An Interesting Topic On Djing

Was just reading through this thread, trying to get some perspective on DJ software packages… but I found myself addicted to the offtopic ranting:

heh this old debate.

tbh if it sounds good at the end i don’t think it matters what means you achieved that by. however i have been bored shitless by 90% of ableton live ‘DJ sets’ which are pre-programmed and synced… 1-2 hours of minimal techno at the same tempo and i want to shoot myself in the head. i can understand why people want to ket to it… how else would it be any fun? (i’m not knocking minimal techno, btw, but when it is done badly and for 2 HOURS!)

i spoked to one guy who was doing this, asked him how ableton live was to use, and he said it was cool but he had no way to change the running order. so… he might just as well have been playing a pre-recorded mix cd. if you’re not responding to the situation, you might as well just go sit down or have a drink instead, or play a mix cd by someone who is a professional and is better than you. if there is no spontaneity why bother DJing in the first place if all you are doing is fade something left and right?

at the end of the day though, its what you make of it. if you can sync things automatically then why not? there’s nothing that makes a trad. DJ set interesting just by syncing records, you have to have some kind of mood and progression there to make it enjoyable, although the fact you can hear someones hands on the records pulling the record into sync can sound better to me… you can hear the traction.

ultimately my point is that the majority of DJs will bore me shitless no matter what tools you give them to do it. half the time people forget that actually the point of DJing is just to play some good records, and its only other DJs that care about these technical issues. i don’t care how accurately you can syncronise records (or how you do that), if those records are crap to begin with then i’d rather you leave me alone and get off your high horse made of turntables. FACT: the average person who has some taste in music can DJ better than a lot of people who think they can DJ, purely by fading good tracks together, without matching bpms, if you show them how which takes about 5 minutes.

its not rocket science and i therefore think all people who say they are DJs should be given the option to learn renoise and actually produce some music or get shot in the face. repeatedly. at 140bpm.

//spoked to one guy who was doing this, asked him how ableton live was to use, and he said it was cool but he had no way to change the running order. so… he might just as well have been playing a pre-recorded mix cd. //

Sounds like he just had no idea how to do it. The problem with using ableton for DJing is that there’s no decent tutorials online for doing it on the fly. Apparently ableton even has the ability to pre-map the beats on your entire mp3 collection, but I’ve never seen this in any tutorials.

//if there is no spontaneity why bother DJing in the first place//

Well, most DJ software allows you to loop and sample, as well as apply effects on the fly… they allow scratching, etc as well. My biggest issue with most DJ software though, is the crappy effect support. I’d figure Traktor would have VST support considering it’s from Native Instruments, but it seems they don’t feel variety of effects is an important part of controllerism. Even with the native effects, you can only have 4 effects with 3 params per effect, or 4 3-effect chains all using default parameters. It’s ludicrous. Spontaneity requires that all my options are open, and that’s impossible when I can’t load as many crazy effects as I like.

That all said, turntable DJs or CDJs that aren’t into scratching, but decide to bash software DJs because software apparently automatically makes you unskilled is just as logical as saying that modern cartoons aren’t as good because software makes it so they don’t need foreign labourers to fill in the tweens. The argument that “all the pros still do it X way” is false… all the pros have moved on to the method that frees them up to do more things with their artform… unless they were so shitty at being creative in the first place that their physical skill is the only thing that lends to their reputation.

//FACT: the average person who has some taste in music can DJ better than a lot of people who think they can DJ//

Hah! I wholeheartedly agree.

//1-2 hours of minimal techno at the same tempo and i want to shoot myself in the head.//

Yah… I have issues with almost all DJ sets. I can’t stand it when you skip from the begining of the set to 1/3 of the way through the set and get the same general beat as the begining… only to skip to almost any point in the set to hear the same general beat. Why exactly DJs can’t understand that variety is the spice of life is beyond me. But that said, they’re playing for their crowd, and if their crowd stops dancing whenever they change it up, it’s no wonder most DJs suck.

