VOLUME 32 NUMBER 8
A M E R I C A’ S F I R S T M A G A Z I N E F O R P R O F E S S I O N A L D J s E S TA B L I S H E D 1 9 8 8
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
ADE ’19: Business, Tech & Music SEO Tips: Boost Your Bookings Meet 11-Year-Old DJ Sophia PLUS: UZ * Yotto * Technics SL-1200 MK7 * Ortofon’s Concorde MK2 * MCs’ Secrets * IK Multimedia Monitors
T O O L R O O M T I TA N
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AMERICA’S FIRST MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONAL DJs ESTABLISHED 1988 WINTER 2019 ISSUE
VOLUME 32 NUMBER 8
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ADE 2019: TECH, TALK & MUSIC IN AMSTERDAM
Dutch Treat: ADE drew thousands to Holland. Mark Richter
of Technology with GAIA” session on Oct. 16 at the DeLaMar Theater, the experimental electronic duo (trance titan Armin van Buuren and studio wiz Benno de Goeij) detailed its approach to live gigs and studio projects, like GAIA’s 2019 full-length Moons of Jupiter. After van Buuren expounded on his studio partner’s broad range of talents, including his ability to create wildly unique sounds for all manner of tracks, de Goeij broke it down to basics. “When you’re making this kind of electronic music, it goes beyond ability – you must be able to transfer technique into emotion,” he said. “And in a collaboration, you must always motivate each other.” To which van Buuren responded: “And we do. GAIA is a monument to our inspirations – from Jean-Michel Jarre to Speedy J. Some of the sounds may be too experimental for an Armin van Buuren track, but I believe the GAIA record is the best thing I ever did. There are no compromises – it’s from the heart, not the head.” The same day at the same venue, the “Fabulous Festival Screw-Ups & What We Learnt from Them” panel featured some visual dollops of festival-disaster porn, including a pair of notable 2017 failures – the Tomorrowland stage fire in Barcelona and Fyre Fest’s fraud-filled fiasco in The Bahamas. After the panel of international promoters detailed a variety of other technical blunders and weather-related horrors, Michael Christidis of Australia’s Beyond the Valley explained how his festival had to confront fence-jumpers/ gate-crashers who had organized via Facebook groups. “Once our security caught some of them,” he recalls, “we offered them an opportunity to buy legitimate festival passes – at a premium price, of course. After all, we have to maintain some kind of deterrent to this sort of behavior.” On Oct. 17 at DeLaMar Theater, “Beyond Technology: Unleashing Your Inner Creativity to Master Your Full Potential” offered plenty of advice for music makers. Chart-topping producer/songwriter Fernando Garibay, perhaps best known for his extensive work with Lady Gaga, hit plenty of high points.
Gear Talk: (from right) GAIA’s de Goeij & van Buuren. Tiffany Konings
Soul Clap: Booty-shaking funk. Xavier Cuevas Audionamix: Winner of ADE Tech’s competition. Lieke Vermeulen
“If you want to improve, go outside your field and experience something different,” he said. “Look for mentors who challenge you. Set measures and create goals. Always repeat change – always repeat to grow… Find your center in a place you feel complete, write your own narrative and find how you can express it in your own way.” In closing, Garibay offered a philosophical nugget: “At some point, I realized that, yes, I can make hit records – but who cares? Instead, I began to ask myself: How can I help people and scale it. See, we’re all wired for love, so I always ask: How can I be a better lover of mankind?” On Oct. 18 at De Brakke Grond, which also housed technology stands from top DJ and studio brands, seminars were no less lively. During “From Bedroom to Big Room,” U.K. DJ/producer Eats Everything (aka Daniel Pearce) explained how it took him 11 years of making music before his sounds gained traction in clubland. (continued on page 40)
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
The Masquerade: Claptone’s party got wild.
By Jim Tremayne Amsterdam, The Netherlands – This past Oct. 16-20, the 24 th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event again became the gathering point for the globe’s DJ/ electronic-music community. By delivering over 1,000 events in more than 200 venues around the city, ADE 2019 drew more than 400,000 visitors from 146 countries – a record for the festival side of ADE. DJs from all genres – techno, trance, house, trap and more – played events day and night. As always, DJ Times was there. Additionally, for those looking to network and gain knowledge from the conference side of ADE, there was plenty to enjoy. With dozens of keynotes, panels and topical presentations at three different venues, conference highlights were many. Here are a few: Seminars/Keynotes: During the “Riding the Wave
VOLUME 32 NUMBER 8
FEATURES 14 Knight Life
By Keeping It All in the Family, DJ/Producer Mark Knight Has Raised Toolroom Records to the Top of the Tech-House Ladder BY LILY MOAYERI
20 ADE Highlights Amsterdam Dance Event Drew the DJ/EDM World to Holland BY ADE PHOTOGRAPHERS
22 Web Tonic
Is Your Snazzy-Looking Website Actually Sabotaging Your DJ Business? Here Are Some Under-the-Hood Tips That’ll Boost Your Bookings BY JORDAN ST. JACQUES
A Man of Many Monikers, French DJ/Producer UZ Spreads Quality Goods BY BRIAN BONAVOGLIA
DEPARTMENTS 9 Feedback
A Look Forward to 2020’s Show Calendar
26 Making Tracks
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Monitors
28 Sounding Off
Technics SL-1200 MK7 & Ortofon Concorde MK2
30 Mobile Profile
Two Companies Improve By Merging
32 Business Line MC Secrets Revealed
New Products from QSC, AKG & More
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Phat Tracks from Dana Ruh, Danny Krivit & More
41 Club Play Chart
The Hottest Records, As Reported by Our Top U.S. Record Pools
SAMPLINGS 10 DJ Sophia
12 In the Studio With… Yotto
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FROM THE EDITOR
Knight Time, Right Time
Popular DJ/producer Mark Knight likes to talk about family, and why not? As he’ll tell you, much of the success of his Toolroom Records label is due to the efforts of his immediate family – his brother and father, in particular. Well before the tech-house imprint became Beatport’s top-selling label, Knight went all-in on the business side and it wasn’t without considerable help from the other Knights. In the end, they built something more than a record label – they built a record company that’s managed to survive in the digital age. Additionally, demand for Knight’s DJ skills skyrocketed. No mean feat. Our L.A.-based correspondent Lily Moayeri ventured to the Windy City to hear Mark Knight tell Toolroom’s success story. Also, this past October, we made our annual pilgrimage to the Dutch capital for Amsterdam Dance Event, and we report from there in this issue. Of course, there was plenty of industry hobnobbing, loads of seminars and keynotes, some technology buzz, and scads of DJ-driven evening parties. Additionally, in a feature photo spread, we offer plenty of snapshots from the event-filled week. For a Q&A feature, our Brian Bonavoglia talked with masked marvel UZ (aka Plezier aka DJ Troubl aka Guillaume P…) – you get the idea. The French DJ/producer is a man many monikers and talents, but his Quality Good Records label has made him quite a success in the bass-music world. In Samplings, new scribe Josh Kerman harkens back to August’s DJ Expo with a quick introduction to DJ Sophia, an 11-year-old DJ from Delaware, who made quite an impression at our show in Atlantic City. Also, Ryan Hayes connected for some studio talk with Finnish DJ/producer Yotto, who’s gained a substantial following with his house tracks on the popular Anjunadeep imprint. On the mobile side, digital-marketing maven Jordan St. Jacques offers some tips on improving your DJ company’s website. While your site might look snazzy and cool, there may well be a few things going on under the hood that are preventing your company from being found by prospective clients… thus, hurting your booking power. Jordan sorts it out for you. For Business Line, we go back to a few DJ Expo’s past and revisit the “MC Secrets Revealed” seminar, where top mobiles like Maryland’s Steve Moody offer some tidbits that’ll surely spice up your events, especially wedding receptions. And in Mobile Profile, we visit with a pair of DJ companies from Hudson Valley, N.Y. – LB Entertainment and HVE Associates – and find out how and why they merged into one business entity. Also, HVE’s Joshua Lask and LB’s Mike Alevras explain how they reunited after a decade apart. On the tech side, new writer DJ E-Clyps takes on IK Multimedia’s iLoud MTM studio monitors in “Making Tracks.” Meanwhile, our veteran DJ-scribe Paul Dailey tackles the Sounding Off Column with a pair of turntable-related reviews – on Technics SL-1200 MK7 decks and Ortofon’s Concorde MK2 series of cartridges. Also, stay tuned for our next issue, in which we’ll preview the upcoming 2020 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, Calif. Enjoy! Cheers,
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Jim Tremayne Editor, DJ Times
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FEEDBACK AMERICA’S FIRST MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONAL DJs ESTABLISHED 1988
FALL 2019 ISSUE VOLUME 32 NUMBER 7
CLUBWORLD INSIDE NYC’S EZOO & B.C.’S BASS COAST 1988 2018
DJ EXPO ’19 WRAP-UP: BIG IDEAS, NEW TECH, TOP DJS
*Canadian Music Week, May 18-23, Sher‑ aton Centre Toronto Hotel, Toronto, Ont., Canada *International Music Summit, May, 2020, Venue TBD, Ibiza, Spain
GET MORE GIGS – HERE’S HOW!
*148th AES Convention, May 25-28, Austria Center, Vienna, Austria *MIDEM 2020, June 2-6, Palais des Festi‑ vals, Cannes, France
*InfoComm20, June 17-19, Las Vegas Con‑ vention Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
GARY RICHARDS’ NEXT ACT +++//N O R A E N P U R E //6 B L O C C //A K G D M S W I R E L E S S //K A L I A U D I O M O N I T O R S //T E E N - T I TA N M O B I L E 048OC19_p001-044.indd 3
10/1/2019 4:41:17 PM
This is Feedback, a monthly feature that fields questions from you, our readers, and funnels them out to in‑ dustry professionals. If you have any questions about DJing – marketing, mixing, equipment or insurance, any at all – drop us a letter at DJ Times, 25 Willowdale Ave, Port Washington, NY 11050, fax us at (516) 944‑8372 or e‑mail us at email@example.com. If we do use your question, you’ll receive a free DJ Times T‑shirt. And remember, the only dumb question is the ques‑ tion that is not asked. 2019-20 Trade Show/Convention Calendar As we finish up 2019, we look forward to another year of trade-show travel and convention activities. Of course, for pro‑ fessional DJs, there’s no better show than DJ Expo, which DJ Times has produced since 1990. We hope to see you at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., this coming August 10-13. The following international shows are re‑ lated to professional audio, lighting, or music endeavors: *LDI 2019 (Live Design International), November 22-24, 2019, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. *2020 International CES, January 7-10, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. *Winter NAMM, January 16-19, 2020, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif. *Prolight + Sound Guangzhou, February 19-22, Canton Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China *South by Southwest (SXSW), March 1322, Various Venues, Austin, Texas *Winter Music Conference, March 16-19, Faena District, Miami, Fla. *Nightclub & Bar Show, March 30 – April 1, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. *Prolight + Sound Frankfurt, March 31 – April 3, Frankfurt Fair, Frankfurt, Germany *Musikmesse 2020, April 11-14, Frankfurt Fair, Frankfurt, Germany
*Sweetwater Gearfest, June 26-27, Sweet‑ water Campus, Fort Wayne, Ind. *Summer NAMM, July 9-11, 2020, Music City Center, Nashville, Tenn. *DJ Expo, August 10-13, Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City, N.J. *PLASA 2020, September 6-8, Olympia London, London, England *2020 NAMM Musikmesse/Prolight + Sound Moscow, September 17-19, So‑ kolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre, Moscow, Russia
*149 th AES Convention, October 21-24, Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, N.Y. *Amsterdam Dance Event, Various Venues, October 21-25, Amsterdam, The Nether‑ lands *LDI 2020 (Live Design International), Oc‑ tober 23-25, 2020, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nev. *Monaco International Clubbing Show (MICS), Grimaldi Forum, November TBD, Monte-Carlo, Monaco
DJ SOPHIA: ELECTRIC YOUTH
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Precocious: Sophia wowed ’em at DJ Expo. Josh Kerman
It seems that you can never be too young to start playing records. Case in Point: Sophia Clayton, an 11-year-old from Dover Del., is proving that you certainly don’t have to be an adult to be taken seriously as a party-rocking jock. Fact is, she’s been spinning since she was in first grade, and her skills are deep. That was evident at DJ Expo in Atlantic City, N.J., this past August. On the show’s mainstage and at the Peavey Electronics booth, the talented young lady wowed discerning show attendees with her turntable wizardry and winning personality. At DJ Expo, she was one of the show’s breakout stars. In addition to winning converts in Atlantic City, DJ Sophia has been busy playing a variety of events. She’s opened for the Lost Boyz at Stone Soul Music Festival in Richmond, Va. She’s performed at the Queens Youth Music Festival and she became the youngest DJ to perform a full set on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” show. Her father, Dave, is a 20-year DJ veteran, and has so far guided her path, which began when her parents surprised her with a pair of Pioneer DJ PLX1000 limited-edition gold turntables. “The goal,” he says, “was to give her confidence and the ability to be an independent DJ.” So far, so good – after DJ Expo, we caught up with DJ Sophia. DJ Times: What do you think is the most common reaction from people when they see you
onstage for the first time? Sophia: At first, I feel like people are thinking, “Aww little kid, she’s going to play some music,” as if they don’t take me seriously… until they see me cutting it up and scratching. Then, they think more of me. I think people are also shocked because they didn’t expect me to come out and rock the stage as I would. DJ Times: How did you come up with the “Youngest in Charge” slogan? Sophia: My original slogan was “DJ Sophia in the Mix.” When my parents were creating my website (www.djsophiarocks.com), they thought that “In The Mix” was too short. So, they suggested “Youngest in Charge,” and I was totally for it.To me, it means that not only can adult DJs lead the pack, but kid DJs can make an impression, too. DJ Times: Who do you look up to in the DJ world? Sophia: DJ Active, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and my dad. My dad taught me everything I know… well, maybe not everything because we watch videos of DJ Jazzy Jeff. My dad has always given me honest feedback to improve my playlists, routines, scratches, etc. Even if he’s not there in person, I’ll videotape it for us to critique together. DJ Times: Who would you compare yourself to having a similar DJ style as yourself? Sophia: DJ Jazzy Jeff.
