As the table turns…

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“From a rebel it’s final on black vinyl

Soul, rock and roll coming like a rhino

Tables turn – sucker burn to learn

They can’t disable  the power of my label”

– Chuck D “Rebel Without A Pause”

 

I love my Technics turntables. I think they are the perfect instrument for what I do musically. The fact that I even consider them an instrument should tell you a lot about how I feel about what my parents used to refer to as “record players”.  I’ve been a fan of the record and turntable way before I became a DJ. This is partly due to the fact that records were a common form of music distribution when I grew up. Even now, after the sharp decline of vinyl sales and the digital take over, I still prefer turntables over any other playback device. There is something about being able to put my hands on the record or control vinyl and manipulating it. It gives me the sensation of putting my hands in a pot of sound and stirring it up. Maybe that was a little to deep for some of you but those of you who know understand what I mean.

If I had to be honest my love for my decks is more sentimental than anything else. I’ve made money with them and traveled with them. I’ve had some great performances with them and I’ve made some great music with them. They were a coveted piece of equipment that were a sign of me finally paying my dues as a DJ. Once I got my first pair of Technics 1200s I felt validated. As a DJ, I liken my turntables to a Jedi’s lightsaber. To truly be efficient with one you have to construct or at least open up your own personal weapon.  I’ve taken mine completely apart, modified them and rebuilt them to my liking. In fact I still have ideas for future improvments to my personal pair.  I can truly say that I know my turntables inside out.

I think it’s safe to say that I am a true fan of the (now discontinued) Technics 1200 turntable line.  I’m also open to new innovations in turntable technology. That’s right, I said “new innovations in turntable technology”. While most new age DJs and some older ones will often try to convince you that the turntable is old technology and past it’s prime, I have to disagree with them. In the past few months we’ve seen the introduction of a couple of new turntables to the market. The Reloop RP-8000 with MIDI capabilities has been making noise since it’s announcement.  Pioneer’s new turntable is now making the rounds on the internet and  getting a lot of interest. Currently we already have the Stanton, Numark , and Vestax turntables on the market. Each of these models have a lot of features in common and they each also offer some unique features such as MIDI, digital read outs, switchable tone arms, extended pitch range and replacable cables.  Lots of innovation, lots of technology being used in the turntable arena.

There are some who question why anyone would still want to use a turntable in this day and age of CDJs and controller options. They say that replacing vinyl, and needles is an unneccesary, tedious maintenance cost that is a watse of time and money. There are some who argue that a turntable used with DVS is “just a big controller”. They say that they can do the same thing with a controller that I can do with a turntable. On both accounts, I would have to disagree again. Yes, some control vinyl can get expensive but those are the collectable kind. Regular control vinyl which can last for months on end, possibly years depending on the frequency of use is pretty inexpensive. Needles can get pricey but if you are using a DVS then you can get by with a decent pair of low end needles that can read the control signal. With regular needles and control vinyl your whole investment could be around $100 a year. Hopefully you DJs are making enough from your gigs to be able to invest $100 a year back into your craft. If you can’t handle that then I don’t know what to tell you.

There is also the school of thought that ALL new DJs only use controllers. This is just not true. As much as some new DJs may hate it, the fact remains that there IS a demand and interest in the art of turntablism. 2 turntables and a mixer is still the most commonly accepted image for a DJ.  If there weren’t then how do you explain the fact that most DJ battles and competitions still use turntables as a standard set up? Why is the Scratch DJ academy expanding to new markets along with all of the other DJ schools poping up. Why are manufaturers investing time, money, research and devlopment into new turntable models? There are plenty of young DJs that respect the art and want to progress and grow in it. If that’s not your thing I can understand. This isn’t for everyone. I just wish the nay sayers would be more honest about their feelings on the subject. Just admit that they don’t like turntables because they are either too expensive compared to a $200 controller, or they just don’t understand or have the skills to use a turntables. And yes, we are more than familiar with the fact that people in clubs don’t dance to DJs scratching. But maybe, just maybe the DJs that are into scratching and turntablism aren’t trying to do that in the the club anyway. There are battles, competitions and performance DJs that can use appreciate the art of turntablism and use the turntable as an instrument.

I also have to take issue with the stictly Technics 1200 die hard fans out there.  I’ve heard my fellow turntable DJs refer to anything other than a 1200 as being a toy. “Technics for life!” is the battle cry of some vinyl purists. While I can appreciate the nostalgia and sentimentality for the brand and specifically the model, I can’t roll with the Technics or nothing attitude. Before I got my first pair of 1200s I went through many makes and models of turntables.  I had an Akai,Marantz, Kenwood, Sherwood, MCS, Pioneer and a non 1200 Technics brand turntable.  In my early stages I would take anything I could get my hands on. I knew the Technics 1200 was the Holy Grail  but until  I got my own I had to make do with what I could find. I think that is what helped grow my love for turntables.  Some of the tables I had were horrible, but they were great learning tools for me. I had to take them apart and try to put together mismatched parts to get a working unit. It was all one big engineering experiment. This is why I am so familiar with the advancement of DJ technology. I know what it used to be like and I have seen the progression. With all of that being said, I know that the Technics 1200 is not the end all be all of turntables.  If they were, then why are there so many different versions of the 1200? As the years progressed the 1200 evolved; some of the changes were subtle or purely cosmetic but there is a difference between a 1200 MK2 and a 1200 MK5G. It only stands to reason that if Technics was able to improve upon it’s design then so can other turntable manufacturers. I’m not against testing out or even switching to another turntable brand if it will improve my performance. I’ll always have a set of Technics but maybe they will end up being my custom collectors edition. Kind of like a car collector that only brings his classic car out for car shows and special events but maintains a daily driver for everyday commutes.

