SUMMER TOUR REPORT
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SKRILLEX SCARY MONSTERS & DUBSTEP DRAMA
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DJ EXPO: EXCITEMENT RAMPS UP FOR ATLANTIC CITY SHOW Atlantic City, N.J.—Once again, DJ Expo time is right around the corner. Set for Aug. 8-11 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., the DJ Expo will offer three days of the latest DJ-related exhibits, four days of educational seminars/workshops, and three nights of sponsored parties. Expect plenty of gear- and idea-filled days and a few wild evenings at the
a chartbuster. Rec e n t ye a r s h ave seen Promo Only present none othEvening Events: er than Lady Gaga, DJs can let it plus other current loose late into the night. stars like Pitbull and Chris Willis (the voice of David Guetta’s biggest hits) and classic hitlongest running, most successful DJ makers like Naughty By Nature and show in America. Salt N’Pepa. What’s on tap for the Additionally, the Expo—produced 2011? Stay tuned. Additionally, on Aug. by DJ Times and its publisher Testa 8, Denon DJ will present its openingCommunications—will present a “Keynote Q&A” with DJ Skribble, night party at The Casbah. Mobile entertainers will get plenty America’s Hardest Working DJ. On of attention at DJ Expo as well. On Aug. 9, Promo Only will present its Monday, Aug. 8 at The Casbah, Mike annual party at the House of Blues— Walter of Elite Entertainment will and don’t sleep on its soon-to-behost the Mobile Kick-Off Party. Two announced lineup of artists and DJs. nights later on Aug. 10, Walter will Why? You never know which uphost the “DJ of the Year” Awards, and-coming act will soon become
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Detroit—Soul Clap’s Elyte (left) and Cnyce rock the Red Bull Music Academy stage at Movement. The 12th annual festival, held at Detroit’s Hart Plaza this past May 28-30, drew nearly 100,000 fans and served as the launch event for America’s Best DJ Summer Tour Presented by Pioneer DJ and DJ Times. To vote for your favorite DJ and to get more information on America’s Best DJ and its Summer tour, please visit www.americasbestdj.net.
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distinct tracks: Mobile Operator; DJ Culture & Music; and Gear & Tech. A few examples: From the Mobile Operator track, the Expo will present “All-Star MCs,” a session that’ll look at the techniques and motivations that keep jocks on top. From the “DJ Culture & Music” track, “Adult Club DJs” will explain the unique tricks to the lucrative trade. The “Gear & Tech” track will include “New Technologies: In the Booth & which will bestow honors to the very Beyond,” which will discuss the latest best from America’s Mobile Nation. in pro-audio, lighting, playback, video To further illustrate the breadth of and studio gear. topics covered at DJ Expo, the show’s For the latest on DJ Expo, please will light up Detroit. seminars will be divided intoMassive: three Movement visit thedjexpo.com. HairRaising: DJ Expo presents new gear & bright ideas.
VOLUME 24 NUMBER 7
12 His Name Is Skrillex
Dodging the Slings & Arrows of Dubstep Purists, Skrillex Has Rocketed to the Top of the EDM Ladder BY JUSTIN HAMPTON
Cover & Contents Photos by Teaghan McGinnis
18 Road Report: Above & Beyond
The Popular Euro Trio Takes Its Brand of Uplifting, Energetic Trance to U.S. Clubland BY JOE BERMUDEZ & ANGELA BRAY
20 Digital DJing Primer
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Digital DJing (But Were Afraid to Ask) BY WESLEY BRYANT-KING
DEPARTMENTS 7 Feedback
As Always, the Answers to All Your DJ-Related Questions
24 Making Tracks
iZotope’s Stutter Edit
26 Sounding Off
Stanton Scratch DJ Academy MIX!
28 Mobile Profile
Elite Jersey Jock Mike Walter
30 Business Line Insurance Tips for Mobiles
New Products from American DJ, Pioneer, JBL & More
Phat Tracks from Exel0n, Maya Jane Coles & 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
8 Eclectic Method
10 In The Studio With… MANIK
FROM THE EDITOR
editor-in-chief Jim Tremayne email@example.com editor-at-large Brian O’Connor firstname.lastname@example.org
Damn the Torpedoes—A Star Is Born
OK, I give—Skrillex just slaughtered me again. After seeing three days of terrific performances at Detroit’s Movement festival this past Memorial Day weekend, including crowd-pleasing efforts from techno legend Carl Craig, ghetto-tech maven DJ Godfather and groovemasters Soul Clap, I’m sorry, but… my main memory of that entire event is always going to be Skrillex’s massive set at the Red Bull Music Academy stage. So, instead of ever again entertaining the petty cries and complaints from the insular dubstep community about the awful affront of “brostep”—i.e., somehow “inauthentic” music that’s debased the “real” genre—maybe now I’ll just break down and embrace it. And why not? If you’ve ever been to a Skrillex gig, you’ll know what I’m talking about because nowhere in the DJ world right now will you find such fiery enthusiasm. In Detroit’s Hart Plaza, most of the crowd was hanging on every sub-busting groove and lurching so forcefully that Skrillex had to stop the music a couple times. The 60-minute set had moments that seemed like earthquakes—off-the-chart energy. Conversely, in Miami’s Bicentennial Park for Ultra Music Fest a couple months earlier, the crowd scrunched up to Skrillex’s relatively tiny stage under a blazing sun and sang along to Skrill’s omnipresent remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” like old-school ravers. And in New York’s Webster Hall the previous February, some of the crowd was literally hanging from the upstairs overhang above the stage. Scary monsters, indeed. Fact of the matter is that Skrillex never claimed dubstep as his own and, if you listen to his smashing EP Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites (mau5trap), you’ll hear why. It’s a spectacular mosh of melody, aggression and massive groove, inflected with elements of electro, house and, yes, dubstep. Call it whatever you want now, the shit’s massive. Our West Coast correspondent Justin Hampton caught up with Skrillex just before his Coachella date and talked tech and discussed the ongoing debate among dubsteppers. With all the rapid changes in the world of digital DJing, we figured it was time to slow down a minute and take stock on where we are. Our Denver-based DJ scribe Wesley Bryant-King did just that with his exhaustive look at the state of the digital-DJ scene. If you have any questions about digital-DJ directions, we believe he’s offered all the answers. On the review tip, NYC DJ/producer Phil “Butcha” Moffa tackles iZotope’s Stutter Edit in our Making Tracks column, while Bryant-King makes the most of Stanton’s Scratch DJ Academy MIX! Software in this month’s Sounding Off entry. In Samplings, Hampton connects with international VJs Eclectic Method, while yours truly interviews new tech-house sensation MANIK, whose recent Armies of the Night: I Declare War (Ovum) stands as one of 2011’s better EDM full-lengths. In the mobile world, successful New Jersey-based multi-system jock Mike Walter takes the pen and offers some tips that’ll appear in his forthcoming book, Running Your Multi-Op. Additionally, our Business Line drops a cautionary tale and offers valuable insurance tips for mobile jocks. On the promotion front, it’s time to stand up and make your vote count for your favorite DJ. Our America’s Best DJ contest has just begun, as has its Summer Tour presented by Pioneer DJ and DJ Times. The events will run through Labor Day weekend and one lucky voter—either online or at one of our 20+ events—will win a trip for two to Las Vegas for our closing party/award ceremony at the fabulous Marquee nightclub. For the latest information on America’s Best DJ, please visit www.americasbestdj.net. And let’s not forget that DJ Expo is right around the corner. Set for Aug. 8-11 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., the Expo will offer exhibits, seminars, parties and more valuable networking than you can ever imagine. It’s gonna be one crazy summer.
chart coordinator Dan Miller email@example.com contributors Jody Amos Joe Bermudez Wesley Bryant-King Shawn Christopher Paul Dailey Justin Hampton Josh Harris Russ Harris Robert LaFrance Polly Lavin Michelle Loeb Lily Moayeri Phil Moffa Jonathan Novick Scott Rubin Jennifer Shapiro Nate Sherwood Jeff Stiles Emily Tan Phil Turnipseed Floor Vahn Curtis Zack Stacy Zemon President/Publisher Vincent P. Testa
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operations manager Robin Hazan email@example.com Editorial and Sales Office: DJ Times, 25 Willowdale Avenue, Port Washington, New York, USA 11050-3779. (516) 767-2500 • FAX (Editorial): (516) 944-8372 • FAX (Sales/all other business): (516) 767-9335 • DJTIMES@TESTA. COM Editorial contributions should be addressed to The Editor, DJ Times, 25 Willowdale Avenue, Port Washington, NY, USA, 110503779. Unsolicited manuscripts will be treated with care an d should be accompanied by return postage. DJ Times (ISSN 1045-9693) (USPS 0004-153) is published monthly for $19.40 (US), $39.99 (Canada), and $59.99 (all other countries), by DJ Publishing, Inc., 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 110503779. Periodicals postage paid at Port Washington, NY, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to DJ Times, PO BOX 1767, LOWELL MA 01853-1767 Design and contents are copyright © 2011 by DJ Publishing, Inc., and must not be reproduced in any manner except by permission of the publisher. Websites: www. July 2011
visit our website: www.djtimes.com Jim Tremayne, Editor, DJ Times
FEEDBACK 2011 TOUR SET TO LAUNCH
they can grant an up-close-and-personal view of the latest products to hit the DJ industry. Whether it’s a session concerning entertain‑ ment lights and lasers or playback options, these sponsored workshops offer much more than an exhibit booth ever can. Company reps and industry professionals can take all your specific questions and help create a better show for you and your DJ company. For the latest on DJ Expo, please visit www. djexpo.com.
AmericA’s First mAgAzine For ProFessionAl DJs estAblisheD 1988
Rocks MaRquee, Vegas’ neW hoTsPoT
Mobile DJs vs. The iPoD hoW To ManufacTuRe youR bRanD MiaMi Music Week highlighTs
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– Jim Tremayne, DJ Times
5/2/2011 2:41:10 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If we do use your question, you’ll receive a free DJ Times T‑shirt. And remember, the only dumb question is the question that is not asked. What seminars and workshops do you have scheduled for DJ Expo this year? – Several Calls and Emails
First off, seminars and workshops for the 2011 DJ Expo will include three tracks: “Mobile Operator,” “DJ Cul‑ ture & Music,” and “Gear & Tech.” If you go to Page 3 in this very issue, you’ll find a rundown of some of the seminars scheduled for this year’s DJ Expo, set for Aug. 8-11 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J. Recent additions to the “DJ Culture & Music” track include “Legal FAQ for DJs.” In it, entertainment attorney and former DJ/remixer Coe Ramsey will tackle an array of crucial legal questions that mobile/club DJs and remixer/producers might have. They include: corporate formation, liability protection, employment issues, con‑ tracts, music copyrights and more. Last year, within the “Gear & Tech” track, the DJ Expo presented more sponsored seminars than ever from major DJ-gear manufacturers and other companies targeting the mobile, club and studio segments of the M.I. market. At presstime, this year’s slate of spon‑ sored sessions appears to be even thicker, with seminars scheduled from Bridelive, Chauvet Lighting, Denon DJ, Eternal Lighting, Newtek Business Systems, Pioneer DJ, Stanton DJ, and X-Laser. The great benefit of these sponsored seminars to Expo attendees is that
DON’T MISS DJ EXPO AUG. 8-11, ATLANTIC CITY, NJ www.thedjexpo.com
ECLECTIC METHOD: VIDEO MASHERS
Eclectic Method: (from left) Ian Edgar and Jonny Wilson mash it up.