DJ Times: What radio stations do you listen to in the car? Sophia: In my mom’s car, we listen to The Heat [R&B hits on SiriusXM]. In my dad’s car, we mostly listen to Rock the Bells [classic hip-hop on SiriusXM] and ’80s on 8 [’80s hits on SiriusXM]. DJ Times: What’s your preferred DJ set-up now? Sophia: I use two Rane Twelve units and a Rane Seventy-Two mixer. DJ Times: When you’re DJing, what should the audience expect to see from you? Sophia: I like to start out fast. I’ll include different types of breakdowns and tricks. I enjoy combining old-school and new-school music. DJ Times: What advice do you have for others who are working on their DJ craft? Sophia: One, hard work pays off. There are plenty of times where I’d rather play outside, but I need to stay focused on preparing my routines, especially during a busy season. Two, stay out of the DJ computer screen, because DJing is a craft for listening not watching a screen. Three, practice, practice, practice. I always say, “Practice pays off,” because you fall off your game if you don’t practice. DJ Times: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Sophia: Rocking large stages, touring with other artists, making an income, and having fun! – Josh Kerman
IN THE STUDIO WITH...
DJ Times: What’s in your main studio set-up? Yotto: Genelec and Eve Audio monitors, FL Studio and Ableton Live. Plug-ins are a huge mess, but I always go for classics: UAD, Waves and Native Instruments. Selected hardware would be Moog Subsequent 37 analog synth, DSI Prophet, Korg R3, and Korg Minilogue. A few of my favourite soft synths are [u-he] Zebra2, [uhe] Diva, the discontinued NI Pro-53 and a stack of multi-sampled instruments I’ve done myself. I’m redoing my studio at the moment and can’t wait to get a few new toys in there.
DJ Times: How has the deeper side of house evolved over the last few years? Yotto: Dance music evolves, and at the same time, goes in circles. Right now, we are at a phase where there’s a lot of melodic house and techno. It’s clean and modern in production, but musically, it’s looking back at old trance and rave. I think Italodisco influences are getting stronger every day, too.
DJ Times: As an artist, how do you infuse your music with emotion? Yotto: Emotion in music is a tricky thing – with melodies there’s no absolute. Some people find certain sounds and chords sad; for others, the same chords evoke happy nostalgia. I try to always find a balance between those two worlds. Brighter, clearer sounds often evoke something that’s easier to call either happy or sad; but when the sounds get a little muffled and DJ Times:Your new imprint Odd One Out seeks to fresh more de-tuned, I feel like the emotional content of the music from new artists.What currently stands out to you? music becomes a bit richer, or at least harder to define. Yotto: I get a lot of demos sent to me; the thing that always makes me notice a track is the core musical idea.Also, you can easily hear if people work on their own sounds or go with samples without much processing on them.
DJ Times: “Shifter” was your first official release on Odd One Out. What made you decide to feature it as your initial offering? Yotto: “Shifter” was originally called “PRG-LCY,” as I started it in a hotel room in Prague messing around with a riff while me and my video guy Tuukka were trying to drink absinthe. Then, I (continued on page 40)
YOTTO: PRODUCTION POWERHOUSE
(continued on page 40)
Odd One Out: Yotto’s new label delivers diversity.
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Since appearing on the scene in 2015, Finnish talent Yotto has been a production powerhouse. The Helsinki-based DJ/ producer – aka Otto Yliperttula, 33 – hit the ground running that year with a pair of deeply groovy tracks (“Memento” and “Azzurro”) on Anjunadeep. He then continued to deliver several well-received EPs and, in 2018, he dropped a popular full-length, Hyperfall, which has generated 15 million streams so far. This past year, he delivered three diverse singles on his new imprint, Odd One Out – the dark, techy “Nova,” the melodic, proggy “Is This Trance?” and the taut, housey “Shifter.” On the heels of a U.S. tour that includes late-year stops at EDC Orlando and Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner, Yotto talked studio tech with DJ Times.
DJ Expo August 10 – 13
Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, NJ
Watch for Registration Info
Chicago – It’s raining in the Windy City on the last weekend in September. And it’s Chicago-style rain: torrential for five minutes, then nothing for 45 minutes, then torrential again for five minutes. It’s a known fact that rain in this city keeps people indoors more so than any other meteorological reason, including the wind after which the city is nicknamed. However, there’s no sign of this weather-induced agoraphobia at Sound-Bar, Chicago’s hub for quality electronic dance music. On this particular evening, the revered Mark Knight kicks off the first of his Toolroom residencies at this venue, bringing with him some proteges, the rapidly rising duo, Leftwing : Kody, and hotly tipped newcomer, Wheats. The rain kept Knight and company stuck on a plane on the runway for a number of hours earlier in the evening and he’s cut it very close to his set time. But when the party hits peak time, the floor is full and Knight is in top form – no sign of jetlag or the drama that held him up earlier. The crowd knows what they are here for and they are not disappointed. It’s impossible to stop your body from moving to the first-class tech-house Knight and his Toolroom brand have defined as their own. Earlier in the month, Knight and crew brought this same energy and patented sound to The Mint’s Open-Air Patio in San Francisco as part of select dates on “Toolroom Stateside: The Residencies.” The next day they will be touching down at Analog in Brooklyn. Just before Thanksgiving, they kick off their Los Angeles residency in partnership with Insomniac Events at Exchange’s ninth anniversary. Since 2003, Knight and his Toolroom family have been diligent about methodically establishing and growing the brand, always with first-rate music at its core. The Toolroom sound has become an adjective, locking down the position as the highest-selling label on Beatport in 2018 with Knight’s prolific output placing him as the second-highest selling artist on the retail site that year. Toolroom isn’t just a boutique U.K. label with a remote location in one of London’s satellite towns, Maidstone. It is an international network of individuals who have a connection to the brand. Toolroom introduces its fans to its team through profiles on team members and introduces its fans to each other through its “Friends of the Family” series. The label has even made a documentary, #ToolroomFamily. This film is one of several made by Toolroom, including, Mark Knight: A Year in the Life and 10 Years of Dance Music: The Documentary. These films serve as both historically educational for dance music as well and a commentary on its current state. This past summer Toolroom returned to Ibiza with a very successful residency at San Antonio venue, Eden. This coincided with Toolroom Ibiza 2019 Vol. 2, a hefty 67-track collection divided
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
into three distinct vibes: Poolside, Club and Afterclub. Mixed smoothly by Knight, the compilation offers 22 exclusive tracks and it’s as Toolroom-heavy as you would expect. After a whirlwind trip to Holland to throw down a Toolroom showcase at Chicago Social Club during Amsterdam Dance Event, Knight is with his wife and son at their home in the outskirts of London, trying to catch his breath on a Sunday evening before he’s back in the Toolroom office in a few hours. DJ Times: There is a global feeling of being part of a family when it comes to Toolroom. How was that generated? Knight: The whole company, ostensibly, is a family. It’s me, my brother and my dad. It’s not just a marketing slogan. We’ve got pretty much the same staff we started working with because they’ve never left. We treat them like part of the family, and they feel like they’re part of the family. If we have a good year, come Christmas, everyone gets phenomenal bonuses. That family feel resonates right across everything we do. DJ Times: How did your brother and your father get involved? Knight: My father was a drummer in a band, and they did really well. But they broke up and he went into marketing. He retired at 55, and he was bored. At the time, my brother was a car salesman, and I was making music and DJing and working for a cable company. I’d been releasing records on other labels and been disappointed with the way they had handled themselves. They couldn’t run a bath, let alone a business. My brother lost his job. We sat down with our dad and said, “We have an aspiration, a goal, a dream. We want to stand for something that’s right and we want to have a musical identity.” The three of us wrote out a five-year plan and said we would stick to it religiously. I sold the house I had with my wife, moved back in with my parents and invested everything I had into it. DJ Times: Toolroom really is deeply embedded in the Knight family. Knight: Yes. My parents had a shed where we used to keep the lawnmower and the garden tools. We called it “the toolroom.” I built a studio in there and that’s where the name came from. I would be in the studio. My brother was in the little office in the house. My dad was helping him out. My mum would be running off the royalty statements and doing that side of things. It’s very much an organic family business, and it just grew and grew. DJ Times: It’s interesting that after the initial start, your father stayed with Toolroom. Knight: He’s the only 76-year-old who knows everything in tech-house. It’s a crazy situation, but it’s brilliant and he loves it. We spend a lot of time working in the business and he spends time working on it. Because he’s one step re-
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
DJ TIMES 16
moved, he looks at strategy, musical trends, sound trends, trends within the musical landscape, where we’re going, how to monetize everything we do. It’s a very interesting dynamic to have as part of our armory. DJ Times: How does Toolroom keep its great balance between releasing music that is credible on an underground level and, at the same time, remain financially sustainable? Knight: It’s called the music industry for a reason.You have to be good at both. There is a big difference between having a record label and a record company.You and I can start a record label right now. But can we start a record company? That requires investment, planning, strategy. It is a business, whether we’re selling washing machines or we’re selling downloads, we have to apply those ethics to it – and that’s the difference. Within our framework at Toolroom, we have the right people doing the right jobs. My brother doesn’t want to be a DJ. He wants to be a managing director. He wants to make sure we have cashflow. I don’t want to see if we have cashflow. I want to make music. That’s fundamentally where a lot of these businesses fall down, with people running record labels where they don’t really want to deal with double-taxation forms – they want to be in the studio. But that comes at a cost, which is investment, and what we were prepared to do in the early stages is invest in the business. DJ Times: Besides putting what you made from the sale of your house into Toolroom, what were some of your other initial investments? Knight: For the first two years, everything I earned from my DJing was put back in to pay the wages of everyone else. For the first 10 years, I never took a salary out of the business. It took a decade of investment to get to where we are. Not that we’re making a ton of money, but we believed in what we were trying to do and where we were trying to go. That’s the kind of commitment you’ve got to make if you really want to be a serious player. Now it’s going the other way where I’m doing less and less DJ shows because I’m earning enough money from the business side of it, which was always my game plan. DJ Times: Your game plan was to shift from DJing to the business side? Knight: My biggest fear when I did this was: DJing is great, but how do I get out of it? Because when you stop pressing play, the money stops. So how do I stay in this industry I love, and how can it give me an income, yet afford me the opportunity to be with my family? The business and the DJing have always run concurrently. But now, do I need to keep DJing? Do I stop DJing and just run the business and have a normal life and be with my family and that be the ultimate exit strategy? I would just DJ when I wanted to. That’s ultimately where I want to be. It’s meant running two jobs since Day One. There’s been no wild afterparty, no running off for three or four days. It’s been very structured. But now, it’s paying dividends. DJ Times: If you were to cut back on DJing, it would be very disappointing for the fans that fly around the world to catch as many of your sets as possible. Knight: We have an incredibly loyal fanbase. It’s hard to get your head around how fanatical people are about it. As I said, we treat everyone as family, and I believe people connect with that. I think that’s why we get these passionate people that follow us all over the world. We do everything we can to facilitate putting them on the guest list. We had three guys that came to the Chicago show from Boston and who were coming to Brooklyn the next day. Whenever I go to their hometown of Boston, we always go out for dinner. Last time, they took me to a Bruins game. We’ve become friends. There’s no hierarchy with anything we do. DJ Times: In that same spirit, you’re on your own while touring without a tour manager or any kind of entourage. Knight: If I can’t manage to get myself to a gig, plug a USB in, do my job, then get to the next thing, how can I manage 25 people who work for me? I don’t need someone buffering my ego. I’d rather have the money and put it in my son’s account, and he have it when he grows up, as opposed to spending money where it’s not necessary. I could be in São Paulo on Saturday and in the office on Monday morning. I’ve always had a very regimented approach. It keeps you grounded. It is a very dangerous industry to be in. It’s very easy to lose sight. You’re constantly at a party, day in, day out. It is very difficult to stay on any sane trajectory. I like to give myself as much normality as possible. I work with my family and there are no rock stars or stupid behavior or anything like that. That’s been key to my longevity really. DJ Times: You have many residencies all around the world, including a number in North America. What about a particular city makes you want to start a residency there? Knight: It’s about the brand having a continual presence and relationship with a city that works. Our objective and our strategy for next year is to build out residencies where initially it’s me playing there, but ultimately, there’s enough presence there for the brand to support itself without me being there all the time. We want the brand to have that kind of appeal, to represent that. It’s not just about me. It’s about all the components parts, all the people associated. DJ Times: Toolroom took a break from its residency in Ibiza and you returned this year. Why the break and why return now? Knight: It’s such a huge draw on resources and we didn’t really have the staff. Previously, we were doing 20 to 25 shows a year, and now we’re doing 60 to 70 shows a year. It’s an incredibly tough market. You’ve got to have all your ducks in a row, otherwise, you’re going to get very burned. We are primarily a recordings company and to pull something off you need a big team. We went out and headhunted some great people, who now run our events department. We had to make sure we had all the right people to do the right jobs before we entered into the market. Year One went better than we could have expected and that was really just a great team effort. DJ Times: When you’re DJing as part of a tour rather than a residency, there seems to always be a theme, such as “All Knight Long.” Is that intentional? Knight: The difference between being a DJ and being in a band is it’s so unrelated to the rest
