ Award Show/Closing Party at Marquee Nightclub in Las Vegas on Oct. 13. VOTE & WIN! /DJTIMESMAG
Inno What You’re Doing ADJ Products 6122 S. Eastern Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90040 (323) 582-2650 www.americandj.com
The American DJ Inno Color Beam 12 creates intense high-impact beam effects for nightclubs, stage shows and concerts. It is powered by 12 three-watt CREE LEDs in red, green, blue and white, allowing DJs to create colored beams or use the product for an all-white effect. The unit comes with 12 built-in color macros and features 0-100% dimming, LED strobe and pulse effects, precise RGBW color mixing and a 15-degree beam angle.
Plus One Korg USA 316 South Service Road Melville, NY 11747 (631) 390-6500 www.korg.com The MicroKorg XL+ is an analog synth with 128 onboard sounds, recognizable “Tape” instruments and new dedicated PCM for Korg’s SGProX piano, the M1 and VOX organs. The unit also offers 640 sounds that both PC and Mac users can load onto the MicroKorg XL+ for free using the dedicated Editor Librarian software. The MicroKorg XL+ features a vintage look that includes a brushed black panel and knobs. Additional features include a gooseneck mic and 16-band vocoder.
Like a Stanton of Bricks
Gibson Corporate 309 Plus Park Blvd. Nashville, TN 37217 (800) 444-2766 www.stantondj.com
SoundBetter 214 Bonad Rd. Brookline, MA 02467 (917) 740-4651 www.soundbetter.com
A new version of Stanton’s SC-IX operating system is now available for the company’s SCS.4DJ Complete Digital DJ System. SC-IX Version 4.0 features a variety of new functions, including a song preview path that lets users preview a song directly from the browser. The update has added +/- 8-percent and +/- 15-percent pitch range options, as well as new sorting functions for the active playlist, including artist, BPM and time.
SoundBetter is an online platform that connects DJs with audio engineers, remixers and producers from all over the world. Founded by Shachar Gilad, formerly of Waves Audio and Apple Inc., SoundBetter allows DJs to browse, filter and find engineers for free, comparing the listings side by side. Search by specialty, genre, location, budget, prior client reviews and credits. Both DJs and Producers can list their services on the site for free.
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Vocal Majority Honey to the SKB SKB Music 1633 N. Leslie Way Orange, CA 92867 (714) 637-1252 www.skbcases.com/music SKB released five new padded universal mixer/equipment bags— the 1SKB-UB0909, 1SKB-UB1212, 1SKB-UB1515, 1SKB-UB1818, and 1SKB-UB2020—which accommodate popular models of mixers, drum machines, recording interfaces, midi controllers, light panels and other equipment. Each bag is designed with a 600 Denier padded exterior, dual zippers, double-stitched carrying handle, and an adjustable, padded shoulder strap. The double-zippered, padded, exterior accessory compartment is sized to fit not only an iPad, but also cables and additional gear.
Chauvet 5200 NW 108th Ave. Sunrise, FL 33351 (800) 762-1084 www.chauvetlighting.com The TRUSST Arch Kit and TRUSST Goal Post Kit are two freestanding mobile trussing solutions. They are made of lightweight aluminum and come with triangular truss and bases that are numbered for easy assembly. According to the company, TRUSST Arch Kit has a load capacity of 660 pounds and TRUSST Goal Post holds up to 595 pounds, evenly distributed.
Plugin Alliance 702 N. West St World Trade Center Delaware Suite 101 Wilmington, DE 19801 www.plugin-alliance.com Noveltech Audio’s Vocal Enhancer plug-in uses Intelligent Adaptive Filtering technology to “give vocal recordings unprecedented clarity and crispness without unwanted side effects,” according to the company. The plug-in changes audio characterizes like EQ dynamically, as opposed to statically boosting set frequencies so that it still sounds natural. The plug-in comes in a variety of audio formats, including AU, AAX, RTAS, TDM, VENUE and VST.
Cable Guy Pioneer Electronics 1925 E. Dominguez Street Long Beach, CA 90810 (310) 952-2000 www.pioneerdjusa.com The DJC-WeCAi controller cable from Pioneer makes it possible for iPads to become a music source and control window for the DDJWeGO or DDJ-ERGO. The cable works with Algoriddim’s “djay for iPad” app, offering features such as scratching, mixing and playback from the iPad’s iTunes library. The cable can also be used with Algoriddim’s “vjay for iPad” app.This allows the controllers to perform scratching and visual mixes using videos, music and camera roll images.
