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Monday, June 25, 2012

Deadmau5 Breaks The DJ Myth

Deadmau5 In Concert image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Musicians have long been suspicious of DJ's at best and contemptuous at worst. After all, just what do they do?

There's no hotter DJ at the moment than Deadmau5, and on his blog post entitled "we all hit play" he broke the myth of the DJ being a musical god. Here it is in it's entirety, although you can check out the original on his site as well.

"we all hit play.
its no secret.  when it comes to “live” performance of EDM… that’s about the most it seems you can do anyway. It’s not about performance art, its not about talent either (really its not) In fact, let me do you and the rest of the EDM world button pushers who fuckin hate me for telling you how it is, a favor and let you all know how it is.
I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing at a deadmau5 concert. Just like i think ANY DJ in the WORLD who can match a beat can do what “ANYONE else” (not going to mention any names) is doing on their EDM stages too.   have a look, then let me explain:
okay, so heres me, in a big silly mousehead.. twiddlin a knob or somethin… okay so heres how it works….  Somewhere in that mess is a computer, running ableton live… and its spewing out premixed (to a degree) stems of my original producitons, and then a SMPTE feed to front of house (so tell the light / video systems) where im at in the performance… so that all the visuals line up nicely and all the light cues are on and stuff. Now, while thats all goin on… theres a good chunk of Midi data spitting out as well to a handful of synths and crap that are / were used in the actual produciton… which i can tweak *live* and whatnot… but doesnt give me alot of “lookit me im jimi hendrix check out this solo” stuff, because im constrained to work on a set timeline because of the SMPTE. Its a super redundant system, and more importantly its reliable as FUCK!  And obviously, ive done the show a couple hundred times easily by now, so the focus over the past few runs with the “cube show” has been more revolved around adding new audio / visual content to keep it current.
so thats my “live” show. and thats as “live” as i can comfortably get it (for now anyway)  of course it'll evolve, and change up, but I'm sure a few key principles will always remain the same.
I'm just so sick of hearing the “NO!!! IM NOT JUST DOING THIS, I HAVE 6 TABLES UP THERE AND I DO THIS THIS AND THIS”  like… honestly. who gives a fuck?  i dont have any shame in admitting that for “unhooked” sets.. i just roll up with a laptop and a midi controller and “select” tracks n hit a spacebar.  ableton syncs the shit up for me… so no beatmatching skill required. “beatmatching” isnt even a fucking skill as far as im concered anyway. so what, you can count to 4. cool. i had that skill down when i was 3, so dont give me that argument please.
my “skills” and other PRODUCERS skills shine where it needs to shine… in the goddamned studio, and on the fucking releases. thats what counts… because this whole big “edm” is taking over fad, im not going to let it go thinking that people assume theres a guy on a laptop up there producing new original tracks on the fly. becausje none of the “top dj’s in the world” to my knowledge have. myself included.
you know what makes the EDM show the crazy amazing show that it is?  you guys do, the fans, the people who came to appreciate the music, the lights, all the other people who came, we just facilitate the means and the pretty lights and the draw of more awesome people like you by our studio productions. which is exactly what it is. But to stand up and say youre doing something special outside of a studio environment, when youre not, just plain fuckin annoys me."
So there you have it. Suspicions confirmed? What do you think?


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Kayran said...

Well, i DJed for while too. I think he's right at some point. Everybody can do that stuff technically. And i agree with people don't give a fuck what the DJ is doing over in that cabin at an EDM show. It's just music. But begin technically "ok" doesn't mean that your performance would cheer up the crowd. Besides ableton, tractor or any other software/hardware "it's a soul thing, it's a body thing, it's a mind thing."

Jef Knight said...

He really wishes he'd learned an instrument is what I got out of that... ;)


Scott said...

I always wondered what DJ's/electronic artists do in their live shows. I guess the emphasis is on the overall production of the music.

standa said...

deadmouse mess it up more than it is. if you go to roots do you think that you bought two vinyls hit play button, put the fader up and poeple start ance?
not everyone use ableton and that stuff there are still people that regulary beatmatch and use cds, turntables or serato or simmilar. When you start using autobeatmatchh button you should reconsider calling yourself dj.and it is skill that take years to perfect. not mention tunes selection and timing. Howk.


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