#1 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -

Back in March I decided I was going to start looking at going to University and realized that if I did so, I wouldn't be able to play in the band that I'm currently in anymore due to it being just too damn far to travel. So I started looking for some other means to vent the musical tension that tends to build up over time.

I was introduced to DJ'ing through a mate who plays in a few clubs in our local scene. At first I wasn't too keen on the idea of playing other producers music to a crowd and getting any sort of credit for doing so, but after a while of watching my mate and a bunch of other DJ's play a few sets, I realized that DJ'ing was much more than just dropping banger after banger, and more about trying to set a vibe in a room, read the crowd and swing with their mood accordingly. A sort of meta-game within the "performance" that I found fascinating, a favourite party trick of my mates was betting that he could send half the dance floor to the bar (which the club owners/promoters sure do appreciate) by playing a certain track, and then almost immediately bring them back again with another, the smug bastard. Another thing I was told about was the 1+1 = 3 mentality, basically meaning you could play two tracks individually, but by mixing the two together you could create something with an entirely different feel or pace about it.

Knowing that it was possible to create something original, I thought fuck it, I'll give it a go. So I bought this guy - 

 Vestax VCI-100
After figuring out how I wanted to DJ, I bought the VCI-100 in combination with Traktor 2.0. I read numerous arguments for the different avenues there were as far as how you could DJ (including those both for and against the now beaten to death Sync button argument) and Midi Controllers offered the customize-ability I was looking for. Essentially you can map the buttons, platters, sliders and knobs to do whatever you want within the software you are using.

So since then I've been jumping from genre to genre, flooding myself with a ton of music that I was totally unaware of coming from a background were guitar,bass, drums and vocals ruled the roost. 

After about 3 months of practice I recorded my first routine, which I'm still absolutely chuffed with to this day - 

It's a combination of two tracks - Where'd you go by Fort Minor, and All through the night by Emancipator. A dramatically different feel to the song if any of you have heard the original Fort Minor track.

I've added 2 other controllers to my set up since then - 

Meet Inky and Pinky. 
The one on the left is a Midi Fighter Classic and on the right a Midi Fighter Pro. I use the Classic as an effects board at the moment and the Pro for Cue point juggling, loop recording, beat slicing and misc other effects using the faders at the top.

I recorded a pretty funky bootleg a few weeks ago using the Midi Fighter Pro (Pinky) - 

  It's a remix by Luminox of Bingo Players "Rattle" with a Destiny's Child (bear with me) accapella sliced and sampled over the top. You've probably noticed by now that due to my complete absence of creativity, most of the titles I give these mixes are just shitty plays on the original song names.


Now almost 8 months after I started I feel that I'm ready to start playing to crowds, I'm lucky enough to already be somewhat connected to a lot of promoters who I've worked with while playing in the band, so thats a fairly difficult hurdle swiftly dodged. One of my friends even made me the sweet logo thats at the top of the post!

These are my two latest sets that I'd most likely send to some of the promoters should they ask to hear my noise. (so to speak) My mixing, EQ'ing, beat matching, choice of songs is far from perfect, but I think fine tuning these things in a live in environment would be one of the best places to learn.

  
  

A couple of resource's I've used extensively over the past 8 months - 

http://www.djtechtools.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/ellaskins

Youtube in general is a fantastic place for tutorials on different techniques or just to watch other DJ's jam.

http://soundcloud.com/

You'd be surprised how much free music producers put up on here. I got into Trap music a month or so ago and now have a catalogue of 100+ tracks, not one of which I've had to pay for.

Cheers for reading!

Hope you enjoyed the brief insight into what I'd call probably one of the most eye opening musical experiences that I've had in my life (The first and last time I'll use that line). Never before have I fell in love with so much music in such a brief period of time, the rate that some of the producers throw out new tracks is overwhelming.

This is my setup as it is today - 


Yeeaaaah. 
#2 Posted by heatDrive88 (2472 posts) -

Every time I see those MIDI Fighters, I go a little crazy with joy.

#3 Posted by Labman (289 posts) -

I know absolutely shit all about DJing, but I really dig your "Can You Rattle Up" track! The "Trap Set" track is pretty bad ass too.

BTW, those MIDI Fighters always remind me of the Lights Out handheld game I had when I was a kid.

#4 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -
@heatDrive88 said:

Every time I see those MIDI Fighters, I go a little crazy with joy.

Sometimes I press them, even when they're not plugged in. You know...just in case something magical happens.

@Labman said:

I know absolutely shit all about DJing, but I really dig your "Can You Rattle Up" track! The "Trap Set" track is pretty bad ass too.

BTW, those MIDI Fighters always remind me of the Lights Out handheld game I had when I was a kid.

Cheers dude, the tracks can be downloaded so you don't have to be on Sound Cloud to listen to them.

