Promoter Bans Traktor, but is this the Answer?

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November 29, 2012 by DJ Elroy

facebook.com/notes/wip-itswip/no-more-traktor-at-wip

So we’ve decided that all WIP events will be Traktor free from now on.

This decision is solely based on the hundreds of experiences (none
positive) that we’ve had over the past 3 years with “artists” using
Traktor, and on the equally large number of “suggestions” (aka complaints)
from our public every time a Traktor “artist” fails to deliver.

Nothing against Native Instruments and their software, which is great,
innovative, and an amazing tool, as are pretty much all of NI products
(love Komplete, and Maschine). Yes, Traktor does crash every now and then
but it has to do more with “artists” shitty setups, and beaten down
laptops (CDJs and vinyl needles also can and do fail occasionally)

The real issue is with “artists” who swear they can play any format be it
CD, vinyl, usb and or Traktor but whose Traktor sets are nothing but
stale, bland and outright insulting to a paying crowd and promoter.

We’ve also grown tired of the endless issues with missing cables, problems
with timecode (learn how to use your gear before you play out), taking up
the previous Dj’s time to set up your gear (cause you didn’t want to come
to the club early and set up your Traktor), how is it you play 5 times a
week and still don’t know how to set it up right?
And, more importantly we’re fed up with the general laziness shown by 99%
of “artists” that we’ve seen and heard playing Traktor.

The problem is not only that you are lazy, but that you clearly show you
have no idea whatsoever of how to build a set, read a crowd, work a track
with your “special” efx controller, and that you play the same tracks that
all of your buddies play (in the same order!) which makes you completely
forgettable and interchangeable with any one of 10,000 Traktor Djs out
there.

Once again, Traktor is a great idea and a very fun and useful tool, but
unfortunately buying it doesn’t magically turn you into a DJ, at least not
a good one, and it doesn’t come with instant music culture and/or
instructions on how to do all the things that make a Dj and a performer
good.

As open minded as we are with new technologies, it is clear that there is
not and there will never be a replacement for taste, personality,
experience and education; so , dear “artist” before you buy your copy of
Traktor please make sure you acquire all of the above, then and only then
will you deserve the attention and financial reward you so desperately
crave, and will do this great software the justice it deserves.

To all Traktor “artists” who have a list of tracks you play in the same
order at every gig regardless of what’s going on on the dancefloor, who
spend more time on Facebook on your iphones while your pre-arranged set
plays on, who use the same effects on the same tracks that every other
Traktor Dj is using the exact same way, you who use sync because you can’t
beat-match and stare at your computer screen ignoring the people who’ve
paid to see you, thank you, but no thank you.

Wow. Where do I start with this? I know it’s been kicked around online for the past week or more and it seems to have divided people almost as much as the digital vs vinyl debate. Like so many issues, there’s no way I can flat out agree with one side or the other.

First thoughts? The promoter is right. Traktor HAS made DJing so easy almost anyone can do it regardless of talent or skill. But it seems to me the bigger problem is NOT Traktor, it’s newbie DJs. The ones that only know enough to push play. The ones that constantly (over)use FX to hide their shoddy transitions. The ones that only buy their music from the Top 10 Beatport charts. The ones that aren’t experienced enough to know how to read a crowd, or program a set, or handle different situations that come up.

And normally these same newbs are the most cocky and least professional of the bunch. They demand peak-hour slots. They refuse to show up early for a gear & sound check. They don’t bring the proper equipment to perform. They have’t learned “DJ Etiquette”. They think because they’ve landed a gig their shit don’t stink.

Well it does. And in a lot of cases, it’s pretty bad.

Learning to beatmatch took me a long time to perfect. And while I was working with that, I was also learning how to program a set, layer and EQ sounds in the mix, work with samples and acapellas, etc. You see, I didn’t rush the process and in doing so end up skipping over a bunch of the fundamentals.

And I wasn’t afraid earn my chops in the warm-up slots or the side rooms. This gave me a chance to develop a “stage presence” and learn dancefloor psychology. I was also able to find my own unique style and didn’t need to play the same stuff as everyone else. I was confident in my music and willing to take chances. Oftentimes it worked. Sometimes a track fell flat. But I learned from it.

Experience is essential for success.

Too many kids today think that because they have software that does the mixing for them they can demand prime slots and shoot their way to the top.

No.

DJing (and performing) should come down to the music, and not the tools. I know plenty of great DJs (both at the local level and at “superstar” status) that can put on a great show with Traktor.

Remember, the promoter needs to make sure the people enjoy the shows and continue to come back for more. And if he’s getting a lot of complaints he needs to figure out what the problem is. The crowd may complain about Traktor, but that’s not the core problem.

Sure, it may be true the too many of his DJs rely on Traktor to carry the show. But again this goes back to my point: THE PROBLEM IS THE DJ, NOT TRAKTOR.

And here’s where I disagree with the Traktor-ban policy: As the promoter, YOU NEED TO SCREEN YOUR TALENT. This includes accepting demos, auditioning new faces with the warm-up slot, and not being afraid to cut a sub-par jock.  Being a successful promoter is an art unto itself. The DJ needs to learn to program a set and pick out which songs work together, which compliment each other, and how and where to put them. The promoter needs to do the same thing with the line-up. DON’T book a bunch of guys that all have the same sound. I know anthems and big-room house music is popular, but you need to diversify. Don’t blame the DJ for playing the music, blame YOURSELF for booking the DJ!

Oh, one more thing: As a promoter you should understand that there is a difference between a DJ and a live act. I know you want great music and a great PERFORMANCE, but you need to know what you’re booking. A DJ usually plays other peoples’ music. I know there are plenty of pros that interact with the crowd and put on a show, but unless you’re paying the big bucks to bring in the big names, don’t expect many Rabit-in-the-Moon-type performances.

Elroy Predicts: WIP will continue to book artists that use Traktor. After all, how many DJs are left that still use vinyl, or even CDJs? They’re a dying breed.

Note: Original post was HERE on the WIP profile page.

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