Crate digging, a how to guide!
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru PeteWoods's Avatar
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    Default Crate digging, a how to guide!

    I've noticed an increase in threads which basically are asking to help find them music, so I've decided to write up a thread on 'How to Crate Dig' to help newbies get started in building their own track collection!

    You will need
    A Beatport account! (Or Juno, or other record website account)
    A credit card
    To watch the following video


    Theo Parrish, one of the greatest DJ's with an incredible track selection ability, talking about how he digs. Record store digging is far different, but some of the abilities hold true. I think his comment about genres is very true, don't just look to see whats hot in techno, check house, hard techno, tech house, and other genres! I reccently heard Joy Orbison (a bass music and house dj) play a song from Dim Mak, Steve Aoki's popular electro label, genres can be wrong, or a track can just 'work' even though its not really a style that would normally work.

    First off, find an artist you like!
    ovQrm.jpg

    then, click on a record label that they have released a track you like on
    N0Lno.jpg

    have a look at the most popular releases, listen to a few tracks and try and find another artist who you like
    hmedq.jpg

    or look at their tracks, i like to organise them by release date
    9wOaG.jpg

    find some tracks you like, and add them to your cart, and then follow the label
    oqulv.jpg

    This will add it to your beatport, meaning you will receive updates when they release new tracks!

    Then, look on another artists page, look at some more labels, and repeat. build yourself a large cart, then go in and give everything a listen or two again. begin to whittle it down to tracks you really love!
    hmedq.jpg
    then buy them!

    Another tip that I would give is that you should organise your music through iTunes, and have a smart playlist for your current tracks. I have 300 tracks in my large crate, and 65 in my DJ folder. I regularly delete the folder, and start to build it again, to ensure that my track collection stays fresh and uncluttered.

    I also suggest that when you decide to go music digging, go into your full crate in Traktor/Serato (or iTunes) and organise by recently played (though in reverse, ie. the last played as the last track) and listen to the tracks you haven't played in ages. These are tracks that have fallen out of favour, and although you may have been sick of the track a while ago, it may fall back into favour. Just last night I re-added Fergie-Liquid Brain into my crate, a track that was last in it a year and a half ago! You can remember tracks you used to love but just forgot about them, and it can stimulate a burst of creativity and maybe make you think a little outside the box with your next selection! It can also kickstart a crate-digging session on beatport, and could save you a little money if you can find tracks that have gotten lost in your crate, instead of going buying!

    Look up your favorite DJ to see if they have a podcast, or have soundclouded recent sets of theirs which you can help to find tracks from, most DJ's put their tracklists up so you can pick through them, and use them to help you discover new artists. It's really like a tree, a set can be a seed, which grows out into a list of tracks(branches) which can give you a load of new artists and labels to check out, which can then grow even further from other artists!

    You can, of course, use iTunes genius to help find some new stuff, which I wholeheartedly recommend as it can throw up some labels you've maybe never checked out, and use blogs and DJ pools to help build collections, although be wary of free/illegal downloads as not only are they illegal, they can be low quality and sound awful over any sort of soundsystem.



    Hope this helps anyone who's just picked up a controller or a set of decks and is trying to find their own tracks and not just play the stuff that's widely known, it's a good idea to remember that no matter how good your mixing skills are, at the heart of it its about the right track at the right time, and as Theo Parrish said in the video at the start, its all about the track selection. Our crates are our taste in music, condensed into a library of songs. Don't play a track you don't completely love, because you're trying to take the audience on a journey into your musical world. Your crate is your identity as a DJ, and if you don't love it, the crowd wont either.

    Other tips that have been given in the comments

    Beatports BeatBot, a very iTunes Genius-ish feature, but its on beatport!
    Following artists on twitter, or on facebook.

    and the obligatory...going to a record shop!

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by PeteWoods; 05-10-2012 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Added other stuff that people have commented about

  2. #2
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    Excellent guide, and the Theo Parrish video is great.

    But I'm gonna call BS on calling picking out songs at beatport "crate digging." This is pointing and clicking. And no, picking out a CD while waiting in line at Starbuck's doesn't count either. Real crate digging is a physical experience in and of itself. Go to a used record store with thousands of records only loosely organized at best (places like Bop Street Records in Seattle, Euclid Records in NOLA, Spacehall in Berlin, Superfly in Paris, to name a few of my favorites) and spend at least a couple hours getting covered in dust looking through piles of vinyl, and then you'll understand why people like me get annoyed seeing online music shopping called "crate digging."
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

  3. #3
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Some good tips and don't forget to use beatports beatbot. I use it a lot and while sometimes the results are not great every once in a while I find a gem that way.
    Chris Jennings FHP

    Podcast - Soundcloud - Mixcloud - Beatport Charts - x

  4. #4
    Tech Guru JasonBay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djproben View Post
    Excellent guide, and the Theo Parrish video is great.

    But I'm gonna call BS on calling picking out songs at beatport "crate digging." This is pointing and clicking. And no, picking out a CD while waiting in line at Starbuck's doesn't count either. Real crate digging is a physical experience in and of itself. Go to a used record store with thousands of records only loosely organized at best (places like Bop Street Records in Seattle, Euclid Records in NOLA, Spacehall in Berlin, Superfly in Paris, to name a few of my favorites) and spend at least a couple hours getting covered in dust looking through piles of vinyl, and then you'll understand why people like me get annoyed seeing online music shopping called "crate digging."
    It's still digging to an extent, it's just a new form. Much like how some one using Ableton and a Maschine is called a "DJ" even though they really aren't a "Disc Jockey" at that point.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru space monkey's Avatar
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    Video made my evening. Good listen though I dont agree with all he says but I can nod my head and think in the background.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru JasonBay's Avatar
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    How can you not agree with everything he says?

  7. #7
    Tech Guru guiltyblade's Avatar
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    Damn. This video has just changed my evening plans. Heading to the record store now. Lol

  8. #8
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonBay View Post
    It's still digging to an extent, it's just a new form. Much like how some one using Ableton and a Maschine is called a "DJ" even though they really aren't a "Disc Jockey" at that point.
    It's a totally different experience; being in a record store coming across gems serendipitously is the core of digging whereas playing music in public to an audience is the core of DJing. I'm ok calling Ableton DJs DJs but I'm resistant to calling point-and-click shopping "crate digging." But whatever, get off my lawn
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

  9. #9
    Tech Guru JasonBay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djproben View Post
    I'm ok calling Ableton DJs DJs but I'm resistant to calling point-and-click shopping "crate digging." But whatever, get off my lawn
    Trying saying that to Theo


  10. #10
    Tech Convert Blasse's Avatar
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    brilliant post pete its too easy for people to download the most popular tunes on dj city or beatport and not really know or even like what they are playing..picking up the skills is the easy part, track selection on the other hand is key.

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