Las Vegas—People are sailing in and out of the Zumanity Stage before the 4th Annual Mashable Award show gets under way, and U.K.-based VJ troupe Eclectic Method are setting the tone with A/V collages marrying “The Sound Of Music” with “Groove Is In The Heart,” and layering “Smells Like Teen Spirit” over the “Twist & Shout” scene in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In doing so, they’re not only warming up the proceedings, but prepping for a busy year. They’ve built up from a touring club anomaly in 2003 to a multimedia production house as comfortable working with Chuck D on the single “Outta Sight” as they are crafting content for Evian’s “Think Young” campaign. EM’s Jonny Wilson recalls a pivotal conversation he had with his former boss Brian Eno when he was starting out as a sound engineer. “He asked me, ‘Do you want a record deal?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah!’ And he’s like, ‘Well, if you want to have a career in music, as opposed to just the next five years, then forget the record deal.’ So ever since then, I’ve focused on enjoying what we do and doing it well.” Now fully ensconced in videoland, Wilson and his partner Ian Edgar have recently added a new approach to their live sets. They’ve gone with Serato Video-SL, a Pioneer SVM mixer, a Serato controller and an MPC controller. The two use CD decks to control the video. The duo often post
condensed versions of their work on their YouTube and Vimeo accounts, but extend and jam on them in live settings. “We have two channels of audio that’s just playing music and no video—and then we have two channels or three channels that’s playing video with sound,” Wilson explains. “And we’re mixing the two together, so every time we do this, the combinations are completely different.” The A/V DJ category has grown by leaps and bounds since Eclectic Method started, and the duo has already pinpointed many new avenues to explore. They unveiled their first foray into projection mapping with artists Seeper and CTRL at SXSW, and they’re working on a two-hour 3D performance, as well as an A/V mixtape collaboration with VJ turntablist Mike Relm. Elsewhere in the field, they express admiration for internet-based video manipulators like Norwegian Recycling and Pogo that bring microsampling techniques into their video edits. These developments keep Edgar optimistic about the future of mash-up. “All of the [video] styles still have to develop. But mash-up, in general, will continue being more and more creative,” he predicts. “Our favorite thing about it [is that] you’re crossing over genres by playing some old shit over some new shit. And I think that co-mingling of genres, that’s the best thing that can come out of it.” – Justin Hampton
IN THE STUDIO WITH…
Lucky for underground DJs seeking a varied playlist, Chris Manik’s music can’t be too easily categorized. As evidenced by his “McLovin’ You” EP (Culprit) or his 17-track debut, Armies of the Night: I Declare War (Ovum), he doesn’t step to one beat, yet he’s adept at plenty. MANIK (as he’s professionally known) can get West-Coast groovy, Detroit techy or New York bangin’—even a bit humorous and arty. No matter what time it is, MANIK’s got a hot tune for the occasion. And, after you’ve absorbed funky techno gems like “Sex Panther,” he throws a changeup. For example, how often do you get a quasi-concept, tech-house album? According to MANIK, he created Armies of the Night as his own soundtrack for the 1979 cult film, “The Warriors.” What’s up with that? We caught up with the 26-year-old Astoria, Queens-based DJ/producer to find out what makes him come out and play. DJ Times: Your Ovum album incorporates a lot of different styles. What music most influenced you? Manik: I grew up on hip-hop- and R&Bflavored music—stuff with funk and emotions, real music and songs. I take inspiration from lots of things—my environment, people, music I listen to, art I look at. This is why my album has such a varied flavor to it. I wanted to tell a story of my city, NYC, as well as
The Other 718: MANIK gleefully represents Queens.
incorporating flavors from my favorite story/film, “The Warriors.” DJ Times: What’s in your studio? Manik: I run Logic as my main DAW. I’ve used it for five years, and it’s amazing. I have a fair ratio between software to hardware gear. Love my [Roland] Juno 106 and [Sequential Circuits] Pro One. Another clutch synth I use is a [Yamaha] DX-7—great for the ’80s vibe and gives me that punchy bass when I want exactly that. Another thing is, if you use software the right way and really showcase a particular soft synth’s potentials, they can sound great. I also have various audio samples I have built up over the years to my “private library.” DJ Times: Using a dark-and-groovy tune like “She’s Slow Motion” as an example, how do you put tracks together? Manik: I just sat down and star ted a groove, then began to freehand various basslines from my DX-7. Within a few hours, I had a good base for that song. As with all of my music, I wrote that song in Logic. I think I may have come back to the project a week or so later for one more session and it was basically done. Sometimes, you really feel the project you are working on and things just roll, so it gets done quicker than you expect. That happened on “She’s Slow Motion.” DJ Times: How long have you been spinning? What DJ gear do you use? Manik: I am on [Native Instruments] Traktor for DJing. I like it as it’s simple and super-efficient—it sounds flawless. But I have only been DJing a few years. I started out a music producer first and will always be a musician before a DJ. For my “live show,” I am in a transitional stage right now, but I can say it will involve some awesome things, for sure. It’s a new project that will combine electronic- and acoustic-based music and will feature a female vocalist. DJ Times: Which DJ/producers impressed you at the beginning of your career? Manik: Mathew Jonson and Matthew Dear—I really admire both of them. Their workflow is amazing. Dear, in particular, is someone I truly look up to because I find similarities in our approach and musical tastes/vision. Not only does he DJ and produce various flavors of electronic music, but he has a band and a real live-band show. DJ Times: Which DJs impress you now? Manik: Now, I’d say Jamie Jones, Josh Wink and Steve Bug. Those guys you can learn a lot from. Their dedication and experiences within this business are priceless. DJ Times: How important is it for an EDM producer to also DJ? Manik: They go hand-in-hand because, as you begin to produce—and your music becomes more well-known—there will be an increased demand for your product—your product being you, the artist. So, it’s equally important to perform— whether DJ or live—as an artist, because that is when you can truly connect face to face with your fans. – Jim Tremayne
MANIK: WAY OF THE WARRIORS
name skrillex is
BY JUSTIN HAMPTON
DODGING THE SLINGS & ARROWS OF DUBSTEP PURISTS, SKRILLEX HAS ROCKETED TO THE TOP OF THE EDM LADDER
Burbank, Calif.—Just look at him—smoking a cigarette, sporting his massive hipster lenses and goth-kid cargo pants as he steps outside a rented soundstage, where he’s preparing for his Coachella performance in a few days. Depending on where you lie in the spectrum of opinion surrounding Sonny Moore—aka electro-dubstep kingpin Skrillex—it’s enough to make you pull the trigger or fall down and grovel at his feet. For amongst electronic dance music devotees, his music has inspired both responses. Moore must be used to it by now. Ever since striking out at age 16 as the lead vocalist and frontman for the screamo/post-hardcore act From First To Last, he’s routinely faced both adulation and scorn, thanks to that group’s emo tendencies. Upon leaving the group in 2007, Moore began working on electronic music in earnest with a series of projects—first the solo LP Bells and then the group, Sonny and The Blood Monkeys, before shifting into dance music in 2009. But it was only with the 2010 release of “My Name Is Skrillex” and his subsequent release on deadmau5’s mau5trap label, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, that Moore hit paydirt, displaying a sure-handed grip on progressive house, electro... and dubstep. And that’s when the dirt started flying. With his loud, ultra-aggressive appropriation of dubstep’s sub-bass strategies, Skrillex unwittingly thrust himself into a nasty dispute dubstep
As far as the purist fans go, they can have their opinion and that’s totally cool. In a really flattering way, I’ve had incredible support from the U.K. dubstep producer community, like all the guys, like Skream and Benga and Rusko and all of those guys, which is pretty cool—not to say that that’s my agenda for making music. At the end of the day, I just want to make music.
have their opinion and that’s totally cool. In a really flattering way, I’ve had incredible support from the U.K. dubstep producer community, like all the guys, like Skream and Benga and Rusko and all of those guys, which is pretty cool—not to say that that’s my agenda for making music. At the end of the day, I just want to make music. DJ Times: What constitutes your home studio nowadays? Skrillex: I don’t have a home right now, believe it or not. I’ve been gone since January and I’m [traveling all summer.] So my home studio is a laptop on the road with headphones that Steve [Duda] actually provided me with, ’cause I actually got two laptops stolen with two hard drives. So now I have road record that’s gone forever. But anyway, so I’ve got this new laptop and I’m making new tunes and cranking it out and just working on the road. DJ Times: So tell me how you get your bass sounds. Do you use Massive? Skrillex: I use [Native Instruments’] Massive. I use a lot of [NI’s] FM8, actually, and even Operator. I’ve actually been using the Ableton Operator FM synth just because Massive is great. Gear it towards a certain sound, whereas you can do so much with very simple sine waves. A lot of my signature monster bass sounds are actually FM8 and even Operator. DJ Times: A lot of people feel you’re applying different LFOs on the modulators. How close is that to the truth? Skrillex: There are always different strategies for different sounds. But basically, the whole idea is you have some waveform and the whole sonic spectrum is, depending on what frequencies are spiked and what frequencies are there or not there, will cause different formants. I’ve taken very simple waveforms that aren’t wave-table waveforms, like a modern talking oscillator or whatever in that synth, and actually done similar things where I’m actually automating an EQ to actually create different vowels manually. So taking a simple sine wave in Operator, in FM8 and starting with that, you can kind of get some different effects that you might not get in just automating the wave table on the Massive thing, even though I like that as well. DJ Times: What are you using for microedits? Is that in Ableton Live? Skrillex: Everything’s in Ableton, my production, mixdowns, everything. Some of the stuff that sounds more microediting, like, I’ll have sessions that are all live synths automating and moving and tracks turning on and off and set sidechain on other synths to make other things disappear and reappear. And some tracks are all audio where I’m just resampling bits. DJ Times: What about compression? Have you ever worked with outboard gear? Skrillex: No, I don’t use any outboard gear. It’s just a mobile studio right now. It’s kind of a necessity for me more than anything, so I use a lot of the Waves stuff. I really like the Hybrid Comp in the Waves bundle. And vintage warmers, you can put that on anything and it will sound good, basically, and there’s a lot of multiband compression. We use iZotope Ozone for just multiband compression and a lot of things when I’m bussing or grouping things. Plus, it has the stereo imaging, and you can kind of do it all in one interface. DJ Times: What’s planned for the upcoming LP? Are there any cameos? Do you plan to sing on this as well? Skrillex: I might. I have a little bit of my vocals on my last record on “Scary Monsters,” so I’ll probably end up doing that as well. And yeah, we’re in talks of doing some cameos of some other vocalists and even producers and stuff. Nothing’s set in stone yet. I’m actually going over to London, just to get out of LA and start working on my record Teaghan McGinnis
DJ TIMES 14
purists wage against newer and far less subtle “brostep” producers and the fratboy contingent that supposedly comes with them. And his rapid success not only angers, but frightens them. All of the eight tracks from Scary Monsters have charted on Beatport’s Top 10, a career ascent not seen from a single producer on that site since deadmau5. In particular, the title track charted at No. 1, the first dubstep track ever to do so. A string of sold-out live appearances stoked the flames further. Some read an ominous threat to the continued relevancy of dubstep itself into these developments – no, really. “There’s a difference between perversion and evolution— dubstep is undergoing both processes at once,” Andrew Ryce warned on the tastemaking online dancesite Resident Advisor. “[Skrillex’s] music does a dangerous disservice if it’s perceived as representative of ‘dubstep’ to an audience that has never come upon it before.” This should all sound familiar by now. Back in 1998, The Prodigy inspired similar fears when they released The Fat Of The Land, an album which Moore credits as introducing him to dance music, and he follows in their footsteps by dragging dancefloor orthodoxy kicking and screaming to its next phase of commercial evolution. DJs like Tiësto and Diplo have rocked Skrillex’s latest remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema,” and he’s collaborated with alt-metal touchstones KoRn on the dubstep/ alt-metal hybrid “Get Up,” which has roiled purists further. Due to his demand, Skrillex he’s been on the road constantly since last year, leaving him with little time to maintain even an apartment, let alone a home studio. So, not since Julian Assange has one homeless guy with a laptop managed to inspire and piss off as many people in such a short period of time. How does he do it? Here’s what he’s told us. DJ Times: What has been your live set-up recently? Skrillex: I have tracks and stuff—it’s a DJ set—but also using other clips, as well, that I’m launching as samples and putting them up in real time. DJ Times: Are you using Serato, Ableton Live? Skrillex: Just Ableton and using an M-Audio Trigger Finger. Also, DJ TechTools just sent me a MIDI Fighter, which is a very simple MIDI controller with arcade-style buttons. So I’m gonna run that in and trigger different effects and clips, as well, with those. It’s like a mini-Monome. I think it’s four rows of four, so we just push some buttons. I don’t think it’s a step sequencer like the Monome. DJ Times: How were you able to create dance music, while you were still fronting From First To Last? What has the reaction been from FFTL or other rock guys to your shift? Skrillex: You know what? People started to follow me over in the transition a bit later, but more recently than ever, I think. And the people that don’t like it, I don’t care (laughs). They don’t have to like everything I do and I’m not trying to please older fans. I just wanna do what I wanna do. The overall reaction of what’s happening now, like, taking away what’s been before has just been a dream come true, so I don’t really care. DJ Times: How did you discover dubstep initially? Skrillex: The first record that I bought—I wouldn’t really call it dubstep—but I remember going to Amoeba back in ’07 and asking for it. So they referred me to Burial, “Archangel.” And that record blew me away. Then from there, I also got into Skream and Benga and Caspa and DZ. DZ is from Canada, but one of the first North American dubstep guys to kind of start doing some of the grimier stuff. DJ Times: Did you think that dubstep fans would be as angered as they are today? Skrillex: As far as the purist fans go, they can
For the people who don’t like what I’m doing or what the new kids are doing, go listen to the old stuff. Those records are still there. You can still find parties that play that. That’s the other beauty of it because the bigger I get and the bigger other people get, what I’m doing, it opens more avenues for electronic music in general to be bigger. I only can hope with my success, it helps everybody else to come out and be able to do what they do and then start other scenes and change, one-up what I do and then do more things and then change this and rebel against that and make this counterculture. That’s the beauty of music, you know what I mean?
basslines fall? Skrillex: There’s always a sub. I’m always running subs separately anyway, and it’s just a simple sine wave from FM8 or Operator. I tend to stay within the keys of from E-F-G, in between the sharps and the flats, just because the subs resonate the best in those when I’m doing my dubstep stuff. Electro-house is a different mixdown technique, ’cause the sub’s coming from the kick more. You can shelve off a lot of the sub from a lot of everything else, really. If the kick is there, it’s the main sort of focus. But to dissect music like that, if you’re having technical talks, it’s cool. But at the end of the day, it should just have an emotional effect on you. And that’s what I’m doing it for and, if it has an emotional effect that you don’t like, then don’t listen to it. But like to dissect frequencies and why it has this emotional effect to me is redundant and a waste of time. DJ Times: You also DJed at the mtvU Woody awards. Now obviously, that’s gonna be interstitial music, not really much room for you to maneuver. Skrillex: Yeah, yeah. I had, like, cue points where I trigger certain songs, and I got to trigger my songs into some of the breaks and play them. But in between, when they have the commercial breaks, I’m actually just playing whatever I want for the crowd that’s off-air, which is cool. I’ve got Dave Grohl sitting next to me and he came up to me afterwards, like, “That was awesome!” which is pretty cool. DJ Times: Could you ever imagine going back to rock-nroll? Skrillex: In the traditional sense? No, but I think rock-nroll’s really an attitude. I think technology will change and I think that’s kind of in my blood anyway, the melodic side as well—you know what I mean? So I don’t think any time soon. Not to say that that will never happen, but right now. I’m kind of on this one track where I’m going to expand off of what I have now. DJ Times: Some may worry about dance music ending up like disco did after a rather ugly backlash. It’s come a long way from then, and people may worry about the music they love ending up the same way. Skrillex: Those days in any genre will never be the same. Music always changes, and I’m not a dubstep artist. I never call myself a dubstep artist. DJ Times: MTV did call you “The Prince of Dubstep,” though. Skrillex: That’s cool. That’s someone else’s opinion just as much as someone else who doesn’t like me has an opinion about me. And I’m not trying to overexpose anything. I haven’t had one radio hit. I haven’t had any money in a marketing campaign of mine. Other than Biz3 doing my press, my publicity, there’s nothing behind me. Other than in Australia and in Radio One, which is different, there’s nothing major pushing me. DJ Times: And both Triple J and BBC, they’re state-funded. Skrillex: Yeah. It’s a different culture out there, but like I was saying before, the beauty behind whatever you wanna call it, dubstep or electronic music now is it’s so big, but it’s so organic because Britney Spears having a dubstep breakdown doesn’t really mean much when a guy like Pretty Lights, who is selling out Red Rocks two nights in a row. To me, that’s what matters, and if it gets big, God bless it getting big because it deserves to if people love it. Black Metal was guys burning churches. And then Cradle of Filth is more the pop version of that, all due respect. Odd Future is another example, where you have this skater satanic hip-hop shit that I’ve been seeing at Hollywood High for years and that made it to the mainstream, not watered down at all. Britney Spears does a Teaghan McGinnis
DJ TIMES 16
a little bit. I have to start over because my shit was stolen. But I’ll be at the Pendulum studio, just in a room by myself working out of there, and we’ll end up doing a track together as well, so yeah, that will be cool. DJ Times: You’re one of the first North American producers who didn’t have to develop a following overseas before the American market accepted you. What have you learned from your encounters over there? Do they seem surprised by that development? Skrillex: With the internet, it’s kind of creating this oneness between the cultures, because like, back in the day, DJs would fly to different places, fly to Chicago to see what the Chicago guys were playing. People would fly to LA and dig through record shops to find out what the local people were playing, trading dubplates or whatever.That’s been going on a lot longer in Europe, so that’s always been part of their culture, the big festival culture. So I think that kind of makes things a bit more seamless. As far as crowd reactions, like here and in America and Australia and Canada and all over Europe and England, it’s all pretty cohesive. DJ Times: Tell me about Moombahton. Dave Nada seemed excited that he may have won you over to the sound. So how are you working with it? What draws you to it? Skrillex: I just love it. It makes you wanna dance. It’s funny because I love reggaeton, like really dirty. Tego Calderón is one of my fucking favorite artists, man. It has that same groove. But it’s club music, and I remember seeing Dave Nada play at Cinespace. My track “Reptile,” have you heard that yet? DJ Times: Yeah. Skrillex: That was actually my first kinda attempt at Moombahton, and then I kinda sidetracked and went ADD and just made it this 110-BPM dance, four-on-the-floor wobble-fidgetwhatever track. But it was definitely Dave Nada, Dillon Francis and Munchi and those guys who inspired me to take it down to that BPM. DJ Times: Have you learned anything technically from deadmau5, Noisia? You mentioned those guys as instrumental to bringing you to the place where you are now. Skrillex: Yeah, more in an inspirational aspect than actually technically. I’ve never asked them for their drum samples or their bass patches. I wouldn’t want to do that— same with Joel/deadmau5. I have a lot of unfinished, unreleased material that I’ve done with Noisia that we co-produced together as well, which is really cool shit. We’ve just got to find out what we want to do with it. Pendulum, too—when I mix, when I try to do things, I’m constantly aping those guys. DJ Times: Any plans to start a record label? Skrillex: My record label is called Owsla, and it’s actually from the book, Watership Down. Owsla were the elite rabbit army that basically beat up all the other rabbits. Porter Robinson is gonna be my first Owsla release. DJ Times: How about favorite clubs? People often talk about sound systems and how crucial that is to bringing out sub-bass. Skrillex: Yeah, Beta Club in Denver is an insane club. They have an incredible Funktion-One system. The Studio club in Budapest is one of the top clubs in all of Europe. They have a 5,000-cap room and they have Funktion-One front of house and then lining the fucking walls going all the way to the end of this giant megaclub. And I really like this place up in Vancouver called Celebrities. Blueprint Events does that. My homies down in San Diego do Voyeur, which is an incredible club, smaller, 600-cap. I’ve played there with deadmau5 before. DJ Times: A lot of the critiques about stuff people call brostep. They say, “That’s not bass. It’s midrange. There’s no sub-bass.” So where do your
little dubstep in a breakdown, cool, or maybe Nero’s “Me And You” being Top 40 record out there. The politics of radio don’t fucking matter anymore because people used to listen to the radio or listen to their favorite DJs—at least out here [in L.A.]— ’cause they knew their favorite DJs would play good shit. But now it’s all Top 40. It’s all dictated. DJ Times: And people don’t have to listen to terrestrial radio to hear new music. Skrillex: They have other avenues to find their music. And there will always be new styles of music. For the people who don’t like what I’m doing or what the new kids are doing, go listen to the old stuff. Those records are still there. You can still find parties that play that. That’s the other beauty of it because the bigger I get and the bigger other people get, what I’m doing, it opens more avenues for electronic music in general to be bigger. I only can hope with my success, it helps everybody else to come out and be able to do what they do and then start other scenes and change, one-up what I do and then do more things and then change this and rebel against that and make this counterculture. That’s the beauty of music, you know what I mean? DJ Times: So with the initial tracks you made for “Bells,” what did you start out with? Is it the same stuff you’re using now? Skrillex: Just some Pro Tools, some Ableton, some schorgasboardy—just trying to figure it out. Back when I was programming when I was younger, I was using Fruity Loops and Reason and just kind of doing it myself. And I actually did some remixes for From First To Last and programming on the records as well. So it was always kind of an experiment. And then I fell in love with Live probably a couple of years ago and that’s been my thing. And when “Bells” was kind of a schmorgasboard between Pro Tools, Pro Tools was what I first became completely fluent in, so I was using a lot of that, rendering stuff and bringing it into Live chopping it up and realizing I can just do it all in here. DJ Times: What have you been using for beats? Skrillex: A lot of my snare drums, which I take pride in, are just 909s, like a basic 909, like the waveforms that are created. They’re very basic forms and I’m layering them with acoustic snares. I’ll build a lot of my own snares and then kicks and stuff are from random sample libraries that I’ll treat over time, kind of archive and stuff like that. And for every different mix, I’ll try some different
shit and try layering it differently. DJ Times: Any DJs or artists coming up that you want people to know about? Skrillex: God, I saw Subfocus play at Ultra, which was insane. 12th Planet’s always insane, Skream and Benga. The Glitch Mob, they’re amazing. J. Rabbit’s fuckin’ doing some great productions, dude. He’s sick. DJ Times: How is that different
from rock when you play live? Skrillex: It’s not much different, as far as the experience goes of me feeling good. It’s that same feeling. I think I like it even more, ’cause it’s all my creation. It’s exactly how I want it. There’s always a moment where, whenever “Scary Monsters” plays, and a whole audience of 1,000 people will try to sing my vocal, as it stutters—it gives me chills every single time. And
I pull out the fader and I hear this crowd singing a sound, because there’s no lyric, really, in that part. It’s just a feeling that you can provide. DJ Times: What are the samples from at the end of “Rock And Roll”? Skrillex: Well, Tim Smith is my manager, and there’s the sample at the end where a guy’s like, “Rock and Roll! Tim Smith, yeah, it’s fun to say (continued on page 42)
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road report: THE POPULAR EURO TRIO TAKES ITS BRAND OF UPLIFTING, ENERGETIC TRANCE TO U.S. CLUBLAND
Above & Beyond: (L-R) Paavo SiljamÃ¤ki, Tony McGuinness & Jono Grant.
