Thursday, April 8, 2010
A Laptop Revelation
Anyone who has seen me spin over the last 10 years knows that I've used nothing but wax. And, as recently as a couple weeks ago, I was pretty militant about it. I've tossed around EVERY cranky-ass-DJ criticism that you can think of, including (but not limited to):
-DJs who don't dig for records are lazy.
-DJs who don't dig for records are cheap.
-ANYBODY can be a DJ when all you need is a laptop.
-Laptops have turned DJs into jukeboxes instead of tastemakers.
-MP3s sound like garbage.
-Fuck DJ Hero.
-Wait, better yet, all laptop DJs should just hang it up and play DJ Hero.
A couple weeks ago, however, I was watching the Red Bull 3-Style DJ competition at the Cannery Ballroom. Only one DJ used wax the entire night, and his needles were jumping all over the place, resulting in a less-than-stellar set. The rest of the DJs sounded like shit, and that was mainly due to their song selection (not a big fan of autotuned pop rap) and technique (or lack thereof). I mean, the sole premise of the contest was to mix three different genres of music, with style and flair, for 15 minutes.
Think about that for a second.
How hard could that possibly be in 2010? A laptop will allow you to have THOUSANDS of "records" right at your fingertips, it can arrange tracks by BPM, you can rock doubles of everything, and you can fly through songs at a breakneck pace. Now take all those benefits, mix together three genres of music, do it with style, and you can win a trip down to MIAMI to spin during the Winter Music Conference. And what happened on that night in front of a panel of judges headed by ROB SWIFT?
90% of "Nashville's Finest DJs" simply stunk up the place. Rancid garbage DJs flooding my eardrums with pure trash.
Thank God for Wick-It the Instigator. Although most of the music he played wasn't really up my alley (I don't possess a single dubstep track), he did what I expected EVERY DJ at that contest to do. He was scratching, he was mixing, he was getting on the mic and hyping up the crowd. And afterwards, when I had a second to speak to him, this was the first thing he said to me:
"Yo dude, Serato is the shit. Its not cheating, man, it really isn't."
Its like the guy somehow heard every malicious thought that crossed my mind over the last four or five years. Wick-It is one of the most technically-skilled DJs I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and to be quite honest, I've never held any contempt towards him (or Kidsmeal, for that matter) for ripping shit up with a laptop. In fact, I felt kind of *guilty* when he said that to me, just because I'm afraid I give off some kind of elitist vibe when it comes to this DJ stuff.
With that said, I magically got a hold of a laptop about a week later. My dad's getting a new one, so I'm typing this post on his old company-issued Nobilis. With a free laptop in my possession, all I have to do at this point is fork over a few hundred dollars and join the Dark Side.
I'm excited. And you should be excited too if you're an artist who makes music that I like. No song is safe!
Until next time,