Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Problems And Solutions

This Friday gone was almost definitely the last time that I will be DJing this year.

So it had to be a good one.

And it was set up as so, lots of friends up for the night out - mainly thanks to the inclusion of Tim Weymouth on the bill.  As much as I'd love to take the credit myself.

No hip-hop thing before us so we could get straight into the music.  I was on warm-up duty though Martin started before I got there.  I successfully confused the cd function for the memory stick function and managed to mix the same track in that was already playing.  Seamlessly, though.  Well, Ron Hardy would do it so why not me?  Yeah, I just compared myself to Ron Hardy, yeah it was ironic.  Yeah you probably haven't heard of him, have you?

So I took it back down into 10pm territory with some odd New York City sounds thanks to Ricardo Villalobos, before slowly edging it up.

It was a teaser of a first hour, there would be little groups of people, then they would disappear, and this repeated itself for a while.  Nobody really was dancing.

I prefer not to edge it away from minimal territory until I have dancers - people should have to work for the bangers (relative bangers in my case!) but in this case I decided that I would up my game and that I would start the dancefloor too.

So I put a long house track on and went for a dance.  Sure enough, people started dancing.

Solutions to problems.  I wasn't without other issues.  My £10 headphones really are shit.  Although the mixer wasn't outputting the sound to anyone's headphones without distortion.  I had to borrow Martin's to get any semblance of decency as the only way I could mix was through the monitor speaker - not ideal - the monitor sounds like it has been rinsed on super-high red-lining monsters too.

One of the cue buttons was sticky and one of the jog wheels wasn't flowing properly - needing two gentle hands to move it.  At least the Purple Turtle do get these things fixed unlike other places I have played at in the past.  Anyone remember Zeus?  *shudders*

Once I'd got people dancing, the rest of my set was an utter delight.  It kept getting busier, I was getting a good response, and I was really hoping that Tim would lose track of time and be late for his set.

Alas, handover was on time.

I finished on a classic Loco Dice track that I have recently rediscovered.

Tim played a good set - a few too many big tunes for my personal taste though interestingly he played Orbital's 'Chime', which I considered playing but never got around to it.

It was good to hear some garage to begin, and he kept up the differing styles throughout - and the crowd reacted, dancing throughout.

I didn't see enough of Martin's set to comment as I went outside to have a catch up with one or two of my more delightful friends, and then had to go get the last bus back to my spare Reading bedroom - money saving and all that business.

One of the main reasons why I had to save money was because we were donating our DJ fees to Spinal Research - a cause that my dear friend, Swen, has been raising money for.  It did really touch me to see him down there - and having a little more movement than previously.  I couldn't have asked for anything more on the night.

The whole night was a fuckload of fun - running a night and DJing are so much more fun when you have a great collection of friends there.  I thought about listing everyone who came - probably more than any other night that I've DJ'ed there but I'd miss people out.  I do offer a big warm thank-you hug to everyone who came.

And a thank you to the Purple Turtle too, who have upped their game and installed some new bass bins (or similar) - and boy do you feel it.  Not too much - but they are crisp, clean and powerful enough for the little room.

The night was recorded so if my set is good enough to release, it will be!  My standards aren't too high.

I'll see you next year.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

More Mixes Than Buses

I set myself an aim prior to the beginning of the year, and that was to record one new DJ mix every month.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I had managed 2.

I came back from Ibiza, gosh nearly 4 weeks ago now, and as usual I was inspired to get behind the decks.  That and I have promised to put myself under less pressure on the studying front, and allow myself more time to do things I enjoy such as DJing and exercising.

I've got so many different mixes that I want to do - minimal (of course), house, techno, disco, bass, electro, 80's, trance - all kinds of ideas.  Plus one day I'd love to do a 12 hour mix.  Though that will take quite some planning.

In the end I decided upon a more underground house sound, mainly because I wanted to find an excuse to play Don't Let Love Pass You By (D'Julz Edit) by Master C & J, which I cannot get enough of.

I was a bit rusty, to say the least, not to mention hungover, when I got on the decks.  It took a while to get two or three starting tracks that sounded like they were flowing so there was a lot of restarting, deleting Audacity recordings and starting again.

I thought the mix flowed well, starting off understated, slowly progressing into a slightly more garage sound before hitting it with that wonderful 'Don't Let Love Pass You By' track.

I took it down and more underground again, with some quite inventive mixing at times, and a couple of recognisable tracks near the end.

Unfortunately when I later walked to Morrisons post-recording, I realised that I had really fucked up the first mix.  Enough for me to decide not to upload it.

So on the following Tuesday evening, I tried to record it again. The first mix was fine, but I missed a couple of tracks that I really wanted in, and some of the mixing sounded too forced - like I was trying to be too clever.  So I scrapped that one.

I spent a good couple of days then trying to decide which one was better, because I wanted to upload a mix.  In the end I chose the first one as the lesser of two evils.  I do like the track selection, some of the mixing is excellent, it is a good representation of what I'm into - but there are enough mistakes on it too.

This weekend just gone I then decided that it really wasn't a good enough showcase of my DJing 'talents' and decided that I would make a better mix, though a different one.

This time I concentrated on modern minimal styles, particularly the new wave of Romanian minimal, though without any of the more hypnotic tracks as I have a separate mix for them coming up.

Artists such as Zendid (3 tracks!), iO (Mulen), S.A.M., Priku, Melodie and others, that I am really into at the moment.  Most tracks are from this year - unlike most mixes where I mix up the years quite a lot.

I tried to do some longer mixes on here - 2 to 3 minutes long, mostly they worked, or at least kind of worked.  Though occasionally cutting tracks in (my preferred mixing style).

I did kind of kill the mix towards the end - the third from last track didn't work at all.  It sounded ok over my naff £10 headphones, but clearly not when I heard it coming out of my speakers and it was too late by then.

My headphones may be the source of some problems - they are ok but I do find them harder to mix with - particularly picking out the elements - a problem which I did not have with Sennheisers.  I may one day buy some more Sennheisers - but I just know I will end up losing them!

I'm happy with the mix, it has its flaws but is an improvement from Coal.

Next Friday I am DJing at the Turtle and we are doing it in support of Spinal Research for a very good friend who is trying to raise money for them.  Said friend is hoping to make it down, despite the fairly exceptional logistical challenges it offers him so there is no excuse for you not to.

Oh yeah and I am giving up my DJ fee (less train fare otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford to get there!).

In fact we have quite a good group of people all up for it - you could even call it a little Reading reunion.

It also might be the last time I play this year.

Firstly we have given up our November night to Cubed.  I am sure Pete and Chris will be returning the favour by booking us as festival headliners wherever they are organising events for next year.  I'd definitely be up for DJing at Lovebox, hint hint.

And the month after our night is apparently a DNB special.  Our night has been moved to 23rd December which is pretty crap when one has to get back to Hull for Christmas.  It was billed to be a residents night (ie me and Martin) - but it is quite possible neither of us can make it.

Realistically, I might not be DJing for 3 months after next Friday.  I best make it a special one.