DJ Ethics: Vol 1

Chris Macom —  March 16, 2011 — 3 Comments

It doesn’t seem too long ago that I was questioning whether using a digital vinyl system was cheating or not.  I knew because I would be able to see the waveforms in Serato that It would be easier to mix, flat out.  I also knew that this would make me able to mix faster without having to switch the records.  Basically I thought to myself that these improvements to technology would make me a better DJ without sacrificing the time to master the skill.  To a new-schooler this sounds like a bunch of jargon but not too long back it was all about your ability to mix and keep the records synced(just using your ears).  Anything else was not excepted in the Detroit Techno scene.  This is hard to do and most people cannot do it.  Aspiring DJ’s would run away crying at the thought of having to beat-match.  Many said “I cannot do this” and stopped aspiring.  Nowadays anybody with a laptop could quickly learn to be a “passable” mixer as far as beat-matching goes.  The thing that I learned through my experience with helping people DJ with laptops is that they don’t understand concepts of song structure(notes, measures).  They think that because they have the songs synced and it looks good on the screen that they’re good to go out and be a superstar.  Sure they can get a gig at a small bar or nightclub but in a more populated environment with more people paying attention to the details, they could be potentially humiliated.  Especially when the sound shuts off, they have no idea what to do, and everyone is booing.  I have seen this countless times.  So there is something to say about DJing with vinyl.  It can teach you more about music and train your ears to notice the details.  Nowadays with the big debate over controllers it reminds me of when timecode was considered to be “whack”.  Now Serato and Traktor Scratch are socially acceptable and everyone forgets that they in essence are controllers too.  So if you’re a Serato Scratch or Traktor Scratch user dissing controllerists, then you should recognize and shhh!  Real DJs use vinyl and will be the realest until they’re all dead and the new DJ’s have controller chips in their brains that spin all their electro house and dubstep telepathically.  Techno and House music DJ’s should spin vinyl.  Let’s bring it back.  If you DJ pop music then use whatever you want because you get no respect anyways.  At least at The Detroit Techno House.

Chris Macom

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Chris Macom is a DJ, producer, and writer in the Detroit Metro area. Growing up in the 90's, Chris grew fond of electronic music and started collecting vinyl and DJing. Now, as a founder of both Detroit Techno House and Lost Science, Chris hopes to share with the world his experiences through music and writing.
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3 responses to DJ Ethics: Vol 1

  1. Renegade Rhythms March 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    A good DJ is a good DJ, regardless of the medium they are using…

    I’ve seen Cisco (The Advent) dj incredible sets on Traktor Scratch Pro and I’ve seen earlier sets of Carl Craig/Juan Atkins, vinyl only that sucked ass! If a DJ knows what he’s doing , it doesn’t matter what medium he is using, because DJing is much more then just beat matching, as you were indicating in your article. That’s the first half, then you’ve go to program. Programming is so much more important to djing, then just beatmixing. Not just knowing what song structures go with what parts, but also what types of songs go with each other. Great example to look at it Shake. See how he meshes in completely different styles of music that just seem to mesh but you wouldn’t think so until you heard it.

    I say if you DJ, you better make it good, no matter what you use and what type of music you dj, because it will be apparent whether you are on vinyl or computer or somewhere in between :)… To those who know…

  2. If all techno and house DJ’s used controllers without any type of platter, it would be strange. How do any of you feel about this? What if you didn’t see any kind of turntable be it CD/vinyl/control table? Only buttons and knobs on an all in one easily portable piece of gear.

  3. Anna Tedeschi May 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    AMEN!! ANALOG ALL THE WAY! I have no respect at all for any DJ who does not know how to beatmatch and say they have a setup just because they have traktor in their stupid PC computers.
    Technology should be used when you reach a point like RICHIE HAWTIN has. As an aid to create more brain massacre! If you are not RICHIE HAWTIN or MAGDA. Don’t insult anybody saying you are a DJ!

    RESPECT!

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