Keep it Simple: Focus on the Music

The Music industry and more so the DJ Industry has changed a great deal over the last 20 years, computers are in no doubt the reason for this change. As software develops, more gear is created and a DJ’s options have multiplied a great deal. But are there too many options and is technology distracting DJ’s from the the Music?  Lets take a look.

Too Much Technology

wiresIn a recent question on Traktor Tips, I was asked, “Is there a way that Traktor will select 5 or 6 songs that will mix well together so that I can create a DJ Mix?

Whilst technology can be very beneficial in many circumstances, I feel that it may be starting to ‘take over’ peoples thought processes, with people reaching for the easiest way to complete a specific task.  The fair answer to this question, is to talk about the Key Detection possibilities within Traktor, however, the very fact that I was asked the question, also highlights the consumers desire for quick, simple, shortcuts; emphasised more by even asking someone else for the answer on how to do this.  It is the ultimate case of laziness.

Don’t blame yourself

Computers have created a generation of lazy people and are turning older generations lazy too. If for some crazy reason the internet dies, are people going to know what books are? We all look for answers online and often find them, we know the answer to our question is at the end of a google search. As it stands, society demands us to work in order to pay bills, turning our time into something we value. We all crave shortcuts (I’m even using one right now to navigate this document), but is this excessive demand for shortcuts causing us to miss the point?

It’s all about the Music

Headphones on chairI contribute to an online radio show ( once a month with a live DJ Set. I use an Kontrol S4, a Kontrol F1, a Mixer, Computer, broadcast software, speakers, microphone, headphones, and a second computer for live streaming video. I communicate to listeners through google plus and Facebook during the show and it’s all rather consuming and exhausting. During my last show, whilst playing, I noticed an issue with the sound quality, I didn’t know what was to blame as so much was routed through something else, it could have been one of a number of things. It was frustrating. The fact that all this technology was present made me realise something:

“Focus has been taken away from the Music by all this technology!”

I realised I was too caught up on what effect to use and what loops to set up and which button controls what and when to launch this and that , that I wasn’t even listening to the music I was playing.  By spreading yourself too thinly we are missing the pure essence of the art form, the MUSIC.

After the show, I spoke to a friend about how I felt and he informed me that he had just bought an old style Rane MP & XP 2016S.

Screen ShoRane MP XP 2016


Our discussion went on to stripping things down to be simple and pure, dealing with the raw sound and best quality one can get. Using this type of mixer with Vinyl, screams simplicity and removes all the distractions from the music itself. Sure, we can attain pretty good sound with some high quality audio files too and place them on a CD to use with CDJ’s or even at a push Flac files, but to truly remove oneself from the technology and to deal with the physical music and the simplicity of the hardware is exciting and much needed. It’s about going back to the roots. The essence of DJ’ing is firmly rooted in the music.

I wanna be a DJ

It seems that everyone ‘wants to be a DJ’. Great! But does everyone want to be a DJ because they want to be a DJ, or because they want to showcase the amazing music that they have searched high and low for, to express their feelings and emotions through a rare sound or groove they just happened across in some far off remote record store?

deck picture 2

Times have definitely changed, humanities insatiable desire for more and more seems to have diluted the playing field somewhat. Along with manufacturing companies wanting to make more and more money by pushing the latest gizmo or gadget into the blindly consuming publics’ face.

Focus on the Music

Stripping away the pressures of a consumer society and re-focusing on the true essence of our chosen hobby; Music, should once again align you with a depth of passion that is much more rewarding than any false desire for a piece of hardware or software that maybe in the back of your closet in a couple of years. Since this ‘revelation’, the sync button is set to off and I have returned to a purer form. Yes, I admit, this may be a temporary setting, but I have noticed now as I manually beat match two records together, how I am actually listening to the music. I hear the high-hats, I hear the melodies, that small clap shines through, I have re-discovered the music.

Now where’s my Kontrol F1 got to…….? 🙂

photo credit:
(wires): xeni
via photopin cc

8 thoughts on “Keep it Simple: Focus on the Music

  1. Tech is all very well, and as long as it’s used judiciously it will improve your DJ workflow. You don’t need to use everything available – a new skill for digital DJs to learn!

    1. Yes, this is true – you gotta pick your gear wisely and with purpose! thanks for the comment – I seem to have overlooked this comment, sorry about that! 😉

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