BY ANGELA BRAY & JOE BERMUDEZ Boston—Above & Beyond has become world-famous for its brand of hypnotic, uplifting and melodic trance. But rating highly in international DJ polls is only a fraction of the hype for Jono Grant, Paavo Siljamäki and Tony McGuinness. The trio’s radio show, “Trance Around The World,” reaches over 30 million listeners in 35 countries. Their impressive productions can’t go unrecognized either—a quick discography glance highlights global favorites like “No One On Earth” and “Good For Me” (both featuring Zoë Johnston), plus other hits like “Air For Life (with Andy Moor), “Can’t Sleep” and “Home.” The U.K.-based trio can even boast remixing tracks for Madonna, Britney Spears and Dido. And their live DJ shows are things to behold. From Coachella to Electric Zoo to Ultra Music Festival, fans are synched to each beat from slow grooves to scorching bangers. Currently on tour to support Group Therapy, the group’s recent release on their own Anjunabeats label, Above & Beyond’s Grant and Siljamäki sat down with DJ Times before their recent appearance at Royale in Boston. DJ Times: This tour is quite insane because you’re doing 34 dates just in North America. Do you miss home at all? Grant: Absolutely, yeah. You always miss home when you’re on tour, but it’s worth it. Especially touring here in North America, we’ve got some great fans out here and it makes it all worthwhile. DJ Times: What kind of things do you do when you’re going to that many cities? Siljamäki: It’s a bit of a combination of everything. We’ve been actually hanging out here in the venue this afternoon. They’ve been doing a really cool production for us, so that’s kind of what tends to happen. We end up going to the venue, hang out a bit, maybe go and grab some wonderful dinner, like we just did. It’s really not so rock-and-roll all the time. DJ Times: There’s a weird rumor about your technical rider that your opening DJs are not allowed to play over 128 BPM. Is this true or is that just an urban legend? Grant: We didn’t write it. Our management did, but it makes sense to have a warm-up DJ warming up rather than sort of trying to steal the show. It’s nice to be able to play a full Above & Beyond set starting at a slow tempo and building up to more banging stuff. If someone’s done that job beforehand, it’s not too helpful. So I’m sure that’s why that’s in there. DJ Times: When you’re out there, do you find a lot of resident DJs just don’t have patience or that DJs in general have trouble with that? Siljamäki: Well, obviously there are lots of resident DJs around the world, lots of people with different styles and everything, but I think all the good resident DJs always have a progression of the night in mind. We really love playing with Jaytech—he’s doing a lot of dates on this tour with us. The other guy we really love playing with is Mat Zo—he’s also doing about half the shows. I think the best nights are ones where the artists naturally end up creating a wonderful progression from sort of groovier, more downtempo stuff and into a really uplifting, absolutely having-it moment—and I think that’s what we’re about, giving people a
(continued on page 42)
by wesley bryant-king
everything you ever wanted to know about digital djing (but were afraid to ask)
digital djing primer
It wasn’t quite so long ago where “being a DJ” meant pretty much one and only one thing in terms of the hardware needed to do the job: a pair of turntables, a mixer, and a pile of music. While many DJs still deliver the goods this way, the emergence of digital DJing in the last several years has produced an often-confusing array of options. A mixer is still center-stage, but it may be real or virtual, and the same goes for the decks. And that over-simplification doesn’t even scratch the surface of the options available to the DJ moving to digital for the first time, or for digital DJs looking to change up their game. In this article, I’ll be taking a look at all the primary approaches to digital DJing, and the focus is to help you understand your choices and options, and why you might pick one vs. another. Much like the type of car you drive, a DJ’s preferred set-up is largely a matter of personal preference and style, what type of DJing you do and, to some extent, your budget. It’s important to point out that there is no right or wrong here—every approach to DJing (including the “old-skool” non-digital deck-and-mixer
approach) has its merits. But with the guidance and insight provided by this overview, it’s my hope to equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed choices in the digital domain. The Approaches The basic DJ paradigm hasn’t changed in the move to digital. There’s still a mixer, and there’s still a source of music (decks of some sort). What has changed is the form that these elements take—and where a computer is involved, there needs to be some way to get audio into and out of the PC. It’s also worth mentioning that “going digital” is not all-or-nothing, as we’ll see. Let’s start with an introduction to the fundamental types of digital DJing. The following terms are those I’ve come to use, along with descriptions of each: Full Digital: Internal Mixing In the Full Digital: Internal Mixing approach, everything exists in software running on a computer, and all the music is from digital music files on a disk drive. This is probably what most people think of when they think of “digital
DJing.” It involves a computer, DJ software, a computer audio interface, and some sort of controller to bridge the gap between your fingers, and the decks and mixers—which with Internal Mixing, exist only inside the software. Pretty much every DJ software application offers this approach as one of its options, including Traktor, Virtual DJ, Torq, and Serato Itch, among others. It’s important to understand that with Internal Mixing, you may have a piece of hardware that looks like a mixer and decks—but in reality merely controls the virtual mixer and decks that live solely within the DJ software running on your computer. Connections to the house sound system or PA, as well as connections for the microphone, if you use one, are through the computer audio interface. Because everything routes through the audio interface and computer, there can be latency (slight delays) in the audio signals when using a mic, and with some types of monitoring setups. It’s worth noting that in many cases today,
the computer audio interface and DJ controller components are often combined into a single hardware device—something I’ll cover in more detail later. Full Digital: External Mixing In the Full Digital: External Mixing approach, the decks and music sources still exist in a virtual sense, within the DJ software application. In fact, everything is the same as an Internal Mixing set-up, except that (as the name implies), mixing is performed with a hardware audio mixer. As a result, the connections required for this approach are more complicated (i.e., there are more cables to run), and more channels are required on the computer audio interface due to the fact that the virtual decks in the software must leave the computer, route through the mixer, and in some cases, route back into the computer. The hardware to support this approach can vary, but like Internal Mixing, some sort of device is needed to control the virtual decks inside the software. Because you’ll have
a regular mixer in the booth, control is best provided by specialized, transport-only controllers, such as Allen & Heath’s Xone:1D or Stanton’s SCS.3D, designed to be used in pairs typically (one for each virtual deck). There are also blended hardware mixer/controllers, like A&H’s Xone:4D, that fit this approach well. One potential advantage of external mixing is that most DJ mixers have more input and output options for connecting microphones and patching to sound systems or PA, than are usually available from the computer audio interface when using internal mixing. Most DJ software applications support external mixing as an option, including Traktor, Virtual DJ, Torq, and others. Hybrid (Digital/Conventional) The Hybrid approach is not fundamentally different from the External Mixing approach I just described. The change is that in addition to virtual decks that reside solely in software, you add outside sources of audio content, usually in the form of CDJs or turntables. Having additional audio sources may create the need
for even more channels on the computer audio interface, and adds more cabling to the set-up. It also necessitates using a four-channel DJ mixer, since two channels are typically used for the external audio sources, and two are typically used for the virtual decks. The Hybrid approach is perhaps the most complex in terms of set-up, but it does offer “play anything” flexibility to the DJ, because you can mix freely between MP3s on the virtual decks, audio CDs or records on the physical decks, and content on attached USB devices or iPods. As with External Mixing, some sort of controller is required to manage transport on the virtual decks. What changes is that in some instances, the CDJs themselves can be connected via USB to the computer, and in essence, become MIDI controllers that can then be mapped to the DJ software. Among others, Traktor offers support for this type of control interface for some brands and models of CD decks. Scratch DigitalThe Scratch Digital ap-
Computer DJ Software
Music (on Disk)
Music (on Disk)
DJ Mixer DJ Controller
(May be combined into a single unit) Full Digital Internal Mixing: Everything exists in the software.
Full Digital External & Hybrid: Mixing performed by hardware mixer.
proach was one of the first digital DJing methods to emerge, and quickly gained wide acceptance for at least two reasons. First, it leverages the turntables or CD decks—and DJ mixers—that many DJs are already familiar with. Second, the workflow and tactile feel is the same as conventional mixerand-deck approaches.
Scratch Digital brings a computer (and its digital music content) into the mix in a somewhat novel way. It begins with a hardware DJ mixer and hardware decks (or turntables). The decks are loaded with special time-coded media (CDs or vinyl), and the cable connections between the decks and the mixer are rerouted to incorporate a specialized computer audio interface. The audio on the media isn’t actually played to the audience; its signals are instead used by the “scratch” DJ software, and interpreted as control movements. Move the platter on the physical deck, and the virtual deck inside the software moves to match; the music playing on those virtual decks is affected accordingly. As a result, fundamental DJ techniques are unchanged. The special audio interfaces required for Scratch Digital, such the Rane products used by Serato Scratch Live, are designed to make the connections simple and easy-to-understand, while the mixer itself continues to be the gateway to the house audio or PA, and the method of connecting microphones or off-board effects. Scratch Digital is the method offered by Serato Scratch Live, Traktor Scratch, and others. The Hardware Now that you understand the available options at the high level, let’s dive more deeply into the underlying functions involved, and what hardware is available for each, along with how they’re used and the options you have for assembling your preferred solution. Audio I/O For virtually all digital DJ approaches, some sort of computer audio interface is required. While every computer these days comes with some sort of audio I/O, it’s generally not of much use to the digital DJ. For a start, to play one source of audio to the crowd, and monitor another source of audio in the headphones, requires two separate
outputs—one more than the typical computer offers. When you add-in external audio sources; use a microphone; and/or if you want to record or broadcast your mix but use the external mixing approach, then even more input and/or output channels will be required. For this reason, a good quality multichannel audio interface is essential. For Windows users, this generally means something that supports low-latency ASIO, or for Mac, Core Audio, interfaces. Either one means specialized hardware, most often connected through USB. There are a lot of choices: Full Digital: Internal Mixing users have the simplest requirements; the bare minimum is a two stereo out interface, such as Native Instruments’ Audio 2 DJ. Most DJ controllers (see below) on the market today have integrated audio interfaces built-in, which will also meet the needs of the internal mixer approach. Full Digital: External Mixing and Hybrid users have the most complex requirements. For each virtual deck used (up to four), a stereo output pair on the interface is required, which are then connected to mixer inputs. To record (for demos or podcasts) or to broadcast your session through your DJ software, the record outs on the mixer need to be connected to a stereo input pair on the interface. In some unusual configurations, external devices may be connected to the audio interface as well, which requires more input channels on the interface. Scratch Digital users generally require specific, approved interfaces to patch the hardware decks and their time-coded media to the computer. Requirements for these special interfaces are available from the maker of your scratch DJ software. Control Some method of controlling the virtual decks that exist solely in your DJ software is, of course, a requirement for digital DJing, as is some mixercontrol method when using the Internal Mixing approach I described earlier. While you can control things with a computer mouse, it’s rather like trying to DJ with one finger. For this reason, dedicated DJ controllers have emerged to provide this interface
between man and machine: Full Digital: Internal Mixing users need control for both the deck transport, and for the mixer—both of which exist only in software. The myriad controllers on the market today are a perfect fit for exactly this scenario. They all provide transport control (play buttons, jog wheels, pitch faders), and mixer control (EQ knobs, level faders). When you push a button or move a knob, it moves the equivalent button or knob in the software. Many also provide additional controls from effects, looping, and other aspects of your DJ software. Full Digital: External Mixing and Hybrid users need control only for deck transport, since the mixer is no longer virtualized. As mentioned previously, there are deck-only controllers on the market which can be positioned on either side of the DJ mixer as you would CDJs or turntables. Hybrid users, as mentioned earlier, may have the option of using their attached CD decks as controllers, provided they can be connected to the computer (via USB), and have control support in your DJ software of choice. Scratch Digital users don’t need to worry about control—it’s inherent to the approach in the form of decks or turntables with their time-coded media. Mixing The means to blend multiple sources of audio into one is at the very core of being a DJ. Here’s how it works for each approach: Full Digital: Internal Mixing users have a mixer built into their software, as outlined previously. As a result, the “mixer” (or at least what looks like one) is in the form of a controller described above. Full Digital: External Mixing, Hybrid, and Scratch Digital users will all use a hardware DJ mixer of some sort. For External Mixing users, two channels is sufficient (unless you want to juggle four virtual decks), as it is for Scratch users. For the Hybrid user, a four-channel mixer is required, as typically two channels (often 2 and 3) are for the virtual decks, and two more (often 1 and 4) are for the hardware decks.
