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  • My name is A-Trak, I'm a DJ, producer,

  • record label owner.

  • The sort of, like, science of DJing,

  • if you try to boil it down too much to a simple

  • description of beatmatching, for example,

  • definitely like an intangible to it.

  • On a very simple level, beatmatching is what you

  • call matching the tempo of one song to the next song

  • that's playing so that you have a continuous beat.

  • And just going back to the basic idea that DJs

  • keep people dancing.

  • You're able to keep the tempo steady as you go from

  • song to song.

  • It's actually a pretty easy technique, but DJing itself

  • is not that easy and I think the real role of the DJ is

  • selection, it's picking songs and having a sense of

  • what to play and when.

  • And that's the part that's harder to break down or explain.

  • What really differentiates a good DJ

  • from a not so good DJ is

  • selection and taste and sense of timing

  • and also knowing how to adapt to different crowds.

  • That's probably the biggest thing that DJs have to learn

  • is to understand not only what to play and when

  • but in which setting.

  • You can't play the same set everywhere.

  • Electronic music's been around since the late '70s,

  • early '80s.

  • So electronic music isn't new but EDM is this newer,

  • bigger, more polished manifestation of it.

  • And when it really broke in America, at the beginning of

  • this decade, it's also when certain songs were

  • really bona fide pop songs, and were playing on the radio.

  • New audiences embraced these big records that had a

  • universal appeal, and by the same token embraced

  • the producers and DJs who were behind those records.

  • More and more of these festivals started popping up.

  • I think that confused a lot of people.

  • Just seeing a DJ essentially play songs

  • that were already made,

  • on the stage where they'd be used to seeing

  • the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something.

  • People were questioning whether

  • DJs were really just pressing

  • play and that became a bit of a buzzword,

  • "pressing play" or "button pusher."

  • The range of different styles that started existing

  • got almost too big to just categorize as one thing.

  • So, do some DJs just go up and press play and

  • phone in the same set at a lot of events?

  • Yeah.

  • Does that mean that all DJs do that, no.

  • A lot of DJs have true craftsmanship and art

  • to what they do.

  • Usually the argument that most people will give

  • and that I was just giving also is that DJs don't

  • really play the same set everywhere and we're

  • mixing live and all this stuff.

  • But in some cases when the show is so big, that you

  • get into a place where there actually is literally pyro

  • and effects that need to be timed and this and that,

  • then you'll have a DJ who plans their set.

  • But even that to me, can be compared to theater.

  • When you go watch theater, it's pre-planned but it's

  • great entertainment.

  • In the case of a DJ, the DJ is doing a sort of

  • mise-en-scène, of songs that they know the crowd

  • will enjoy hearing.

  • And songs that they are sometimes connected to or

  • that they made.

  • And translating that into a show that will work

  • in front of 60,000 people.

  • There's an art to that too.

  • The control of energy is kind of magical

  • and undeniable.

  • And that's a big part of the art too.

  • So between that and

  • the sort of sonic wizardry

  • that happens with the knobs on here,

  • it definitely isn't something to be diminished.

My name is A-Trak, I'm a DJ, producer,

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B1 US play embraced electronic music art pressing selection

What Do DJs Actually Do?

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    Liang Chen posted on 2018/09/27
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