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of the music industry. Say you were in a band. You would go into the studio for eight months, you’d write an album and then you go on tour for two years, and the theme of the tour would be hinged around that. Dance albums don’t really work, so it’s not like you’re going through an album cycle. It’s not hinged on that and that concept doesn’t particularly work well with DJing. With DJing, you’re on tour, and it just goes on and on and on. Continually making that exciting, figuring that out, is a challenge. Year in, year out, we like to come up with a concept that keeps it as fresh as possible. Whether it be an anniversary of Toolroom or I want to do extended sets, you’re constantly trying to reinvent the whole process. DJ Times: How is your approach different toward DJing at one of your residencies versus a club night versus a festival versus Toolroom Radio, which just hit its 500th episode? Knight: They’re all very different, but I’ve been doing it long enough to know where I’m going to be and what’s going to work. You don’t enter into a situation at this point in your career that’s uncomfortable. It’s all about knowing what’s the right fit for you. I’ve had enough experience to know how to play a five-hour set or a one-hour set or a 15-hour set or curate a radio show. I enjoy the challenge of all of it. It’s having an understanding of what you stand for and pulling that together in a cohesive way for the situation you’re in. Not to be cliché, but it’s about telling a story. Whacking records on every two and a half minutes is not really telling a story. That’s a jukebox. DJing in its truest form is far more complex than that. Loads of big records one after another… my mum could do that. It’s about how you eke out an atmosphere for as long as you can in the right direction, appropriate to the mood of the room you’re playing in. It’s not about playing 50 records in an hour... not how I understand it anyway. DJ Times: How is your USB organized? Knight: I put it into different moods. I’ll have a warmup section, a peak-time section, an afterhours section, a classics section. I’ll have maybe a bunch of records that will work at 9 a.m., some records I have for 11 a.m., some records work at 2 a.m. DJ Times: What is your preferred DJ set-up? Knight: I like the Pioneer DJ RMX-1000 [remix station]. I use three or four CDJs. I really want to start to use a sampler. Now that Pioneer has the looping facility sorted, it makes the whole process easy in terms of traveling. When you’re a touring DJ, I don’t like the idea of getting the laptop out. It’s just too high-risk. And it doesn’t feel like I have that connection with people when I’m looking at a laptop screen. The Pioneer set-up for me is perfect. DJ Times: You used Ableton to put together the Toolroom Ibiza 2019, Vol. 2 compilation. Is that your preferred DAW? Knight: Yes. I have everything as fluid as possible. If I’m jumping on the train in the morning, I like to be at work (continued on page 40)
CONTINUING TO SET THE STANDARD FOR DJ TURNTABLES Building off of the legacy of the Technics SL-1200 from the 1970’s, the Technics SL-1200MK7 is made for the new DJ generation. The new model inherits the traditional design of the previous series and maintains the same operating ease, reliability and durability, while adding a coreless direct drive motor and other sound-enhancing technologies. www.technics.com
BOSE S1 PRO GOES WHERE YOU GO Carry, plug, and play anywhere you go with the S1 Pro Portable PA from Bose. This small-yet-mighty PA weighs just 16 pounds, is battery operated, and features auto EQ for fast set up and great sound quality. www.bose.com
ALL THE MUSIC. ONE SOURCE. NOW IN AN APP. Introducing the BPM Supreme Mobile App – the new app that is redefining the way DJs discover music. Stream high quality audio, add to your crate, get inspired with curated sets, create custom playlists,read the latest industry new, and much more. www.bpmsupreme.com/app
Party People: ADE drew a record 400,000 visitors.
ADE â€™19 Hi
House Heads: Purple Disco Machine & Todd Terry.
ADE talks were informative & plenty. Tiffany Koning
Networking: Laidback Luke connects with a delegate. Mark Richter
Gearfest: Pioneer DJ room at De Brakke Grond. Laura Jacobs
CLOSE: Richie Hawtin wows the crowd. Laura Siliquini
Daily Venue: DeLaMar Theater housed ADE events. Mark Richter
Masked Man: Claptone delivered deep house.
D J / E D M WO R L D TO
Moksi & Friends: Dutch Duo rocks Desmet Studios. Laura Siliquini
Demolition XXIV: ANNNA’s “Stardom” wins. Laura Jacobs
Tranceported: Markus Schulz at Melkweg. Doug Van Sant
Night Scene: ADE flags adorn the city. Lieke Vermeulen
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DJ TIMES 22
Speaking on all things Digital Marketing at the DJ Expo for the past three years now has been an eye-opening experience for me personally. Seeing old friends from the time when I was in the DJ business is great — I highly recommend Angeloni’s II for dinner, thanks to Derek P from Rhode Island for that intro at DJ Expo 2017 — and making new friends after my seminars is also positive as well. What is not positive is the state-of-affairs of some of the websites that DJs are using today. Guys, it’s about to be 2020, and some of you are trying to showcase your business with outdated websites that are actually hurting you instead of helping you close more gigs. How’s that? Let me explain… Websites serve multiple purposes. For my preferences, these four stand out for the DJ world. The “online flyer” that is seen when a potential customer is doing research on you and your company. Simply put, your website is a digital representation of your business. If it’s behind the times, then you don’t look as good as your competitors. The “time-saver” aspect of not having to repeat the same portions of conversations over and over again by creating content that can be pointed to. From Blogs to Videos, you can avoid having to make the same speech time and time again by putting up the subject matter on your website, and pointing the customer to said content. The “customer-service” aspect of funneling potential customers to your website in order to service them. Use “buy pages,” song-request forms, live-chat widgets and more to bring not only your customers back to your site, but also their event guests... enabling a possible viral campaign. The “search factor” that is invoked when Google crawls your site and assigns a ranking. The first three purposes are self-explanatory. It’s this fourth and most important factor that requires an article such as this, as follows:
Websites and SEO Back in the 1990s, the only site we had that resembled anything like a search engine was Yahoo. However, Yahoo wasn’t really a true search engine, but rather more of a glorified directory. A company still had to manually submit a company URL for consideration to get listed in Yahoo – a manual process, to be sure. At the turn of the century, though, Google launched with an offering that represented one of the world’s first true search engines, based on the famous Stanford thesis from Larry Page and Sergey Brin. That thesis gave rise to Google, and over time has led to a truly automated way for the “Googlebot Crawlers” to index the web. Accordingly, this automated indexing process has led to what we now call Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.Today’s world uses Google almost every time something is being sourced, and so we as brand owners (in this
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case, DJ companies) must pay attention to how Google indexes our websites. So, what does that mean in plain English? Translating this into everyday work-speak, here are the things you have to pay attention to: How many backlinks are on the web and suited for your site? How often are you blogging, both for your site and elsewhere on the web? How many directories are you listed in on the web? How often do you check the code on your site for SEO errors? Backlinks When a link exists on other sites that brings a user to your site, that’s a backlink in your favor (the url “links back” to your site). According to the Google thesis, the more backlinks your site has, the more popular your site is — and the more deserving your site is of a higher ranking. Simply put, having more backlinks equals a higher ranking. There are some who have written that backlinks are dead – but don’t believe them. I use backlinks every day, and they do lead to higher rankings. Here are some pointers…
Measure backlinks with one of many tools out there. Some are free; some are paid. This one is a fine free tool to get started with — www.rankconsole.com — or you can use the one I use (it’s not free, but has higher capacity) – www.seranking.com. Pay attention to whether or not a website is DOFOLLOW or NOFOLLOW. Having your website link posted on a NOFOLLOW site like Wikipedia won’t earn you an actual backlink, whereas a listing on a free wedding vendor guide helps your SEO score. Remember, Google absolutely hates paid backlinks, and your site’s SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) can be negatively affected by being listed on a paid directory site if they have also listed these directory placements as DOFOLLOW. Prominent listings such as Wedding Wire and The Knot must be monitored to make sure your listing is NOFOLLOW, or your SEO is going to take a hit immediately. Surprisingly, social media posts that contain a link to a site are actually counted as backlinks, provided the profile in question isn’t set to private status (has to be publicly viewable). So, getting your clients to post on your behalf about a job well-done alongside your website link is considered a backlink. Blogging Blogging is for sure one of the most hated aspects of SEO/digital marketing, and I hear the question: “Do I have to blog to get my SEO up?” every August at DJ Expo. The answer is a resounding YES — if, that is, you want to rank up sooner rather than later. Google loves fresh content, and therefore attaches a date stamp to everything, including blog articles. If your competition is blogging on a regular basis and you’re not, then they’re going to rank higher. Not everyone is a natural-born writer, though. So to fight past the pain in blogging weekly, if you’re a multi-op, consider having four staff members write once every four weeks on a weekly rotation. And, don’t just post on your website, but rotate every other week between your site and other blog destinations on the web (i.e., Linkedin, Medium, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.). Directories Ignoring the backlink benefits (discussed above), directory placements solve another Google aspect, that of relevance. If your information is listed on a site beside other similar companies, then it helps them categorize your company as a DJ company. Similarly, if your company is listed in a local weddingvendors directory of all types, then it helps them to also categorize your site as being from a certain area. Remember, local SEO for your DJ company is more important than regular SEO. Onsite Code Google is always changing, and so you must always check your site to make sure it’s still up-to-date. Yoast SEO plug-in will help you in some places by notifying you when a change in your site needs to be made, but to be thorough about it, use www.seositecheckup.com once a month (it’s free) to check on errors that need to be fixed. Think of it this way: Checking your code once a month is like an oil change for a car. You wouldn’t let your car get dragged down by bad oil, would you? If you or your SEO person pays attention to the “Big 3” of backlinks, blogging and directories, your SEO will eventually come out fine. Of course, there are many factors to watch out for, including who you’re competing against (negative SEO deserves an entire article all on its own), how much damage has already been done to your site, what city you’re in (harder to rank for New York than it is to rank for Albuquerque), etc. If you stick to these three main aspects though, your SEO will rise — and so will your bookings. Based in Ottawa, Ont., Canada, Jordan St. Jacques owns digital marketing agency, Digitera Interactive. n
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Since popping onto the scene back in 2012, French DJ/producer Guillaume P has become a driving force in a variety of electronic genres – and under a variety of monikers. As UZ, he’s the founder and A&R head of Quality Good Records, which pushes the trap and bass genres forward with the groundbreaking “Trap Shit” series and his more recent “Trapadelic” mix series. Under his Plezier alter ego, he releases more house-oriented tracks. A generation ago, he was known as DJ Troubl, a battle jock with several major competition titles under his belt. With over 200 releases on his label and other top imprints like Mad Decent, Boys Noize Records and Mau5trap, the former battle champ has been busy prepping his third artist album, Trinity, which he intends to release in 2020. Until then, he’s promoting the second “Trapadelic” entry, which follows the hip-hop single, “I Can” (feat. Twnty8). We recently connected with the masked talent to talk musical motivation, his battle-DJ background and his future moves.
Mystery Man: UZ has become a driving force for bass music. Oh Dag Yo
DJ Times: And then you started with the turntable competitions? UZ: Yes, I started looking for weird electronic music that would help my routines stand out in competitions. This is where I discovered artists like Prefuse 73, Mr. Oizo, and early SebastiAn, Spank Rock, and Tiga. I remember when I discovered Prefuse’s The ’92 vs ’02 Collection album and knew instantly what I wanted to do with it for my routine. A year after I discovered that album, I had won the All-Star Beatdown World Championship. This is where I started really experimenting with my music, bringing together funk, disco, and electronica influences. DJ Times: And then the music changed again, right? UZ: Around this time, the early dubstep guys like Rusko, Skream, and Benga were starting to make waves and I was really into this. I started diving into all of the U.K. Bass, UKF, and U.K. Garage music. This is where I started making my take on dubstep. Then I discovered Wolfgang Gartner and Skrillex, and everything changed again.
