Non synced, non "producer" DJ sets and the human touch
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  1. #1
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    Default Non synced, non "producer" DJ sets and the human touch

    I love good djing and an amazing DJ set. It makes me smile and feel a certain warmth inside that is completely different to the feeling that a produced album or to a completely different extent, a live artist set can achieve. Its different. Its immediate with a element of recognisability. Its almost physically tangible when you can hear through the selection what is going on in a DJs head when they mix in the next record.

    And this is why I love to hear amazing non-synced, non programmed DJ set these days. For me, there is an extra element to a set, be it live or listening to it recorded where you hear those human elements in eq-ing, a slightly off beat that is quickly corrected or a rough quick mix that is thrown in because the current tune might be fucking up the chi.

    I was listening to an old Danny Howells set, which was over 4 hours mind, in the final set at ARC NYC in 2004 with Danny Tenaglia and it dawned on me what was missing from so much current stuff. This was a time of records and Howells just dominates with an immediacy and mixing prowess that manages to draw you in listening on your ipod some 8 years later. I'm hanging off every selection. There is wild changes of BPM, of genre, and there is "obvious mixing" but its all makes me feel as if I was standing there in 2004, sweating like a sex criminal. The links to the set are here http://www.inthemix.com.au/forum/sho...d.php?t=306169 if anyone wants to have a listen.

    So, I genuinely believe that automation has removed a human element to DJing that used to be part of a great DJs arsenal. Can a sync based DJ re-find this human element? Am I just an elderly dinosaur of years past that doesnt understand the current state of play?

    This is not a "Sync is cheating" discussion. So anyone harping on about that shit can fuck right off. Its more than that. Its about an almost an esoteric element to DJing that may, or may not, have been left by the wayside in the quest to "do more things" as a DJ...
    Last edited by oliosky; 08-02-2012 at 07:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Kinda hear you - but i think you're over thinking it.

    NOT sync'ing doesn't FORCE you to work on those elements of the mix that you find appealing, such as:

    human elements in eq-ing, a slightly off beat that is quickly corrected or a rough quick mix that is thrown in because the current tune might be fucking up the chi.
    That all comes from experience. You can still gain that experience while using sync - but there are no shortcuts. You can only gain that experience by CONSTANTLY playing out. Play out to 10, 100 or 1000 people, you have to do it in order to get that experience.

    Sync is good for those of us with a short attention span - you can get up and DJ'ing in no time. But experienced listeners (like your good self) can spot those elements that are missing (that the DJ can only have from experience) and know that so much more is possible.

    Of course, the flip side to that coin is that the CROWD ALSO needs experience - otherwise, they only think what is plonked in front of them is possible.

    This is bad - and it is where the EDM scene in the U.S is gonna shit on itself BIG TIME. Inexperienced clubbers and inexperienced DJ's are gonna kill the scene before it has had decent time to develop. People will turn up to a rave/festival/gig with high hopes, and be let down because the DJ will not have the necessary years of experience to blow people away.

    Bad times ahead. But don't forget - DJ's like Carl Cox, Danny Howells, the great Tony De Vit, etc... had been doing this for YEARS (literally 20+ years) before getting proper recognition. 20 years is a hell of a lot of experience. You can't buy that, nomatter how much money you've got.

    2nd wave EDM in the US will be HUGE - 'cos all of the guys that stuck with it when it (and it will) falls out of favour, will have those extra years of experience, AND fuckin' kick ass gear and software.

    The future's bright - but it's far off...
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru botstein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliosky View Post
    I love good djing and an amazing DJ set. It makes me smile and feel a certain warmth inside that is completely different to the feeling that a produced album or to a lesser extent a live artist set can achieve. Its different. Its immediate with a element of recognisability. Its almost physically tangible when you can hear through the selection what is going on in a DJs head when they mix in the next record.
    I'm confused - what feeling do you get that is stronger when hearing a produced set than hearing someone live?

  4. #4
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    Botstein. The feeling is completely different. I didn't word that very well. A real live show is nothing like a DJ set, and never will be. Edited.

  5. #5
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    I don't think sync has anything to do with it other than the fact that maybe the majority of newer DJ's might be using sync. Because they're new their song selection might not be that great. If the song selection's not great but the mixing is flawless it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that they're using sync. Then it's just as easy to blame sync, when it's really the lack of experience that is causing the problem.

    Sync is just a tool. I use it, sometimes I have bad sets, sometimes I have good sets. Sync doesn't have anything to do with that because my song selection is the same regardless of what buttons I'm pushing. .
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  6. #6
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    On the other hand I guess sync can magnify the problem because it's easier and quicker for newer DJ's to think they're sounding good because it's beat matched. On that same level though it would be just as easy to blame Soundcloud, Youtube and all the other ways that make it extremely easy to get your mediocre mix out there.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru MWagner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    2nd wave EDM in the US will be HUGE - 'cos all of the guys that stuck with it when it (and it will) falls out of favour, will have those extra years of experience, AND fuckin' kick ass gear and software.

    lol. last time I checked, around here "second wave" refered to guys like Richie Hawtin.
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  8. #8
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWagner View Post
    lol. last time I checked, around here "second wave" refered to guys like Richie Hawtin.
    Yeah, this is at least the third maybe fourth wave.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Kinda hear you - but i think you're over thinking it.

    NOT sync'ing doesn't FORCE you to work on those elements of the mix that you find appealing, such as:



    That all comes from experience. You can still gain that experience while using sync - but there are no shortcuts. You can only gain that experience by CONSTANTLY playing out. Play out to 10, 100 or 1000 people, you have to do it in order to get that experience.

    Sync is good for those of us with a short attention span - you can get up and DJ'ing in no time. But experienced listeners (like your good self) can spot those elements that are missing (that the DJ can only have from experience) and know that so much more is possible.

    Of course, the flip side to that coin is that the CROWD ALSO needs experience - otherwise, they only think what is plonked in front of them is possible.

    This is bad - and it is where the EDM scene in the U.S is gonna shit on itself BIG TIME. Inexperienced clubbers and inexperienced DJ's are gonna kill the scene before it has had decent time to develop. People will turn up to a rave/festival/gig with high hopes, and be let down because the DJ will not have the necessary years of experience to blow people away.

    Bad times ahead. But don't forget - DJ's like Carl Cox, Danny Howells, the great Tony De Vit, etc... had been doing this for YEARS (literally 20+ years) before getting proper recognition. 20 years is a hell of a lot of experience. You can't buy that, nomatter how much money you've got.

    2nd wave EDM in the US will be HUGE - 'cos all of the guys that stuck with it when it (and it will) falls out of favour, will have those extra years of experience, AND fuckin' kick ass gear and software.

    The future's bright - but it's far off...

    20+ years man & boy, working the platters that matter. D3EP DJ.

  10. #10
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    I hear what you're saying. It has nothing to do with cheating or any of that, there is definitely a certain quality of a DJ set that comes with the workflow of mixing on vinyl or even CDs or flash drives that I don't notice from most synced sets. I've heard some amazing all synced traktor sets (hawtin, etc), but there is a different quality from a lot of good traditional sets that somehow feels more connective when you can hear the errors and human element that forms a different sort of connection with the dj and is a different experience. I don't know if it is all better or all worse, because I've certainly heard a lot of crap sets from either side- but a great synced set vs a great traditional set is just different. The last one that comes to mind was seeing justin martin destroying it on two decks, it felt like there was such a strong connection between crowd and DJ and you could put yourself behind the decks and understand his decision making and thought process from hearing the subtle human nuances as he went between genres and styles and there was such a strong connection to the crowd that is why I like to see great DJs.


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