RUSH Hour Martin Professional, Inc. 700 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway Sunrise, FL 33325 (954) 858-1800 www.martinpro.com
Stretch Armstrong Gator Cases 18922 N. Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548 (813) 221-4191 www.gatorcases.com
The RUSH MH 1 Profile moving head has a motorized zoom and focus, electronic dimmer and strobe, iris and three-facet prism. The RUSH MH 2 Wash features RGBW color mixing and a 20-degree fixed beam angle, while the RUSH MH 3 Beam houses a fixed gobo wheel with seven-step iris and color wheel. The RUSH Strobe 1 5x5 is a white strobe/blinder with individually controllable LEDs. Rounding out the RUSH line are the RUSH PAR 1 RGBW LED par can with premixed RGBW color mixing and 20-degree fixed beam angle, and the RUSH Pin 1 CW LED pin spot that features two beam options and an adjustable bracket.
Gator Cases now offers a line of stretchy speaker and speaker-stand covers that protect gear from dust and dirt while concealing scratches and dings. Two cover sizes are available for loudspeakers—one is used for cabinets measuring 10 to 12 inches while the other covers 15-inch speaker cabinets. There are also speaker stand covers available for covering either one or two sides of most tripod style stands. The covers are machine washable and they are made from acoustically translucent material.
The Ladies Who Launchpad
Focusrite Novation 840 Apollo Street, Suite 312 El Segundo, CA 90245 (310) 322-5500 www.focusrite.com
Novation released an updated version of its Launchpad grid controller for Ableton Live. Launchpad S features 64 tri-color pads that launch loops, clips, trigger drums and samples, plus they control effects, volumes, mutes, solos and more. The new controller works with iPads with the Apple Camera Connection Kit. Launchpad S comes with Ableton Live Launchpad Edition. It also comes with custom overlays that make it plug-and-play compatible with software programs including FL Studio.
DJ Times magazine presented its first DJ Expo in 1990. Now, 23 years later, the Expo remains the DJ industry’s best-attended, most-successful trade show. Each year, the Expo presents more than two-dozen educational seminars, an exhibit hall filled with the latest DJ, pro audio and studio gear, and three evenings full of sponsored events. This year’s show, set for August 12-15 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ, will include the best of the best, plus a few special surprises.
WHO ATTENDS? THE MOBILE DJ
Meet, network with & learn from fellow entertainers who have made their marks on the industry. From moneymaking tips to brand new performance ideas, it’s all here at The DJ Expo.
THE BEDROOM DJ
You have to start somewhere, right? Each year, The DJ Expo seminars & workshops educate this hungry group — the very future of the market.
THE CLUB DJ
These trendsetters connect with the industry’s movers and shakers at The DJ Expo & pass along the inside scoops on music, gear & more.
REMIXER • PRODUCER • EDM ARTIST
They create the hits that push the trends and, at The DJ Expo, they share the knowledge that put them on top.
THE CORPORATE EVENT DJ
REGISTER TODAY! thedjexpo.com | 1.800.937.7678
These upper-tier event planners and performers connect in Atlantic City & buy gear for the year—find out why at The DJ Expo.
Henry Saiz Miguel Campbell
“ALL THE EVIL OF THIS WORLD” EP
u Henry Saiz u Natura Sonoris A contradiction of dark thoughts and pretty melody, this endearing slab of danceable melancholia includes five effective mixes. They include efforts from Chaim, Village, Denis Kayron, and a remix and matching instrumental from Saiz’s Hal Incandenza alter-ego.
– Chris Davis “U & I” EP
u LOPAZZ & Casio Casino u Get Physical Beteko brings the funk on his remix of the title track. “Give It to Me” eases toward ethereal, offering a minimal groove, while “Your Love” will keep you moving with clip-clap consistency.
– Natalie Raben HANGING GARDENS
u Classixx u Innovative Leisure With supple grooves that recall the best French filter-disco (“Holding On”) and ’80s synth gems
(“All You’re Waiting For”), this 12-cut CD offers a pretty perfect confluence of dancefloor delights and pop sensibilities. For added measure, includes breezy ’09 single, “I’ll Get You.”
– Jim Tremayne “BEAMS OF LIGHT”
u Miguel Campbell u Hot Creations The Alexis Raphael remix is the choice cut here. Capitalizing on its soulful side, Raphael brings us a wicked track with a funky, groovy, retro bassline, shimmering, playful keys, hypnotizing pads, captivating vocal effects and an unmistakable emotive vibe.