DJ Times: Your label, Quality Good Records, has been a success as well. UZ: It’s been a crazy ride so far! I first had the vision for the label five years ago. I really wanted to release all the crazy tracks that I found online and help the next generation of young forward-thinking producers that didn’t really have a platform, besides Soundcloud. At the same time, I wasn’t really happy with how my music was being released and I wanted to take the next step to be in complete control. It’s amazing to see where we’re at right now, having released all these crazy projects from totally-unknown-artists-toamazing-producers like SAYMYNAME, Nitti Gritti, Oski, Stooki Sound, Hucci, TYNAN, Ian Munro… DJ Times: How has your sound evolved? UZ: I think a major part of my sound has always been the music I was listening to at the time and a lot of that time, the music I was listening to was aimed at my turntable routines. I started out listening to a lot of ’90s hip hop like GangStarr and Naughty By Nature. From there, I started to get into more funk and disco records from the ’70s because my brother had a big collection of vinyl. By this time, I was making rap beats for local French rappers, sampling my brother’s record collection and starting my own collection as well.
DJ Times: What’s the new album going to be like? UZ: I wanted to make a statement to say that UZ lives in its own world, outside of the EDM scene where I have been put for years. There’s a trend in bass music that I’ve noticed, which goes something like this: vocal intro, buildup, drop and repeat. I have had enough of it. This third and final album will be called Trinity, and I really want to showcase everything I’ve learned in the last eight years and concentrate it in a 14-track project. There are a few awesome drops, but also some melodic tracks and a lot more rap than before, as my first passion has always been making rap beats. DJ Times: What’s your DJ set-up now? UZ: I play with Serato and the DJM-S9 Pioneer mixer, a pair of Technics SL-1200 MK2 decks. My visual set-up is also done all through Serato, which is essentially scratching videos instead of scratching music. So, all of the visual elements are audio-reactive and matches perfectly to any movements I make on the turntables. I used to carry two, three, sometimes four records crates on a train to go play a gig. Let me tell you, it was not convenient at all and most of the time you wouldn’t play half of it! This was real dedication! Then when Serato came around, my life became so much easier. DJ Times: What’s next for UZ? UZ: I’ll always keep making music because it’s in my blood, But in 2020, I might just take a step back and observe everything I have accomplished so far and just appreciate it. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my team and the fans and I would like to thank them all for it. So, 2020 will see the QGR family grow, but it is also the year I am ready to start my own family – and I will make this my priority. n
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DJ Times: How so? UZ: I went on a one-year stay in the U.S. around ‘97 and dedicated all my time then to studying and practicing with all the resources that weren’t available in France at the time. This is pre-internet days – so you can imagine there were no tutorials on how to learn to scratch. QBert is such a legend because, back then, he would have these scratch videos and mixtapes – “Turntable TV” – that guys like me would study and practice constantly until I had mastered it. DJ Times: What happened when you returned to France? UZ: I started competing and I eventually won the I.T.F and All-Star Beatdown World Championship in 2002. It’s also around the year 2000 that I started producing music, mainly making breakbeats and rap beats for French rappers. I released a bunch of vinyls and CDs, all the while playing shows, mainly throughout Europe. In 2012, I started two new projects called UZ and Plezier. UZ blew up in a matter of months to my surprise, and rest is history. Nowadays, I mainly make music during the week and play shows on the weekends. Unfortunately, turntablism isn’t as important to me as it was 15 years ago. I still scratch here and there as part of my live sets, but you won’t see me pulling out a beat-juggling routine anytime soon.
DJ Times: Why? UZ: I was amazed at the sonics these guys were able to create and blend together into a cohesive sound. By this point, though, the dubstep I had initially fell in love with had gotten too noisy, and so I started to drift away from this and try and find a happy medium. Plezier and UZ were born from this. Plezier was a take on the U.K. scene and an attempt to completely change my sound, pushing more house influences and rhythms, while UZ was combining my love for hip hop with the electronic roots of Prefuse 73 and the early dubstep guys, while keeping the same tempo as the dubstep I had been making as DJ Troubl. DJ Times: What’s your take on turntablism now? UZ: When the competitions started going digital with computers and machines, they totally lost me. I come from the golden era of turntablism where the championships would be sold-out events, and everyone was just scratching. You had to be creative with just your vinyl and your skills. These competitions had the most talented and innovative crews of DJs out there and everyone was pushing everybody else to be better! I might sound old-school, but the analog way is the right way. It was simpler times and, in my opinion, better times.
DJ Times: You’ve worn many hats – club/festival DJ, studio producer, competitive turntablist. How did it all begin? UZ: Each of these monikers has evolved on top of each other in my life. I touched my first turntables around ’94 at a friend’s place. We spent a lot of time hanging out at his house and, for the most part, I was always messing around and scratching his records. After a few months, he told me to buy a pair of turntables because I was getting pretty good at it. So, shout out to Storm for making me invest in a pair of Technics SL-1200 MK2s. DJ Times: What were you spinning? UZ: I started as a strictly hip-hop DJ, just mixing records with a few scratches here and there. But this was before I got introduced to QBert via his tape, “Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Music.” At first, I didn’t really understand it, but this was a lifechanging experience for me. My existence was then dedicated to scratching.
MAKING TRACKS STUDIO…HARDWARE…SOFTWARE…
SWEET SPOT: iLOUD MTM MONITORS
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By DJ E-Clyps
The demands of the modern DJ have evolved to a point where, for many, DJing alone is no longer enough to thrive in today’s diverse market. DJs are now producers, podcasters, radio-show hosts, remixers, and, in some cases, their own marketing staff and content creators. Sometimes, it’s tough to remember that one must still be able to spin and rock a crowd, as well. That being said, the world of DJing and content creation within the home/office/project-studio environment requires increased levels of accuracy, a small, non-intrusive footprint, and the ability to fulfill all the tasks at hand. What’s New: Italy’s IK Multimedia jumped into this market previously with its iLoud Micro series of powered monitors. It was quickly adopted by producers and engineers with quite favorable reviews, as it provided a larger monitor sound in a more compact and portable package. Who would’ve guessed that a tiny set of 3-inch monitors would achieve such a level of sound quality at an affordable price point? And what’s more, you could also fit it in your travel bag. The Next Step: Well, it happened, and now IK has ventured to take it a step further with the iLoud MTM studio monitors. With the first product already so widely accepted, could it be possible to improve on something already embraced by so many? At first glance, the first improvement one will notice is the additional midrange driver to make it an MTM (Midrange, Tweeter, Midrange) cabinet. So, instead of one 3-inch driver with a tweeter, it now sports two 3.5-inch, polypropylene, custom-made mid-woofers, with the 1-inch, low-distortion, silk-dome tweeter seated comfortably in the center. Typically, a 3-way studio monitor is a reach. It’ll cost you a thousand or more for a pair. Or, if you wish to
spend less, you’ll may run the risk of having monitors smaller than your computer screen, while hoping it’s somewhat more accurate than basic, desktop, gaming speakers. It should go without saying that it’s not a great option to sacrifice accuracy when producing your next after-movie of your last festival gig, content for your social-media posts, or your upcoming podcast episode. Yet, the desirable factor of a 3-way system is a wider sweet spot, a more focused sound spreading the workload across three components instead of two, and higher SPL levels.
Feature Set: The MTM units boast these features and more with angle adjustments for finding the perfect listening position, magnetic shielding (so as to not interfere when being placed close to display monitors), 103dB max SPL at 1 meter, and the ability to reach lows of 40Hz. This all comes in a less-than-thousand-dollar price point ($349 MAP per unit) and a footprint so small it can sit comfortably next to your laptop – and you almost forget they’re standing at the ready. You would think that the feature set would begin to stop there, but IK Multimedia takes it even further to make these diminutive monitors call for some serious attention. Users get built-in controls for HF/LF adjustment switches, desk position settings, low-cut frequency options and, if that doesn’t begin to peak your interest, it also includes a measurement microphone that plugs directly into the back of each unit. Plug the measurement mic in your listening position, push the calibrate button on the back and, in a few quick sound pulses, the MTMs are automatically calibrated to your working space no matter where you are. That’s an added bonus for the traveling/ touring DJ, who still needs to be able to accurately mix, work, and finalize with confidence. This is essential in scenarios for the DJ/producer, who has submission deadlines, regardless of what city or country they happen to be in. (When the record label emails you about that remix or edit project, it often needs to be turned in ASAP.) Bottom Line: So, cutting through the spec info, you might ask: How does the system sound? Would I recommend it? Do you really need it? When I worked in music retail, very seldom did DJs and producers want to know specification sheets in immense detail (except for your occasional super-audio-gearhead), total harmonic distortion percentages and miscellaneous stats. They just wanted to know if it’s all hype, or is it really worth the coin? As a salesperson, your reputation quickly can diminish amongst working professionals
if you become known for pushing subpar products on them. So, as a reviewer, I take this just as seriously, as if the reader is a valued customer who trusts that I would only recommend something worthy, a product that will help take their craft to the next level. The Verdict: Without a doubt, IK’s MTMs are impressive. They are not designed for high volume levels – but, at reasonable listening levels, they sound exactly as they should. The midrange is spot-on. The lows are punchy and not muddy. The highs are articulate and very pleasing with no ear fatigue, if pressed with long sessions. The sweet spot is wide enough where you can be free to move around and not lose focus. Keep in mind, these units are meant (as stated in the manual) to be close-proximity near-field monitors. Also, being that they are rear-ported, keeping them away from walls will help in preventing unwanted frequencies interfering with your mix. Set-up is a breeze, and the option to be mounted horizontally or vertically is a pleasing feature. The MTMs actually live up to their specs, in which 40hz is actually heard, and felt. I set these up as a set of B monitors alongside my much larger (and more expensive) set of mains. When A/Bing them for reference, it was amazingly pleasing to hear how close they were. You will know when you are pushing these monitors past their intended purpose, as the LED indicators will begin to change from white tors. To design such a compact set of monitors to red to alert you to clipping the within a reasonable price point without comproamps. Even when ran flat minus mising in sound quality fills a huge demand for the room correction, it was hard the on-the-go or compact-work-space-environto find a fault, and I must say IK ment market. More importantly, it serves as a has hit a sweet spot with these reliable reference you can be sure will translate monitors. to other systems. Conclusions: I believe IK In addition to easy-to-use room correction Multimedia has another hit on its tools and flexible placement options, the monihands with the iLoud MTM monitors’ mobility is an even more impressive bonus. You can put them in a tiny bag and take them wherever you need. What’s not to like? Welldone, IK Multimedia.
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Sharp Feature Set: IK Multimedia’s MTM units.
SOUNDING OFF PLAYBACK…PRO AUDIO…PROCESSING
STILL ICONIC: TECHNICS SL-1200 MK7 By Paul Dailey
shows that most of these DJ/writers came up in the age of Super OEM tables – and in many cases, they seem to miss the point. (FYI: Super OEM turntables are rebranded 1200s clones, usually offering high-torque/direct-drive motors and Sshaped tonearms, and sold at a more appealing price. Hitting the market once Technics ceased production on the SL1200 in 2010, Super OEM units usually offer a different feature set from the original Technics units. Depending on the brand, those features could include wider pitch ranges, USB connectivity, etc.) It should be said that the power of the Technics brand is immeasurable. For me, logic goes out of the window when talking about Technics turntables. It is iconic. It is comforting. It is something that has been passed down through generations. Human nature plays such a strong part of any buying decision and, as a marketer and a DJ, I understand this implicitly. No matter how much torque, or functionality, or funky colors or buttons your Super OEM turntable has, it will never be a Technics SL-1200. Period, full stop. First thing… the new Technics SL-1200 MK7 is a great-looking turntable. My review units are matte black everywhere (from the tonearm and assembly to the iconic 45 adapter) and they’re aesthetically
stunning. And the build quality (aside from a few issues mentioned later) is fantastic. The direct-drive motor has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, resulting in exceptionally smooth rotation, powerful torque and a motor that reproduces sound accurately and faithfully from the groove on an analog record. According to the company, the MK7’s coreless motor helps eliminate the root cause of cogging (i.e., speed variations caused by motor impulses). The tonearm was also substantially upgraded to assure excellent tracking performance with minimum stylus jumping. These two things, along with the legendary Technics preamp, come together to deliver unmatched sound quality – something that is being vastly underreported in the rush-to-judgement reviews I have seen online. No Super OEM competitor can come close in terms of sound quality. With the right cartridge (see sidebar on the outstanding new Concorde MK2 line from Ortofon), you will not find a better-sounding, DJ-focused turntable. Not your old MK2, not your new Pioneer or Reloop – none will sound as good as the Technics SL-1200 MK7. The pitch control is smooth, the tonearm is solid and well-built, and the feel is fantastic. There are a few modern-conve-
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
To say that I was excited to get my hands on a pair of new Technics SL-1200 MK7 turntables would be an understatement. As the UPS driver dropped two big boxes on my porch, I literally flashed back to 1983 when I bought my first set of Tech 12s. Since then, it’s been quite a journey. In 1983, I had worked all summer to save up enough dough to buy a pair of SL1200 MK2 decks from Boston’s Sid Stone Sound & Light – one floor down from the venerable Spinoff roller rink near Fenway Park. Technics 1200s, for many of us, will forever represent DJing. And as I unpacked the new 1200 MK7s, I had a somewhat existential experience. This feeling came as a juxtaposition to the weeks leading up to unboxing, as I had perused the world of online reviews and saw concerns about the new units lacking modern conveniences (MIDI controls/ USV outputs/internal grounding) and that they delivered a somewhat underwhelming feature set given their price tag ($999, MAP). In some cases, I agree with these quibbles. Technics could have done more to re-enter the modern turntable market, with a set of features more worthy of where technology sits in 2019. But I also see many of these criticisms coming from a very narrow point of view – one that
DMS300 System: Supports up to 8 synched mics.
