Yeah, I'm an old DJ...been mixing for over 20 years..feel free to ask me for help..I enjoy helping people...

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Sat 07 Jan 12 @ 2:14 pm

For a group of forward thinking, envelope pushing, new ground breaking individuals such as Djs claim to be, there is an amazing amount of ignorance displayed from time to time. Sadly, I’m not talking about racial ignorance (although I have witnessed that too) I’m talking about a lack of tolerance for what another DJ might choose to use for equipment.

When I started mixing, turntables were the only option. Cds had yet to be invented. MP3s, not even imagined. Midi controllers were something out of science fiction. However, there was always someone breaking new ground in their technique of mixing. Most of us embraced the idea of, gasp, scratching. 8 beat, 16 beat, 32 beat breaks, everything was acceptable. Turning the tables, cool! Both tables on one side, fascinating! No headphones, You’re THE MAN!

That is why I’m saddened and appalled by the attitude displayed by some Djs towards what another DJ uses to entertain the crowd. When I started there was only one choice for direct drive turntables. Techniques. A couple of years later, Numark released their first direct drive turntables. I remember hearing other Djs say things like, “They’ll never last” or, “not enough torque”. A good friend of mine purchased a couple of Numark tables (after a small bank loan). I used them all the time. Would I prefer a pair of 1200s? Yes! But, I wanted to mix more than I wanted to be a snob. Ironically, Techniques has stopped production of turntables, and Numark is still working on improving them.

Then Cds came into being. WOW! All that from something a little bigger than a drink coaster. Impressive. Great sound quality, in a small format. I was sold! But, most of my DJ brethren weren’t. “You can’t scratch with those” or “What if the player stops?” were whispered between Djs of the time. I know more than one DJ that carried several hundred Cds and a six foot coffin for their turntables for years. “Just in case” was the logic behind that action.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a pair of mixing CD players. It was at a club in north west Indiana. Below these beautiful stream lined CD players. Two Tech 1200s. Very few Djs used the CD players. They all carried crate after crate of vinyl.

On the nights I wasn’t driving into the suburbs of Chicago to mix, I was working local watering holes. All of them had Cds. Lots and lots of Cds. But, not the slick mixing CD players. First generation, home use CD players. Two of them, yes. But, simple home players.

I learned a great deal then. Song selection was more important than beat matching to most crowds. But, not to other Djs. They would talk about how they “wouldn’t be caught dead working a place like this”. Really? You’re pride was more important than entertaining dancers? Or eating? That was about the time I realized, there is a lot of prejudice Djs in the world.

I’m not above it. We’ve all been hard at work, everything is going right. You’re thinking to yourself “If I could fart in 4x4 time I could still pack the dance floor and, be NAILING IT TONIGHT!” Then, out of the blue, the manager comes over puts his arm around you. “You’re doing GREAT!! Listen, an old buddy of mine is here. If you can, play some Glenn Miller, would ya?” and walks out of your booth. And you think to yourself, WTF?? Can’t you see I’m in the ZONE?!? Not realizing A.) you could use a bathroom break and B.) a wedding party just came in and they would dig the fact that you are flexible. Oh no! I’m mixing! No way! That is that prejudice I’ve experienced in my own heart.

Admittedly, after a couple of years I rose above it. But, not after a whole pant load of painful learning to put my ego aside. It is not about you, the DJ. It is about the atmosphere the establishment delivers. Here is a little hint. 35 minutes before the club closes. No one really cares if your beat matching. Alcohol has a way of turning off those receptors in our ears. They just want to hear their favorite song of the moment. Now, please. If you already played it, they weren’t there. Can you play it again?

Djs that say things like, “I will not cheapen my show by using a midi controller” are the modern day version of “if God had meant for Man to fly, he would have given us wings”. Or, “If you use software and a computer you’re not a ’real’ DJ”. What are they really saying? The same thing I said when the manager asked me to play Glenn Miller. “I am THE ONLY PERSON QUALIFIED TO PLAY MUSIC!” Sadly, however, both of us are/were wrong.

There is a little more to that now than there was 25 years ago. Software makes beat matching faster but, not easier. Learning key progression and genre still takes time. Not to mention learning to wait for the break. Those old prejudices are still there though. Which is sad. No one wants to admit they can be replaced within 48 hours of leaving a successful venue. Some other DJ is already talking to your boss though.

“The new Djs can not be as good as me!” But, they are. Or, they soon will be. And, they’ll do it for half the price. So, you are replaceable. Very replaceable

The next time you hear, or say, “That’s cheating” remember this one lesson. Technology advances, and you’re getting older. Don’t be prejudice. It only darkens the soul. Try and help the new guy. There is a very old saying in Hollywood. “Be nice to everyone you meet on the way up. Because, you’ll see them again on your way down.”

Sun 31 Jul 11 @ 4:09 am

I started mixing over 25 years ago. When I started, I learned how to blend 45 RPM records on a Technics 1200 MKI and a Technics 1200. Let me break that down for you, if you are not aware. That means, one turntable had a pitch dial of just over 2% Beats Per Minute difference the DJ could effect while blending two records together. Furthermore, it also means, since I learned on 45 R.P.M. records the intro was only about 4 beats, if I was lucky.

