The are many many articles out there, talking of the true art of mixing and the many reasons why all DJs should learn the art of beat matching on turntables etc etc.. What I have noticed is they all seem to miss what I believe to be the most important thing – knowing your music! With all the tools available to the budding digital DJ such as BPM counters, visual colour mapped waveforms and the dreaded ‘sync’ button it has in my opinion mostly sanitised the skill. I speak from vast experience on this subject having owned most of the digital tech on the market today! Yes I was an addict and yes I did need to seek professional help for my habit!
As it turned out I didn’t need the help after all, what I actually needed was to dust off my old 1200s and dig out my vinyl. I haven’t looked back since and have fallen back in love with the art form! Don’t get me wrong though I haven’t got anything against the digital DJ community or the tech within, not at all! I spend a lot of time watching extremely talented DJs producing mind blowing performances across a range of devices. My opinion is, with the advent of all the channels open to us today to get our work to the masses, there is a place for all aspects of the art form from sample juggling, finger drumming turntablists to vinyl junky craftsmen.
What is important however and back to my original point, is really getting to know your tunes. In the good old days, ‘the golden era’ music was a lot harder to come by. For example I could talk you through my record collection and probably tell you exactly where I bought each record and more than likely tell a story behind the beat hunting journey that led to each purchase! For that reason record collections were smaller than the mp3 collections of today! Therefor by default we knew our records inside out! Sets would evolve over time rather than many DJs now that barely play the same record twice! As with many aspects of this subject there are pros and cons to both ways, but to me a DJ needs to know his or her collection inside out. When playing live you are on a journey with the crowd, you are in it together and you need to spot the little subtle shifts of mood and react accordingly with the right tune at the right time to keep the crowd hooked whilst keeping the overall story and journey on track!
See below our very own DJ Joy Deep skilfully spinning 100% vinyl across 4 decks analogue style!
And here is the middle ground with DJ Shiftee utilising Traktor Timecode vinyl on 1210s and the excellent Native Instruments S8 (yes I had one of those too! Addict!)
And finally full on digital with Laidback Luke on the Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus and a DJM900 mixer and the RMX1000 effects unit
As a side note read the comments on Youtube for this video, they are hilarious!
I would be interested to see your opinions on this subject as there is no right or wrong!