The MK 7: Unmatched tracking & sound quality.
Vinyl Fetish: Ortofon’s Concorde MK2 Series For DJs, playing vinyl has becoming a niche market at this point. Whether it’s Brooklyn, Berlin or L.A., spinning vinyl-only parties are fun, but more of a novelty, compared to the all-vinyl past. Because of this, the choices in DJ-focused cartridge makers is smaller than ever. Lucky for us, the true leader of the pack, Ortofon, remains strong and innovative. Ortofon’s newest Concorde MK2 series represents a major step forward in design, construction, aesthetics, and it really raises the bar in terms of output, quality and sound reproduction. Built at the hands of craftsmen in Denmark, these cartridges scream class, and the proof is in the results. Everything has been upgraded from your old, trusted Concordes of the past. DJs get new, rounded contact pins (no licking or pencil eraser needed), a replaceable finger lift, improved internals, and a stylus that “clicks” upon insertion. These are better in every way. The names of Ortofon’s carts are the same, colors are familiar and value proposition remains – from the entry-level MIX models through the all-purpose DJ series, the spectacular CLUB, sturdy SCRATCH, and DVS-focused DIGITAL, all the bases are covered. Everything has been upgraded. I received two sets – Concorde DJ ($125 MAP) and Concorde CLUB ($170 MAP) – to pair with my new Technics SL-1200 MK7 turntables, and I couldn’t be happier. The DJ MK2: Concorde DJ looks great, connects easily, has a larger stylus Easy connection viewing cutout, so you can easily see dust, and it sounds & scratching. fantastic. They handle scratching with ease and are nearly faultless. I then added a Concorde CLUB to the other turntable, put on a second copy of the same track and proceeded to crossfade my way to an A/B test. When I flipped to the CLUB side… whoa, my jaw dropped. The new, special elliptical stylus fits deeper in the groove and allows for more contact, extracting more intricate details than the usual spherical design. DJs get stunning sound, powerful bass and Whoa: a robust build. These are the best needles I’ve ever used. CLUB MK2 delivers – P.D. stunning sound.
nience features, including the ability to expand the pitch range to plus/minus-16 and reverse the platter rotation, change the strobe light and pitch zero position indicator from red to blue, and detachable RCA cables. But overall, this is the Technics 1200 you know and love. Having said all that, there is one misstep here, in my estimation, and that’s that the MK7 is lighter than its predecessors and built with a less substantial base. While I have not taken these on the road and tested how they hold up to the assault of massive bass bins, it would only serve to make sense that this lack of bulk and isolation would equal more feedback, which is never good when playing vinyl. Compared to the other issues mentioned, I think this one is more valid, in terms of MK7s finding their way into DJ booths and festival set-ups. So where does that leave us? Guess it depends on the type of DJing you do. If you are a turntablist or even a scratch DJ doing a good amount of juggling and quick mixing, take a look. You may end up sticking with your Super OEM unit, but put your hands on it, get a feel and make up your own mind. If you are, however, a mixing DJ that occasionally plays vinyl along with your DVS, the SL-1200 MK7 definitely warrants attention. They look great, sound amazing, perform flawlessly and, unlike OEM models, they were conceived, designed, and built by Technics for Technics. Once again, the legend lives.
New Crew: Alevras (second from left) and Lask (far right) together again.
MOBILE PROFILE CAREERS…INNOVATIONS…SUCCESS STORIES
MOBILES MERGE FOR BIGGER BUSINESS
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
By Con Carney
Hopewell Junction, N.Y. – Joshua Lask started DJing when he was 14-years old. About two years later, he decided to “price shop” other DJs in the Hudson Valley, N.Y., area to determine his worth. Pretending to be a potential client, he called the DJ company owned by Mike Alevras. “Mike quickly saw through it and I received an invite to meet him and network,” says Lask. “He took me under his wing and helped me become the entertainer that I am today.” One of the most important things Alevras did for Lask was introducing him to the DJ Expo, which DJ Times produces each August in Atlantic City, N.J. “I was way too young to get the full experience my first year, but it was absolutely life-changing.” The pair combined forces and ran a successful multi-op. Then 10 years ago, Lask stepped away, handing off all control to his partner to pursue a career as a paramedic. This year, a dispatcher at Lask’s job called him in a panic.“His DJ bailed on him and said he would pay me $2,000 in cash,” says Lask, who pieced together gear and learned how to use Serato again. “Ever ything spiraled from there, but it wasn’t smooth sailing the whole way. My brother Matt and I decided to give it a go and our goal was to book one wedding a month.” They got way bigger really quickly, and soon enough DJing became his fulltime venture again. “Mike and I reconnected and we were helping each other with events and sharing resources. It felt like old times – the only difference was we were not the same company.” He was out of retirement. But after 10 years, the DJ game was rather different. “Everything has changed since I left,”
says Lask. “The only thing that remained the same was the structure of an event or wedding and the concept of solid programing. The technology, the style, the expectation all changed.” Eventually Lask and Alevras talked about reuniting. “I think the big shift to get back together occurred slightly before June,” says Lask. “My daughter was due in June and Mike had warned me about the time constraints and how difficult it will be to keep up with my current work load and be a dad. He was 100-percent correct. I had no idea the time commitment that it would take to be a dad and run a business.” The duo had always joked about “getting the band back together,” but after Lask’s daughter was born, they pursued it more aggressively. “We both had established companies that were lucrative and sought-after,” says Lask. “We had similar styles when it came to entertainment. We both had a good core team around us. We soon realized that if we merge, we can both free up the time needed to be with our families. This job is a very timeintensive and it is, in my opinion, impossible to be 100-percent optimized if you can’t give it your all. This is obviously not possible if you have a family.” But, by combining forces, no one needed to be there 100-percent of the time. “We could all cover each other,” says Lask. “The company would run at full efficiency, but we would have the time we deserved with our family.” They merged companies and created LB Entertainment/HVE Associates. It was set up to be managed by a four-person executive board (Josh, Mike, Matt Lask, and Dan Bolger, as operations manager). “Between the four of us, all day-to-day operations and long-terms objectives are handled,
“Being a new parent and balancing work/ life was becoming difficult. The chance to divide the responsibilities, rely on each other and grow a merged company was appealing.” – Mike Alevras, LB Entertainment/ HVE Associates
and time with family would not be compromised,” says Lask. “In terms of legal structure, the companies merged and we will be operating both brands for the foreseeable future.” Says Alevras: “Josh is really good with the back-office requirements... budgets, payroll, the finances for the long term. I always despised that part of the business. I love the performance, the creative. Also my passion for training, educating and developing new ideas and putting them into practice has always been a strength.” On the gear tip, entertainers from LB Entertainment/HVE Associates use Serato DJ software, Denon DJ and Pioneer DJ media controllers, RCF speakers and subwoofers, and lighting from ADJ, Chauvet DJ and Colorado Sound N’ Light. Says Lask: “We will be investing in Ape Labs over the next year to upgrade our uplighting and event-design capability.” Alevras says he hopes to see the revamped company as “top of mind” in the Hudson Valley. “We will both still be performing,” he said. “We both love performing. But we want our merged company to set a high bar.” When asked to define “high bar,” Alevras says: “I think that high bar should include flawless intros at a wedding that include some personal stories about the bride and groom, new unique mitzvah games that go beyond ‘Coke & Pepsi’ or ‘Simon Says,’ using lighting and effect enhancements to complement the event – not take away from what’s important. “We want that high bar to be attention to the smallest details... and then incorporating them into our events to add a personal touch for our clients. We want this to be more than simply showing up and pushing play.”
ROLAND DJ-707M DJ CONTROLLER FOR MOBILE DJS Built from the collective voices of mobile and event DJs, the Roland DJ-707M DJ Controller packs serious power into an amazingly portable size. Unlike any other DJ controller, the DJ-707M combines the capabilities of a pro audio console with a 4-channel, ‘DVS Ready’ Serato DJ Pro controller for smoother, better sounding events for Mobile DJs and DJs on the move. www.rolandus.com/dj707m
EON ONE COMPACT ALL-IN-ONE RECHARGEABLE PERSONAL PA The JBL EON ONE Compact packs a professional-grade loudspeaker, a full-featured 4-channel digital mixer and Bluetooth audio streaming and control into our most compact battery-powered PA yet, weighing in at just under 18 pounds. www.jblpro.com
DAS AUDIO'S ACTION 500 The NEW Action 500 is an evolution of the Action series, delivering the same active or passive sound with enhanced design and performance. Integrated DAScontrol™ DSP interface with presets and LCD screen for easy setup and adjustment. Perfect for any event that needs a powerful portable sound system that is easy to adjust. www.dasaudio.com/en/ products/systems/action 500-series/
BUSINESS LINE SALES… MARKETING…SOLUTIONS…
“Commanding a room is an acquired skill that requires careful planning, training and practice.” – Steve Moody, Easton, Md.
SECRETS OF THE MCS, REVEALED
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
By Stu Kearns
For nearly a decade at DJ Expo in Atlantic City, N.J., the “All-Star MC Secrets” seminar, helmed by Steve Moody of the Entertainment Connection in Easton, Md., provided attendees with high-level information that can up the game of every DJ. It taught everybody that commanding a room is an acquired skill that requires careful planning, training and practice. Although the session skipped this past DJ Expo, we can relive in the pages of the magazine some of the seminar’s “greatest hits.” Here they are: Jack Bermeo of LJ Productions in Belleville, N.J., spoke about the importance of style, both in terms of having a unique personality and a strong sense of fashion. At sales consultations, Bermeo recommends taking more risks and dressing like an entertainer – V-neck sweaters and pocket silks help him to stand out. At weddings, he wears a suit of exceptional quality to stand out from the guests, and to further differentiate himself, he also uses his unique sense of humor at sales consultations and performances. Dominic Sestito of Elite Entertainment in Tinton Falls, N.J., spoke about the importance of being a confident leader who inspires guests. While sincerity, good voice inflection and confidence are critical, Sestito advised MCs to smile, be themselves and to never scream into the microphone to create energy. Commanding a room, he says, is a skill that can be acquired with practice and does not require great
looks – as the example of Mick Jagger attests. Sean “Big Daddy” McKee of Ridgefield, Conn., has been saying “Smile as Loud as You Can” like it’s on permanent repeat. He reminds us that celebrations are not about us, but about our clients and giving them 100-percent! Specific weddingperformance techniques used by “Big Daddy” to create “energy and love” are: 1) packing the dancefloor with a high-energy set prior to the grand entrance, and 2) after the first course, having guests at each table stand and join hands, and then mobilizing these guests to the dancefloor. Jerry Bazata of DJ Jaz Music & Entertainment in Ogunquit, Maine, spoke about stage presence and shared a construct he uses called “SPACC” (Speed, Posture, Animation, Connectivity, Confidence). Regarding speed, it’s important to look guests in the eye and speak in a relaxed tone. For posture, an MC should throw his shoulders and look proud. For connectivity, the MC must ensure that he is getting reactions from guests. For confidence, it is critical for MCs to project confidence and not show any signs of nervousness. To step up his own confidence, Bazata memorizes the names in his bridal party introductions. Tony Tee Neto of drophouse. com and SCE Event Group in Ridgewood, N.J., is an accomplished voiceover artist and wedding entertainer. To warm up his voice before a wedding, Neto breathes deeply 20 times through his nose and stretches
his face and tongue. In addition to wearing a smile on your face, Neto says that it’s critical to put a smile in your voice. When speaking, don’t go too fast and use punctuation to allow guests time to absorb your words. Develop a cadence for your speaking and remember that “physical movement orchestrates vocal expression.” When performing in front of an audience, an MC should focus on connecting with a single guest and the rest will follow. Neto strongly advises wedding MCs to make their bridal party introductions from the other side of the DJ booth in order to connect with guests and gain command of the room. Randy Bartlett of Sacramento, Calif.-based Premier Entertainment and the author of “The 1% Solution” series of DJ-training videos spoke about how important it is for wedding DJs to “slay the beginning and end of a reception.” Bartlett shared his method for quickly gaining the attention of a room of talking guests at the beginning of a wedding reception. He will say, “Good Evening,” then wait for the natural dip in the crowd chatter, and then immediately begin his short introductory statement, “Glad you’re all here tonight. My name is Randy. I’m going to be your Master of Ceremonies this evening. Tonight is going to be so much fun!” The grand entrance follows. While Bartlett’s opening remarks are short, he makes it up to guests with an incredible ending. Jason Jani of SCE Event Group
and Maryland mobile Steve Moody offered tips on prepping a bridal party prior to a grand entrance. As entertainers, we should look to make this rare private time with the bride and groom and bridal party count. In Jani’s case, he gets the wedding couple to “dial-in” and offers encouraging words such as “you’ve planned this celebration for months, and I hope that you enjoy every minute of it.” Moody reminds the bridal party that their energy is contagious, and that they have the power to control the success of the party. Also discussing bridal party introductions was Kansas City, Mo.-based Peter Merry, whose emphasis was on “making grand entrances grand.” In Merry’s vision of a grand entrance, he not only announces names, but also provides an interesting fact or humorous story about each bridal party member. The benefits of doing a grand entrance in this fashion are: 1) it establishes audience connection, 2) it excites the audience, and 3) it puts guests “in the mood.” Merry stated that many wedding DJs object to this style of grand entrance because “it takes too much time,” or “nobody is doing this in my market,” or “brides don’t want it.” However, he says that if you explain the idea to couples and explain the benefits of doing an introduction this way, many couples will approve. In Conclusion: Moody, Jacobsen and Merry alike said that, after delivering an unforgettable intro/grand entrance at a wedding, business cards will be flying out of your DJ booth!
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
From Sea to Shining QSC
Bose & Arrow
Groovebox Is in the Heart
From Head to Serato
QSC 1675 MacArthur Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (800) 854-4079 www.qsc.com
Bose Professional The Mountain Framingham, MA 01701 (508) 766-4590 www.pro.bose.com
Roland Corporation 5100 S. Eastern Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90040 (323) 890-3700 www.roland.com
QSC has expanded its KS Series subwoofer family with the KS118 active subwoofer. The unit comes equipped with a long excursion 18-inch direct radiating driver that is powered by a 3,600-watt Class D amplifier. The KS118 is housed in a birch enclosure that features aluminum handles and four, rearmounted low-noise casters. Its onboard DSP allows users to array two units in a cardioid arrangement that maximizes low frequency output in front while minimizing energy around the sides and rear of the system.
Bose has released two new accessories for its por table products. First comes a series of Play-Through Covers for the S1 Pro multi-position PA system. These feature a high-quality zipper and come in an acoustically transparent stretchable fabric, which is available in four color options – Baltic Blue, Night Orchid Red, Nue Bose Black, and Nue Artic White. Second, users of the T4S and T8S ToneMatch mixers can now transport their mixers in a new ToneMatch Carrying Case. Made with a nylon shell, the cases feature an easycarry handle and an integrated storage compartment.
Roland has released the MC707 and MC-101 GROOVEBOXES, which the company says allow users to create complete, polished productions with no external gear and easily integrate with modern computer-based music environments. The MC-707 comes with advanced USB audio interface capabilities and is equipped with both a TR-REC step sequencer and Roland’s latest sound engine. It comes with an eight-track sequencer and 16 ultra-sensitive pads for playing or sequencing drum parts, melodic basslines, or polyphonic chord progressions. The MC-101 is a more compact four-track version of the MC-707 that runs for up to five hours on four AA batteries.
Pioneer DJ Americas 2050 W. 190th Street Suite 109 Torrance, CA 90504 (424) 488-0480 www.pioneerdj.com Pioneer DJ has introduced the DDJ-XP2 for Serato DJ Pro 2.2.3. The controller comes equipped with 32 performance pads—16 per deck—as well as touch-sensitive slide FX strips that can control up to three Serato DJ Pro FX simultaneously. Additional features include instant four-beat loop buttons with in/out edit controls, trackselect knob and load buttons, and Silent Cue for instantly starting DVS tracks at the right BPM. The DDJ-XP2 is an Official Serato Accessory and will work plug-and-play when used in conjunction with supported Serato DJ Pro hardware.
Erica Synths Soundle/Gismart
Merry Melody 3.0
Oldest Trick in the eBook
Mobile Studio App
Erica Synths Andrejostas 43, Riga LV-1045 Latvia www.ericasynths.lv
Mixed In Key 3250 NE 1st Ave #305 Miami, FL 33137 www.mixedinkey.com
Sonarworks SIA Smerla iela 3 Riga, LV-1006 Latvia www.sonarworks.com
Soundle/Gismart 22 Great Marlborough St Soho, London W1F 7HU www.gismart.com/soundle
Sonarworks launched an eBook series that focuses on issues relating to recording, mixing and mastering. There are currently two eBooks available in the series. The first, entitled “Successful Studio Set Up,” discusses key considerations in setting up a home studio, including topics such as room dimensions, acoustic treatment products, and monitor choice and placement—each with illustrative images and references to specific tools and products. The second, entitled “Creation and Translation,” focuses on how music creators can “articulate their sonic vision more accurately by working in a trustworthy physical space.”
Gismart, developer of Beat Maker Go, has released Soundle, an app that offers its users the tools to become a pro-music maker without needing any prior music-making experience. Thanks to a collection of original sound packs (created by Gismart’s prosound producers), users can start creating right away. While creating their own tracks, the users get access to a library of sounds from a variety of genres that the user can apply to different parts of the track. With practice, the user learns the basics of arranging and producing. Users can, for example, mix beats with guitars or add rock drumming to EDM, make hip-hop beats or create huge drops. The app also provides functionality for experienced musicians to test creative ideas and mix any genre.
Ninja Tune and Erica Synths teamed up to create the Zen Delay, a custom dub delay effects unit. Zen Delay is a BPM-synched stereo delay line that combines extreme feedback ranges for dub and experimental lo-fi effects with a multi-mode 24 dB synth filter and valve overdrive. The unit is housed in a metal case. It features Erica Synths’ signature Bakelite Knobs, with a physical knob for each of Zen Delay’s functions, and it also comes with a valve circuit that the company says adds extra analog warmth.
Mixed in Key has released an update to its Captain Plugins Series called Captain Melody 3.0. The latest update is designed for use with both Mac and Windows. Captain Melody 3.0 allows users to import MIDI files and transpose them to the key of their song, as well as route the MIDI output from Captain Plugins into all VST and AU units in real-time. The upgrade offers an expanded preset bank that includes Plucks, Leads, Keys, Basses, Pads and Guitars. It also features the Idea Box, which helps craft melodies appropriate for plucks, pianos, analog and VST synths, guitars, voice and other instruments.
Delay Down the Law
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Mixed In Key
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Vibecast & Crew
That’s My Spot
Let It USB
Mixware, LLC 11070 Fleetwood St, Unit F Sun Valley, CA 91352 (818) 578-4030 www.mixware.net
Yamaha Corporation of America 6600 Orangethorpe Ave Buena Park, CA 90620 (714) 522-9011 www.yamahaproaudio.com
HARMAN International 400 Atlantic Street Stamford, CT 06901 (888) 452-4254 www.akg.com
Vibecast is a website builder (specifically designed for DJs and producers) to create their website in minutes without any technical knowledge. Designed by DJ and website developer Jack Barham, Vibecast includes a customizable template that offers users the ability to link to social media channels, list gigs and drag and drop artwork, images and videos. Users are able to import tracks from Soundcloud, Mixcloud, YouTube and Vimeo, with Spotify integration coming soon. Vibecast also allows users to connect to an existing domain name.
The ColorKey Halo Spot is a compact moving head with a highoutput 30-watt white LED that is surrounded by a color-changing LED halo. The unit features independent DMX control over both spot and halo effects, and it comes with a color wheel that features seven colors plus open. Features include sound activated and master/slave modes, as well as adjustable pan, tilt and rotation speeds, and a variety of effects including color changing, ring chase and strobe. A power cable and mounting bracket are included.
S t e i n b e r g h a s re l e a s e d t h e UR22C and UR44C USB 3.0 audio interfaces. The UR22C has two balanced Neutrik combo inputs, each with a Yamaha D-PRE microphone preamp behind it. The UR44C features four balanced Neutrik combo inputs each feeding into a D-PRE preamp, plus two headphone jacks on the front panel, two additional balanced line inputs, four balanced line outputs and a main stereo output and MIDI in and out on the backside. Both feature 32bit/192 kHz audio resolution and offer universal compatibility with both PCs and Mac computers, as well as iOS devices.
The AKG K371 professional studio headphones are precision-engineered to “reproduce natural, balanced audio in extraordinary detail,” according to the company. They come in a closed-back style that is designed for music production, studio monitoring, hi-fi listening and other applications. Available in gunmetal black, the foldable headphones have ergonomic ear cups and a 50mm dynamic, titanium-coated driver. The headphones deliver a frequency response of 5 Hz to 40 kHz and they offer a sensitivity of 114 dB SPL/V. Additional features include a mini-XLR connector and a detachable 3m cable.
M-Audio 200 Scenic View Drive Cumberland, RI 02864 (401) 658-5765 www.m-audio.com
Mackie 16220 Wood-Red Road NE Woodinville, WA 98072 (425) 892-6500 www.loudtechinc.com
ADJ Products 6122 S. Eastern Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90040 (323) 582-2650 www.americandj.com
iZotope 1 Kendall Square Cambridge, MA, 02139 (617) 577-7799 www.izotope.com
M-Audio has released its AIR Series audio interfaces, a line of five models that produce 24-bit/192kHz studio-quality computer-based recordings. Every model in the range comes complete with a comprehensive software package and an entire Effects Plugin, Virtual Instruments and Loop package, as well as M-Audio’s exclusive Crystal low-noise pre-amps and A/D converters. Models are housed in a pro-grade metal chassis with a large central volume knob and they feature a high-speed USB connection for providing a low 2.59ms round trip latency for monitoring in real time.
Mackie’s SRM-Flex Portable Column PA System spor ts a molded cabinet base module that contains a full-featured 6-channel digital mixer, a 1,300-watt amplifier and a 10-inch LF woofer. The three-piece tower is designed for easily changing the height of the mid and high frequencies to match the ear level of the audience. It houses a wide-dispersion array with six two-inch high-performance HF drivers for whole room coverage. Additional features include three voicing modes, two mic/line inputs, a dedicated stereo channel with dual ¼-inch line inputs and a dedicated 1/8inch Aux In/Bluetooth streaming channel.
ADJ’s POW-R BAR RACK USB is a power-management solution designed to eliminate messy wires and extension cords. Designed to fill a single unit of rack space, the POWR BAR RACK USB features eight three-prong 120V Edison sockets on its rear panel which correspond to eight rocker switches on the front. There are two USB ports on the front panel, as well as a reset switch for the internal circuit breaker. A 4.5-foot power cord is wired to the rear panel and the device offers a maximum total load of 15A (1800W) spread across its 10 outlet sockets.
Ozone 9 from iZotope is the latest update to the company’s mastering software, featuring faster workflows, real-time instrument separation, an expanded Master Assistant and an improved Tonal Balance Control that offers smoother metering, resize-ability, new target curves, and inter-plugin communication with Relay and Nectar. Ozone 9 features a new Vintage mode that provides automatic adjustments for Vintage EQ, Vintage Limiter and more, as well as an upgraded Match EQ that can match to any reference track with over 8,000 separate bands.
In the AIR Tonight
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Kerri Chandler, Martinez Brothers, Argy, Dennis Ferrer and label chief Jerome Sydenham, check out Earth People’s massively groovin’ “Dance” (Kerri Chandler Centro Fly - Jerome Sydenham Special Edit).”
– Tommy D Funk “I DON’T” EP u Buraq u Sublease With the third release on Steve Bug’s label, Buraq drops a sleek, deep pair of tracks. “Care”
“FORESTS” EP u Roger Silver u Plastic City A sharp, three-track EP of deep, techy tunes. The hypnotic opening track, “Magic Forest,” is the winner here, as it swirls and pulses, gaining momentum in a wonderfully disorienting fashion – melodic and bewildering. The more minimal “Inside My Head” clicks, clacks and rumbles before it ramps up gently with a supple bassline. “Paradise Found” comes out with a stomping kick and delivers deep tones expertly layered over its rattling groove. Wicked.
twist of crazy with its swirling, looped verses. Eerie and alluring.
– Jennifer Harmon “NATURAL HIGH” u Mike Dunn u Glitterbox Chicago pioneer Dunn returns with a mega-disco-house jam, and it’s quite the stomper. Bumpin’ from beginning to end, the “Extended Black Glitter MixX” lays intriguing male and female vocals over an irresistible track. This track grows and grows – high marks here!
– Jim Tremayne
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
“EDITS BY MR. K” u Danny Krivit u Defected
Native New Yorker Krivit again flexes his considerable editing skills on this two-track bomb of dancefloor goodness. First up, his take on The Vision’s “Heaven” (feat. Andreya Triana) extends its deep, disco groove for mixing pleasure. Then, his work on The DangerFeel Newbies’ “What Am I Here For?” (Original NDATL vocal) delivers a sleek, soulful, percolating workout. A great double dose here.
– Tommy D Funk
u Mike Ferullo u Anxiety This track, which explores the darker side of house, is highlighted by a sad, soulful vocal that flexes plenty of emotion. Kicking a pumping groove, the track nonetheless delivers a subtle
– Tommy D Funk “PARALLEL DIMENSION” u Paul van Dyk &
Elated u Vandit As if it’s hurtling through the cosmos, this propulsive trance track delivers a heavenly, melodic sci-fi vibe. After a sweet breakdown, it quickly revs back up and you’re back at light speed.