Tonight I ran into a much younger DJ who made the statement " using a midi controller is not DJing". After Moderating the VirtualDJ forums for two years now, and after using their software to DJ, and mix, for over five, I figured it was time to defend my 1/4 century of mixing, and no longer using turn tables to do so.

Allow me, if you would, to use an analogy. At the beginning of WWII the German ME 109 was the most advanced fighter air craft in the world. During the Battle Of Briton the English utilized the Supermarine Spitfire, and the Hawker Hurricane, to defeat the Luftwaffe. In what would have been the precursor to an invasion of England.

After loosing the Battle Of Briton the German Luftwaffe faced the North American P-51 Mustang. Arguably the best fighter of all time. I doubt very much any of the German pilots who faced the P-51D or the Spitfire would declare the pilots of the opposing aircraft "not a real pilot" because they were using a more technologically advanced fighter. If any of them were inclined to do so, their widows were notified by mail of the loss of their husbands life.

Explain to me, if you would, how me no longer wishing to carry 15 orange crates of vinyl, along with a 6 foot coffin and two turn tables, is in any way equal to me not being a mixing DJ? Did I not hone my craft? Did I not learn the art of blending? Am I not experienced?

So, the next time a DJ tells you you are not a "real DJ" because you are not using the equipment they are, think of Adolf Galland, general of the German Luftwaffe who, when asked, what do you need to defeat England answered "Herr Reichsmarschall, a squadron of Spitfire!!" And think of all the German pilots who lost their lives to superior technology...THEN let them tell you, you are not a real DJ.....

Sat 27 Nov 10 @ 11:38 am

... To give you an idea how much I like my VCI-300. The case has wheels to make it easy to move. And, as you can see, it has four different layers of foam to keep what is inside safe. On the bottom are all the cables needed for connecting to any sound system.

Mon 11 Aug 08 @ 9:07 pm

My good friend DJ FORMAT and I have been working on graphics. One night while talking on Skype I started messing around with a new design for my company graphics. What do you think?

And another...

Wed 30 Jul 08 @ 5:10 pm

I put this together with two-three hour jobs in mind. I will use my Mackie SRM-350s and a 12" Sub I purchased from JBL.

And the other side....

As you can see it is very portable yet still looks professional. The RMX is a nice unit for this type of set up. Cheers for giving it a look....T

Thu 12 Apr 07 @ 12:25 am

I started Djing in 1983, OK, I started carrying a working DJs records. I also was sucking up every bit of knowledge I could about DJing. His name was Charles Nelson, he was one of the original WGCI (Chicago IL) SuperMix6. His style was deep house, but he was working a Holiday Inn to pay the bills. I just sucked up everything I could about mixing, and DJing in general. At that time I was also buying a many LPs as I could get my hands on.

One day while talking to Charles he told me I was getting to the point where I needed to get out and try DJing on my own. So I conned my way into a job at a local saloon. That grew into two local saloons. Not long after that I was working deep house clubs on Chicago's southside. I will not bore you with their names, especially since all of them are now called something else or gone all together. I worked one place as the only mixer four nights a week for four years. It was a 5:00a.m. club and all the other DJs would come in after their clubs shut down and hang out in my booth. I loved it, watching them spin was a gift from the DJ gods. So many different styles, so many different type of music. Most of them are still friends today.

I even worked as an on air talent for a local radio station for a while. I learned about programing music over an extended period of time. Not at all like looking out at the room and getting the feel for the moment. Very different than club mixing, or saloon DJing. Looking at your music over a 48 hour period of time ,I had the last "live" shift on Friday nights and it was up to me to plan the next two days worth of music, minus the advertisments of course.

Then I got married, and stopped DJing for a while. All the time I was not mixing I was itching, itching to DJ again. Not long after my divorce I knew I needed to jump back in. And I did, in a big way. I now own three systems, have three people working for me, and am booked at least once every weekend. Bars and clubs are still fun, but not for working in. Specializing in private events is more condusive to buying more equipment.

One Day I might hang up my headphones for good, but I doubt it! It is in my blood, my very DNA. If you could look at the double helix of my X and Y chromisomes you would find a Numark DM1750 mixer and a piece of vinyl.

During the day I am an electronics techinician that fixes copiers, fax machines and network printers. Hey, it pays for my health insurance for the girls and I. Oh, girls, I have two beautiful daughters, one blond, one redhead. I think God is getting even with me for my club days. They are both going to be tall (I am 6'4" and my ex is 6'0") with beautiful blue eyes. I just hope they don't date and DJs..........

That is my story, I hope it was not boring. Thanks for reading, and keep spinning the good tunes!

Wed 11 Apr 07 @ 1:12 am

Me Circa 1988, notice the way cool Radio Shack headphones.

July 2006 with the rest of my company.

February 2012, with some very close friends.

Thu 05 Apr 07 @ 3:45 am

My New System! I have been using it for almost two months
Two iCDXs from Numark
One Dxm01usb Mixer from Numark
Laptop-Gateway, Manufactured by Intel
Cue software


Sat 17 Feb 07 @ 2:42 pm

I love my iCDX so much I purchased another, thinking I could connect two of them to one laptop. I have not been successful with that so far. Is it possible?