The first Digital DJ meet-up by Haroon and Jason

Overview by Haroon

We all started off with quick introductions about themselves and what led them here tonight. It seemed all were already established DJ’s, some having been in the game for decades, but wanted to change things up and see what they can achieve that goes beyond the two decks and a mixer approach, for which all accepted was a classic combo.

The discussion then moved on as to what people would like to cover, a brainstorming session:

  • audience engagement, which became quite passionate;
  • tagging and organising files (tagscanner, beatunes and even itunes reared its head with its smart playlists);
  • free software to get started;
  • controllers people are using became a show and tell around the room, interesting how people were using their equipment and modifying their equipment with custom mappings;
  • more topics on the list saved for next time.
Alas the two hours passed quickly and people were staying behind well after 9pm discussing set-ups.
Our remaining topics from the brainstorming, have formed the following agenda for the next event:
  • Using Keys for Harmonic mixing – Haroon will do a mini-session on detecting keys and using the camelot wheel
  • Mapping with Traktor / Virtual DJ / other – Share your custom mapping (volunteers and host will present)
  • Share your favourite effects – all to show and tell your fav effect(s)
If you weren’t able to make it this time we hope to see you at the next event on!

Overview by Jason

Tonight, I went to Madlabs digital dj-ing meet. I was under the impression that there would be more people in attendance but I’m guessing bad weather put most people off getting in to the centre of Manchester on a cold, dark, Monday evening, but, for those of us that did venture in to town, I think it was a successful evening. When I arrived, Macbook Pro and Maschine ready, I was greeted by 4 experienced DJ’s who had moved in to the digital domain using Traktor, Pacemaker or Virtual DJ software. We got past the pleasantries and began discussing what direction the meetings should take. Within minutes, I felt way out of my depth. Here I was, a guy who has listened predominantly to guitar based music most of the 28 years of my measly existence sat in a room with guys who had been DJ-ing for almost half of my life!! All I could do was listen. Luckily, over the past couple of years, I have taken my interest from being that of a passive electronic music listener to that of a more productive listener and creator and having had a love for trance for a number of years, the feeling of unease soon disappeared and we started talking about various topics. That’s when Maria joined us.

We began going round the room looking at the gear each of us had brought with us, starting with me. I was nervous. Maschine is one of those things that people immediately expect that because you have it, you know how to use it…. In the safety of my own home, I can happily use it as a powerful composition tool either standalone or (my preferred method) as a VST plugin within Ableton, but people stood behind me, expecting something great… I go to pieces!

Hopefully, after a few more of these meetings, and once we’ve got to know each other a bit better, things will fall in to place and I’ll gain enough confidence and experience to work with Maschine the other digital dj’s to create some awesome music. We continued round the room to see Traktor used by Andy and Haroon , Virtual DJ used by Si and Ian using a Pacemaker. Maria however dj’s using CDJ’s or vinyl so hadn’t brought her equipment.

Digital DJ

After tonights meet, I’m feeling pretty positive and glad to have met some cool new people who share a passion and are willing to share their experience in order that I can become a better musician/digital dj/controller-ist and eventually become an accomplished electronic performer.

If you would like more information regarding the digital dj meet,
find MADLABS on TWITTER : #madlabdjs or @madlabuk

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