Laptop DJ

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August 18, 2010 by DJ Elroy

I’m still amazed to hear people shooting down Digital Deejaying as “cheating” and “uncreative” – but is it really? Or are these naysayers just part of the dying school of purists?

The Show

Sure, Digital Deejaying is not necessarily as “hands on” as diggin’ thru a record box to find the perfect vinyl and twirling it onto the turntable (or even flipping thru a CD book for your next song)… But does that matter?

I’ll admit, somebody standing in the Booth staring at a Laptop for two hours isn’t very exciting. But most jocks use some type of hardware along with the computer, whether it’s an ACP40 or a DVS system or any of the other controllers, platters, or performance tools available today. They are able to manipulate the music with their hands just as much as a Vinyl jock. And while it doesn’t quite match the same stereotypical image of what a DJ “should” be, it’s still fun to watch a master at work.

The Music

The music is what matters in the end, right? Not where the music comes from or how it’s played. The average clubber is out for the experience. They don’t care who the songs are by as long as they are good (hell, they probably couldn’t name most of the songs or artists anyway)… And they don’t care how the jock gets the job done, as long as it gets the floor poppin’ off. It’s really only other DJs that will criticize somebody for the gear they use. So if a Digital kit gets the same (or better!) results as the old skool Frisbee, what’s the difference?

The DJ

Now step into the Booth. You’re the DJ. Which direction do you take? Sure, Vinyl brings image points from hoi polloi and props from jaded purists. But Digital brings you options and versatility. No need to carry around the heavy crate all evening. No need to worry about scratched records or a bumped or skipping needle. Your music is at your fingertips. And you can cut and chop and mash. Loop and sample and tweak songs on the fly. Work in some FX and heavy EQing. Things the guys in the booth 10 years ago just couldn’t do. Sure, less time may be spent matching beats, but that’s more time that could be used doing other things.

And so?

If you had access to tools that would make your job easier, why wouldn’t you take advantage of them? Sure, riding horses is fun every now and then, but a car is more practical and efficient. Is driving an automobile cheating? If you can get better results with less effort, does that make you a cheater?

I’m glad to see that most of the dance music community has accepted (if not embraced) the fact that Digital Deejaying is here to stay; it’s the future. But every now and then I hear a dinosaur growling about the way things used to be, and all I can do is shake my head and wonder when they will finally go extinct.

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