– Jim Tremayne
“STILL VAUSE” EP
u Dana Ruh u Slices of Life
On this three-tracker from the Berlin-based DJ/ producer, lead track “Friendly Fire” will quickly heat up a dancefloor and keep it simmering with its teasing, slow-ebbing, but heavy sub-bass and deftly layered organic percussion. “Takes Time” is a deeper techno cut, sporting a driving, bouncy groove, while “To Convince” kicks a funkier flavor, not to mention some seriously distorted bass.
– Tommy D Funk “NO MORE BELIEVE”
snaps a tough kick, but delivers a more ethereal vibe. Meanwhile, “Anymore” pushes a melodic synth riff that rides over another substantial kick. This one’ll sneak up on you.
u Sub Focus & Wilkinson u Casablanca/Republic A killer, high-energy collab from these melodic drum-n-bass technicians, this track blends a clean, rolling bassline and nervy synth accents for maximum effect. Check the beautifully ethereal, house-tinged breakdown before it gets back to its frenetic business.
– Jennifer Harmon
– Chris K. Davis IBADAN 2019 ADE SAMPLER
u Various u Ibadan Records
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the NYCbirthed/Berlin-based label delivers 13 tracks of various flavors – techno, house and variations of both. Among whopping tracks by talents like
“BREAKFAST WITH ELISA”
u Hurlee u TillyJam
Hurlee returns with another three-track EP, which does plenty of dancefloor damage. The title track, “Gimme Some Groove” and “Dance Together” all deliver soulful, funky grooves. Proper good.
– Tommy D Funk
DAVI Dom Dolla
– Jennifer Harmon “LIE MACHINE” u DAVI u Crosstown Rebels The original brings a bongo-driven groove, a gentle, soulful vocal and ultra-deep synths – plenty of tension and release here. With Gorgon City’s bass-heavy remix, though, the vibe gets ramped and the dancefloor’s better for it. – Jim Tremayne “FREE YOUR BODY” u Chris Lake & Solardo u Black Book Pumpin’ tech-house track that delivers a massive groove, manic synth stabs and a repeated mantra – this one should turn out any dancefloor.
– Jim Tremayne “DANCE WITH ME” u Jason Busteed u Lefty Shades Ireland’s Busteed drops a filtered-house track with plenty of punch. The combo of warped vocals, tough stabs and effective kicks make for a jumpy, effective track.
– Jim Tremayne
1. Publication Title: DJ Times 2. Publication Number: 4153 10459693 3. Filing Date: September 25, 2019 4. Issue frequency: Monthly Except Feb,Jul, Sept, and Dec. 5. Number of Issues Published Annually: 8 6. Annual Subscription Price: $19.40 7. Contact Person: Vincent P. Testa (516-767-2500) 8. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779 9. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of the Publisher: 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779 Publisher: Vincent P. Testa, 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779 Editor: Jim Tremayne, 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779 Managing Editor: Jim Tremayne, 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779 10. Owner: DJ Publishing, Inc., 25 Willowdale Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050-3779 13. Publication Title: DJ Times 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: August 1, 2019 15. Extent and Nature Of Circulation Average No. Copies No. Copies of Each Issue During Single Issue Published 12 Months Nearest to the Filing Date A. Total Number of Copies (Net press run) 23,130 23,561 B1. Mailed Outside County Paid subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 (include paid distibution above normal rate, advertiser’s proof copies, and eXchange copies.) 503 521 B3. Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS 15,924 16,201 C. Total Paid and /or Requested Circulation 16,427 16,722 D1. Free or Nominal Rate Outside County Copies included on PS Form 3541 406 372 D4. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail (Carriers or other means) 6,127 6,297 E. Total Free Distribution 6,533 6,669 F. Total Distribution 22,960 23,391 G. Copies not Distributed 170 170 H. TOTAL 23,130 23,561 I. Percent Paid and /or Requested Circulation 71.55% 71.49% 16. Electronic Copy Circulation A. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies 2,486 2,502 B. Total Requested Print /Electronic Paid Copies 18,913 19,224 25,893 C. Total Requested Copy Distribution/Requested/Paid Electronic Copies 25,446 74% D. Percent Paid and /or Requested Circulation Print/Electronic Copies 74% 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership: Will be printed in the November 2019 issue of this publication. 18. Publisher: Vincent P. Testa, President Date: September 16, 2019
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
“SAN FRANDISCO” u Dom Dolla u Last Nite/Arista On this smooth, tech-house groove from the Aussie DJ/producer, a dark, slinky bassline sets a menacing tone – a computerized vocal asks, “San Francisco, where’s your disco?” The vibe then gets spiced up with retro sirens and a spoken-word tidbit paying homage to the dancefloor energy of the City by the Bay. A late-night killer.
Guest Reviewer: Greg Royale (Manchester) “START THE WEEKEND” u Birdee u Re-Loved Here’s another great track from my man of the moment, Birdee. Editing Class Action’s 1983 classic “Weekend,” Birdee gives us a simple disco version with rollicking peaks and valleys. We’re loving its melodic repetition and bouncing 119-BPM pace. It’s absolute class and worthy to start or finish the weekend of any dancefloor.
(continued from page 12) turned it into a playable version on a flight the next day to London and played it that night at Printworks. I just loved the simple, moody riff in the track and it is 100-percent where my head is right now when I think about my DJ sets. DJ Times: Sonically, what is it about instrumental tracks that speaks to you? Yotto: Contrasts of all natures. Clean synths with dir ty drums, crunchy bass with smooth chords. Shitty samples with pristine, digital synths, or dirty analog bass with crisp-clear, high-quality drums. DJ Times: Do you feel a connection to classical composers, in terms musical theory and composition? Yotto: There is a link of some sort. A lot of classical music was also designed for only a few instruments and, while often being musically very com-
(continued from page 5) “You have to put in the time, by any means necessary,” he said, recalling years of bedroom production. “It’s the three P’s – patience, persistence, perseverance. All that time making music without too much notice actually put me in good stead. “In the end, what I do is a good job, a fun job… but it’s not easy. Truth be told, I’ve been sacked from every job I’ve ever had, except this one – DJing.” Here are some highlights from the music and tech sides of ADE: The Music: On Oct. 19, hitmaking German DJ/producer Claptone headlined his latest version of The Masquerade party. Held at the suburban World Fashion Centre, the masked marvel delivered a wonderfully moving set of deep house, which included plenty of remixes of cuts from his superb Fantast long-player (like Patrice Baumel’s hypnotic take on “La Esperanza”). With hits aplenty, Claptone
plex, there are similarities to some club music when it comes to structure and arch – especially the drama and story of a track. DJ Times: What’s in your DJ booth? Yotto: I play with a very basic setup of four [Pioneer DJ] CDJs and an Xone:96 mixer from Allen & Heath. For me that’s the perfect combination. I love how the new 96 feels and the filters just make sense to me. I enjoy playing on Pioneer mixers, too, but I often go overboard with effects. With the Allen & Heath, I feel like I’m more precise, and I concentrate more on the mix. I sometimes bring FX machines from the studio in to add some extra spice – the Eventide H9 Harmonizer sounds phenomenal. In the end, DJing boils down to your track selection. DJ Times: How do you make music that sounds good in clubs and on
headphones? Yotto: I often start producing on headphones and try to find sounds that please me on them. I only move to main monitors closer to the end of the production when I need to start making sure the club functionality is also there. If I start straight out on monitors, the core of the track usually ends up being more functional and less musical. DJ Times: You once said that producing is like building a house because a track is “only as strong as the first element you include.” Can you elaborate? Yotto: I was talking about the importance of knowing the fundamental purpose of the track. I know beautiful records that have wonky production, but can still shine because their core element is the musical idea: melody, a hook, a clever vocal, anything. Then there are more functional records that might not have anything musi-
cally interesting in them, but their core element, let’s say a kick drum, is perfect. Then, that is able to carry the record over the finish line and make it perform in the way it is supposed to. Of course, an ideal track would have both – great musicality, and great production. But in some cases, one of them is enough, and the lack of the other gives the track its character. DJ Times: When you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, how do you overcome that? Yotto: I wish I knew. If I’m not feeling like making music, I just won’t do it. I can’t force it because nothing good comes out of it, and I just get frustrated. Overcoming the mental block for me is just doing something else until I feel good about it again. DJ Times: What can fans expect from Odd One Out in 2020? Yotto: A lot of exciting music! – Ryan Hayes
moved the room with 90 tuneful minutes of rich grooves and warm vibes. The Masquerade’s undercard was no less impressive. Fellow countryman/groovemaster Purple Disco Machine (aka Tino Piontek) rocked oldschool classics like Laid Back’s “White Horse” and gleefully went over the top with The Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing.” The sweaty crowd ate it up – as always, disco never dies. Before him, American house legend Todd Terry left the audience in a lather with juicy cuts like Musique’s “Keep on Jumpin’,” Daft Punk’s “Around the World” and Lil’ Louis’ “French Kiss.” A splendid evening all around. The previous night at Melkweg, the legendary Leidseplein venue delivered its annual double dose of divergent genres. In the venue’s Rabozaal space, trancemaster Markus Schulz went open-to-close for an enthusiastic, soldout crowd – a highlight coming in the form of dropping BT’s classic “Flaming
June” as the artist himself (aka Brian Transeau) stood beside him smiling widely. Meanwhile, in Melkweg’s main building, Dave Clarke and company – DVS1, Luke Slater, Paula Temple, Marcel Engler, etc. – dropped techno bombs for an amped-up audience. The Tech: The ADE Sound Lab at De Brakke Grond included several tech brands with products for DJs and music-makers. Among other new products, Native Instruments debuted its TRAKTOR KONTROL S3 4-channel DJ mixer and Roland broke out its DJ-707M performance controller. ADE attendees also enjoyed exhibit stands from Ableton, Arturia, Allen & Heath, Akai Professional, Bitwig, Denon DJ, iZotope, Loopmasters, Korg, Moog Music, Novation, PLAYdifferently, Rane DJ, ROLI Splice and TORAIZ. In its separate demo area, Pioneer DJ presented performances from toptier jocks like Roger Sanchez and
Cassy and rolled out its range of products, including the new DDJ-XP2 controller for rekordbox dj and Serato DJ Pro software. Also Notable: Audionamix, maker of XTRAX STEMS, won the ADE Tech 2019 Companies 2 Watch competition. Awarded for having “the most innovative idea related to the music industry,” Audionamix software (like XTRAX STEMS 2) is powered by A.I. algorithms and benefits remixers and DJs by automatically separating songs into vocals, drums, bass and remaining music stems. In addition to the official ADE presentation, independent activations across the city included Gibson’s impressive spread atop the A’DAM Tower. Among other Gibson brands, the company showed its latest KRK studio monitors, like the ROKIT G4 range, which includes 5-, 7-, 8- and 10inch models, all of which include DSPdriven onboard EQ with visual LCD.