Scratch Digital: Old-school and tactile approach.
Computer DJ Software
Music (on Disk)
Beyond the channel count, which mixer you choose is a matter of personal choice. But if you want to add effects to the hardware audio sources, or to the master out, those would be provided by the mixer (or perhaps an off-board effects unit connected to the mixer). Choose a mixer that offers the extra bells and whistles and things like microphone inputs or additional outputs that match your needs. (Multiple, selectable inputs for each channel can be a help too; see the next section.) Decks I’ve probably covered decks—both virtual, and physical—sufficiently already. The only other consideration is how many of them (two, three or four—perhaps more) that you want to juggle, and whether they’re virtual, physical, or both. The answer depends on your style and needs. It’s also worth mentioning that many DJ software applications are beginning to add specialized “decks” designed for short audio clips which can be played looped and in-tempo (such as percussion loops), or as one-shots (such as sound effects, bumpers or IDs, etc.). Offering another layer of capability and flexibility, and enabling entirely new techniques such as “on-the-fly” remixing, it’s another item to consider. Note that for External Mixing and Hybrid users, these virtual decks do require audio interface output channels, cabling, and a spot on the mixer to include them in your set. This is where a DJ mixer with multiple, selectable inputs per-channel can be useful, so that a single mixer channel can actually serve more than one audio source. (Internal Mixing users need not worry about this; these clip decks will join the mix via software alone.) Additional Considerations Now that we’ve covered the approaches available to the digital DJ to do their thing, and we’ve covered some of the functions (and hardware) required for the job, let’s cover a few more advance topics to consider when moving to digital, or expanding your options. Blended, Componentized or Unusual Hardware Manufacturers are introducing new DJ products
seemingly every day, and are beginning to address some of the complexity involved by blending various hardware components together. DJ controllers used to provide control functions only; they were simply purpose-built MIDI control surfaces. Today however, virtually all of them on the market also offer at least basic audio interface capabilities, providing an all-in-one solution for Internal Mixing users. Some even offer limited hardware mixing capabilities with support for external decks—many with an ability to allow external playback in the event of a computer lockup or software crash. Examples include Allen & Heath, whose Xone:3D and 4D combine a conventional hardware DJ mixer, computer audio interface, and MIDI control into a single box, while Stanton offers hardware that’s componentized, allowing for mix-and-match capabilities to suit unique needs. Audio Channel Limitations One of the limitations of many of the combined controller/ audio interface products on the market is that their audiointerface capabilities may be limited in the number of input and/ or output channels. These limitations may impact certain DJing scenarios. To cite an example of this, many controllers with audio interfaces support microphone connections. But the microphone audio is often routed directly to the master out, without being routed on an input channel into the com-
puter and its DJ software. A product like this would preclude, for example, recording voiceovers on the computer for podcasts, mixshows, DJ demos, and the like. This same type of limitation may be present in the support for external audio sources; they may be mixed only into the master out, and not be routed to the computer. With any digital DJing approach, assess all your needs for connections, signal sources, and other requirements, and make certain the approach you take and hardware you buy supports all your needs. Controller Mapping While there are specialized and proprietary solutions on the market that eliminate this concern by matching specific hardware and software (examples including Serato Itch and supported controllers, as well as Native Instruments’ Traktor Kontrol S4), for most digital DJing, you need to be aware of the issues involved with controller mapping. What this means is that a DJ controller is essentially a MIDI device, albeit one with a specific purpose. When you press a button, and it generates (conatinued on page 42)
MAKING TRACKS STUDIO…HARDWARE…SOFTWARE…
TOP EFFECT: IZOTOPE’S STUTTER EDIT Stutter Edit gives DJ/producers novel ways to manipulate audio.
By Phil Moffa
Boston-based company iZotope has a solid reputation for making versatile and powerful plug-ins that won’t break the bank. DJ-artist/sound designer Brian Transeau (aka BT) has long been known for creating innovative electronic music, while staying at the forefront of production technology with his company, Sonik Architects. BT and iZotope now have teamed up to release Stutter Edit, a BT-signature tool that promises to inject effects that, at the press of a single key, sound like they took painstaking hours to create. Upon its announcement at this past Winter NAMM show, our interest was piqued. An effect that repeats fragments of audio at rhythmic intervals, Stutter Edit is used within a DAW like Pro Tools, Live, Logic, etc. You begin by making Stutter Edit an insert plug-in on an audio track. Next, you create a MIDI track whose output is assigned to the track with Stutter Edit on it. From there, all you need to do is press a single note on a standard MIDI keyboard and Stutter Edit does its magic. Within the pre-packaged or usersaved presets, each MIDI note can be assigned to what is known as a Gesture. Each Gesture can be either a Stutter effect or what is known as a Generator. Stutter effects chop, mangle, distort, and delay the audio that passes through them, while Generators create new sounds like noise sweeps.You are capable of playing both a Generator and Stutter simultaneously for even more layered effects. Within seconds, I was beating up some audio on a stereo mix and making interesting fills that sounded like they took a long time to make. Imagine accessing Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, or, well, BT at the push of a button. Stutter Edit can be used on any track, whether it is the master fader, a bus, or a single audio track. Across the top of the plug-in screen is the Stutter Matrix. Here, there are boxes to check off that
determine which note values are going to be part of the stutter, ranging from half note to 1/1,024 note. This includes normal, dotted, and triplet values for a total of 30 different note lengths. Working within your sequencer to a set tempo is the necessary to keep Stutter Edit in sync with a song. On the right side of the matrix is a set of boxes in a piano format with a range of C2 to C5 that can be clicked to create a scale for a more musicalsounding stutter. Some users would probably benefit from a drop-down box for scales to be selected, but you are on your own music theory-wise. It is worth noting that entering scales into the matrix yielded some of the best sounding effects. Below the matrix are Global Gesture Settings like length, grid size and release mode, which determines what happens when you let go of a key, plus a button for palindrome looping. Stutter effects are built via a number of modules which can be turned on or off and used either solo or in combination with each other. The stutter modules include Stutter, Quantize, Gate, Jump Pan, and Buffer Position. Any combination of these can be used simultaneously to stutter and chop audio in different ways. They all have similar controls including an on/off button, a timeline dot that shows the position of the effect, handles for setting range and direction, and a curve control. Within these parameters, the Stut-
ter Effect’s movement and speed are determined and there are so many subtle possibilities of what each effect can sound like. This, coupled with the fact that the audio track that the effect is being used on is the actual source material, really opens up a plethora of unique effects. The different modules are more easily understood after a bit of experimentation. I found the Buffer Position module to sometimes introduce undesirable pops and clicks that are only suitable for glitch music. The Generators make completely new sound effects that do not use an audio track for source material. The first thing you can choose is the length and start position of the Generator, so you are never offbeat. Within the Generator panel is a drop-down labeled “Noise Table” that allows the choice of different sampled noises that are continuous loops and one-shot samples like crashes. The different effects that can be assigned to these noise sources include Gain, Pitch, Lo-Fi, Band-Pass Filter, and Delay. You can also send a Generator to a Stutter via the Stutter Gate Send Module. Similar to the Stutter modules, every Generator module has a range and curve control to determine the speed of the effects. Long story short, this is a very easy way to dial in a variety of noisy sound effects that are typically used for texture and transitions.
The stock presets are great, but the real fun is making banks of new Gestures. Fortunately, the way banks of effects are stored in the Preset Manager is easy to work with. At a glance, you can see what effects are assigned to the keys and what type of effect they are. Copying and pasting within the banks is done by right-clicking and you can easily drag effects to any key. These are most welcomed features. This allows for easy designing of unique banks and building off of your settings. Designing your own presets is also a great way to learn how the different modules operate. Quibbles: One feature that I would love to see in a future release is “undo.” Sometimes you can go too far with an effect and it would be great to take a few steps back in the sound design. Also, on version 1.00, I experienced some crashes in Pro Tools, but this was easily remedied by an update. In fact, iZotope has already done a few updates and proved that they are certainly on top of keeping their software running and current. Stutter Edit ($249 list) is capable of a great deal of sound-design possibilities with a specialty in rhythmic effects. With some time sank into programming, it can add many dimensions to any audio track and can pull off sounds that appear like they took way more time to program then they actually did.
Momma Said NOX You Out
© 2010 Red Chip Company Ltd. Technical specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 985-90000-01432
Kick Ass with the New NOX DJ Mixers BEHRINGER’s new NOX Series DJ mixers pull no punches—they’re comin’ in swinging with pro-level feature sets that’ll make the competition throw in the towel. These technical knock-outs include contact-free optical Inﬁnium crossfaders and USB audio connectivity, plus Beat-Syncable FX! All these features are standard across the NOX series’ ﬁve weight classes— and the NOX606 even features assignable VCF’s. There’s no split decision when the choice is this clear—pound for pound, these are the best mixers in the arena.
SOUNDING OFF PLAYBACK…PRO AUDIO…PROCESSING
Create a mix via dragand-drop, using the software’s timeline view.
Perfect for Newbies: Stanton’s Scratch DJ Academy MIX! software.
By Wesley Bryant-King
STANTON SOFTWARE: GET IN THE MIX!
“The software integrates mixing
and DJing hints
and tips, drawn from the curriculum of Scratch DJ Academy.”
The team at Stanton DJ has been serving the DJ market for years with a line of innovative products that includes some very unique takes on digital DJ controllers, along with “old-skool” vinyl turntables, CD decks, and mixers. And now, the Deerfield Beach, Fla.based Stanton (stantondj.com) has partnered up with one of the most well-known names in DJ and music education to create Scratch DJ Academy MIX! software. This new software is designed to make it easy for users to create high-quality, digital versions of the old-fashioned mix tapes many of us used to make in the old days. Competitive with products such as the venerable MixMeister, it’s a great tool for people new to the concept of beat-matching and mixing to get up-to-speed on applicable terminology and techniques, without getting overwhelmed by the minutia involved in DJ mixing “by hand,” or having to practice for months to develop the chops. Using the software begins with bringing music into the MIX! library. The integrated ID3 editor makes it easy to keep the library and its tracks clean and organized. The software identifies the BPM
of the track—and, importantly, it identifies the track’s key as well. Creating a mix is largely a matter of drag-and-drop, using the software’s timeline view. The overlap lengths of mixes can be easily adjusted as desired. Newbies will appreciate that when you bring a song into the mix, the software automatically suggests other tracks whose keys and tempo are most compatible, helping ensure harmonic and beat compatibility, and introduce these important concepts for aspiring DJs who may later move to more conventional DJ applications. I particularly liked the fact that the software integrates mixing and DJing hints and tips, drawn from the curriculum of Scratch DJ Academy, the acclaimed DJ instructors. In using the software, I was able to put together some effective mixes almost immediately. The only thing I found wanting was that no tools were provided to adjust the mix curves; you can adjust the length, but not the levels of each track during the crossover. The provided “Scratch FX,” which can be applied to overlaps, also didn’t seem that useful or practical—at least not for the types of
music I customarily work with. I did find the BPM detection and key identification algorithms to be quite accurate, and I really liked the great drag-and-drop support, making it fast and easy to bring in individual tracks to the MIX! library—or even entire folders of tracks. Once you get a mix set-up to your liking—which you can preview to your heart’s content—a simple click of a button renders out the completed mix in perfect form, ready to play, drop onto your iPod or iPhone, etc. If you’re a working DJ who already uses pro DJ software, you might look to Stanton MIX! software as a quick, easy tool for testing song-to-song mix compatibility with that pile of new music you just got, without spending a bunch of time on the effort. But even if you’re just someone who wants to knock out some effective mixes for your next party or aerobics class, Stanton’s new Scratch DJ Academy MIX!, which sports a $49 street price, may be just the ticket. If you have any questions for Sounding Off or Wesley Bryant-King, please send them to djtimes@testa. com.
Annalyze has earned herself the envious position of America’s leading lady of party rock and hip hop. Dicers don’t leave her side: “Dicers are the most responsive and convenient MIDI device I’ve ever used. Mixing, looping and cueing with the dicer is so on point. they’re small enough to fit in the 45’ and not intimidating in the slightest. Whether on turntables or CDJs, I don’t play without them!”
MOBILE PROFILE CAREERS…INNOVATIONS…SUCCESS STORIES In Mike Walter’s book: “We are what we repeatedly do.”
By Mike Walter
get better and better and more and more comfortable. It’ll become your own. I use scripts when I teach my DJs. They usually spend the first week or two reading off the scripts and reciting what they’ve been given. Then they begin to wean off the written words and this is where the rap becomes their own. I don’t want my DJs to memorize anything. I want them to internalize everything, and then give it back to me in their own words. This is how I have great consistency on staff, and yet each of my DJs retains their own individual style. Throughout the classroom portion of my training I am careful to encourage my trainees with positive feedback and constructive criticism. Performers, by nature, are a fragile breed. You can crush a new recruit’s enthusiasm with one insensitive remark or over-the-top critique. I also never give my feedback on the microphone. Bad news, as I’ve learned, is bad enough, without hearing it delivered and amplified through a big, bad sound system. My thoughts on training are just some of the advice I offer up in my new book, “Running Your Multi-Op.” I sat down to write this book last year and as I did, I found myself pulling from the experiences I’ve had in this great business since the late ’80s. I offer some of these first-hand accounts in the book but only when there’s a greater lesson to be learned. This isn’t a “Here’s My Life As a DJ” book. It was meant to be a field manual for anyone looking to grow their mobile-DJ business and from the early feedback I’ve received, I think I hit the mark. Whether you are a Single-Op looking to add his first DJ or a Multi-Op looking to grow or even maintain your current size, talent is the lifeblood of what we do. Finding talent is the first step. In my book I’ll help you identify the traits that make prospective DJs the perfect candidates for your roster, because this industry isn’t for everyone. As I tell my DJs, if everyone could do it, we couldn’t command the premium fees that we do. But because only a small segment of the population even has the right traits to be good at this industry, once you pinpoint those traits and then find people who possess them, your roster will begin to take shape. And your DJs, your talent, will always be your defining brand. People will know you by the DJs who represent your name. Once you’ve found the right potential talent, training them correctly and thoroughly is key. You want them to resemble your style, yet incorporate their own unique talents. Again, my book will help you create a training program that will make this happen. I offer tips and suggestions on how to train talent that has no DJ experience to best emulate you and your specific style. That, at its crux, is the key to duplicating yourself and my book offers numerous suggestions on how to do this culled from my own personal experience. And finally, the real key to success in this business is retaining your talent. It’s like the old saying, “Wealth isn’t what you make—it’s what you keep.” Finding and training DJs only helps you be successful if those DJs stick around. “Running Your Multi-Op” spends plenty of time and offers numerous tips and techniques about how to create an environment that will make your DJs want to stay with you. If you’d like to pick up a copy of “Running Your Multi-Op”, visit my website: www.djmikewalter.com. It’s available in paperback or as an audio book. Mike Walter is the owner of New Jersey-based Elite Entertainment and the longtime host of DJ Expo’s DJ of the Year Competition.
TRAINING: ONE DJ’S KEY TO SUCCESS
“Why do you even have a cordless microphone?” That’s part of one of the earliest lessons I learned in this business. The question was posed by John Murphy, my first boss and the owner of Star DJs at one of our monthly meetings. He was asking one of us (thankfully not me) why he wasn’t out on the dancefloor more making things happen and getting involved with the crowd. His question about the cordless microphone rang so true it left this guy speechless. And the rest of us, probably 30 other Star DJs, all sat quietly, learning the lesson. If we wanted to make the right impressions at our events and, in doing so, generate the most referrals possible, then we needed to interact with the guests. We needed to utilize the technology that exists and take our cordless microphones out onto the dancefloor and make things happen. I worked for Murphy for almost five years and then ventured out on my own. I’ve since grown my company (Elite Entertainment) to a fairly nice size (20 DJs and 1,200+ events per year). Along the way I have continued many of the philosophies that Murphy instilled in me early on at Star DJs: Interact; You Can Teach Others How to DJ; and Delegate or Suffocate. Training is the key component to my success at Elite Entertainment. I’ve been able to duplicate what I personally do at events with numerous DJs. I’ve made it a conscious decision to recruit people with no DJing experience (hence no bad habits and preconceived notions about the business) and fill their heads with everything I need them to know. I do this through rehearsal and repetition as we perform everything from Bridal Party Introductions to The Electric Slide over and over and over. It was Aristotle some two millennia ago who said, “We are what we repeatedly do” and I instill that truth in my DJs. If you want to be great at something, do it. And when it comes to something performance-based, do it over and over. Through repetition you’ll
PA AND MONITORS. COMBINED.
May 1, 2011 – June 30, 2011
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BUSINESS LINE SALES…MARKETING…SOLUTIONS…
HOW A SMOKING HOT WEDDING BURNED AN UNINSURED DJ By Robert V Nuccio
If there was anything Aaron Jameson knew for sure, it was how to deliver a good time. This indemand DJ got his start at age 18 as a dueling piano player. Over the years, he expanded his repertoire and, at age 30, launched his own DJ business specializing in parties, weddings, and special events. Everything was going according to plan until the fateful evening of August 28. The wedding began like any other. The bride and groom were gregarious hosts, the crowd was in a celebratory mood, the LED lights pulsated, and smoke machines set the stage for a memorable evening. When the Electric Slide Went Wrong: The dancefloor was packed. Suddenly, the slide came to an excruciating halt when the bride’s aunt lost her balance and fell onto a smoke machine. Unfortunately, the machine was sizzling hot, and worse yet, the woman was wearing nylons. The nylons melted into her leg, creating a painful and expensive injury. In fact, it took two skin grafts to repair her skin. At first, Jameson wasn’t worried. After all, he had homeowner’s insurance. Plus, he figured the bride and groom would pay for injuries that occurred at their wedding. Unfortunately, the aunt sued Jameson and the news from his insurance agent wasn’t good. His homeowners policy excluded business activities and, therefore, he had no coverage. Jameson paid exorbitant legal fees to defend his business, but to no avail. He was found liable and was hit with a $150,000 judgment, completely wiping out his assets and nearly putting an end to his career as a DJ. An Expensive Lesson: Today, Jameson knows two things for sure: 1) How to deliver a good time, and 2) Why it’s important to have the right business insurance. Jameson learned firsthand that DJs get sued, homeowners insurance seldom provides coverage, and many generic business policies exclude coverage for damages from smoke machines and other DJ equipment and activities. Below are answers to the most commonly asked DJ insurance questions to help you avoid an expensive mistake like Jameson’s.
Q: Which insurance coverages should DJs have? A: There are three primary coverages DJs should consider: liability, property/equipment, and crime. Here are the details: Liability Insurance: If you can’t afford anything else, make sure you have liability protection. This is the coverage facilities/venues require of vendors
and event holders. It’s also the coverage that will protect you from big dollar lawsuits. Remember, if you are sued, you and your spouse’s personal assets are on the line. You have to legally defend yourself, even if you weren’t negligent. If you don’t offer a defense, you’ll lose by default. A good defense attorney charges $350 to $400 per hour, making it unaffordable without liability insurance. Liability insurance pays for your defense and for the judgment (up to the limit of coverage purchased). In short, liability insurance is a must-have for any professional. Property/Equipment Insurance: Your second priority should be to secure coverage for your business property and equipment. If your equipment is damaged or stolen, your livelihood depends on its rapid replacement. This coverage typically pays replacement costs if your office equipment, DJ/KJ/VJ equipment, or tapes and CDs/KDs/LPs are lost or damaged due to fire, windstorm, theft, earthquake, flood, vandalism, and other non-excluded perils. Remember to insure your equipment for 100 percent of its replacement value. Crime Insurance: Crime insurance is a good idea if you have other employees working for you, because employee dishonesty is an excluded cause of loss on many property/equipment policies. This coverage typically pays up to the limit for money, securities, or equipment lost due to fraudulent or dishonest actions of an employee. Often, crime policies also include protection against forgery or alteration. Q: What should DJs look for when choosing an insurance partner? A: Don’t buy general business insurance. Choose a specialty insurance program designed to specifically cover the unique exposures of DJs. This will ensure you receive tailored protection for your industry. For maximum protection, make sure your policy is underwritten by an A+ rated company. Q: How should a DJ respond if a facility/venue asks for proof of liability coverage? A: Contact your insurance provider to obtain a Certificate of Insurance. This proof of coverage is usually available as a free service. In some cases,
you may also be asked to add the facility/venue to the policy as an Additional Insured. If so, your insurance partner can provide the needed documentation. IMPORTANT NOTE: Only add the facility/venue as an Additional Insured if it is required. If the facility/venue doesn’t require it, don’t do it. When you add an Additional Insured, it shares your coverage limit, leaving you with less protection. In many cases, the facility/venue only asks for a Certificate of Insurance, which is a more desirable alternative that does not dilute your protection level. Q: Does a DJ’s insurance policy also protect subcontractors? A: Insurance coverage only protects the insured company and its employees. It will not provide defense or judgment coverage to a subcontractor or independent contractor. From an insurance point of view, a DJ is considered an “employee” if he/she works exclusively for one company – even if that company considers the DJ a subcontractor or an independent contractor. Here are a few additional tips: If you work as a subcontractor or independent contractor, secure your own liability insurance. If you hire subcontractors or independent contractors, obtain a Certificate of Insurance from the subcontractor or independent contractor as proof of coverage. You can’t add another DJ to your policy as an Additional Insured. This is not allowed and is considered a fraudulent practice by insurance companies. Regardless of whether you have subcontractors, independent contractors, or employees, purchase coverage for the correct number of setups. If a claim occurs and it’s discovered that there are more setups than reported on the policy, the coverage will be applied to the setup with no loss, and you’ll have no protection. By taking these extra steps, you can avoid getting burned by your smoking hot events! Note: This case study is based on a real claim scenario that has been fictionalized to protect the privacy of those involved. Policy terms vary greatly. When purchasing insurance, read the policy carefully, including the applicable exclusions, limits, and deductibles. Robert V. Nuccio is the president of R.V. Nuccio and Associates Inc., a nationwide company that offers a specialized DJ insurance program online.To learn more, visit www.RVNuccio.com.
2011 Dates Announced
August 8-11 Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City, NJ
ÂŠ Testa Communications
Prepare to Flash!
T1 for Two
American DJ Supply 6122 S. Eastern Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90040 (800) 322-6337 www.americandj.com
Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc 1925 E. Dominguez Street Long Beach, CA 90810 (310) 952-2000 www.pioneerdjusa.com
American DJ’s Flash Panel 16 allows DJs or nightclubs to put some video flash into the act. An LED screen solution, the Flash Panel 16 is a square-shaped panel with 16 RGB pixels that can be controlled individually via DMX to create dynamic colorful effects, chases, images, text—or any other visual element—that a DJ or venue wants to display. Compact and easy to assemble, the 3-pound Flash Panel 16 includes 3-pin XLR, DMX input/output connectors, along with standard IEC connectors to link panels to each other.
The Pioneer DJM-T1 is a hybrid mixer, controller and audio interface that ships with Traktor Scratch Duo 2 software, as well as control CD and vinyl needed for DVS scratch control. The unit includes a bank of dedicated controls for Traktor’s Advanced and Chained effects, as well as an onboard soundcard and MIDI interface. Users get six effects—Reverb, Delay, Flanger, Filter, Beatmasher, Gater—as well as built-in 3-band isolator type EQ and a crossfader with exclusive Pioneer magnetic construction and lag, tension, curve and reverse functions.
The Torch Is Passed
JBL Professional 8500 Balboa Blvd. Northridge, CA 91329 (818) 894-8850 www.jblpro.com
American Music & Sound 5304 Derry Avenue, Suite C Agoura Hills, California 91301 (800) 994-4984 www.americanmusicandsound.com The VCI-300MkII is Vestax’s next-generation Serato ITCH Controller. The USB-powered unit comes Serato’s ITCH DJ Software and features two ultra-high resolution platters, adjustable Touch Sensor knobs, 1/8 inch mini headphone jack and aux input to master direct thru connections. Vestax says the unit is “fully optimized for high volume, club performances” with higher output master and headphone gain levels and enhanced platter sensitivity control.
JBL’s EON515XT active loudspeaker is a two-way Class D amp featuring a JBL 2414H high-frequency neodymium compression driver and a 15-inch JBL 265F-1 Differential Drive dual-voice-coil woofer. The EON515XT has a 132dB maximum SPL and offers user-adjustable EQ with individual bass and treble controls. According to the company, “The input sensitivity has been increased by 10dB to accommodate keyboards, musical instruments, drum machines and lower output sound reinforcement and DJ mixers.”
In-Ear to the Ground
JH Audio 2517 East Semoran Blvd. Apopka, FL 32703 (866) 485-9111 www.jhaudio.com
Digital Music Technology Ltd Rose Cottage Wirral CH63 4LB United Kingdom 0151 201 0692 www.iximix.com
The JHAudio PRO series custom-fit, in-ear audio monitors includes four models that feature integrated three-way crossover for reduced distortion and noise isolation of up to -26dB. The JH|10X3 PRO offers a single low, mid and high range driver and a frequency response of 20Hz to 17Hz. The JH|11 PRO features dual low drivers with a single mid and high range and frequency response of 10Hz to 17 Hz. The JH|13 PRO is a six-driver in-ear monitor with dual low, mid and high range drivers on board and a frequency response of 10Hz to 20kHz. The JH|16 PRO is an eight-driver model, featuring double dual lows, single dual mid and single dual high drivers, and a frequency response of 10Hz to 20 kHZ.
TrakProDJ is a Traktor Touch Control System for iPad, IPod Touch and iPhone. It’s compatible with both Mac OSX and Windows platforms, and according to the company, TrakProDJ connects to Traktor via Coremidi Networking technology, with speeds of around one to three minutes. It features ultra low latency and is available through Apple’s app store.
Brand New Dre IK Multimedia 1153 Sawgrass Corporate Pkwy. Sunrise, FL 33323 (954) 846-9101 www.ikmultimedia.com IK Multimedia’s GrooveMaker app range now includes GrooveMaker Cool & Dre, a collection of dark synth leads, urban/ ethnic percussion, and vocal hooks designed for creating West Coast and Dirty South style hip-hop beats. Available for both iPhone and iPad, GrooveMaker Cool & Dre includes 315 loops and 300MB of samples in 76-90 BPM. Four songs are included, and users get an additional song free after registration.
Prime Loops Unit 2a, Tavern Quay Business Centre SE16 7TX United Kingdom +44 (0) 207 237 7666 www.primeloops.com
Prime Loops released six new sample packs, including the 24-bit Tech Legacy with 125 one-shot drums and 250 synth hooks, drum loops, basslines arpeggios and gated synths. The Urban Takeova collection series includes more than 1GB of royalty-free drum loops, FX, music and synth loops, hooks and one-shots. Smooth Keys is designed for R&B, pop and hip-hop and offers 140 Rhodes Piano Loops, Licks, Patterns and Progressions between 64 and 120 BPM. The 450mb of ambient textures, atmospheres and IDM landscapes included in Trip Fantasia range from 64-120 BPM, while XXL Dubstep Drums includes 170 Dubstep styled drums and FX. Rounding out the new line, Urban Guitar Jamz includes 10 fully mastered, 24-bit instrumental beats, as well as 10 downloadable Construction kits broken down over 20 synth hooks, guitar licks, basslines, drum loops and one shots.
At First Sight GCI Technologies 1 Mayfield Ave. Edison, NJ 08837 (732) 346-0061 www.gci-technologies.com The FIRSTMIX is a beginner-level MIDI controller from Gemini that comes bundled with MixVibes CROSS LE performance DJ software and connects to both PC and Mac computers via USB. The unit, which Gemini says, “recreates the two-decks-and-a-mixer setup that professional DJs use around the world,” features tone controls and a sync function, as well as an effects section.
Twitch Hunt Focusrite Novation Inc. 840 Apollo Street, Suite 312 El Segundo, CA 90245 (310) 322-5500 www.novationmusic. com Twitch is the new Touchstrip DJ Controller from Novation. It comes with Serato Itch and sports two LED-backlit Touchstrips, two banks of eight large Triggerpads, per-channel Fader FX and four performance modes—Hot Cues, Slicer, Auto Loop and Loop Roll. Additional features include a Mic/Aux channel with mono jack and stereo RCA inputs for MP3 players and other external audio sources; a 2-in 4-out USB audio interface with balanced, high-level master and booth outputs; and both quarter-inch and mini-jack headphone outputs.
Eye for an iM9 Numark Industries, LLC 200 Scenic View Drive Cumberland, RI 02864 (401) 658-3131 www.numark.com
The Saints Go Marching In Loopmasters The Ironworks Blackman Street Brighton BN1 4GD United Kingdom +44 1273 692 313 www.loopmasters.com Electro House & Indie Dance is a collection of 24-bit samples from DJ/production team Utah Saints. The 975MB sample pack includes 30 Bass Loops, 105 Drumloops, 30 Inspired Music Loops, 30 Lead Loops, 30 Percussion Loops, 30 Analogue Instruments, 21 Multisamples, 72 Dance FX sounds, 21 Bass One Shots, 8 Drum Kits and over 150 Single Drum Samples. In addition, users get more than 50 Synth, Drum, Bass and FX patches for soft samplers including Reason NNXt, Halion, Kontakt, EXS and SFZ. Specific versions are also available for Apple Loops, Reason Refill and Ableton Live.
Numark’s iM9 is a four-track DJ mixer compatible with vinyl, CDs, iPod, microphones or any line-level audio source. Beatkeeper technology is built in, allowing users to automatically detect a song’s BPM. There are 10 time division preset buttons, as well as three-band EQ controls for every channel. The dedicated microphone channel also comes with XLR input, independent gain control and EQ. The iM9 features a dock for iPods and can record mixes to the iPod.
Head Case Shure Incorporated 5800 West Touhy Avenue Niles, IL 60714 (847) 600-2000 www.shure.com Shure released two new models—the SRH550DJ Professional DJ Headphones and SRH940 Professional Reference Headphones. Both come with a threaded, quarter inch gold plated adapter. The SRH550DJ features a supra-aural design for full isolation, as well as 50mm dynamic drivers for extended bass. They sport a collapsible headband and ship with a carrying bag. The SRH940 has a collapsible, padded headband and comes with two detachable cables, a replacement set of velour ear pads, and a zippered, hard travel case.
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Chauvet has introduced three ultra-compact, plug-and-play lasers: MiN Laser FX; MiN Laser RGX; and MiN Laser Star. These palm-sized, one-pound units project thousands of red and green laser beams onto any surface and cover large areas with or without fog. They can be controlled by a wireless infrared remote control and feature automated and sound-activated programs. Each laser includes two convenient mounting stands (truss or tabletop) and a wireless infrared remote control for easy setup and operation.
u Simon Baker feat. Debukas u 20/20 Vision
“I DON’T GET NO SLEEP”
A chic, edgy deep-house cut with warped, wicked vocals, cleverly placed strings, a funky bassline and techy stabs. The “Upstate Dub” is a dark, late-nighter with a grooving bassline, unearthly effects and moving pads. Art Department’s thumping kick and ethereal keys take you on a cosmic journey.
Peak-time house music from Germany’s Housesession and a great little vocal number courtesy of Gomez. The main mix features uplifting synths and a solid vocal groove.
– Shawn Christopher
u Francesco Gomez u Housesession
– Curtis Zack “C’EST LA VIE”
“WHERE THEM GIRLS AT”
u Colin Sales u Universe Media
u David Guetta feat. Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj u EMI
A good range of mixes here—the best of the bunch come in the guise of Johnny Montana & Craig Stewart’s soulful stew and Funk Manouver’s main-room interpretation.
Someone crammed Guetta, Flo Rida and Minaj into a blender and this is the hooky, electro-house track that popped out. With Flo Rida taking clear cues from Chris Willis with the choruses, we can all look forward to hearing this one thumping all summer long. And check the epic Afrojack remix—big rooms will surrender.
– Natalie Raben
– Curtis Zack “NEW DAY” u Scumsoul u White An excellent vocal track in the same mold as some of Kaskade’s lighter offerings and features a great performance from songstress Kaydee.
– Curtis Zack
“MUSIQ” u DJN Project u Purple Music
– Curtis Zack “FOCUS NOW” EP David Guetta
u Maya Jane Coles u 20/20 Vision A solid, robust electronic EP filled with deep, dark rhythms and intricate, delicate synths. A powerful, techy dancefloor package.
– Shawn Christopher “FREEFALLIN’” u Zoe Badwii u OMT This track has seemingly been around for ages, yet manages to attract continued attention. Wawa & Moto Blanco lead the way on the remixes with sunshiney, funk-charged house music.
– Curtis Zack IT’S ALL TRUE u Junior Boys u Domino A funky, emotive full-length loaded with brilliant sound design, whimsical melodies and enchanting vocals. A blissful electronic odyssey.
– Shawn Christopher Simon Baker
u Ghosts of Venice u Strictly Rhythm Demonstrating more class with each release, Lee Dunn (aka Ghosts of Venice) supplies what should easily be his biggest moment to date. A filtered French loop and the vocals of Errol Reid combine exquisitely.
– Curtis Zack
u Mancini u Stereo Productions
Maya Jane Coles
One of the hottest labels around delivers this disco sampling gem. Relatively simple, this one harks back to the golden generation of disco-house and, as such, works very well.
– Curtis Zack
u Vato Gonzales u Ministry of Sound This has been devastating U.K. radio and clubs for the past few months and now it is time for a full release on Ministry. Look no further than the original with its whopping string drop and great shouts.
– Curtis Zack
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). “Circle of Life” (Original Mix) by Manuel De La Mare & Paul Thomas [Doorn Records]: If you’re a house DJ, but still feel a little nostalgia for those ’90s trance days, this is for you. It has that Toolroom-ish skippy, bass-heavy groove, but the breakdown features old-school Supersaw chord stabs that will have hands in the air, for sure. Combine the two after the break and you’re in for dancefloor delight. Found at beatport.com. “Personal Jesus” (Eric Prydz Remix) by Depeche Mode [Rhino/Warner Bros.]: This may be released on a major label, but there’s absolutely no mainstream cheese in sight. Prydz lays samples and odd loops from the original a cappella over a decidedly dark minimal and loopy track. The two-minute, string- and pad-laden breakdown may disturb the energy in some clubs, but the right ones will die for it. Found at beatport.com. “Trac Bom” (Original Mix) by Exel0n [Clubstream]: It’s not the reverb-drenched break that really gets me with this peak-time stomper—although I love that, too. It’s the sample-heavy, loopy stabs with vocal snippets to make it memorable and the huge, slightly distorted kickdrum that will rock the crowd. Found at djtunes.com. – Robert LaFrance
Yet another mesmeric Purple release, this time from DJN Project. Quality vocals and a devastating remix from Soulmagic.
