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  • The Death of Real DJs

The Death of Real DJs

This particular topic hits home a little for me. I used to spin records when I was in college, and had hundreds of hours invested into learning the essentials and tricks of becoming a real DJ. Not to mention the thousands of dollars I invested into my gear. Just to start off, I had two black Technics SL-1200MK2 turntables with a Pioneer DJM-700 mixer. That investment alone set me back roughly almost $2,000, and I hadn’t even begun to think about adding CD players to my setup. Then began the countless hours and money spent in the local records shops looking for the latest and greatest tunes to spin.

With the advancement of technology, more and more people can easily jump in the game of mixing music with a small investment into equipment. A good example of this is Rana Sobhany. EM friend Matt Freeman, who is a professional DJ and graphic artists, posted a link on his Facebook page that ignited this rant. The link in his Facebook post leads to a GIZMODO post that shows Rana Sabhany using two iPads to “DJ”. Initially, before seeing the link, I figured that she might have integrated the iPads into her setup. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In the video she goes on to explain what a loop is, how she has her iPads setup, the apps she uses, and how she “mixes” and “beat matches” the music that she is creating / playing using just her iPads.

Her explanation of a loop was almost unbearable to listen to, as she did a subpar job of explaining what a loop(s) are:

“A loop, ok… So…Uuuhm It’s a sound, that is… is recorded in way, where if it plays continuously it still flows together. So when you record audio there is usually some, uuuh discrepancy, or something where if you were to play that, you know, you know, just continuously it wouldn’t mesh well together, but loops are created to be able to eliminate that for you, seamlessly.”

A better definition of a loop is a sample of music that is between 1 and 4 bars that can be repeated. For those who don’t know 1 bar of music is equivalent to 4 beats. I highly doubt that Rana understands this concept. I could write a whole other post just on the basic structure of a dance tune, and how the loops can help you identify what is going to occur in a song.

Just after the explanation of what a loop is Rana butchers Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger tune with the iDaft2 app. This made me want to throw my laptop across the room. I am a HUGE Daft Punk fan, and her inability to perform the simplest task of hitting the words in rhythm made me laugh and cry a little.

I even have the iDaft2 app on my iPhone and love to play with it, but when I attempt to recreate the song, or use the lyrics in other songs I at least do it RYTHYM! This was an indicator that she might have the ear, but doesn’t possess some of the basic skills needed to be a DJ. It takes time and practice to be able to beat match two separate tunes so that they don’t sound like a pair of shoes in a dryer. Her stuff might be great prerecorded, but I can only imagine what her sets sound like live.

Integrating technology into how you do things is not what I have an issue with here. It’s a person, or individual, who relies on that technology to shortcut their way to achieve what others have spent so much time and effort to perfect. Some will argue that’s what technology is for. This is one of those cases where I have to disagree. I think a person should take the time and learn exactly what it takes to physically beat match two separate tracks, and then learn to determine what BPM (beats per minute) those tracks are originally.

Some of you will disagree with me, and that is fine. We are all entitled to our opinions.   :)