– Shawn Christopher “THE SINGLES” EP
u Disclosure u Cherrytree/Interscope This speed-garage-revival EP contains the two hit singles—“Latch” and “White Noise”—along with Hudson Mohawke’s banging trap remix of the latter. Essential stuff, for sure, but don’t sleep on new cut, “You & Me,” as it features one of Disclosure’s
Each month in this space, DJ Times digs through the virtual crates to give you a quick sample of the plethora of extraordinary tracks available exclusively on legal download—care of our favorite next-generation “record” stores (e.g., Beatport, iTunes, etc). “Encarta” (Original Mix) by Matt Tolfrey [Leftroom]: Beautifully warm and sensual, and a perfect summertime opener with its slightly broken beat, lush Rhodes chords and pad swells. This is an emotional journey that might work as well in the bedroom as on the dancefloor. Found at beatport.com. “Liking Your Disorder” (Timo Maas Remix) by James Teej [Last Night On Earth]: The mood is dark and monotone, the beats are stripped down, the synths may be bubbly, but when the filter opens on the saturated main riff, you get a glimpse into Timo’s twisted mind. And don’t miss the brief second break that both confuses and delights like tainted molasses. Found at beatport.com. “Ejeca” (Original Mix) by Purnsley [2020 Vision]: More deep summer vibes here. A clicky sub-bass groove leads us into a dubbed-out, soulful vocal with lots of syncopated percussion. The pumping synth chords provide a bittersweet melodic backdrop. Found at beatport.com – Robert LaFrance
catchiest choruses yet.
– Chris Davis IF IT WERE YOU, WE’D NEVER LEAVE
u Andrew Bayer u Anjunabeats Full of lush ambience (“Let’s Hear That B Section Again!”) and trance-hop pleasures (“Lose Sight”), this 16-track LP is a prime example of the kind of magic that can happen when a trance producer slows down the tempo and experiments with organic sounds unfit for the club. – Chris Davis “TOWN JOKER”
u Blond:ish & Climbers u Get Physical The original mix’s detuned vocals command the dancefloor, as the nasty top synth line drags along the bottom-end groove. The Philip Bader & Niconé remix swaps out the original’s darker undertones by dropping an upbeat, entrancing loop.
– Chris Davis “STAND & DELIVER” EP
u MRK1 ft. Trigga & Flowdan/N-Type ft. Rikodan u Profound Audio Don’t miss your chance to bite into the crunchy synths, Roman church-worthy organ, and heavily accented MC Flowdan vocals served up by dubstep chefs MRK1 and Trigga.
– Chris Davis NOISE & GIRLS u Smash TV u Get Physical Packed with variety, this 15-cut CD offers unique vibes and sexy grooves. Check the summer-funk of the single, “Whatever (ft. Cari Golden),” the rainforest-fervor and tribal monkey-bass swoons of “Gaslamps,” and definitely don’t miss the melodic chimes and infectious vocal hook on “Sex, Drugs & Miami”
– Chris Davis
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Chauvet................................. 9 Crown................................... 15 Dixie Dance Kings............... 14 Electro Voice........................ 11
New products to a keen and targeted market.
The DJ market on why your products are the best.
Global Dance Fest................ 27
Your business into an established, but still fast-growing, market.
Brand recognition with DJs of all kinds.
Equipment & supplies to an audience that is ready to buy.
