The evolution of the Modern DJ

When I was growing up the term DJ had a much different meaning.  I grew up in a small town with a big scene.  Everyone knew the productions company I worked for was the best.  They hired the best and had the best tech.  But still the term DJ was different.  I got in the scene when turn tables were the go to and a Denon 2500 was the standard.  Yup that’s right Denon not pioneer.  I remember we had this one DJ who was always booked at all the raves and shows.  He had a 2500 and 2600 both Denon and the brand new DJM 500.  Now Pioneer is the staple and the only thing on a turntable is a marker record for final scratch.  Things have changed for sure.  I have a friend, who would consider him self a old school DJ.  We get into arguments all the time about am I a “DJ” Well what is a DJ these days anyways?

When all this I’ve mentioned in my youth was going on Numark was the first to bring out a auto mix feature.  The rest came in sooner or later.  But that started the idea that a DJ would not use this and a faker would.  “A true DJ can beatmatch”  You used to hear that all the time.  Again this was before Ableton and FL studio or really any DAW became known.  These days tools like Ableton are a must if you want to compete with any of the big productions.  Even hard core turn table users are using final scratch or something like it.  That means the computer is more and more becoming go to tool for music makers as well as performers.

In my own set up I use Ableton Live to perform with a custom touch screen interface as a controller.  Why? The answer is simple I control my show how I want.  I seen a video a year back of a DJ on a set of tables juggling a massive amount of tracks in like 5 minutes.  Well that is skill but if you look at that same task 10 years ago it would have been looked down on cause buddy had the screen in front watching the time code go by.  At this point in the game, artists like Deadmau5 who also uses a touch screen are finding more and more cool ways to deliver the product.  Now instead of a DJ mixing between 2 tracks and maybe a sampler it’s mixing stems.

I brought up my friend who actually happens to be my manager as well.  He looks at what I do as a production and yes he is right to a degree but the art has changed.  Old school is over.  Want proof? When was the last time you got a CD? Now DJ’s around the world load the MP3s or whatever into their CDJs or what ever DAW they use.  Now it’s not mixing 2 or 3 things, it’s bringing 10-20 things together to make art.

I say the DJ is really no more.  The term DJ is Disc Jockey.  Even radio stations don’t use discs any more.  I am THEMADHATTER and I am a PERFORMER not a DJ.

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