thats true to an extent. i’m not really a good person to talk to about djing, because my usual style is a bit obnoxious and antagonistic. its only really me, my mates and a few people that actually like it. i pissed off an old hobo at a rave in the woods once, he kept yelling during my set that it wasn’t music. that’s inevitable if you ‘rinse’ tracks like venetian snares’ ‘i’m a fucking idiot’ and coltranes ‘ascension’ though. expect to piss off the hobos. it would be self indulgent, except i’m not usually being paid to do it so i don’t care, and i don’t play for the hobos…or maybe i play only for the hobos… i can’t tell. actually it is self indulgent but i don’t care. however, my point is that last time i did dj, i started playing ‘f**k yourself’ by the bug, and girls started dancing to it, shaking what their mothers gave them and all that, so at that point i completely sold out and started playing tracks for longer and looking for things which would keep people dancing. also all the other DJs swarmed like ants upon the turntables and claimed it was suddenly time for their DJ sets. thats why your last song should always been something so thunderously skull crushing that it makes the next DJs balls shrivel up as he fumbles around for his big intro tune thats gonna give his set the biggest impact. :yeah:

yeah and what i meant was this guy using ableton live clearly didn’t know how to use it to its full potential, and i think you can definitely do some cool stuff with that software for DJing. although my problem with it when i tried it was that it was too much hassle to use the tempo mapping tool to sync tracks ripped from vinyl to a BPM. i think it probably works great with tracks off beatport or something, especially if it’s 4/4 or anything quite straightforward… but you try it on a jungle/breakcore vinyl that maybe has a skip or two, or just has the tempo drift slightly… you’ll be there for days trying to get all those tempo markers right. if you have to spent hours setting up every single track you want to play… thats too much work for me and it means you can’t vary you’re set enough or suddenly decide to play something you found earlier that day.

Yah, it’s nowhere near that hard with Traktor or Virtual DJ… they both lack key features though :(

The complaints I’m seeing here about Live seem to be stemming from some misconceptions about how it works. It does a pretty good job of syncing automatically, but typically it tries to do too much. Usually with electronic tracks, if you can figure out the first bar, and then “Warp from here (straight)” then it’s done. Hit the Save button and you can drop it into any set.

Also, if you’re thinking you’d have to play tracks in a pre-set order then you’re just doing it wrong. The whole point of Session View is that it gives you arbitrary access to clips.

If you did a tutorial explaining all of this and put it up on youtube, you’d probably get a tonne of hits ;)

hint hint :P


Waste of oxygen

I’m a vinyl junkie and love seeing dj’s spin it, but I really don’t care what they use as long as the set is good. Which most aren’t. Any (most anyway) music genre for several hours straight will bore me to death. A dj should not play just to keep the crowd happy imho, they should play stuff they think the crowd should hear and mix it up a little. Downside with that is that a lot of people will not like it and will complain :slight_smile: I mean dj’s can do all this fancy stuff nowdays, remixing four tracks on the fly and adding fx and this and that, but if the tempo is still 125bmp throughout the night… cmon!
I’ve dj’d quite a bit in my days, even though I’m not really a dj, and it’s gone as well, and as bad, as suspected if you take my views on dj’ing above into account. I have played dance floors as well, but I don’t really enjoy that, dj’ing at a bar or a small place is loads more fun. You don’t have to keep the tempo up and can play more or less what the hell you want, which is hard to do on a dance floor.
Another downside is that people in general like to hear “familiar” tunes, and sort of expect the dj to play that for them, which is utter bollox lol. Whenever I go out to a bar or club, I want the dj to play ish for me that I’ve never ever heard before. I wanna think “what the hell is this? it’s really good, why don’t I know what this is?” and so on. I don’t want to hear the most “popular” tune of the hour or the same tunes week in week out.

Ok… this probably got away from me a bit haha… so </> ramble :slight_smile:

Strange thing, when I did livesetes with Traktor, I mixed different tempos, styles, flavours… but the tightness was so poor… When I switched to Ableton Live, the quality imnproved (obviously), but sets tended to grow ‘stale’, as I was aiming to emphasize the tightness, rather than the ‘musical voyage’, or something. But then again, I was playing sets at 200-240 bpm at 7/4, I thought I ‘deserved’ the certaintity of tightness that Ableton Live offered. ;)

Traktor Pro has a setting for bar length now, eh? :P … Unfortunately, it’s not linked to the tracks you’re loading… I hate how much NI neglected to consider when coding that shit. 4-12 built in effects with no VSTs = Lame-o.