Odyssey Cases...................... 7 Pioneer.................................. CII
for all platforms
Shure..................................... 36 JUNE 2013
© 2013 I DJ NOW
IDJNOW_DJTIMES_5-15-13.indd 1 4/12/13 11:12 AM IDJNOW • Retail Campaign • 4c, 4.125” W X 4.375” H • Ad Runs in DJ TIMES 5/15/2013 • 631-585-1100 x 7460
American DJ......................... CIV
Electro Voice ZLX12P
Sirius.................................... 20 Sound Pro............................. 16 Video Blocks........................ 33 While every care is taken to ensure that these listings are accurate and complete, DJ Times does not accept responsibility for omissions or errors. New Improved.indd 2
1/10/2013 4:36:40 PM
MP3s in 56
Compiled As Of May 1, 2013
National Crossover Pool Chart 1 Emeli Sande 2 Justin Timberlake F/ Jay Z 3 Suzanne Palmer 4 Will I Am F/ Britney Spears 5 Katrina 6 Christina Aguilera 7 Jay Sean 8 Icona Pop 9 BEX 10 Stacey Jackson 11 Depeche Mode 12 Pitbull F/ Christina Aguilera 13 Kelly Clarkson 14 Tony Moran F/ Anastacia 15 Justin Bieber F/ Nicky Minaj 16 Passion Pit 17 Daft Punk 18 Calvin Harris F/ Florence Welch 19 Tori Amos 20 Britt Nicole 21 David Guetta F/ NE-YO 22 Carley Rae Jepsen 23 Kwanza Jones 24 Esquille 25 Calvin Harris F/ Ellie Goulding 26 Vic Cologne 27 Rihanna 28 Delonda Harvey 29 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis F/Wanz 30 Muzik Box 31 Alexis Jordan 32 Eric Prydz 33 Pink 34 Sarah Brightman 35 Tegan And Sara 36 Ke$ha 37 Miasha 38 Daddys Groove 39 Duncan Morley 40 The Wanted
Next To Me Suit And Tie Joy Scream & Shout Ready To Love Let There Be Love So High I Love It What You Are Pointing Fingers Heaven Feel This Moment Catch My Breath If I Was Your Boyfriend Beauty & A Beat Carried Away Get Lucky Sweet Nothing Flavor Gold Play Hard This Kiss Supercharged I Take U Higher I Need Your Love One More Time Stay Dancer Thrift Shop Ear Candy Acid Rain Every Day Try Angel Closer C’Mon Everybody’s Beautiful Stellar If Time Runs Out I Found You
National Urban Pool Chart Capitol RCA Music Plant Interscope Red Red RCA Universal Big Beat Sybasonic 3B1G Sony RCA RCA Go Deeva Light Mercury Columbia Columbia Ultra Mercury Capitol Capitol Interscope Innovation Global Groove Sony Music Plant Def Jam Music Plant Macklemore Control Voltage Sony Astralwerks Jive Simba Warner Brothers RCA MAF Robbins Global Groove Universal
Most Added Tracks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Daft Punk Grace Valerie Duncan Morley David Guetta F/ NE-YO & Akon Yulianna Esquille Kelly Clarkson Adam Barta & Angelina Pivarnick Chris Cortes Nikki Williams
Get Lucky Dont Wanna Be Waiting If Time Runs Out Play Hard Don’t Take Your Love Away HEYO! People Like Us Serendipity Awake Glowing
Columbia Dream Merchant 21 Global Groove Capitol Zvon Global Groove RCA Aquetra Global Groove Island/Def Jam
n Flamingo - Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Julio n Lets Dance / IRS - Chicago, IL; Lorri Annarella n Next Music Pool - Los Angeles, CA; Bob Ketchter n Masspool - Saugus, MA; Gary Canavo n OMAP - Washington, DC; Al Chasen n Pittsburgh DJ - Pittsburgh, PA; Jim Kolich n Soundworks - San Francisco, CA; Sam Labelle n New York Music Pool - Levittown, NY; Jackie McCloy n WPTV-Prty 105FM Frd MdMx - New York, NY; Mike Rizzo n Dixie Dance Kings - Alpharetta, GA; Dan Miller n Pacific Coast - Long Beach, CA; Steve Tsepelis n Majik Boys Mix - Los Angeles, CA; Jeremy Martarano
Looking for these titles? You can hear them and buy them at www.dancekings.com. Just click on the links in the chart. DDK has limited memberships available for qualified DJs in the US. We service CDs and MP3s in dance and urban formats. Feedback and membership dues required. 770-740-0356
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Justin Timberlake F/ Jay Z Kendrick Lamar F/ Drake Rihanna Lil Wayne F/ Drake & Future Wale F/ Tiara Thomas Ace Hood F/Future & Rick Ross Drake Macklemore & Ryan Lewis F/Wanz Kendrick Lamar Chris Brown Tamar Braxton Miguel B.O.B. F/ T.I. & Juicy J French Montana F/ Nicki Minaj Trinidad James Young Jeezy F/ 2 Chainz Brandy Rihanna F/ Future The Weekend Lil Wayne F/ Detail
