Is It Right To Ban Laptops From DJ Booths?

They say you’re not doing something right unless you’re upsetting people, and it seems that once again, DJs with laptops are doing just that (sigh). Check out this video in which 50-year-old DJ Leonard Remix Rroy lambasts the behaviour of laptop DJs who stare at the screen all the time as if they’re “on Facebook”. I actually find the video to make some fair points, but it’s predictably triggered another bout of laptop DJ- bashing across the internet.

Ultimately my view is this: Of course there are laptop guys who spend time screen-gazing and sync-riding. But surely they just need some help and guidance, not lambasting? Have you ever seen a vinyl DJ on his first few public gigs? These dudes generally don’t dancing around much either, It’s a learning curve, whatever your gear.

At the end of the day, I think most of us agree that DJing is about crowd interaction, mastery of your gear, quick access to the right tune to play next, great knowledge of your, music, stage presence, charisma, and lots of other things besides. But…

Does it really, truly matter if you’re doing this stuff on iPods, laptops, CDJs, vinyl, from USB sticks, cassette players, transistor radios, or with the Welsh Male Voice Choir?!

Well – and here we get to the subject of today’s post – apparently it does. In an amazing new twist, according to one London DJ, there are parties where laptops – and the DJs they’re attached to – are actually being shown the door…

Banning laptops from parties

This is actually the most interesting – if ridiculous – recent development in the whole debate. Because in a reply to the Rroy video over on his own Facebook page, UK house veteran Terry Farley says “laptops look shit” and “I’m glad some underground clubs are now banning laptops”. Are they really?

Wow. Would you honestly like to go and party in a club that bans laptops? I mean, truthfully? Personally, I go out to have my mind opened a bit to stuff, not to have someone’s silly prejudices forced down my throat. One sniff of petty gear fascism and I think I’d be out of there. Can you imagine a queue of happy, sweaty people leaving a great night and saying to each other: “Wow, that was brilliant!” then someone remembering, “Yeah, and it was all the better because there were no damned laptop DJs!”

Get. Out. Of. Town. I’d run from these nutters at speed. If that’s the underground, kids, we really are in trouble.

DJs: Know your crowd. Know your gear. Know your craft. Know your music. Stay humble. Learn from your mistakes, and from your elders (when they’re being charitable towards you). But please, use whatever damned gear you like. And if some tired, old “underground” promoter starts laying down the law to you about the type of gear you choose to use… start your own party. It’ll be better.

Have you been on the receiving end of “laptop prejudice”? Have you come across parties where laptop-using DJs are banned? Please let us know your experiences below.

10 Tips to Producing a Good Song

1. Your equalizer or spectrum meter are your best friend when it comes to producing a song. If you don’t have a spectrum meter plug-in you can cross reference your song by playing it in any music program like winamp http://www.winamp.com By analyzing the EQ and its responses. Find the frequency range that is not jumping very high and fill it with sounds of the appropriate frequency. You should also use your eq to pump these missing frequencies if they are coming in too low.

2. Do not mud up your song by putting to many sounds of the same frequency range this will not produce a desirable effect, keep your song clean sounding. Take an overview of your song and what you are using to fill these specific frequency ranges. Get rid of any sounds that are causing complications in the mix they will only make it sound worse.

3. Clearly label all of your sounds, FX, and anything that you can about the song you are writing because chances are you’ll eventually come back to it without a clue of where you left off. If you work on one song at a time sticky notes and/or masking tape for your mixer and monitor will do the trick quite nicely.

4. Save your song as new versions, as it progresses, so that if it starts sounding worse than the previous work you can go back to its basic structure and re-write it.

5. Hearing the same riffs over and over can start to numb your ears of its catchy sound. Go back to what you are working on after a nights sleep its always better to have a listen with fresh ears.

6. Keep the volume at a reasonable level while you are working in your studio and only turn it up once and a while. This will help yourself from going deaf and will help maintain your interest in the song while you are producing it.

7. I have said it before and I will say it again, save a back up file of your work, hard drives randomly crash without warning, it’s better to sort through a bunch of files on CDs than to loose your song.

8. Experiment as much as you can, as long as you have back-ups you can always go back. Producing music is all about stretching the boundaries outside of the mainstream.