Oh dude! Now that you mention it they totally do look like them! That would make for an awesome controller if someone strapped a MIDI out onto it.

#5 Posted by OllyOxenFree (5007 posts) -

That's some good shit, dude! Bookmarked your soundcloud page for whenever you add more tracks.

#6 Posted by thomasnash (607 posts) -

This is making me really said that my midi setup is out of action. Never as impressive as yours though.

I think it's sad that so many people are resistant to DJing. I don't want to say owt about its artistic validity or whatever, but it's just a fun skill to learn and really helps you appreciate the music you own a bit more, and get to know it inside out. I've only ever played out at a couple of house parties, mostly just do it on my own time and it's a very relaxing way to spend an evening.

#7 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -
@OllyOxenFree said:
That's some good shit, dude! Bookmarked your soundcloud page for whenever you add more tracks.

Nice one! I record most of my practice sessions in case something good pops out of it, the good ones I'll stick up on soundcloud.

@thomasnash said:

This is making me really said that my midi setup is out of action. Never as impressive as yours though.

I think it's sad that so many people are resistant to DJing. I don't want to say owt about its artistic validity or whatever, but it's just a fun skill to learn and really helps you appreciate the music you own a bit more, and get to know it inside out. I've only ever played out at a couple of house parties, mostly just do it on my own time and it's a very relaxing way to spend an evening.


I think a lot of people are stuck behind the idea that 9/10 the DJ in the club doesn't make the music he is playing, and if you don't manage to pull something cool out of your ass when mixing all the tracks/samples/accapella's together, then rightly so you shouldn't get any special recognition for being a glorified playlist manager. Thats why whenever folks listen to the mixes I put up, I'm sure to let them know that I'm just a DJ and not a producer. (Yet!)
#8 Edited by Lumley (969 posts) -

My story of getting into DJ'ing is very similar to yours.

I played guitar and listened to Metal and Rock before I came to university but within a few weeks of being at uni I was introduced to house music and when I get into a genre I really get into it. I started doing loads of research into DJ's and DJ'ing and started DJ'ing using only my laptop and virtual DJ. At Christmas last year I decided I wanted to step it up a bit and got my first controller.

So I got one of these, a Numark Mixtrack:

It's pretty basic but for the level I was at last Christmas it was perfect. From there I got into it a hell of a lot more. I started using Traktor 2 and expanded my music tastes and library within the club scene. Just like you were saying the whole meta-game of reading crowds and mashing up songs to get a crowd really going is so awesome. Over the next few moths following that purchase I made also made a couple of mashups/remixes. They're not the best - they literally only took me an hour to make, but I did enjoy making them.

Last April I added to my set up. I didn't get midifighters like you but I got something rather similar. A Novation Launchpad:

The yellow and green sections correspond to the mapping of the midifighter with a 'instant gratification' mapping (so I've got beatmashers, gater effects etc.) The rest of the buttons are assigned to cue points, eq kills, filters etc. The awesome thing about it is that I can literally map anything to it and it works really well.

I'm kind of at the point now where I think I'm ready to actually DJ live. I've only done house parties so far. I don't really know how to go about doing that though.

Here's another couple of mixes I have made. The first is a mashup and the second of the few sets I've recorded.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5Y6DvlOgpU

I did start looking into the production side of things lately by giving FL Studio and Ableton Live a go. Needless to say I haven't managed to make any smash hits yet.

#9 Posted by PerryVandell (2112 posts) -

How good are you at DJ Hero?

#10 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -

@Lumley

I like the Scary Sprites and Nice Kangaroo's mix mate! You need to take the embed line, click on "insert" > HTML and copy & paste the line into the box. It should appear after that.

The launch pad was something I had looked at, but I could totally see myself getting lost among all the buttons, even if they are colour co-ordinated. Although with enough practice I'd imagine you would be able to play the launchpad just like an instrument, provided the mapping accommodates it.

Also, I've followed you on Soundcloud. =)

@PerryVandell said:

How good are you at DJ Hero?

I don't think I'd be any good at it. I've always hated Rock Band, Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and the like.
#11 Posted by Sploder (917 posts) -

I haven't checked out the sets yet but the Destiny's child one was dope as fuck dude, you definitely have potential.

#12 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -
@Sploder said:

I haven't checked out the sets yet but the Destiny's child one was dope as fuck dude, you definitely have potential.

Thanks dude, means alot!
#13 Posted by EuanDewar (5120 posts) -

*i stand up in my room with my MF Doom sweater on and shout "FRESH BEATS FRESH BEATS COME GET CHA FRESH BEATS"*

good job scotsmane

#14 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

FRE5H BEETZ!

#15 Posted by Jasta (2217 posts) -

I'm working on a Hotline Miami Soundtrack mix at the moment, first couple of attempts were complete failures. Give it a day or so. xD