Suit And Tie Poetic Justice Pour It Up Love Me Bad Bugatti Started From The Bottom Thrift Shop Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe Fine China Love And War How Many Drinks We Still In This B**** Freaks All Gold Everything R.I.P. Wildest Dreams Loveeeee Song Wicked Games No Worries
RCA Interscope Island/Def Jam Republic Atlantic Cash Money Cash Money Macklemore Interscope RCA Epic RCA Atlantic Interscope Island/Def Jam Island/Def Jam RCA Island/Def Jam Universal Republic Universal Republic
Most Added Tracks 1 2 3 4 5
J. Cole F/ Miguel Lil Wayne F/ 2 Chainz Rich Gang/Lil Wayne Nicki Minaj F/ Lil Wayne A$ap Rocky F/ Skrillex
Power Trip Rich As F**k TapOut High School Wild For The Night
Columbia Republic Republic Republic RCA
NEW National Latin Dance Pool Chart 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Hector Acosta “El Torito” Widy Juanes - Cumbia Sexy (Remixes) Toby Love Alsikiatra Ephrem J feat. Alexandra Don Omar Karlos Rose Ruina Nueva feat. Los Adolecentes Thalia feat Prince Royce Carlos Vives J King Y Maximan Joey Montana Victor Manuelle feat Gocho Tito Nieves Francisco Toscano Papi Sanchez Jerry Rivera Fulanito feat. Matatanes Edgard Daniel
NO Soy Un Hombre Malo Baby Baby (Remix) Universal Lejos El Gordo Noche De Maravillas Zumba Infiel Yo La Amo Te Perdistes Mi Amor Volvi A Nacer La Noche Esta De Fiesta Unico Me Llamare Tuyo Que Seas Feliz Decidete (Remixes) Te Amare El Amor Existe Mueve El Eskeleto Enfermedad
Venemusic Widy Music Top Stop Music Loqra Mayimba Music Universal Universal Papa Grande Sony WJ Ent. Universal Universal Sony Top Stop Music Unison Prod. Sanchez Fam. Venemusic Soundcheck La Lirica
Most Added Tracks 1 2 3 4 5
Adassa Alex Mato Marlon Olga Tañon Pitbull
La Gata (Remixes) Que Pena Me Duele Todo Lo Que Sube ECha Pa’ Lla
DCP Matos Music M.E.D. Mia Musa Music Mr. 305
Reporting Latin Pools n Latinos Unidos – N. Arlington, NJ; William Otero n Salsamania Latin – Houston, TX; Alex Carmenates n Lobo/Bass – Los Angeles; Justino Guerrero n Urban Tropics – E. Northport, NY; Manny Soba n North East – Revere, MA; Justin Testa n Mixx Hitts – Clermont, FL; Danny Peguero n Ritmo Camacho – Ashburn, VA; Jorge Camacho n Ritmo Internacional – Antioch, CA; Tony Orellana n DJ Latinos – Medford, MA; Antonio Ortiz n MassPool – Saugus, MA; Gary Cannavo n Record Pool Latino – W. Palm Beach, FL; Tony Torres n VIP Chicago – Chicago, IL; Hector Vargas
(continued from page 16) sual, all you’re doing is incorporating yourself into a computer. DJ Times: And then you’re even more reliant on stage-production wizardry, like lights… Guy: Yeah, like what you saw today, we didn’t have many lights, just those screens with the faces on it. We try to make it all about us playing, which is what’s most important. Howard: It’s weird how unusual it is for a dance act to play live instruments. Guy: In my opinion, the best live [dance-music] shows at the moment are [James] Teej, SBTRKT, and James Blake, because those guys are actually playing, and doing it really well. DJ Times: So Howard, you played a lot of bass guitar today during the set. Was that the actual electric bass coming through the mix, or are you triggering that and playing a MIDI instrument through Ableton or Mainstage? Howard: I play the lower layer of the bass, and the “plunk” sound of the bass is layered over the top of the track. So I play the more subby part, and the laptop plays the higher part. DJ Times: Is that how you come up with basslines in the studio? Are you jamming along, or is it keyed in? Howard: Not for “White Noise,” no. Guy: We had just [bought] a really good [u-he] plug-in called Diva, and we wrote the bassline, and then came back to it the next day with AlunaGeorge. DJ Times: What was your first regular gig or residency? Howard: We’ve played a few of the same venues, but we’ve never had a residency. DJ Times: Where was your first gig?
