Go digital – influence of Serato & co. on the art of djing

February 24th, 2009

I always thought using something like Rane Serato’s Scratch Live would allow you to scratch mp3s and therefore might save you some money because don’t have to buy as many records. That’s pretty much all it does, I though. But that’s not entirely true. In fact it changes the whole way you dj.

As a Hip-Hop DJ I have always thought of vinyl records as the only true thing. But when I moved to Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia, I realised it wasn’t as easy to get the records I wanted as it was when I lived in the middle of Europe. And the most important thing is that they are a lot more expensive in Australia. So, as I arrived in Cairns I started considering Scratch Live and I finally bought it. It is a cool thing and I am happy I got it, but I had to learn that it does more to you than just allow you to scratch mp3s. After a few days for instance I realised that I relied on the visual aids of the software, rather than beat matching with my headphones.

I believe, even someone who has never touched turntables before could beat match two Hip-Hop tracks with the Scratch Live application. And I like all the benefits of the new technology. But I don’t like the idea that someone with almost no skills will be able to do something that, back in the days, required years and years of practice. It seems like it’s not the real thing if you don’t have to know the traditional way of don’t things. At least there is no auto-beatmatching function in Scratch Live… yet.

But the software does have some fancy functions. For example, it allows you to loop a breaks with just one click. The analogue way you would have needed 2 copies of the same record and quite a few mixing skills to do that.

When it comes to putting sets together, you start relying on bpm values a lot more, which limits you in some ways. You might not even look at some tracks because the bpm difference is too high, when then would actually work quite well if you speeded them up or slowed them down.

Going digital as a DJ will change the way you do everthing – organise your music, put sets together, mix – just everything.

Tags: , , ,
Group: hip hop

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