Sidechain plug-in. I like FabFilter ProQ 3 EQ. I like PSP Vintage Warmer. I like the Waves H-Delay. I like the Waves L3 Ultramaximizer. I like the Valhalla reverbs. I like a lot of the Ableton plug-ins. These are the ones that know how to use well and get the most out of. I don’t overcomplicate the process by having too many options. Fundamentally, it’s about having the right idea and the right choice of sound. If you pick the right sounds, they should fit together. If you have to hammer it together, you’re not putting it together in the right way. If the pieces are all correct and you slot them together, it’s pretty simple. It’s the same thing with production. If you have to EQ and manipulate every
sound to work with the other parts, then you probably chose the wrong sounds. DJ Times: With such a robust infrastructure at Toolroom, how come you still release music on other labels? Knight: I never did until the last few years and, in all fairness, not releasing on other labels was probably a mistake. It’s a doubled-edged sword. In some respects, I don’t have the external support of the other labels. But in hindsight, if I did it again, I would probably release on other labels, so that I have good relationships and respect from other labels. Perhaps I would have been a bit broader, but I was all about just building my own
empire. DJ Times: What made you decide to put out tracks on other labels? Knight: It’s good to mix things up. Things become a bit predictable when we have another Toolroom No. 1 on Beatport. It doesn’t really mean anything because it’s almost like you expect it. When you have your own record label, you mobilize 20 or 30 people to get behind a campaign. Would your record be as effective if you didn’t have that influence? Sometimes I want to challenge myself to say, “Is it hanging on how good my record is? Or is it hanging on how good I am at managing these people and strategizing a release?” Thankfully, I’ve had No. 1s on Elrow and Zerothree,
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
(continued from page 18) straightaway, so everything is in the box, in the laptop, with a pair of headphones, so I can utilize every minute I have to produce. I have a studio, of course, but basically, I just go in, plug into my soundcard in a good room. But it’s all inside the box, so my studio can be in seat 13A on a plane or in my house or on a train or in the studio. It needs to be portable. DJ Times: What are some of your preferred plug-ins? Knight: I have a palette of 10 to 15 plug-ins I consistently use. I’ve refined it to the ones that I know work well for what I’m trying to do. I use the [Sonnox] Oxford Inflator on everything. I like the Vengeance Multiband
Compiled As November 12, 2019
C LU B P L AY C H A R T
NATIONAL CROSSOVER POOL CHART
1 Shawn Mendes & Camilla Cabello Senorita Epic / Republic 2 Lizzo Truth Hurts Atlantic 3 Ashley O On A Roll RCA 4 Lizzo Good As Hell Atlantic 5 Roberto Surace Joys Defected 6 Gorgon City + MK There For You Capitol 7 Madonna & Swae Lee Crave Interscope / Live Nation 8 Lewis Capaldi Someone You Loved Capitol 9 Kygo & Whitney Houston Higher Love Rca 10 Manuel Riva / Misha Miller What Mama Said Radikal 11 P!NK Ft Cash Cash Can We Pretend RCA 12 Pump It Up Endor Defected 13 Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber I Don’t Care Def Jam 14 Celine Dion Flying On My Own Columbia 15 Jesse Saunders Ft Cassandra Lucas Higher Broken 16 Jonas Blue I Wanna Dance Capitol 17 Valerie Broussard & Galantis Roots RCA / Palm Tree 18 Ani Confession AHM 19 Allegra All About Us Radikal 20 Dirty Werk, Dj Bam Bam X Steve No Letting Go Fly House 21 Mabel Mad Love Capitol 22 Sam Smith How Do U Sleep Capitol 23 Gryffin & Carly Rae Jepsen Omg Geffen 24 Taylor Swift You Need To Calm Down Republic 25 Zara Larsson All The Time Epic 26 Jonas Brother Only Human Republic 27 Benny Mardones Into The Night Silver Blue 28 Boston Bun Don’t Wanna Dance Republic 29 Crystal Waters & R-Naldo United In Dance 418 Music 30 Jimmy Cypher A Horse With No Name Sere 31 Zac Brown Band Soemeone I Used To Know Bmg 32 Kalendr X Laura Bryna Sweet Revenge Dauman 33 Jess Glynne & Jax Jones One Touch Atlantic 34 Duke Dumont & Zak Abel The Power Capitol 35 Lil Nas X Panini Columbia 36 Vassy Trouble Spinnin’ 37 Avicii Heaven Interscope 38 Jaguar Grace To All The Boys Jaguar 39 Billie Eilish Bad Guy Interscope 40 Camila Cabello Liar Epic
Most Added Tracks 1 Post Malone 2 Pet Shop Boys & Years & Years 3 Veronica Vega & Quavo 4 Allegra 5 Fenix & Chris Willis 6 Sam Smith 7 Tiesto & Mabel 8 Chris Odd Ft Amber Skyes 9 Shaed 10 Halsey
REPORTING POOLS n n n n n n n n n n n n
Gary Canavo Blake Eckelbarger The Dance Environment Manny Esparza Howard HK Kessler Brian Stephens Peter K. Productions Steve Tsepelis Kidd Leow Sam Labelle Chris Egner Peter Gozzi
Circles Dreamland A Million All About Us Feelings For You I Feel Love God Is A Dancer We Own Tonight Trampoline Graveyard
Masspool Dj Stickyboots Powered By Spectrio Nexus Radio In The Mix With HK Mixxmasters Peter K Pacific Coast DJs Vindictive Vendetta Soundworks Victor’s Live Sounds Entertainment
Republic X2 Recordings Zone 4 Radikal Say Wow Capitol Republic Made2Dance Photo Finish Capitol
Saugus,MA Syndicated Los Angeles, CA Chicago,IL Minneapolis,MN Lithonia,GA Syndicated Long Beach,CA Tampa, FL San Francisco, CA Milwaukee, WI Glendale, NY
NATIONAL LATIN DANCE POOL CHART
1. Farruko ft Ozuna, Sech, Lunay 2. Lunay 3. Tito El Bambino, Pitbull & Alfa 4. Natti Natasha & Romeo Santos 5. Tony Succar feat Angel Lopez 6. Baby Rasta y Kendo Kaponi 7. Elvis Crespo 8. Karol G y Nicki Minaj 9. Nejo & Niki Jam 10. Luis Fonsi y Ozuna 11. Rauw Alejandro 12. Evalina 13. Miles Peña 14. Grupomania 15. Amarfis & La Banda Atakke 16. Lisette M & Reinier B 17. Charlie Cruz 18. Prince Royce 19. Ozuna 20. Marc Anthony
Nadie (Remix) Sony Fin De Semana Star Island Inc Imaginate Rimas La Mejor Version De Mi (Remix) Piña Mas De Mi Unity Ent. Rompe El Sue Universal Abracadabra Sony Tusa Universal Mi Ex UMS/Glad Empire Imposible Universal Detective Sony Cierra Los Ojos SGR Ven Pinchardo Music Tocaito MM Calma Amarfika Salsa Medley La Mulata Del Sabor Como Lo Hacen Palrrufo Music Morir Solo Sony Te Sone De Nuevo Sony Un Amor Eterno Sony
Most Added Tracks 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Artie Oyola Marc Anthony Juan Luis Guerra Major Lazer ft J Balvin, El Alfa Mariah, Arcangel & Darrel
El Quedao Lo Que Te Di Lampara Pa Mis Pies Que Calor (Remix) El Perreito
Artie Oyola Sony Universal Mad Decent Universal
REPORTING LATIN POOLS n n n n n n
Latinos Unidos Record Pool Salsamania Latin Record Pool Lobo/Bass Record Pool North East Record Pool Mixx Hitts Record Pool Ritmo Camacho Record Pool
n n n n n n
Ritmo Internacional Record pool DJ Latinos Record Pool MassPool Record Pool Latino Latin Beat Chicago Record Pool All In Music Pool
ATTENTION DJ TIMES READERS: DJ Times is currently looking for DJs that are interested in reporting to the DJ National Dance/Crossover chart and the DJ Times National Urban Dance chart. Reporterships are open to Record Pools and individual DJs. For more information contact: Dan Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
so it was the records that were doing it. It was a test of myself to make sure I was able to carry my career through the myriad of music without having the influence of the industry side. DJ Times: What are some of the pros and cons with releasing on other labels versus Toolroom? Knight: The biggest pro is that we built a business that supports my family and my son can potentially move into it. It was all focused on building a legacy that can be handed on. The biggest con is you’re not talking to a broader audience. But fundamentally, what means more to me is that we built our own empire, for the want of a better word – one that’s ours and that supports our family. I had no ownership of any of the other record labels that I released on, so I think long-term, it was the right move. DJ Times: What does it take to become a Toolroom artist, of which you have a very select few? Knight: We have a very high-quality threshold. The biggest compliment anyone could give me as an A&R is to say, “I made this record that sounds very Toolroom.” And that is what people say in the same way they would say, “I’ve made a record that sounds very Motown.” If you can get to that point where your record label has such an identity that someone can relate to it, then it’s about finding the right people that fit that quality threshold, and there aren’t that many. We’ve probably got a roster of 15 to 20 that are good enough to hit that threshold. We want to put out records that you can go back to in five, 10 years’ time and say, that still sounds great, that stands up. I want to leave something behind that isn’t a fad, that isn’t a trend, that is quality, that has a lifespan. And there aren’t enough producers in the world to
fulfill that. I find when I DJ, 98-percent of the stuff I play is on Toolroom from about six or seven producers. They’re the people that have the quality and production ability for my taste. DJ Times: Are your Toolroom artists exclusive to the label? Knight: Not at all. We have a management company and we manage most of the artists on Toolroom, but as I say, one mistake I did make was not having broad enough relationships with more labels, so you’re not too narrow as an artist. We try to do the right thing by the artist on an individual merit case-by-case basis. It’s not a massive market, but if you’re working with other labels, perhaps you’ll talk to a new audience that you can then bring across when you release on Toolroom. It all feeds into the same thing. As long as I’m getting the best records, I don’t mind. DJ Times: You’ve established Toolroom Academy, a production school for artists who want to sound like Toolroom. How did that come about? Knight: You can go to YouTube and there’s a whole bunch of free stuff that will teach you how to put a reverb on a snare. But if you want to learn how to make the sounds of Toolroom, taught to you by people with bona fide careers in dance music that have been successful, that’s a very niche thing. We also felt it was another great way of bringing talent through. Football clubs have had academies for years. That’s how they find talent and bring them through the system in a way that they’re comfortable with. We thought, why aren’t we doing the same? Fifteen years down the line, surely, we need to up the sophistication of waiting for something great to come through the inbox. Let’s create not only a great
revenue stream, but also a great way of finding brand-new talent. DJ Times: What are the requireIf the modern version deep ments to get accepted, as it of were, to house music gets you going, if Toolroom Academy? melody matched withtoultra-groovy Knight: We want make sure sounds yourteach thing, then you’ve what weis can is going to got apto lovewhat Norayou’re En Pure. pease trying to create. The Southwants African-born, If someone to write Swissdrums, based DJ/producer Daniela there’s no point in (born signing up to Niederer)Academy has madebecause a considerToolroom we’re ablegoing name to forbeherself in six not able to helpshort you. years. After breaking big stage, in 2013 Even if they’re not at demo we withthem the willowy “Come Withso Me,” ask to reference tracks, we she followed know we’re onup thewith rightother path.faves Then likego“Morning and “Lake Arwe through aDew” questionnaire. We’re rowhead.” Her productions and renot about volume. We don’t advertise like her re-rub itmixes, anywhere. It’s shimmering word-of-mouth. It’s of Sofimaking Tukker’s “Fantasy,” about sure that weset canher do up for festival events something rightslots for at youchoice and you can likesomething Cali’s Coachella do right forand us.Belgium’s It’s about Tomorrowland. brand vetting the rightHer kindPurified of people, so has gracedcomes stagesaway in Ibiza, Las they Veeveryone feeling gas the andmost Newout Yorkofand got it. her branded show airs on An SiriusXM’s DJ Times: example?Chill channel. Knight: Wheats, for example, we Thiscoming year, she delivered a pair of found through the Academy. strongtosingles – the deep, Came a Demo Drop, theybumpdid a ing “Heart Beating” gorcourse, we did “Closer,”and andthe now we geouslyhim. melodic manage That’s“Birthright,” exactly what both it set on the Enormous Tuneswe’re label.finding Now out to do. I’m not saying a newpeople round of remixes been rethese every five has minutes, but for “Birthright,” offering and cluba itleased is possible. There is a channel jocks three great options: Dosem’s career path within the infrastructure deep, late-night mix;we Danijel Kostic’s of what we do, and can facilitate brighter, uplifting andthat Marius that and he’s a caseeffort; in point that Drescher’s rumbler. can happen. bass-pumping Some people go on to We recently En other labels, caught but if up youwith getNora it really Pure with to discuss her career. right Toolroom, there’s an entire DJ Times: career ready toHow go. do festival audiences react toIsyour deeperAcademy Purified DJ Times: Toolroom brand of house all online or are music? there in-person opDaniela Niederer: Regardless portunities? ofKnight: where I You play,can I always try to stick do online courses to you my sound festival sets are or can do– abut masterclass where usually a bit focused on us thein you come overmore and you’re with spectrum They are the studio of andhouse you’remusic. taught one-togroovy diverse. I jump one. We and havemore people who have had
from house to tech-house to don’t deep careers through Toolroom who house, and want back to house again. tend necessarily DJ, who justI want to be go in deeper and get a little more the studio. It gives them an progressive my itlonger opportunityinand gives club kids sets. an opDJ Times: What’s in your DJ portunity to say, “I’ve been working booth? with someone who is at the absolute Threenot to some four Pioneer topNiederer: of their game, generic CDJ2000NX2 units and a Pioneer teacher in a college, someone who DJM-900NX2 mixer. Atintimes, I use a has been on tour out the world.” Pioneer RMX station,suite and Iof work with We’ve got a whole courses rekordbox to organize folders/playlbased on what people want and what they need. There are all different levels of courses. We thought we had all the component parts and it fell into the ecosystem of growing Toolroom as a company long-term. DJ Times: What is your plan for growing Toolroom Academy? Knight: We don’t want it to lose that personal feel and become another mass-marketing production house. But we want to make more money from it and, hopefully, we’re going to open studios in L.A. and in New York. We have a lot of sign-ups from there. We’ll appoint someone locally, who has been on Toolroom and is available to teach one-to-one, and we can do bigger classes. We’re still refining it. We also have courses in Spanish, so it doesn’t alienate that market. There’s still a lot to be done with it, but it’s an incredible success so far. DJ Times: You yourself have produced other artists. Knight: It’s a challenge I like. Whether I’m working with Calvin Harris or Underworld or whoever, I like the variation and testing myself as a producer to work on all those different levels. It keeps the whole thing interesting; otherwise, it can become a little bit producing-by-numbers. If I’ve been helping someone produce a record or finish a record, it’s a different approach. I like all of that and it keeps the whole thing fresh and n exciting.
Never mind who’s behind the mask!
It matters not, because…
We let the music do the talking.
Claptone, Next Issue of DJ Times
WINTER 2019 ISSUE
Claptone: Masked Marvel of Deep House
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DJ Times Winter Issue featuring Mark Knight, UZ, Yotto, ADE ’19 Highlights, Technics SL-1200 MK7, and more!