by Joe Wallace
For the record–I put very little stock in many of these “learn how to DJ” tutorials. Learn to mix and scratch like a pro? I’ve got a better idea–why not teach yourself how to mix and scratch and become a pro? Watching somebody in a goofy hat turntabling on a DVD isn’t my idea of a good time.
That said, I was intrigued by the lineup on the DJ Series Digital Scratching and Mixing DVD. This disc boasts interviews with Robert Moog, Herbie Hancock, and Wally Callerio, just to name a few. What does Robert Moog say on the DVD? I’m intrigued, since in my mind he’s the Godfather of analog synth goodness. Herbie Hancock isn’t such a stretch, but Moog is the wildcard here, at least to me.
If you’ve seen this, by all means drop a comment here–I’d love to know if the Moog thing is a goofy name-dropping ten second cameo or if it’s a quality interview worth the price of the disc to see…
Has anyone read this? It seems like the sort of thing we should be selling or at least discussing here on Turntabling, since the turntable is still a big part of DJing even if you’re running time code vinyl. Truth be told, I’ve never read The Mobile DJ Handbook, and would be very interested to know what experienced pros think of it before I took the leap. Sure, I could buy a copy and read for myself, but I know SOMEBODY out there has to have picked this up at some point.
What I CAN do is to dispense a bit of advice from my own experiences as a DJ–mobile and otherwise. Thinking about taking the plunge? Read on. Continue reading How To Start a Mobile DJ Business
As much as I believe you can’t really impart what it takes to be a good DJ from a book, there are some people who insist that books like DJ Skils: Mixing and Scratching
are helpful and useful to beginners. So while I can recommend a book like this to newcomers, I do so with the caveat that you really need to get some time behind the decks to learn the basics in practice, not just theory.
With that in mind, this book IS getting rave reviews. You have to recognize the ambition of a book that starts off discussing the earliest record player including the 1857 French invention of the phonoautograph and Edison’s 1877 invention of the wax cylinder phonograph.
Continue reading DJ Skills: Mixing and Scratching
I haven’t posted much on the actual art or business of DJing here lately so I thought I’d pass along something to amuse. It started after reading Steve Albini’s rant against digital on an old CD copy of Rich Man’s Eight Track Tape.
Albini wrote that in a few years, the compact disc would be unplayable on any equipment considered state-of-the-art and modern. It took a lot longer than Albini thought, but with the iPod and MP3 downloads ruling the market now, it turns out he was right in ways nobody expected. Not even him. But I babble…this was supposed to be a rant about DJing, wasn’t it?
I am constantly amused by all the Learn How to DJ websites I run across. I especially giggle at the sites that tell newcomers that they should invest in two turntables as part of their DJ rig as though that’s still standard, required equipment these days. It’s not that you can’t or shouldn’t expect to play vinyl as a professional DJ but every DJ interview you read these days says the same thing. “Vinyl is too heavy. I held out for a long, long time but finally switched to MacBook Pro and Serato.”
One thing I personally am in favor of is using the turntable to enhance your digital setup. You can go digital all day long, but sometimes you have the urge to whip out that old Laid Back “White Horse” 12 inch and mix it up with some Radioactive Goldfish. So why not buy yourself a Technics SL-1200 MK2 and get crazy with the cheese whiz?
When you learn how to DJ the first thing you discover is the gear isn’t going to make you spin any better. I’ve run four hour broadcasts using two clapped-out old decks with half-dead LED displays and played DJ sets using the most shameful home stereo craptacular setup you can imagine. What really matters is does the music sound good, loud enough and is it mixed well?
But I will say this–there is absolutely no replacement for actual, physical media at a club or party. When your laptop bites the dust at the last minute, or that hard drive crashes, or worse yet–your computer simply stops recognizing the hard drives you stored all your tunes on, you’ll be greatful for vinyl or CDs and the players to run ’em on. Don’t overestimate your digital gear–one day it will take a nice big dirt nap on you when you need it most. Will you be ready to pick up the slack? Steve Albini is right–the future does belong to analog loyalists, even if only for those who were smart enough to pack some vinyl and a player for when their laptops quit working at the show.