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2011 DJ EXPO AUG. 8-11 TRUMP TAJ MAHALATLANTIC CITY NJ DJ Subscription-4-2011.indd 2
4/1/2011 4:00:27 PM
Compiled As Of June 2,2011
National Crossover Pool Chart 1 J-Lo F/Pitbull 2 Lady Gaga 3 Snoop Dogg 4 Katy Perry 5 Adele 6 Kat DeLuna 7 Hot Rod 8 Rihanna 9 Taio Cruz 10 Jessie 11 Britney Spears 12 Wendel Kos F/Andrea Holley 13 Chris Brown F/Benny Benassi 14 Negin 15 INXS F/ Rob Thomas 16 Michael Jackson 17 Jennifer Hudson 18 Kimberly Caldwell 19 September 20 David Guetta 21 Inner Party System 22 Kerli 23 Antoine Clamaran F/ Soraya 24 Enrique Iglesias F/Ludacris 25 Tinie Tempah 26 Chris Brown 27 Oh Land 28 Katy Perry 29 Mary Mary 30 India/ Peppe Citarella 31 Britney Spears 32 Ellie Goulding 33 Pattie Brooks 34 Japanese Popstars 35 Dani Barbers 36 Erika Jayne 37 Greg Parys 38 Swedish House Mafia 39 Dave Mathias Vs Julissa Veloz 40 Inner Party System
On The Floor Born This Way Sweat/Wet D.Guetta Mixes ET Rolling In The Deep Dancing Tonight Dance With Me S&M Higher Push It Till The World Ends Dancing On The Lights Beautiful People Unexpected Original Sin Hollywood Tonight Where You At Desperate Girls & Stupid Me And My Microphone Where Them Girls At American Trash Re-Mixes Army Of Love Live Your Dreams Tonight Written In The Stars Yeah Yeah Yeah Son Of A Gun Last Friday Night Walking Tacalacateo-Part 1 Hold It Against Me Starry Eyed Its All About The Music Let Go Say Goodbye One Hot Pleasure Why Don’t We Just F**k Save The World Sweet Sugar Poison Not Getting Any Better
National Urban Pool Chart
Island Interscope Astralwerks Capitol Columbia Universal G Note Def Jam Mercury Prospect Park Jive Robbins Jive Robbins Rhino Epic Jive Capitol Robbins Astralwerks Red Bull Island/Def Jam Next Plateau Universal Capitol Jive Epic Capitol Columbia Angel Eyes Jive Interscope RGP Music Astralwerks Dani Barbers Prod. Pretty Mess Robbins Capitol Carrillo Red Bull
1 Nicki Minaj 2 Jennifer Hudson 3 Snoop Dogg 4 Rihanna 5 Ace Hood 6 Lloyd F/Awesome Jones 7 Mary J Blige F/Diddy&Lil Wayne 8 Chris Brown 9 Snoop Dog Ft. R. Kelly 10 Travis Porter 11 Dr. Dre F/Snoop Dogg & Akon 12 Lil’ Wayne F/ Cory Gunz 13 Kelly Rowland F/ Lil Wayne 14 Chris Brown F/Benny Benassi 15 Musiq Soulchild F/Swizz Beatz 16 Wiz Khalifa 17 Kirk Franklin 18 YC 19 J-Lo F/Pitbull 20 Keyshia Cole 21 Miguel 22 XFlow 23 Baby Bash 24 Kayne 25 DiddyDirtyMoney 26 David Guetta 27 Nicki Minaj F/ Eminem 28 Zeenie Town 29 Charlie Wilson F/ Fantasia 30 Dj Khaled 31 J Peezy F/ Niah 32 Waka Flocka Flames 33 Eva 34 Beyonce 35 Trey Songz Ft. Drake 36 Chris Brown 37 Trey Songz Ft Chris Brown 38 Big Sean Ft. Chris Brown 39 Lil’ Wayne F/ Drake 40 Ophishal
Most Added Tracks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Pattie Brooks September Michael Jackson Inner Party System Japanese Popstars Beth Ditto Katy Perry Hannah & Miami Calli Swedish House Mafia Dani Barbers
Its All About The Music Me And My Microphone Hollywood Tonight Not Getting Any Better Let Go I Wrote The Book Last Friday Night Taking Over Now Save The World Say Goodbye
Did It On Em Where You At Sweat/Wet D.Guetta Mixes S&M Hustle Hard Cupid Somebody To Love Me She Ain’t You Platinum Bring It Back Kush 6 Foot 7 Foot Motivation Beautiful People Anything Roll Up I Smile Racks On The Floor Take Me Away Sure Thing SpaceShip Swanananana All Of The Lights Coming Home Where Them Girls At Romans’s Revenge AEAEO I Wanna Be Your Man Welcome To My Hood Its My Time Grove St. Party Not My Daddy Run The World (Girls) Unusual Yeah Yeah Yeah Best Love Song My Last Right Above It Get Fresh, Get Loose
Universal Jive Astralwerks Def Jam Island/Def Jam Interscope Geffen Jive Priority Jive Interscope Universal Universal Jive Atlantic Atlantic Jive Universal Republic Island Geffen Jive Patron Upstairs Columbia Interscope Astralwerks Universal FAM Jive Universal APB Asylum In Ya Face Columbia Atlantic Jive Jive Interscope Universal Megablast
Most Added Tracks RGP Music Robbins Epic Red Bull Astralwerks Sony Capitol Snowdog Capitol Dani Barbers Prod.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Eva J Peezy F/ Niah Rihanna Travis Porter Brian Grind Ace Hood Jennifer Hudson J.O.D. Trey Songz Ft Chris YC
Not My Daddy Its My Time Man Down Bring It Back Club Gone Wild Hustle Hard Where You At Candy Rain Best Love Song Racks
In Ya Face APB Def Jam Jive Napo Ent. Island/Def Jam Jive SOW Jive Universal Republic
Reporting Pools ✦ Dixie Dance Kings - Alpharetta, GA; Dan Miller ✦ New York Music Pool - Levittown, NY; Jackie McCloy ✦ Flamingo - Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Julio ✦ Lets Dance / IRS - Chicago, IL; Lorri Annarella ✦ Next Music Pool - Los Angeles, CA; Bob Ketchter ✦ OMAP - Washington, DC; Al Chasen ✦ Central Ohio - Columbus, OH; Fred Dowdy ✦ NW Dance Music - Shoreline, WA; John England ✦ Philly Spinners Assoc. - Cherry Hill, NJ; Fred Kolet ✦ Pittsburgh DJ - Pittsburgh, PA; Jim Kolich ✦ Soundworks - San Francisco, CA; Sam Labelle ✦ Rickett’s Record Pool - Saddle Brook, NJ; Bill Rickett ✦ Pacific Coast - Long Beach, CA; Steve Tsepelis
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
(continued from page 17) Tim Smith! Tim Smith will take you to the mountain! Rock and Roll!” And that guy is this guy called Captain Ahab and he was my manager’s old taxi driver, when he lived in Jersey. I actually lived with my manager a few years ago in Jersey, and Ahab would always take us out. And that was a voicemail he left Tim. He actually passed away last year. He was a real good dude and that was my song for him. It’s still on Tim’s voicemail. The other one is Glitch Mob has this video when they’re up in San Fran-
Above & Beyond (continued from page 19)
night like that. Grant: I think it’s different if you’re on a festival lineup. The lineups kind of pre-determine, but when it’s your night, you want to plan it out as you are. So that’s probably why we like to have the right sort of warm-up DJs before us. DJ Times: Unlike a lot of dance music, there’s a real emotion behind your songs. It seems like you
cisco playing guerilla-style outside of Amoeba Records and Apple Stores. And they’re interviewing this dude and that’s basically what he’s saying. DJ Times: Some of the purists out there also are concerned with your position as an outlier, that it takes attention away from people they feel are the pioneers, who represent it and have given to it more fully. Skrillex: Well, that’s the whole beauty of the whole “Scary Monsters” release. A month later, Feed Me’s Big Adventure came out, and other than my record, there was never a dubstep
record in the Top 10. And Skream and Benga [followed]. I’m not saying it’s all because of me, but I think it’s the correlation of bass music in general coming up.They’re selling more tickets in the States than ever. That’s great for them, you know, and they’re the pioneers. They started dubstep, what I think is tangibly dubstep. DJ Times: A rising tide lifts all boats. Skrillex: Exactly. And we’re all part of it together. One thing I don’t like at all, though, that I see very commonly in the rise of bass music, a lot of the
purists talk about, “Oh, you’re bringing all of these new jacks into the shows.” And it’s like, who the fuck are you to judge somebody else, to say you’re better than them because you’ve been listening to something longer? Does that make you cooler? Like, people are allowed to listen to whatever they want. It’s music. It’s meant to be shared all over the place. And if you don’t believe that, then never go on Beatport again. Never go in a record shop again, because if it’s there for you, it’s there for everybody else. n
don’t write them as dance songs, that somebody is just strumming along on acoustic guitar somewhere and then you remix it after the fact. What is the song-writing process like? Grant: I think you just described it, really. When we do our vocal tracks, it’s more song-led than a lot of dance artists where sometimes people just put a vocal on top of an instrumental. That kind of way doesn’t really work for us. I think the song is the most important thing—then we build the
music around that. DJ Times: Let’s talk about the single, “Sun & Moon.” What’s the story behind that one? Siljamäki: I suppose it’s one of those love stories, but also kind of a breakup song. The real heart and soul of the song is that every relationship that we have in life can be a really hard and difficult thing, but it’s also a time that everybody can learn from. Every breakup is actually a good one because everybody’s got
an opportunity to learn from it. The song’s probably gone through about 50 different versions. It’s a track we had originally written when we were working on the [Above & Beyond Presents] OceanLab Sirens of the Sea album, and then we sort of donated it to OceanLab. That’s the really cool thing—I think we all believe a good song is a timeless one and a good song you can remix in a zillion different ways. “Sun & Moon” seems to be one of those. n
get very sophisticated—and pretty involved technically. While most DJ software supports “MIDI Learn,” a means of “teaching” the software to connect a control movement with a software feature, the process can be tedious and limiting in some cases. More advanced tools and techniques are usually provided, and the more technical DJ may actually prefer to map things on their own. Others will probably prefer to use a professionally pre-made or stock mapping— usually provided as a configuration file on installation CDs, or download-
able online. The key point here is that unless you wish to tackle controller mapping yourself, make sure that your preferred DJ software and/or your preferred controller manufacturer provide mappings to connect one to the other. If your DJ software comes bundled with your controller, this is a given; if buying separately, do your homework ahead of time. Conclusions Digital DJing definitely involves more options, more choices, and more complexity than traditional
decks-and-mixer DJing ever did. With it comes a whole range of new possibilities, new opportunities, new techniques, new sounds and new ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, whether your DJing of choice is working in clubs, handling weddings and parties, kicking it up on the local radio station once a week, or just hanging out with friends on a Saturday night. With the background I hope you’ve gleaned from this article, you should be well-equipped to make the best choices for your type of DJing. n
(continued from page 23)
a “note on” MIDI message for a particular note on the musical scale— not unlike a MIDI keyboard or drum controller. Jog wheels, faders and other control features work similarly. Some method needs to exist to tell your DJ software that (for instance) “C3 note on means ‘play’ on deck A,” and this method is called controller mapping. As you might imagine, with all the controllers on the market, and all the things to control things in DJ software, controller mapping can
With the Black Eyed Peas, I’ve been blessed.
In our career, really, I don’t regret a thing!
OK, maybe “My Humps”… will.i.am next month in DJ Times
Photos By Robert Astley Sparke
Second Thoughts with will.i.am
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