Guy: Our first-ever live show was at a place called Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, London. DJ Times: What are your thoughts on the rise of dance music in the U.S.? Howard: It’s really interesting. We’ve done one tour stateside before this one, and we just played SXSW, and now we’re here at Ultra Music Festival. There’s definitely a vast difference between Europe and here in terms of what people are listening to. Obviously, there’s the whole “trap” movement, though I’d prefer to refer to it as “808 hip hop.” DJ Times: Yeah, it feels a bit like white people’s electronic interpretation of “Dirty South,” Atlanta hip hop. Howard: Personally, I just think it’s Hudson Mohawke [making the good stuff]. Guy: I thought trap had already been done; trap was something that already happened in the 1990s, if you really look into it. Howard: I love Hudson Mohawke, but I don’t really like anyone that’s copying him at the moment. But yeah, trap and dubstep are what seem to be really big over here, whereas the U.K. had that about a year or two ago. DJ Times: Though it was a bit of a different kind of dubstep, no? Guy: It was. This [version] is very aggressive. Howard: The dubstep over here is like rock music. You see Sonny Moore of Skrillex—he’s from a rock band. DJ Times: It seems that he’s brought along that same generation of fans with him from his previous bands. Guy: Yeah, and it’s a different kind of dubstep. When I was going out lis-
tening to dubstep and seeing people like Skream and Mala, you know, that stuff comes from dub, which is all about peace and [good] vibes. But now this dubstep is just these really aggressive people shouting, “Skrillex! Melt my face! Melt my face with bass!” That’s not what I used to go out and watch, and I don’t know what that’s all about. I can see how people might use it as a sort of physical release to go mad to, but that’s not the kind of music we’re into. DJ Times: Then what does the term EDM mean to you guys? Howard: We don’t use it at all. We say “house music,” or “garage music,” or just… “songs.” [laughter] Guy: It’s funny because—and I don’t know what it’s like over [in the USA]—but everyone in the U.K. is obsessed with putting things into genres. And it just doesn’t matter, [you know]? You obviously need a reference point, but it does get a bit ridiculous. We’ve been called things like “lovestep.” Howard: “Latch” is a love song, but that doesn’t mean we make “lovestep.” It’s ridiculous. Guy: All over the world, if you go to Europe, or Germany, they just say, “I like that Disclosure sound.” Howard: For me, it gets to the point where it’s almost an insult to label some things. To label what Skrillex is doing, making really aggressive rock music with synths, and then compare that in the same [genre] name as Mala, it’s like… it’s just the same tempo and there’s nothing else similar about it. You shouldn’t label those as such. Guy: If that were not clear, I’d use bass music as another example. The term “bass music” makes it so specific
that this song is all about the bass, but [that’s] not [always the case]. We get called “bass music” loads, but we’ve never said that’s what we make. There are so many more important things happening in our songs, like the lyrics, and the melodies, and the chords. The bass is just there for energy. DJ Times: Do you have any favorite clubs or venues that you’ve played? Guy: Last year we went to Ibiza a few times, and one of the best shows that we did was at Space Ibiza, on the terrace. We also [played] IMS [Grand Finale] Festival, which happened to be on my 21 st birthday; which was awesome. Howard: One of my favorite shows was at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, and we played it on Halloween. It was awesome because Halloween’s not a really big deal in England. DJ Times: Is it anywhere outside of the US? Howard: I don’t know. People celebrate it, and young kids go trickor-treating in the U.K… Guy: But I don’t think anyone goes as mad [for Halloween] as they do over here. It’s really cool, really fun. Howard: Everyone turned up in these mad outfits, and masks of [the face found in Disclosure album artwork]. It was crazy. DJ Times: Anything you’d like to add? Howard: We’ve had a great time. SXSW was amazing, even if it has absolutely drained my soul. We did something like six or seven shows. Still haven’t slept. Guy: The tour’s been really good in America so far, and you guys eat a lot of red meat! n
Destroid: Excision’s Dubstep Band
Used to be, fans were happy…
…if a DJ was anonymous.
But now, they expect a Kiss concert. Excision/Destroid, Next Month in DJ Times
KEITH SHOCKLEE As a founding member of Public Enemy Keith Shocklee has been defining and defying musical genres for over 30 years. “The future is the past! We’re taking new music to the streets in New York… it’s how we did it before Public Enemy and it’s happening again today - very organic and powerful.” Keith and his mobile DJ’s, Power5, trust their PRX600 speakers to deliver devastating grooves night after night. “PRX’s bang hard! We record on JBL LSR4300 monitors and when we perform live our PRX’s sound identical, just ten times louder. And, at 3:00 am after the smoke clears, their lightweight is heaven. JBL is the bomb!”
Photos by: James DeMaria
Learn more at jblpro.com/prx600 Check out Keith at keithshocklee.com
POWERFUL. RUGGED. VERSATILE.
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PERFORMANCE YOU CAN TRUST