31 August 2013 by Jay Heal
I’m a big, big music fan. I first witnessed a rave that had pitched up near my home when I was in my early teens. By lying to my parents that I was staying at a friend’s and my friend doing the same, I went to my first rave, the Pleasuredome at 14 or 15 years of age. Looking back, it was a terrible thing to do that was really irresponsive of kids that should’ve known better.
But this was not going to stand in my way of my love of the repetitive digital beat and this brand new sound that I was witnessing explode onto the UK scene. This was also the time I followed my father into a love of DJing and making mixtapes. Quite strangely this began on 2 Amstrad hi-fi systems with turntables absent of any pitch control. Fast forward over 20 years of DJing vinyl on Technics SL1200s through to CDs on Pioneers CDJ 1000s, I am now sold on my new toy – Native Instruments TraktorDJ on iPad.
A fusion of my love of music and modern technology, I believe this is firmly a new age in DJing. Being able to see and interact with a live view of a playing soundwave, loop in real-time is something previously impossible. This removing the need for a platter on top of a deck in order to control the positioning of the music playhead. Obviously, this will cause upset to a feature of DJing that has been around for over 40 years now.
There will also be a lot of disapproval from purists who say this removes the technical ability of being able to beat / tempo match of two tracks. This is true but not something I am guilty of with my long history with SL1200s. Although this is something called evolution. The ultimate aim of the DJing is to set the musical tone on an event and to entertain, no one in the crowd will care if the DJ is not wrestling with 2-3 record boxes trying to dig out the ultimate tune. Did we have the same conversations when the iPod revolutionized music consumption in 2001 saying that we are no longer able to rewind tapes with a pencil?
Like any new technology, there needs to be time to adapt. It is not as though similar technology has not been a while for quite some time. Traktor Pro and Serato have been around for many years, but quite often, for me, it seems to be a little awkward operating a laptop screen while concentrating on a crowd. The iPad for me offers a better device solution due to its portability and lack of a need of a trackpad or mouse input.