9. Keep all of your files in order sometimes this can help when going into the songs final mix down. and really helps when backing up all of your songs rough work for any future re mixes to come.

10. Continue to produce lots of music, you will always learn something after writing every song. Its all about finding that one good sample/sound that catches your ears attention, and sticks in your head for the rest of the day.

Deep Grooves by Ben Prada ( Out in September )

Pirana17.07-3After a busy year of producing and progressing new sounds, Ben Prada releases his first official EP, we get together with Ben to talk about his upcoming album Deep Grooves.

His first production Time which presented saxophone brass sounds, it has a deep thinking windy sounds which is totally cross ways with Dancing Piano, which is inspiring motivating, go go sounds.

We did a a short label coverage interview with Ben and asked him some questions:

Why Deep Grooves ?

Ben: Since i started to produce, i been keen to produce the sounds i enjoy regardless of the styles. so i have gathered deep uplifting tracks produced as singles in one EP, which how i describe Deep House Grooves, and here it is.

Which song in the album is your favourite? 600summerlove

Ben: It is quite hard as i could never compare sounds, each have their own unique time to listen, but as Deep Grooves, i must say Summer Love, it is a great collar with Tonkas voice which gave me goose bumps while i was working on the project.

Will you produce more Deep House sounds ?

Ben: i am really not sure, but i can honestly say why not, the future is bright and my production abilities works with my emotions, i might need some downs but, sure expect anything.

Why did you release the first EP with Deep, House sounds ?

Ben: i want it to start deep and take off as i do in my sets, i start deep, drive tech then electro hard beats, which does make the crowd love more.

When are you planing to release the next Album ?

Ben: uuuhhh well i am working side by side with great Artist and i have great uplifting EDM tracks on the way, i will release the second album by Christmas, fingers crossed.

We are proud with Ben Prada and his selection of music, watch out for Deep Grooves releasing in the beginning of September.

You can pre order on ITunes now by clicking HERE

If you are interested in Booking Ben Prada, please click HERE 

How To Make A Powerful EDM Track

A dance track is all about energy and emotion. To get that type of emotion on your tracks there are some essential elements your track must have. If you want to make a powerful EDM track you really need to include these elements in your track.

Catchy Melody In EDM

To start things out it is important to know that a dance track needs to have a catchy melody that people will be attracted to and feel emotion from. They melody of a dance track sets the emotion for the track. Different chord progressions and notes give different feelings such as happy, inspirational, sad, powerful, etc. The melody combined with chord progression will drive those feelings.

Repetition In EDM

EDM is built on repetition. This means your writing must be very likeable. Listeners should get a great sense of emotion listening to an EDM Track.

With EDM it is important to create uplifting sounds.Something that sounds epic, makes them want to move, gives them chills, and excitement. Without that the repetition part of EDM can become bland to the listener. But with the right melody and groove repetition makes the listener love the track. The melody gets stuck in there head and they want to move to it.

Anticipation in EDM

A dance track will also have various elements of building up and coming down and these build ups and anticipation are an extemely important part of the overall EDM track structure. To get the build up effect you need for an EDM track you have to find ways to create anticipation. You want the listener to anticipate that amazing break they are about to hear. You want them to get a feeling that main loop of the song is about to drop as you build things up.

To build anticipation you start slow and simple. Slowly add in elements as you build your way to the next part of your track. This can be done with various types of percussion, snare rolls, basslines, adding more synth parts, etc. It is all about building up to that next part. You can also use volume pans and filters to get a build up effect.

Emphasis And Impact In EDM

Emphasis is about making an impact when your track transitions. An easy way to emphasize your parts as you transition is using what I like to call a drop out effect. For example, you might drop the bass out during a fill right before the transition. This makes the next part of the track hit hard when the bass comes back in.

Another thing to experiment with is impact samples that hit on the first beat after your build up. This can make the first beat of the next part really hit hard. Many people try to do this with a bass sound. However, I have found that impacts with more high end and punch have a more dramatic effect.

All of these elements will help you make a powerful EDM track. While some of them sound simple they are often overlooked or not focused on enough. People are more concerned with making that insane drum loop, or technical lead and forget the small essential pieces that make an EDM track powerful.