DJ’ing is not anywhere near the same as when I first started. In the days of vinyl beat-matching with precision was a skill only a small percentage of DJ’s had, it required an acute ear for the music and its rhythm. It was very easy to understand when a DJ wasn’t very good at this because an incredibly annoying train-wreck would be coming from the speakers, and although many people in the crowd at that time clearly were not musically educated enough to tell, many could understand the tragedy and would stand there wondering what was going on. Beat-matching with Vinyl was a strong point of mine and something that stood me apart from most, plus I absolutely loved playing with a material that I could touch and manipulate with my hands like that. I never got in to scratching but I did enjoy my own subtle tricks to enhance the sound of my mixes. I even played around with 3 turntables for a while there ..now that was fun. CD’s reared their head next and I hated them, I did not see them as a viable replacement to my Vinyl and so, to this day, I have never played a CD in my life. It is a dead media and although CD players have come a long way and allow you much creativity, if you are going to go digital, then go digital, laptop, software, midi controller/s and knowledge is how it all comes together these days. I managed to continue playing vinyl up to the point where technology had come far enough to make the digital method an advancement instead of a replacement, that is when I made my direct switch from vinyl to this new era of digital. My final note on this paragraph has to be about DJ’s still playing vinyl; the younger newer DJ’s tend to “try” and play vinyl the most because they are still at an age where they care more about what people think than how good they sound, and they “think” that playing vinyl looks “cooler”, and in fact many crowds goers are of similar mentality and it adds a “wow” factor for them. The fact remains though; you can’t get the best tracks on vinyl, selection is very limited, and you can’t be as creative with it as with digital DJ’ing, it’s just evolution and although I love vinyl I am not stupid enough to continue playing with it. (there is timecode vinyl though to control your software if you really must have vinyl)
And so, we have moved in to the Digital and Technical age, anyone DJ’ing these days would be silly not to embrace and use all the tools that are now available. These days it has now all boiled down to track selection, crowd interaction and creativity on the fly that can separate a good DJ from a bad DJ. This separation however is not as easily detected by the crowd due to the fact that beat matching can now be done for you and therefore there is no need for any DJ to have a “train-wreck” of a mix. Any DJ in this day and age who does not have perfect beat-matching, even if they are just “playing tracks”, must have a seriously low IQ and/or lack of passion for what he is doing. I do not claim to be anywhere near the best DJ in the World but I am well above average and in this series of lessons I am going to show you the basics and how to get started the correct way as of 2012.
Below is a list of items that you will need to follow along exactly as I show you but there are many choices of software and hardware so my way is not the only way, you need to find what is comfortable for you. I will just be showing you what is comfortable for me.
- Traktor Pro 2
- Mixed in Key 5
- Platinum Notes 3
- Traktor Kontrol S4
- Traktor Kontrol X1
- Good Headphones
- MacBook Pro
I will be giving lessons on how to use Platinum Notes, Mixed in Key and Traktor together so that you are always mixing harmonically and with precise beat-matching and no need to mess with the gain, plus how to use the Traktor Kontrol S4 on a simple level, and also on simple music theory behind electronic music so that your mixes fall together flawlessly. This is how you DJ properly in 2012, do it right or don’t bother, it hurts my head.
*There are of course other options on which software and controllers to use, the process is very similar though no matter what you use.