In the end it’s all about you and your specific style of DJing.Hopefully DJs are choosing products based on practical usage and not following fads or looking for acceptance. I embrace all forms of technology when it comes to DJing but I have my preferences. I’ve owned an NS7 controller and I’ve owned Denon professional DJ CD players. In both instances I had the opportunity to do a side by side comparison with my Technics. I ultimately chose to roll with the Techs. As more and more turntables are introduced I can only hope that one day the turntable in some shape or form makes a return to the DJ booth as a standard piece of equipment and hopefully the other  DJs can get along with it.

 

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It’s been a long time…

It’s been months (almost a a year!) since I’ve updated this blog so I should have plenty to write about. There’s been a lot of changes behind the scenes and I performed at several battles and a huge music festival also.

I was an artist at the A3C Hip-Hop Festival’s Needle To The Record showcase, which was sponsored in part by Digiwaxx and SMS Audio. I made some good connections while there and managed to secure a pair of the SMS Audio by 50 headphones. I’m also now an official Brand Ambassador for SMS Audio as a result of that. I got to kick it with reps from Guitar Center and Rane as well and they hooked me up with some cool swag.

A few months ago I was a participant in the Respect The DJ competition help at Opera night club. It was a dope experience where I got to meet up with a lot of new and old faces in the Atlanta DJ scene. This was a mixing competition and I feel like I did well enough but I know I could have done better if I focused strictly on mixing and not putting any time into scratching. I learned that there are different kinds of DJ “battles” or “competitions” and you have to cater to the rules and judging if you want to be successful. There’s going to be another Respect The DJ next month and hopefully I will re-enter.

During the Summer I was also involved in the Master of the Mix DJ competitions at Metro Fuxion night club. I made it through the first round but I didn’t place in the finals. This competition was based solely on crowd reaction and the winner was the person that brought the most people to the club, plain and simple. I left with a big gift bag including a big ‘ole bottle of Smirnoff vodka and some other goodies. I know my skills had me in the lead for this battle, but this was nothing more than a popularity contest. My participation in this battle led to an offer to come back to the club and spin, but the money wasn’t right and the crowd was not what I’m used to.

I entered the Guitar Center DJ battle in Marietta and dropped a dope routine that included way more beat juggling than I am used to doing. It seems like the battle circuit is more interested in juggling than scratching so I have to adapt my set a bit. I still intend to get my cut on but you have to please the masses. I came in 4th place but this was my best performance yet. I’m going to continue to refine and fine tune this routine. I got a lot of compliments on my set and some people even had me chosen to win. This shows me that I’m on to something with my sets. I don’t have to win the contest as long as I win the people.

Another thing I’m looking to do is increase my brand awareness. I’m still working on the DJ Logic show and am using every gig as a chance to refine my performances. Expect to see more advertising and marketing from me in the near future.

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In the begining…

This is my first blog post and I’m pretty excited about it. I hope I don’t bore you all to death with the details of my life. This blog is meant to be informative and entertaining. I hope you learn something from reading it and I hope I can learn something from you all. Just bear with me as I work my way through all the finer points of blogging. It’s definitely a learning experience.

I’m probably going to be writing mostly about, DJing, music, and technology. These are topics that I spend a lot time researching and obsessing over. I’m a gadget fiend and the DJ world has plenty to offer so hopefully I can do some really interesting product reviews.

Another thing I hope to write about is the sorry state of the black music industry.  I am a child of the 70’s and ’80s.  I grew up listening to the early forms of rap, and Hip-Hop.  I’ve seen it grow and progress and I’ve also seen it take a turn for the worse.  As a DJ I get lots of music from established and new indie artists and it’s scary to see the vicious cycle of BS and mediocrity that is being pushed out these days.  Please believe I will have plenty to say about all of that.

I’ll also be chronicling my adventures in the music industry not only as a DJ, but also as an artist.  I make beats and I license my music for TV, Radio and other multimedia projects.  I used to work with rappers and singers but drama always seemed to get in the way of productivity so I have been working solo lately.  I’ve had more success as an independent artist that produces instrumental music than when I worked with all of those talented artists.  I learned how to get into the REAL music biz and  how to get REAL royalty checks.  I often get lots of questions from people about how I did what I did and I just want to give that knowledge out so we stop being starving artists.  There is money to be made in this industry and it isn’t coming from selling CDs. Let’s see how we can be a part of that money.

Hopefully this brief introduction will give you some insight as to what to expect from my totally awesome blog.