Monday, September 22, 2014

4 Reasons Why Big DJs Playing Pre-recorded Sets Doesn't Bother Me

Reasons why I don't cry like DJs do when a big DJ/producers play pre-recorded sets at music festivals:

1. I have fully accepted that the people who attend these events do not buy the tickets for good DJing, they buy tickets for a good time. Everything is one big show, and I don't mean just the lights, sound, and special effects. I am talking about the marketing, the hype, and the press. People will only feel cheated if they are failed on to have a good time. So you think they're lying to the audience? Everything in the music industry is a big "show" of lying to the audience. I for one speculate that not all the controversial encounters with Deadmau5 were not artificially created. It is a festival, not a nightclub. There is nothing you can play that will make you lose your dance floor. Any DJ who claims they read the crowd at festivals is full of shit because there is no way to lose them. So whether you wing a set, prepare a playlist, or play something prerecorded, it does not change the affect on the floor. You're not worrying about birthdays, and VIPs, and God forsaken requests. My take on it, play what you want, and how you want. It is not my business to be upset because people like something in a way I do not agree with. Has the status quo of the DJ community gotten down as low as judging if people are liking something the "right way"?

2. We can talk all we want at what we would do and would not do, but the point is we are not in their position. In fact, many of us do not know what it takes to get to that position, otherwise, there would not be so many complaining. You do not know what difficult positions that we are unaware of inside agreements of the management. For instance, let's say some festivals make require a performer to provide a pre-recorded set because their show wants a completely synced pyro.  They offer you $10k to play and this festival clearly will get you booked more from its exposure. You know as a DJ you are capable of doing it live, but in order to do this show, they require you to create and submit a pre-recorded mix. Your agency and management is pressuring you because they know, that this one gig's exposure is going to guarantee you longevity in your career. With that kind of situation, I think it is a possibility as to the pressures that are put on actual capable DJs who are caught playing prerecorded sets. It does not bother me at all because they did it for the show, and it does not make them any less capable as a DJ. It is my optimistic guess that no one who has ever played a pre-recorded set, ever did so without hesitation. Sometimes, pride and validation from peer DJs is what keeps someone from moving forward with their career.

3. When big DJs play pre-recorded sets, it does not make me feel discredited, rather, it's my chance to shine. People are not that stupid where they cannot see the difference between Mix Master Mike and David Guetta. I look at this in two poles. If my set is so boring that it sounds clean and pre-recorded on Ableton, then I deserve to be discredited. Or, if my set is so good that I am accused of pre-recording it, then I take it as a compliment. The truth is, I love producing and playing dance music, with a little bit of a turntalism background. I think generally people can clearly see the difference between my set and a big festival headliner's set. It does not make me mad one bit if their set is pre-recorded because I know my live set is clearly different. The trick is, figuring out a way to get the people to see, through your performance, that it is different, and that can be a powerful tool for getting booked. It is a balancing act between having skill and making sure it does not go over the average person's head. Many DJs see EDM DJs as discrediting them, but I honestly see this is an a great opportunity. I would also like to point out, guy's like DJ Craze and DJ A-Trak have found a balanced at showing skill and making/playing music that fits the festival. I would love to see these guys on the Top 100 soon to show that turntablists can make it.

4. It does not make the DJ incapable. As I mention in reason 2,  a DJ can have the rest of his or her to show what they can do. The status quo community of DJs have this black and white mentality that if a performer is caught playing a pre-recorded set, that automatically means they do not know how to DJ. Firstly, I highly doubt anyone would ever be discovered at the clubs and raves, faking the funk. But thats how the general DJ community thinks. Take Juicy M for example. She has a video on her Facebook that shows all the CDJs off, but none of the DJs scoffing her give any regard to her "DJing without headphones" tutorial video where she CLEARLY can play on ACTUAL vinyl, AND SCRATCH. Most pre-recorded sets make no difference to how many headliners sound when they play live anyways. But in Juicy M set, she is one where she could have actually don't a more epic job, LIVE. Michael Jackson many times at his concert, lip synced through certain songs. Does that discredit all other singers? Does that make his whole dancing and performing one big fake scam? Does that mean he is incapable as a singer? Are his recordings faked too? Of course not, it is a show. These festivals are a show. And they are not always a "show" about "DJing".

Juicy M with CDJs all turned off

Juicy M on REAL VINYL AND SCRATCHING, as well as on Serato and CDJs

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Serato DJ 1.7 First Test Drive

I did a test drive with Serato DJ 1.7.

-Rane SL3
-Late 2013 Macbook Pro Retina 2.3ghz with 16GB RAM

 Serato drivers for Pioneer DJM-900SRT, Rane SL3 and Rane 62 installed.

So far, so good. I listed my computer type because there are isolated issues with the Retina MBPs compared to previous generation MBPs.

Improvements I noticed:
 - Latency issues with timecode are gone, and timecode responds just like SSL which I can now scratch properly.

- Left deck does not start a milisecond off from the cue like it did with 1.6.

A few things I also noticed:
-SL3 driver for Mac no longer has the buffer control. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but I will say the buffer did very weird things with setting it lower and the latency would increase, and setting it higher, would make the latency go way off the charts, like 1 to 2 seconds off. Whatever the case is, timecode is responsive now.

-Recording channel is default to Channel 1, when I think it should be default to Channel 3 since it is the aux. Nothing more embarrassing than have a timecode signal recorded as opposed to your set. I did that when I made this video.

-When the line/phono switch is set to phono and you input it with a line timecode signal, unlike SSL where it gives you a red signal but will still play, Serato DJ will play at +230% forcing the DJ to check for something wrong. I think this is awesome because many DJs forget to switch back to line from phono simply because it "works" in SSL. It's not good to load your inputs with a line level signal. From what I read, the overload could actually destroy your channel inputs to your interface or mixer.

Still have to do further long term tests to see if it can be used live. Will also try HID mode with Pioneer CDJs to see if they improved the known latency issue with HID. Will be doing further tests with a Rane 62 real soon, and the 900SRT sometime this month.