what's a dj in 2009?

Leave a comment

June 25, 2009 by DJ Elroy

Courtesy of BeatPortal

Courtesy of BeatPortal

What’s a DJ in 2009? We ask Joris Voorn (Courtesy of my friends @ Beatportal)

by Zach Rico ~

DJs were confined to the turntable for a quarter of a century. They were slaves to the music. Rhythmically matching two records together was all they could do to help people dance. Then technology set them free.

CD players with loop functionality, FX units, and sophisticated mixers all helped DJs to seize control of the music in the 1990s. Software was the next phase and it is changing the very meaning of the word ‘DJ’.

Dutch producer and DJ Joris Voorn has embraced technology. His ‘Balance 14’ mix CD (check out my review HERE), released in February, saw Voorn mix over 100 tracks across two CDs, with each different track a layered construction of three or four different songs.

With mixing in parts (or molecular mixing) becoming more and more common, Beatportal decided to meet Joris Voorn to find out his opinion about what is the definition of a DJ today.

Your ‘Balance 14’ mix CD was mixed using parts. Do you do this in a live setting?

Yes, I do. There have been such huge improvements in technology recently so it has become a lot more viable in a live environment. I use Traktor and a lot of what I do is playing loops and re-editing in real time. It works very well.

Do you prepare a lot of those edits beforehand? With so much going on it must be difficult to keep track.

You get into certain habits when playing and get to know which loops fit together and what will work. Some of it is improvisational, and some of it I do in Ableton prior to the gig. I make edits offline to play out live.

Those edits are always inspired by real-time live performances on stage, so it all feeds back.

You’re a producer. Other producers have said that they feel it’s disrespectful to break a track down into micro parts as it undermines their hard work. What do you think?

I wouldn’t be disappointed if someone played something from my music, no matter how small it was. If someone liked the first four beats of ‘Sweep The Floor’ and looped it to mix with other loops I wouldn’t mind. If it works, and it sounds good, that’s great. Technology allows us to explore more avenues and I think we should embrace it.

When did you get into the idea to mixing in parts?

I first got into the idea of editing music whilst DJing when I started playing CDs.

The Pioneer CDJ1000 had a loop function which opened up the door to this new world for me. That was the start of me rearranging tracks live.

Then Traktor took things to the next level. I started properly playing loops about one and half years ago.

What is the definition of DJing? That is a question that we, as a scene, are trying to answer now.

Do you still beatmatch?

No, I don’t do any pitching at all. All my tracks have beat markers and the computer beatmatches for me.

People say that’s not the true essence of DJing. Beatmatching is something DJs should do.

What is the definition of DJing? That is a question that we, as a scene, are trying to answer now.

I’ll admit it did feel quite awkward when I stood on stage for the first time after so many years of playing CDs and vinyl, and didn’t have to beatmatch. I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. The weird thing is that people think DJing is beatmatching. But by letting the computer take care of timing, you can concentrate on the music.

So what’s your definition of DJing?

DJing is playing music for people. It is knowing what music to play, and when to play it. It’s about being creative with the music you play and making it your own. It’s about making people dance, that’s it.

Some things about DJing will never change. For instance, it will always have to be done in real-time. You will always have to plan two or three records ahead.

Check out the FULL ARTICLE, comments, and discussion HERE on BeatPortal!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: