Saturday October 21st, Cutfest LA will be happening from 4pm – 9pm held at The Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound in Glendale Ca. Showcases by D-Styles, Dj IQ, Dj Traps, Dj Flip Flop, Dj Prolifix. Dj Shmeeze, & many more! Portable cutting area, and Beat Juggling and Scratching Battles. Please register on website to battle: www.cutfestla.com
This Friday (October 20th) is another weekly installment of Do-It at The Shortstop in Los Angeles with residents Dj Expo and Dj Sean-O. To celebrate their 3 Year Anniversary, their special guest this week is our very own Dj Melo-D. Start off you weekend at Do-It & get your groove on! To RSVP: http://doitLA.eventbrite.com
New Foundation Track Open and starting this today 10/16 7:30-9pm! Only 12 spots per class, if you’d like to join contact us!
Sign up: beatjunkiesound.com/foundation
This curriculum was personally designed by The Beat Junkies to build a better, well rounded DJ that understands his or her roots while at the same time, preparing them for the ever changing landscape of DJing. Spaces are very limited as this course is only offered 3 times a year with availability for 12 students. Whether you want to DJ a house party or a sold out arena, this is where it all begins. (at Beat Junkie Institute of Sound)
Tonight (October 6th) is another installment of Snapback LBC at The Federal Underground in Downtown Long Beach. This week’s special guest is Mr. Swiff plus residents Dj Icy Ice, Dj Remark, & Dj B-Stang + hosted by Trek Life. If you love classic Hip Hop & R&B, this is a perfect way to kick off your weekend!
Join us Saturday Oct. 7th from 6-8pm @beatjunkieios for a LIVE recording of @cut_chemist‘s radio show “A Stable Sound”
Come though and wish Cut and Shortkut a Happy Birthday and vibe out with them, more special guests TBA, LIVE from the LONGTAGON!
Current BJIOS Students and Members are Free, please contact BJIOS to sign up!
Remember to check out Cut Chemist and Shortkut at the Echoplex, Sunday Oct. 8th, as they celebrate 20 years of#FuturePrimitive brought to you by @footlongdevelopment
Friday (October 6th) is the Future Primitive Sound Session 20 Year Anniversary featuring Cut Chemist & Dj Shortkut at the Great Northern in San Francisco. With special guests Dj Platurn (45 Sessions), Gordo Gabeza (Motown On Mondays Founder), & Miles Medina (The Goldie Awards 2017 World Champion). This is an event that you don’t want to miss!
For Tickets: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1562302
October sign ups for our DJing For Kids Class are now open! Deadline to sign up is OCTOBER 5TH!
To sign up, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday October 8
2 of the most innovative DJ’s of the last two decades, rocking the party as 1!
20TH ANNIVERSARY of
LIVE AT THE FUTURE PRIMITIVE
CUT CHEMIST (Jurassic5/Ozomatli)
DJ SHORTKUT (TheBeatJunkies/ISP)
w/ Special Guest
Hosted: MC SUPERNATURAL
Openers: DJ EXPO (TheRootDown/MOM LA) & DJ Skeme Richards (Philly)
@ The Echoplex
1154 Glendale Bl.
7PM-12AM / 18+
& Amoeba Records in Hollywood
Saturday (October 7th), our very own Rhettmatic & one of Philly’s best DJs, Mr. Sonny James will be rocking the dance floor at Boombox, along with residents Inka One, Ben Diggin, & Dj Analog. All happening at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown (Downtown LA). Fellas $5 before 11pm, ladies FREE before 11pm. For DISCOUNT TIX – RSVP at http://bmbx134.eventbrite.com
Los Angeles, this is something you don’t want to miss out!
Tonight (September 28th) is another installment of Snapback North Hollywood at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood. This week’s guest is the one & only Mad Skillz + residents Dj Icy Ice, Dj B-Stang, & Dj Ever-ED-E. If you love classic Hip Hop & R&B, this is a perfect way to kick off your weekend!
Ladies, we’ve got another Sip n’ Scratch coming up, Saturday Oct.14th 6-10pm at The Beat Junkies Institute Of Sound! We’ve got the incredible Dj Shortee coming back to lead the way at this ladies only scratch workshop and Vino And Vibes coming through with the wine! RSVP IS A MUST! LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE!
Ladies, we’ve got another Sip n’ Scratch coming up, Saturday Oct.14th 6-10pm! If you’ve always wanted to learn how to scratch, bring your GF’s, drink some wine, and have a good time! We’ve got @djshortee coming back to lead the way at this ladies only scratch workshop and @vnoandvibes coming through with the wine and small bites! 🥂🍾👯💿🎚 ••• RSVP: beatjunkiesound.com/sipnscratch (Link in Bio) • Limited space • This is a 21 + over event. . #BJIOS #sipnscratch #bjiosworkshops #ladiesonlyworkshop #beatjunkies #vinoandvibes #BJIOS #glendale #losangeles #girlsnightout #beatjunkieinstituteofsound #thingstodoinla #ladowntowner #ladiesonthecut
On this 8th year anniversary (September 19, 2017) of our dearly departed Anthony “Roc Raida” Williams, Dj Rob Swift & John Carluccio are happy to introduce #Roc4Raida (http://roc4raida.vhx.tv/), the official website for downloading & streaming rare DJ Roc Raida video titles. 100% of the proceeds go to Raida’s family.
Join us Monday October 9th from 5-8pm at the Beat Junkie Institute of Sound for an up close look inside the world of DJ’ing. Take a tour of our facility and learn how to DJ on state of the art equipment from the Beat Junkies! Light appetizers and cocktails will be served, be sure and reserve your space!
Come celebrate the launch of Glendale Tech Week 2017 with LA’s very own Beat Junkies!
This is a private event and BJIOS will be closed.
RSVP is required as space is limited, click on the RSVP link to join!
Huge thank you to the future legend DJ K-Swizz (& his father Dj Reminise) for being our special guest and an inspiring our advanced DJing for kids class!
Photos by: Maricel Sison
It is an honor to have the legendary LA Hip Hop Radio personality, Mike Nardone return to the airwaves on Beat Junkie Radio. He returns to his roots by debuting his new show called “Essentials” on Beat Junkie Radio. If you’re not familiar with Mike Nardone, he was the first person to start up a college Hip Hop radio show in 1987 at KXLU (Loyola Marymount) in Los Angeles called “We Came From Beyond” as well as having a show on the defunct 92.3 The Beat called “Da Joint” with King Emz. Mike is the West Coast counterpart of the legendary NY Radio Duo, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia.
Essentials with Mike Nardone will NOW be airing every 2nd Saturdays of each month from 4-6pm on Beat Junkie Radio, exclusively on Dash. You can listen to Mike’s show by either downloading the FREE Dash Radio App from ITunes or Google Play or listen on the web: www.dashradio.com.
This Saturday (September 9th), we are proud to present the Grand Opening of our BJIOS Tech Shop, powered by Open Format LA & Jesse Dean Designs. These 2 entities are one of the leading companies that are helping building the ‘Portable Turntablist’ scene. Now we have them at the Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound to help out all your portable turntable needs, like custom made modifications, repairs, & merchandise. It’s going to be a big event with some giveaways as well as food trucks by White Rabbit, Dream Donut Truck, A1 Scale Fish & Meat Tacos, & many more. Thank you to the event sponsors: Serato, 12 Inch Skinz, Innofader, Battle Ave, Odyessy, Cut And Paste Records, Jason Markkk, & many more. The event is from 1-8pm and it’s FREE!! ALL DJS/TURNTABLISTS/PORTABLE TURNTABLISTS WELCOME!
RSVP REQUIRED: bit.ly/TECHSHOP
This is a past recording of “Adventures In Stereo” radio show few months ago. The Funky President J.Rocc brings in the legendary Damien Marley. J.Rocc’s radio show is now every Friday from 8-10pm on 90.7FM KPFK in Los Angeles or listen on the internet: www.kpfk.org.
Join LA’s favorite Monday night weekly dance party, MOM LA (Motown On Mondays), to celebrate your Labor Day in style, ‘Upstairs’ on the rooftop of Ace DTLA! Soak in the sunshine & lovely view of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline with the MOM LA Players, plus special guests, serving up feel good music to feed your soul and keep you movin’ and groovin all day long.
For the thirsty & hungry party goers, the rooftop bar will have a fine selection of craft cocktails, draft beers, and gourmet bites for offer. All sun worshipers & water lovers are invited to enjoy the rooftop pool area. Grab your dancing shoes, tell a friend, and get ready for a funky good time!
featuring special guests
DJ RHETTMATIC (Beat Junkies / Cypress Junkies)
MUSIC MAN MILES (Funky Sole / Breakestra / The Root Down)
SEANO (Nu-Tropic / Church)
all vinyl poolside vibes w/ special guests
DJ DEBO (Funk Freaks)
SOUL MARCOSA (The Wyldewood Green)
ERVIN ARANA (The Root Down / Soul Simple)
along with The MOM LA Players
Spinning Motown, Soul, Funk, Disco, House, & World sounds. Originals, remixes, re-edits, and more!
“Upstairs” at Ace Hotel
933 S. Broadway St.
Downtown LA, CA 90015
2PM – 10PM
All Ages until 8pm / 21+ after 8pm
Free all day and night
Valet Parking: $7 for the first 3 hours (with validation)
SEE THIS EVENT ON FACEBOOK AT:
Saturday (September 9th) is the Grand Opening of the BJIOS Tech Shop by Open Format LA & Jesse Dean Designs. We officially open up for all you Portable Turntablists where you can get your portable turntables purchased, modified, & repaired at. In celebration of the grand opening, we will be having Open Turntables, Food Trucks, & many more.
If you are an intermediate to advance DJ and would like to sharpen up your skills, this is the course for you.
Upon enrollment, you will have access to five weekly classes which include; Intermediate + Advance Scratch Training, Beat Juggling, Creative Mixing and Serato.
Assessment Required Prior to Enrollment. The Premium Pack also includes a BJIOS Membership.
Sign Up: www.beatjunkiesound.com/signup
Registration Closes: Monday 9/4
20% Off All Merchandise and Annual Record Pool Membership!!
Use Coupon Code: LABORDAY at www.beatjunkies.com
Sale ends Monday 9/4 at Midnight!!!
This Sunday (September 3rd) during Labor Day Weekend, Rhettmatic will be spinning at The Goodness, all happening the Meadowlark’s Patio in Denver, CO. It’s a daytime event from 3-9pm with resident Dj Lowkey + special guests Dj Morsecode, Dj Equal, & Dj Mikey Fresh. It’s the last Goodness party of the Summer. If you are in the Denver area, this is the spot to be!
September 2nd & 3rd during the Labor Day Weekend, Dj Babu will be joining his group Dilated Peoples at the Dry Diggings Music Festival. Also on the bill is Dilated’s own Evidence, Anuhea, Spawnbreezie, & many more. If you want to get your camping on & watch musical acts, this is the place to be.
For tickets: https://drydiggingsfestival.com/buy-tickets
This Labor Day Weekend, our DJ school, the Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound will be CLOSED on Saturday, September 2nd & Monday, September 4th, but will be back in effect on Tuesday, September 5th! Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend everyone!!
Sign Up For September!
Enroll Online Now: www.beatjunkiesound.com/djingforkids
Registration Ends Sept 1st
This is a past recording of “Adventures In Stereo” radio show few months ago. The Funky President J.Rocc brings in the legendary Dj Quik. J.Rocc’s radio show is now every Friday from 8-10pm on 90.7FM KPFK in Los Angeles or listen on the internet: www.kpfk.org.
(Los Angeles, CA): September 1st & 2nd,Delicious Vinyl presents Dilla’s Donuts L.A. Pop Up Shop. Join us at Delicious Pizza Cafe (6601 Sunset Blvd.) for donuts, music and more.
Dilla’s Delights, the Detroit based doughnut shop launched by Herman Hayes, uncle of the late, great legendary hip-hop producer J Dilla, will be providing an assortment of organic and aptly named donuts for the first time in Los Angeles for your snacking pleasure; McNasty Macaroon, Blackboottom Beatstreet Blueberry, D-Lime Glaze, Rasul Wasi aka the Titus Conant Garden Glaze, Fantastic Fritters, Cakeboy Chocolate & more!
Along with the donuts, exclusive J Dilla merchandise and vinyl releases will be on sale. Delicious Vinyl recording artist Frank Nitt (Frank-N-Dank, Yancey Boys) will be hosting live DJs and MCs all weekend, including DJ Rhettmatic on Sept. 1 at 8pm. Soul Circle Radio will be webcasting live on Sept. 2 from12pm-2pm.
Friday (September 1st), the Funky President J.Rocc will be doing a special extended set at The Great Northern in San Francisco. He will be also joined by Bay Area staples, DJs Kingmost & Dj Umami. $10 Tix at Ticketfly. If you’re in the Bay Area, this is the spot to start off your Labor Day weekend!
The Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound is offering a special “Scratch Pack” for all you Scratch DJs! We’re offering classes for Intermediate Scratch Training & Advanced Scratch Training. These classes are for those that want to focus on maintaining & improving your scratching skills. Our rotating instructors are D-Styles, Babu, & Melo-D, 3 of the best Scratchers in the world!
If you’re interested in getting your skills up in Scratching, you can sign up/ask for information at email@example.com.
ASSESSMENT IS REQUIRED FOR INTERMEDIATE!
Tonight (August 29th), our very own Dj Melo-D will be heading our Intermediate Scratch Training class at the Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound from 6-7pm. For all you Scratch DJ’s that want to improve on your techniques, this is the class you want to take & learn from one of the best. Limited spaces available & DJ assessment scheduled is required to take classes. To sign up & more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound
5130 San Fernando Road
Glendale, CA, 91204
On this day, August 28th 2009, we lost the incredible DJ AM. In rememberance of our brother and all of his contributions to the art form and the DJ community, here is a tribute from our very own DJ Melo-D in honor of one of the greatest to ever do it on the 2 turntables. Rest In Peace Adam Michael Goldstein aka DJ AM.
Recorded at the Beat Junkie Institute of Sound in Glendale, Ca. #DJAM #Turntablism #BeatJunkies #BJIOS #DJ #Serato #PioneerDJ #Mixars #QSCAudio #FluidAudio #Shure
It is an honor to have the legendary LA Hip Hop Radio personality, Mike Nardone return to the airwaves on Beat Junkie Radio. He returns to his roots by debuting his new show called “Essentials” on Beat Junkie Radio. If you’re not familiar with Mike Nardone, he was the first person to start up a college Hip Hop radio show in 1987 at KXLU (Loyola Marymount) in Los Angeles called “We Came From Beyond” as well as having a show on the defunct 92.3 The Beat called “Da Joint” with King Emz. Mike is the West Coast counterpart of the legendary NY Radio Duo, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia. This particular episode, Mike is playing R&B soul from 1984-1986.
Essentials with Mike Nardone will be airing every 2nd Saturdays of each month from 4:30-6:30pm on Beat Junkie Radio, exclusively on Dash. You can listen to Mike’s show by either downloading the FREE Dash Radio App from ITunes or Google Play or listen on the web: www.dashradio.com.
▶ Soulection ~ The Sound of Tomorrow
▶ facebook.com/soulection | twitter.com/soulection
➜ Show #312 Track List: bit.ly/Show312TrackList
~ Watch The Story of Soulection Radio: youtu.be/UjTbCD3coBk
▶ Discover: @world-famous-beat-junkies @rhettmatic @mrchoc @joekay
J.Rocc, Mr. Choc, & Rhettmatic of the Beat Junkies visit Soulection Radio & catch up with Joe Kay as they discuss the opening of the Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound as well as getting down on the decks. >>> www.beatjunkiesound.com
** Soulection Radio Shows on Beats 1 are archived here 6 days after they air live on Saturday from 7pm-9pm Pacific**
Dj Rhettmatic of the World Famous Beat Junkies has been DJing for well over 20 years. A Dj champion, member of The Visionaries, Crown Royale, the Cypress Junkies and the Dirty Disco Squares, Rhett has been producing for just about the same period of time, creating backdrops for artists from Aloe Blacc to Ras Kass on well over 50 releases.
And now it comes time for the OG staple of the West Coast to step out with his own full-length instrumental project. May 19th, 2017 you will find out, if you didn’t already know, that Rhett Got Beats. At 18 tracks beatin’ down the block, with a bonus feature from Hieroglyphics’ Opio and Pep Love, this will fit nicely in your Street Corner Music collection.
In this video footage, Rhettmatic is in his home studio, which he calls it the “Sound-O-Matic Lab”, playing beats (old & new) from all the various machines that he uses to produce with: the classic E-MU SP1200 & the Akai MPC2000 Drum Machine Samplers as well as his current production tool, Propellerhead’s Reason Software. You can actually hear the progression of his production throughout the years with each music equipment, even with some beats that he forgot that he made.
“Rhett Got Beats” presented by Houseshoes on Street Corner Music available NOW!
Our very own Dj Babu & his son Nikobeats were featured on the NBC LA Channel 4‘s “Life Connected” series in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. They were interviewed during the official Grand Opening of the Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound in Glendale this past April. Thank you to Hetty Chang for the interview!
The collaboration of T-Dot’s Finest repping for One of Hip Hop Duos of All Time, Gangstarr!
Dj Starting From Scratch takes you on the ultimate musical journey showcasing the greatest songs/features of Guru & Dj Premier & our very own Record Pool Ambassador, the legendary Dj Grouch gives you the ultimate retrspect by cutting up some of Gangstarr’s greatest Breaks/Breakbeats. All this combined gives you THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST TRIBUTE TO THE GANGSTARR. that you’ll ever get your hands/ears on!!! You know it’s also legit when Preemo himself drops an official drop for the mix. Rest In Peace Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal aka The Guru!
Listening is one of the most crucial skills you can develop as a scratch dj. So why is it that people rarely, if ever, address it? After all, music is an art form for the ears. You’d be surprised how often you’re not really listening and just going through the motions. Yet, if you’re not truly listening to the musical elements you’re scratching over, you will not be nearly as effective as you would be otherwise.
What do you typically do during a conversation? Listen to what the other person is saying, then respond in a way that correlates well with what they just said? Or do you spend more time thinking about what you want to say while the other person is talking, potentially missing key details that they’re trying to convey to you? Often times we do the latter. You can imagine how much potential trouble this can cause. Especially if the topic at hand is very important to the other person involved. By not listening properly and responding appropriately, you’re likely to upset or even offend the other person.
When we scratch, we tend to be really caught up in everything we know. From all the scratch techniques we have under our belt, to the patterns we have come to depend on. However, a lot of those things may not be effective for the musical situation you’re in. Remember, scratching is not about showing off everything you know within a minute’s time. It’s about expressing yourself in a way that makes sense for the music you’ve chosen to be a part of.
Going back to the previous example of the conversation, you wouldn’t blurt out every word in your vocabulary just for the sake of doing so would you? So why should you be compelled to do what’s basically the equivalent when scratching? This is why many of your listeners will not be impressed or even remotely enjoy what you’re doing. It’s because your communication style has become ineffective due to lack of listening.
A Solid Approach
Let’s say you’re scratching over a typical beat that you would scratch to. You may think you’ve really been listening before, but I challenge you to actually stop scratching and just listen to the beat. Think about what kinds of techniques and patterns would really sound good over it. Take note of how the beat progresses. Is it steady throughout? Does it build up over time or does it mellow out? Is there a melody or is it just a simple drum beat? If it does have a melody, is there a way you can match what the melody is doing rhythmically? These are all just a sample of many questions you can ask yourself to determine what kind of flow will be best suited for the music.
Don’t get discouraged about your scratching if you have established patterns you’d like to use that don’t seem to work. This is actually a good thing because often times, simply making minor adjustments in rhythm and pitch can make the difference. Do you need to increase or lower the speed or pitch? Do you need to use less or more notes? Take time to think these kinds of things through more often and it will start to become second nature. The best part is making these kinds of adjustments will actually increase your scratch vocabulary and give you more options for other situations you come across.
You may even be making appropriate choices already, but it’s easy to get lost along the way. You could choose a series of patterns that all seem to make sense for the part of the music you started to do them, but along the way the music pulled a 180 and you were so caught up in what you were already doing, that you missed the change. However, the audience won’t miss it because it’s the overall music that makes more sense to them. That’s why it’s crucial that you listen constantly and listen well so that you can avoid sounding like you don’t fit in.
Silence as a Reset Button
In the earlier stages of your listening skills development, it will often times be easier to simply take many moments of silence in your scratching, so that you can better assess what’s happening with the music and establish consistent, quality musical choices. As time goes on you will instinctively know what works well and what doesn’t, but there will always be new listening challenges ahead so don’t think it’ll be okay to give your ears a rest. Keep them active!
On April 15th 2017 in Los Angeles, CA, we had the honor of having our grand opening of The Beat Junkies Institute Of Sound. Located in Glendale, California, we offer fundamental and specialized DJ courses, workshops, private instruction, and an opportunity to join our community and learn the art form of DJ’ing “Beat Junkie Style” on state of the art equipment, in an intimate & professional environment. Whether you are new to DJ’ing or a seasoned vet, the Beat Junkie Institute of Sound has a curriculum & facility suited for everyone interested in learning the craft and it’s history.
Its was a packed house, with tons of Hip Hop enthusiasts, live performances, live DJ scratch sessions, workshops and plenty more things going on, with DJ sets with Peanut Butter Wolf, Breakbeat Lou, Mad Skillz, 14KT, Monalisa, Dj Manwell, Dj Flip Flop, Dj IQ, Dj Prolifix, Dj Eri, Nikobeats & of course The Beat Junkies. Video provided by Vincent “Wackoe’ Enriquez of wackoefilms.com, courtesy of undergroundhiphopblog.com
For more info on how to book training classes starting May 1st, please visit beatjunkiesound.com
BONUS VIDEO #1: Michael Rapaport x Beat Junkies
Video by @underkut www.openformat.la
BONUS VIDEO #2: The Beat Junkies visit Big Boy’s Neighborhood:
Do you remember the first time you learned to ride a bike? Like most of us this was likely a very frustrating experience. Especially at the point when you fell on the pavement and felt the literal pain of your mistake. While I’m unaware of the exact thought going through your mind at that very moment, it’s pretty safe to assume it was negative.
If you ultimately succeeded at riding your bike without falling again, it is also likely that positive thought was at the forefront of your success. That positive message may have come from a parent, guardian or friend of some sort, but what’s ultimately important is that it was there.
Had you not replaced your negative feelings of pain and defeat you may have never taken that next step to get back on your bike and ride again. Learning to ride a bike is not usually a two step process though. It usually takes several attempts and possible falls before failure gives way to success.
After Every Mistake, There’s Another Waiting In The Wings
Scratching is no different and thus you will have many upsets coming at you continually through the process of scratch improvement. Unlike when you learned to ride a bike, you won’t always have someone there to pick your ego off the floor and dust it off. You have to become self sufficient.
Even if you have a high quality scratch teacher that you regularly train with, they can’t always be there with you every step of the way. A truly good teacher will give you the tools to make regular leaps in progression without their constant presence. This leads to getting much bigger results during practice than you would otherwise.
Every Time Counts
Some common thoughts that typically occur during frustrating moments of scratch practice usually start off with, “I can’t”. The reality is your brain will believe whatever you tell it, especially if you habitually do so. The reverse is also true. If you regularly feed your brain with positive thought, it’ll believe that too.
If you’re accustomed to thinking in a negative manner when faced with challenges in your scratching, it may prove too difficult to avoid it. What I’m proposing is not to avoid it, but rather to face negative thought head on.
When dealing with negative thoughts, the goal is to replace those thoughts with its opposite. For example, “I can’t” becomes “I will”. Retraining your brain in this manner is a long term process and must be done each and every time negativity rears its ugly head.
Negative Thought Vs. Criticism
Although negative thought is indeed a form of criticism. It is a detrimental form of criticism. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon criticism or replace every form of criticism with something else. Criticism when done right is very constructive and fuels progress.
In fact constructive criticism is just another link in the chain of positive thought. Your goal is not to lie to yourself in order to feel good about your struggles. It is to acknowledge what needs improvement in your scratching and to have a strong sense of faith that you will overcome whatever problems you encounter.
Strength In Numbers
While regularly changing negative streams of thought to positives ones should be something you’re able to do on your own, we don’t live in a vacuum. Having friends, associates or a high quality scratch mentor who successfully does the same thing is very helpful.
Often times simply surrounding yourself with these types of people can greatly improve your outlook on things. Not to mention they can offer you their own take on how to stay positive that you might not have considered. Just like seeking out positive thoughts, you must also seek out positive people. If you do this, negativity doesn’t stand a chance.
Please join us as we commemorate our 25th anniversary & celebrate the opening of our very own DJ School & Training Facility the Beat Junkie Institute Of Sound!
Come thru for a tour and learn more about our school and our upcoming semester starting in May!
While your at it, enjoy a day of DJ sets, mini workshops, open turntable sessions, portable turntable sessions, record vendors, raffles & giveaways, as well as food & drink provided by Locol and White Rabbit Truck.
Admission is free + Kid Friendly
DATE AND TIME
Sat, April 15, 2017
1:00 PM – 7:00 PM PDT
5130 San Fernando Road
Glendale, CA 91204
Have you ever set out to scratch for a few hours and ended your session much sooner than planned? Mentally, it seemed you were there. You had lots of scratches to work on and many ideas were flowing, yet physically you couldn’t persevere.
You were likely pretty disappointed because your mind didn’t shut off, but your body did. What’s worse is you were probably unaware of the true reason behind your apparent lack of stamina. Since you were not aware of the real cause, you likely went back with the “Try, try again” attitude, expecting that if you forced yourself to regularly practice long hours you’d eventually be able to endure it.
Unfortunately this is the wrong approach and will only lead to either causing unnecessary exhaustion or cutting down on your scratch practice time. There are many reasons why one’s endurance may suffer, but the key reason behind such an issue is excess tension throughout your body.
The Tension Antidote
Tension can be equated to stress. When we are overly stressed we tense up. Our neck gets stiff. Our shoulders tighten. Our back gets sore. These are all symptoms of stress and shouldn’t be neglected.
When we seek to combat stress we do so through activities of relaxation. We might take a nap, drink a cup of warm tea or meditate. Regardless of what you may choose to do when faced with lots of stress, we all have the same objective. We want to get relief.
Tension is no different. It can also be dealt with through relaxation. However, if you’re in the midst of a scratch session, you’re not going to just stop the moment you feel overly tense and take a nap. Thus you must learn subtle ways of relaxing that tension when scratching so you may continue for as long as needed.
The First Step Is Awareness
Before you can remove unnecessary tension, you must become aware of it. Since this is not something that typically comes naturally, I will take you through a quick exercise. Stand as you normally would when you are scratching. Squeeze your right shoulder muscle and hold it for 2 to 3 seconds. Notice the feeling of tension this gives you. Also take note of other areas that feel tense when you do this, as your shoulder will not be the only area affected. Next, completely relax and take note of how that feels as well. Now repeat this exercise with all other muscle groups.
When you are finished familiarizing yourself with the presence of tension throughout your body, you now have a working model to go by the next time you scratch. In fact I recommend that, time permitting, you go to your set up after completing the exercise and scratch.
Focus while scratching on how your body feels. Are you experiencing any feelings similar to the ones felt during the tension portion of the exercise? If so don’t worry about fixing it yet. Just be very aware of it and know that you are much closer to increasing your stamina than you were moments ago.
The Art Of Letting Go
Now you are ready to start releasing tension as it crops up. Since you are more aware of how unnecessary tension feels your task is easier. Unfortunately, tension can be a relentless pest and so you must be extremely vigilant of its presence.
Think back to the tension exercise at the moment you released the tension. You are shooting for a similar feeling when releasing tension while scratching. Since you’re not standing still as you should’ve been during the exercise, you might be required to adjust your body a little bit. This could mean lifting your chin up if your neck is craning too far forward, dropping your shoulder if it is positioned upwards towards your ear, having a wider stance if your feet are too close together, etc.
The Jellyfish Syndrome
You must be warned that it is possible to over relax. While it is true that too much tension can cause discomfort and weaken endurance, too little tension can be just as detrimental. When you are too relaxed it becomes difficult to execute much of anything. In a case like that, all the stamina in the world is going to have little value because you will just sound sloppy and non expressive.
Too Little, Too Late
While it is good to be aware of and fix issues of excessive tension, it does not always equal out to increased stamina. Tension will often creep into our system without us realizing it at the moment it happens. By the time you become aware and diffuse it, you’re body has already grown more weary than it would have if you had addressed the problem when it began.
This doesn’t mean that you are doomed to never endure extended scratch sessions. It simply means you’ll have to work on your relaxation technique long term, continually increasing your awareness while scratching all the while. The best news of all is that eventually this will become second nature. This is great because once the process is natural you won’t have to cloud your thoughts with issues of tension and can instead focus on having fun when you scratch and expressing yourself.
Composition isn't something that gets discussed much in the scratch community. However, without it music lacks structure and without structure music is essentially just a bunch of noise. This holds true when any instrumentalist solos as well. A well composed solo is a great solo. Likewise, if there is little to no thoughtful composition in a scratch solo it will not be enjoyable to listen to.
Composition tends to be thought of as a written process, yet in scratching writing out your solos is very rare. However, just because the bulk of scratch solos that exist are improvised does not mean that they can't be well composed. If that were the case, all the greats of scratching would sound thoughtless and unconvincing, thus there'd be no great scratch dj's.
Know Your Audience
Whether your audience is comprised of other turntablists or people that have little to no connection with turntablism, one thing bonds them together. If your solos lack structure, they will notice and subsequently be turned off. They may not be able to put what they dislike into words, but they will naturally lack enjoyment from what you're doing.
Improvisation Love it or Love it
Let's face it, if you don't enjoy improvising you better learn to or switch instruments because the backbone of scratching is and will likely always be improvisation. So how do you give your solos a feeling of quality composition if everything you're doing is on the spot? Well there are many ways, but one simple yet effective way that you can implement immediately is repetition.
Repetition Gives a Feeling of Structure
If all of your solos are just one long string of different scratches where repetition comes few and far between the audience never has a chance to feel anchored to what you're doing. It will fly right over their heads. If something sounds good it should be repeated multiple times. Get the most juice you can out of it until it's dry. That's why pop songs are so popular because they always have a hook. Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to be as maniacally repetitive as a pop song, but you need to get more mileage out of the scratch patterns you know so the audience has a chance to soak them in and really enjoy them.
This is also important when considering that most scratch beats are in a simple, repetitive 4/4 format with no hooks whatsoever. This makes the responsibility of providing a hook like feeling fall to you as the soloist. If you don't do this, audiences that are used to receiving the feeling hooks give off in other genres will be lost and naturally disinterested.
Timing Goes Hand in Hand with Repetition
Don't make the mistake of assuming that simply repeating a combo multiple times at any moment is enough. Timing is still a crucial part of utilizing repetition. Going back to hooks, listen to any major pop tune and you'll notice the hooks are always well timed. This isn't an accident. The goal is to maximize the effectiveness of the hook, so it will often times come after a song has built up a lot of tension and is giving a feeling of beginning to climax.
What this means for you as a scratch soloist is you'll have to feel things out. If you're scratching over a simple 4/4 beat you will be completely steering the ship. If the beat is a little more complex and actually has hooks of its own, you can use those hooks as cues for your own repetition. Either way you'll have to develop a good sense of timing and that comes mostly from experience.
Never Go Too Long Without Repeating Yourself
A good way to get your feet wet with this concept is to simply not allow yourself to go more than 30 seconds at a time without launching into a string of combo repetition. As you continue to do this, you'll soon get a feel for what sounds and feels right as far as when to launch into repetition, how many times to repeat a combo as well as how often. Nothing is a better teacher than experience, so don't wait to transform your scratch solos into breathtaking feats and get started today!
“Watch The Sound” is back! In this episode the one & only DJ Prolifix stops by BJIOS and shows you why he’s the 2016 USA IDA Scratch Champion. Check him out at @djprolifix
For all the latest 7″ scratch vinyl and portable turntable mods. Hit up https://openformat.la/
Peep our digital record pool and all things Beat Junkies at www.beatjunkies.com
Beat Junkie Institute of Sound coming in Spring 2017 for more info go to www.beatjunkiesound.com.
The collaboration of T-Dot’s Finest repping for the Greatest Of All Time, The Notorious B.I.G.
Dj Starting From Scratch takes you on the ultimate musical journey showcasing the greatest songs/features of Biggie & our very own Record Pool Ambassador, the legendary Dj Grouch gives you the ultimate retrspect by cutting up some of Biggie’s greatest Breaks/Breakbeats. All this combined gives you THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST TRIBUTE TO THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. that you’ll ever get your hands/ears on!!! This is also our final send off to the G.O.A.T.! Kick back, relax, & enjoy this Final Tribute to The Notorious B.I.G.
Today (March 9th) marks the 20th Anniversary passing of Brooklyn’s own The Notorious B.I.G.
Many people will be doing tribute mixes & remixes for one of the greatest rappers of all time. We are lucky to have our good friend, the mixtape king & album producer, Dj J.Period send us some of his special remixes for our record pool.
Make sure to go to www.beatjunkies.com & sign up for our record pool to get these exclusive J.Period remixes as well as edits from Dj Cyberkid, & of course The Beat Junkies.
1. Another/Dreamin [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
2. Benjamins/Things You Do [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
3. Big Poppa / Xxplosive [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
4. Carmina Hates Victory [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
5. Flava in Ya Ear/PSA [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
6. Goin Back to Cali (3 Strikes) [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
7. Hypnotize/Coldcut [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
8. Spread Love (Juicy) [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
9. In the Limelight (Juicy) [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
10. Long Kiss Menace [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
11. N***az Bleed/Compton’s Most [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
12. In The System feat. Jay Electronica [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Exclusive)
13. Three More Chances [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
14. One More Chance in the Club [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Clean)
15. Queen B Inna Dancehall [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
16. Sky’s The Limit [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
17. You Be Thinkin (8 Bar Intro) [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
18. Youngs Compton Gs [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty)
19. Put Your Notorious Hands [J.PERIOD MARCH 9 REMIX] (Dirty
When you first started to scratch it is pretty safe to assume that you intended to have fun. Most likely you did and continued to enjoy yourself or you probably wouldn't be reading this. Likewise, it's also pretty safe to assume that you don't always have fun when you scratch. Unfortunately there are no guarantees that scratching will always be fun for you. However, you can greatly increase the odds of having fun if you focus on the right things when scratching.
Well Intended Focus
If you're even the least bit serious about scratching than you have goals. Whether your goals are big or small is irrelevant for the purpose of this article. Goals are all about expectations. Every goal has a natural expectation built into it that it will be achieved. That expectation may not always be backed by confidence, but the expectation is still there.
Unfortunately, not every goal we set for ourselves is easily achieved and the process of achievement in scratching can be extremely tough on your spirits. Many mistakes and setbacks will inevitably take place and if you're not careful those setbacks can be a huge source of frustration. Having fun in the face of frustration is not easily done either. Yet it is vital that you continue to enjoy what you do or you will not be able to tough it out through all the obstacles that you'll encounter.
Shifting Your Focus
Since having fun is clearly important, you need to keep your mind on the things you associate with feeling good. We've all experienced some form of victory in our life so we know how good it feels to achieve a goal. Thus, achieving your goals in scratching will also feel good so you must stay focused on those feelings. Especially during your most challenging times you need to think about how good it will feel to break past your frustrations and be at the level you're shooting for.
Being more focused on the joy of achievement throughout your experiences in scratching will actually make the challenges you face more fun. This is because you have now reframed your problems as mere bumps in the road to things you'll inevitably achieve. Once you consistently think like this no problem will seem to truly stand in your way.
Thinking Beyond Goals
Let's also realize that the reason we have goals at all in scratching is so we can express ourselves freely. While it is obvious that once you have mastered scratching you will be able to express essentially anything you want at any moment, it is not as obvious that you still have power to express yourself with scratching at any skill level. Thus, it's important to recognize and take comfort in this fact. This will enable you to enjoy yourself even more along your journey to full on self actualization because a part of what you ultimately want is with you all along.
Focusing on Having Fun Creates Fun
The coolest thing about fun is simply thinking about having fun puts you in a space where fun is possible. If your primary intention is to have fun, it is very likely that you will. Bottom line, don't let tough times slow you down. Keep looking for good times and they'll be yours!
Our big brother The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff recently collaborated with some of your favorite artist and producers to create an album at his house in 7 days!
When Jazzy Jeff hit’s your line, you make sure to answer the call. This was not your ordinary studio session where the artist has a few months to create and record and release. In the intro video, you hear Jazzy Jeff explaining that they are going to write, produce, record, mix and release a couple days after the completion of the project. R&B artist Glenn Lewis is the albums lead vocalist and will add his flavor to each track!
Jazzy Jeff said that some of the music that is out these days doesn’t give you goosebumps when you hear the track, so the idea of this project is to chase those goosebumps.
Chasing Goosebumps is available now and ready for you to listen and feel those goosebumps.
Progression is something that we all thrive off of and enjoy. It's often seen as a very positive thing as it should be, but there is a negative side to progression that is quite common. There are ways to cope well with the negativity that comes along with progression, but before we discuss that we need to understand how progression works. What you must realize is that progression in scratching tends to happen in incremental steps. It often takes many twists and turns before something comes out just right, so when a moment of clarity hits you and it all comes together that is actually the result of many smaller steps of progression that lead to that experience.
It really boils down to replacing inaccuracies with correct technique. Often times there are multiple things that are going wrong within any given thing you're working on. Not only do you have to correct these things, but you need to further correct the so called correct way of doing things as you're likely to still be somewhat off from what is truly accurate. This means that you'll be spending much more time doing things incorrectly than otherwise. This leads to developing bad habits that you'll be working regularly to break and replace with good habits (accurate technique).
Unfortunately this is where progression is mixed with regression which is the unfortunate side of progression. It's very similar to the expression, "Old habits die hard." Considering all of this, it's even more devastating to realize that we're mostly unconscious of letting our old habits get the best of us despite learning good habits to replace them with. When this happens it's typical to get upset and feel like all your hard work wasn't worth it. It's only natural to feel puzzled about not being able to do something that we just did moments before.
While there is no miracle cure for this issue there are things that can be done. One of the most important things you can do is always be prepared to write about your major moments of progress as they happen. Yes that's right. Actually stop what you're doing and write down exactly what took place. While it would seem better to keep attempting to do the same thing over and over again after it happened, it can cause too many distractions as your old habits can creep in, adding confusion to what actually worked in the first place. Writing things out brings clarity in your scratching that otherwise wouldn't be there and gives you something to focus on so you can be much more aware of what to do and what not to do.
The Big Picture Gets Even Bigger
The beauty of this strategy beyond making it easier to cope with regression is it actually helps to speed up your overall progression. This is because, once accustomed to this approach, you will be spending far less time getting stuck on bad habits that sabotage your progress and far more time on what does work. This is even truer over longer periods of time. Think of it like a high interest savings account where large deposits are made regularly instead of withdrawals, allowing the interest to yield much higher amounts of money for you as years go by.
A Time and a Place
Sometimes progression will hit you at times where stopping to write about it won't be ideal or even appropriate. Such situations would be jam sessions or live performances. Make sure to fully realize the difference between scratch practice and performance. Understand that what I have laid out for you in this article is a practice strategy. Jamming is a time to let all your hard work shine for you and express yourself to the best of your abilities without having to worry about further improvement. Don't worry if anything passes you by during those times. As long as you are on top of things during practice you'll get more than enough progression out of yourself.
You can always reflect afterwards about your performance and what allowed you to excel. I strongly recommend recording your scratch jams whenever possible. You may not always be able to recall what you'd like to since there can be so much to think about during a performance situation. Watching and listening back to what you did can be an excellent way to jog your memory as well as capture the joy of your performance.
What’s Good family, “Watch The Sound” is back! In this episode we feature the 4 X IDA World Champion, DJ IQ of the Handroids & Scratch Function LA. Check him out @djiqhandroidz.
Peep our digital record pool and all things Beat Junkies at www.beatjunkies.com
Beat Junkie Institute of Sound coming in Spring 2017 for more info go to www.beatjunkiesound.com
In honor of the 17th Year Anniversary of the legendary Big Pun‘s passing, Dj/Remix Editor Dj Cyberkid did a special 2017 tribute of the late great MC. A lot of the songs in the mix are Cyberkid’s own special edits & can be found on our Beat Junkies Record Pool. Sign up & get them at www.beatjunkies.com
Dj Nu-Mark is back with his dope Zodiac Tracks Mix, and for this star sign he drops an extra lengthy one for all the amazing artist that are Aquarius!
In the words of Dj Nu-Mark “They put 100% feel into their work and you can hear it in their music.”
Download and listen to the Aquarius mix below on Dj Nu-Mark’s Soundcloud.
Watch as Dj Nu-Mark live needle drop technique on this mix as well! To view the video of this mix on Dj Nu-Mark’s site follow this link!
5 Artists You Need To Know
2. Kevin Abstract
3. Yung Simmie
4. Kate Tempest
We've all been through it. You're looking forward all day to scratching. The day creeps along and by the time you're home and ready, you just want to sit down, watch tv and relax. You think, "I'll just chill for a bit, then I'll get on the cut." Yet before you know it, thirty minutes turns into an hour, an hour turns into two and now all you want to do is sleep. Or at the very least not get up. You think, "I'll just scratch tomorrow." No big deal right? Right! If this was only just an occasional occurrence, but if you look back on all the times this has happened, you're probably staring right down the barrel of a ton of missed scratch progression and fun.
Guilt is Not Enough
You almost feel guilty knowing how much time you've actually cheated yourself out of. It's frustrating, but you can't get that time back so what do you do? Perhaps resolve to breaking out of the trap of time wasting. Yet there's still a part of you that doesn't really believe you can change so radically. Guilt will only take you so far. While guilt can be a motivator, a lot of times it only deflates us. So we avoid it in order to not feel bad about ourselves instead of actually fixing the problem. It's unfortunate because approaching the issue like this only sets you up to repeat this cycle of failure.
Why Approach Life With an All or Nothing Mentality?
That question might sound funny considering this article seems very much like exactly that. Let me assure you it's not the case. There is a time and a place for everything that brings you joy in life provided it doesn't hurt you or anyone else. What you really have to assess is, are the activities you regularly engage in actually all that enjoyable. Sadly, many times this is not the case. You're simply just going through the motions of life.
Going back to television as an example, if something you're watching is adding fuel to the fire and filling you full of inspiration to scratch, than that should be considered a wise investment of your time (provided you act on that inspiration of course). On the other hand, if what you're watching is just idle chatter and not inspiring you to do anything more than just sink further into the couch, then you should probably get up immediately and go accomplish something more worthy of your time.
Start Small or You Won't Start at All
The most common mistake people make about achievement is that a lot has to be accomplished in a short period of time and if you don't get a ton of things accomplished in one day, somehow you've failed yourself. With that type of thinking it's no wonder so many people put things off so regularly. The truth is that type of thinking is very small. Most likely all those big things that you feel the need to get done quickly are very minor when put up against the big picture.
Focus on the Big Picture!
You have to think about what you ultimately want to achieve from scratching. From how you'll sound, how you'll be perceived, what impact you'll make, whether you want a professional career, what you'll get out of that career, etc. Most importantly, you have to really take time to imagine and get close with how achieving all those things will really make you feel. Now ask yourself, what do you need to do to make your scratch goals a reality? Now ask yourself, what can I do right now at this very moment to get me closer to my goals? Believe it or not that answer does not have to be something equally big. How could it if you truly created a large scale dreamscape for yourself?
The fact of life we all know too well is nothing is achieved overnight. However, taking steps in the right direction consistently will get you there, even if those steps are baby sized. So take bigger steps when you can, but always take forward steps of any size and I promise you won't regret it.
448 S. Main Street Los Angeles, CA
8pm | Get Tickets Here | 18+
$10 Advance | $15 at Door
A short Live performance by:
“Watch The Sound” is back! This time, straight outta Texas we have the one & only DJ Dopez! Make sure to check him out @dopez1200
Filmed & edited by @swiftstyle
Co-produced by @underkut www.openformat.la
Peep our digital record pool and all things Beat Junkies at www.beatjunkies.com
Beat Junkie Institute of Sound coming in Spring 2017 for more info go to www.beatjunkiesound.com
Last summer the Beat Junkies were honored with an invitation to DJ Jazzy Jeff’s 2nd annual Playlist Retreat – a private invitational hosted by the Magnificent himself at his home in Deleware. Man. As you can imagine it was a beyond amazing week of collaboration and inspiration, all in the company of wonderful, talented people. One of the many highlights at Jeff’s retreat were the exclusive first looks at the newest DJ hardware from the music industry’s leading companies, which is where Roland officially introduced the new DJ 808 controller.
I’ve been DJ’ing since 1988 and have always played on turntables throughout my enitre career. That being said, I have for years been reluctant to step outside of my comfort zone where digital technology is concerned. I’ve never played a set on CDJs nor been the least bit interested in making an attempt to perform on anything other than turntables, if for no better reason than sticking to what I know. However, thanks to the good folks at Roland, the Beat Junkies were gifted the new DJ 808 controller and were asked to choreograph a performance showcase on their behalf. As an artist, the last position you ever want to be in is unprepared for a live performance, so it was imperative that I learn the DJ 808 and had a thorough understanding of at least the very basic functions, for starters… Essentially this meant I would need to reprogram myself as a DJ in a few ways, probably the most significant of which was to acquire a feel for 2 jog wheels that do not move (as opposed to a motorized turntable). As with any new instrument, the DJ 808 can be intimidating at first glance – 4 channels, multiple effects, faders and buttons everywhere, a drum machine sequencer that syncs with your tracks.. It’s certainly a lot to make sense of all at once. However, after dedicating a few days of practice I was able to get comfortable with the general functions and overall feel of the unit, and within less than a week I was able to exercise all of my turntable techniques on the DJ 808 and felt confident I could compose a “Beat Junkie Style” set that would include both creative mixing and scratching.
I have since had a few opportunities to showcase the Roland DJ 808 at various events, and other than “how do you like it?”, the question I get asked the most is about digital latency. To be completely transparent, there is a very slight adjustment that we as DJs need to make where hand control is concerned. Apart from that, the DJ 808 responds very well and is extremely accurate in translating DJ techniques. In fact, to all DJs worldwide, I can say with 100% certainty that the new DJ-808 is without a doubt worth consideration for everyone. Roland has created something special and is truly an organization that respects and appreciates the art of DJ’ing. Special thanks once again to DJ Descry and the entire team at Roland for continually creating new ways for us to play and make music. Let’s all keep an open mind where technology is concerned and keep pushing the art.
by DJ Melo-D
Be on the lookout for the Beat Junkie Institute of Sound – a specialized DJ school and training facility located in Los Angeles brought to you by the Beat Junkie Crew.. Grand Opening Spring 2017!
For more info: www.beatjunkiesound.com
Once again we are back with another installment of “Watch The Sound”. This time we are blessed with some FUNKY cuts by DJ, producer & Musician, the homie, DJ Day. Make sure to check him out at www.djday.net | Filmed by @underkut | www.openformat.la
Peep our digital record pool and all things Beat Junkies at www.beatjunkies.com
Beat Junkie Institute of Sound coming in Spring 2017 for more info go to www.beatjunkiesound.com
If you're going through a low moment right now or have in the past, I feel for you because we all do. I've been through many myself throughout all my years as a turntablist. These kinds of feelings are tough to navigate through and not naturally easy to break out of. However, there are many ways to break the chains of procrastination towards your scratch goals. One such way has very little to do with you personally and very much to do with other people or things.
The answer may seem obvious, but too often we get so caught up in ourselves and what we want to achieve, that we forget to look outside ourselves for inspiration. Sometimes you have to put scratching aside and seek some clarity. Take a moment to reflect on your life and think about all the things that have inspired you to take action. Try not to limit your thinking while doing so. Sources of inspiration come in all shapes and sizes, from watching a master musician live to listening to an amazing, heartfelt speech to taking a scenic tour of a beautiful city and so much more.
Blatantly Indulging in Inspiration
Once you're clear on what outside sources inspire you most, it's time to indulge in them. Forget about forcing yourself to scratch or just sitting around feeling like a stick in the mud. You can give yourself full permission to leave it all behind for now and get completely lost in inspiration.
Think of it Like a Fuel Station
When you're firing on all four cylinders, it's inevitable that you're going to run out of gas eventually. Yet you can't allow yourself to stay on empty or you'll never get what you ultimately want out of scratching. You need to refuel and stay on top of your scratching regularly. Regularly does not mean constantly though. It means finding a balance between your art form and the other things that make life enjoyable to you.
Adding a New Dimension to Your Cuts
A great side benefit to deriving inspiration from other sources beyond yourself is it can get you to think of life differently and how you perceive things. These experiences help shape who you are and who you are will always be reflected in your scratch style.
For example, going on a bold and adventurous hike could lead you to make bolder and more adventurous choices when you scratch. Another experience that can help shape your art might be checking out some abstract paintings. Perhaps your scratching was too straightforward and lacking creativity, but now the paintings you saw have opened your mind to a more exotic style of scratching that really captures your imagination.
Multiple Sources of Inspiration Are Necessary
Be careful not to get too dependent on any one source of inspiration. Doing so could lead to that source becoming watered down and ineffective for you in providing motivation. When you keep a variety of inspirational sources at your fingertips, you'll find that certain things inspire you more at certain times than others. This is great because it means you'll have your bases covered at all times.
You Are Not a Robot
You can't expect to be at peak motivation all the time. Nor can you allow yourself to remain unmotivated regardless of what lead you to feel that way. Sometimes no matter how much you surround yourself with inspiration it just won't be enough.
It will be necessary at times to simply force yourself to take action. This doesn't mean that all that time trying to get motivated was wasted though. The cool thing is once you get going, that inspiration will pour out into your scratching whether you realize it or not. As mentioned earlier, what you surround yourself with becomes a part of who you are and who you are is everything when it comes to expressing yourself with scratching.
Good phrasing in scratching is a lot like writing a good sentence. If done well it will contain all the necessary punctuation to get your point across. If you have a lot to say in one sentence, it helps to break things up by adding commas (or even parenthesis). Sometimes you may need to blatantly pause… for effect. All of these elements create a conversational tone to what you are writing.
If you choose to ignore punctuation in your phrasing, at best you are most likely irritating the listener. It is very typical for a lot of scratch dj's to do this. They go and go, yet rarely stop to see if the listener is still paying attention. When that happens the listener will usually tune out due to overwhelm. Fortunately enough for us, this issue can be remedied.
Are Your Ears On Break?
It may seem obvious that there are countless ways to use silence in scratching. In all honesty though, there are a lot of ways that I was unaware of. One of the key ways is to become a better listener when scratching. Even in a conversation, if you’re the dominant speaker, it helps to give the person you’re speaking to the chance to acknowledge what you’re saying. This can come in the form of words like: okay, yes, right I see.
When this concept is used in a scratch solo, the other person becomes the beat you are scratching over. If you never pause to hear the beat, it can be difficult to know if your scratching is really meshing well. In fact, if you really aren’t paying attention you can really start to clash rhythmically. This is similar to when someone is ready to respond to what you’ve said and they do, but you don’t notice because you’re still talking. It can be a total train wreck!
Picking Up The Pieces
Clearly, unless you enjoy embarrassing moments, avoiding the above scenario is desirable. So let’s define your goal. You want to captivate people with your scratching and give them an enjoyable and memorable experience. If they really enjoy what you do, they’ll likely be back for more.
Pausing regularly, even for brief moments, is a great way to keep track of where you are in the beat and stay in sync with the rhythm. When this happens you will flow more smoothly. You’ll be more at one with the beat and the listener WILL notice. Even if they aren’t really into scratching, you have a better chance of capturing their interest. If they enjoy the beat you’re scratching over, they’ll likely be more into you, simply because you’re blending in with the beat more successfully.
A Strong Accent
There are defining moments in a beat that you should definitely pay attention to. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by taking advantage of this. One such typical way is to pause at the end of a loud snare drum. If one particular snare drum is louder(more dynamic) than the rest, try pausing as soon as it ends. This will naturally bring out more strength in that part of the beat and your solo.
I get an image of a drumhead being punctured or a speaker popping. It’s also similar to adding multiple exclamation points to your sentence!!! Be wary not to overuse this idea as it can become too predictable, but when used in moderation it can really catch your listener off guard. As we all know, being too predictable equals boredom. The opposite is also true. When no one knows what to expect it makes for VERY interesting scratching.
No Need For Crutches
So as you can see, boredom is not a friend of ours. We need to take extra caution to make sure that we’re not over dependent on silence in our scratch solos. The saying, “all good things in moderation, including moderation”, applies here.
There are times when silence can actually be detrimental to what you’re trying to express. You may have a whirlwind of fast, crazy emotion to unload on the listener. If you were to use silence throughout that part of your solo, much of the impact would be lost. By waiting to add silence after you’ve expressed those emotions, you not only get the full idea out properly but you add extra impact by ending in an abrupt manner.
The Balancing Act
Ultimately we want to control silence. Not let it control us. You do this by developing a great sense of when to use it and how much of it to use. Experimentation during scratch practice is a great way to further improve upon this skill. I highly recommend recording and reviewing your scratching to hear if you are violating or emulating the principles laid out in this article.
It may be painful at times to hear mistakes you are making. However, awareness of one’s faults is extremely vital to effectively improving as a scratch dj. You may not even catch all of your mistakes. If you are new to this concept it can be tough to perceive what is right or wrong. That is okay. Going through the process of thinking things through on your own, will do wonders for your awareness. Thus, you’ll find that you’re increased awareness will lead to improvement in many other areas of your scratching.
It’s My Party & I’ll Cry If I Want To
3 Short Stories Of Nightlife Nightmares (Hollywood Edition)
1. The Real Slim Shady : So a few years ago, my girlfriend at the time and I decided we wanted to throw an event in WeHo for our LGBT friends in a venue that was pretty much the perfect fit and vibe for what we were looking for in the party we wanted to produce. At this time pretty much all of the events we were attached to or producing were because of our networks, following and mailing list. You wouldn’t really catch us at something that was wack and didn’t have a diverse crowd of people dancing and having a good time. I can’t quite remember how we met with this guy who was advertising the space but we decided to roll the dice and check it out. Most new venues in LA don’t last long, I’d say a 3-5 year shelf life if they’re lucky, Hollywood/WeHo being even more difficult to maintain. So we go and meet up with this guy, he seems legit. Introduces us to the security, bar manager, bartenders, and proceeds to give us a complete walkthrough of every nook and cranny of the place. We were asking the right questions to assess the situation while given the tour and he seemed to answer everything with the typical responses and expectations. Now at this time, we already had 1 or 2 other events going on in the following month or so, the majority of our funds were in the hands of others for deposits, almost like escrow on a house. So we were pretty tapped out, but we still wanted to do this party as the space was ideal and fit the criteria for our needs. Being that we were pretty much out of our own funds, it was a matter of getting sponsors who have been in bed with us for awhile with other functions, or asking one of our investors. We figured it was too short notice to hit up our typical partners and sponsors, so we got the money from 2 investors. She got 1 half of the bread together, while I obtained the other in lieu of them making a 10-15% on their investments. Having the money ready to go for the deposit on the space, we asked for a contract. The fact that we received the investment from 2 friends put more pressure and emphasis on us having a successful event. Saying as all of our other parties were very lucrative, we didn’t have any doubts about this one being anything but equal if not greater, and honestly we were really fucking excited to do something different. We get the contract for the space, negotiate the terms, kick it back and forth a bit until everything is correct and in order for us to feel comfortable with doing business with the space. After signing the contract, we send off the check as you typically would. At this point we’re ready to go, and start putting together the pieces of making the flyer, booking talent, setting up our marketing and promotional efforts, and generally getting all of our ducks in a row. About 3 weeks out from the event, we need some additional amendments made and we spend about 2 days of not being able to get a hold of the guy. His social media is active, so I hit him up online to no response, a day after messaging him that we couldn’t get a hold of him. All of his social media accounts magically vanish, not responding to emails, phone is disconnected. Oh and keep in mind, we already gave him the $$$ to lock in the date. So at this point we start to sweat a little bit for obvious reasons, let’s not forget the fact that the $ came from (2) people who trusted us greatly adding more fuel to the fire of this whole scenario. I call the venue, apparently in the timeframe of our contract and now, the ownership of the club has changed hands, there’s completely new operators, and nobody seems to know the guy who wrote up a contract and put names of former owners ( who hadn’t been attached to the venue in months ). We look at their calendar, the night that we were looking at is booked with some other event. At this point, I kinda fall into private investigator mode. I type in his name to google, see some old flyers in google images that have his logo on them. I start to look up the other companies/logos I see on the flyers beside his and begin reaching out to all of these random strangers with this whole story. The calls and messages generally started like ” Hello, I know this is going to sound really weird, but do you happen to know of anyone by the name of xxxxxxxx? with a promotional company called xyz?” the first three people I contacted literally had responses like “Wow, that guy again? yeah I know of him, he owes my brother xyz amount of money, if you see him to fuck off ” another answer was like ” Yeah, I’ve got a restraining order against him, he owes my sister a ton of money ” the calls just kept getting more and more hostile as I dug deeper and deeper. At this point, the event is essentially paused til we get to the bottom of the situation, but more importantly was us retrieving this money, otherwise we’d be on the hook for it. I keep going through these old event flyers and looking at the talent, the logos, the hosts, the clubs, and keep contacting more and more people to hear more of the same stories of essentially this guy ripping off about a dozen people, not paying back a cent and getting away with it. Now, I didn’t grow up with money, I’ve worked hard my entire life for everything that I have and I’ve never been the type to just “charge it to the game” or “let someone off the hook” because “it’s Hollywood” or “I mean what do you expect with people in nightlife or promotion”. I have to admit, I was pretty intrigued to hear all of the different people and stories of how they all managed to get taken advantage of by the same guy, and how nobody really gave a damn about catching the guy. Meanwhile I was hot on the case and building a pretty hefty story, logging these conversations, saving everyone in my phone as (Scammed) – Which mindfully, they still are in my phone if you’d like to see next time you’re around 🙂 even some of these people I’ve since built friendships with! Anyways, back on track – so he still is off social media and hiding, we don’t really have to cancel the event with the venue because they don’t know who this guy is and there’s nothing on the calendar or contract anyways besides forged signatures and other phony information. After about a week his phone is back on, so my girl and I took it upon ourselves to call him every night between the hours of 10pm til 5am about 30x anyways because we were already up and it was no skin off our back. Eventually he said he’d meet up with us with the money after hearing countless voicemails and text. We literally filled his inbox to the point that it couldn’t take anymore messages. We agree to meet at The Falcon in Hollywood to get our money back. I end up waiting in the cold for this fool for almost 3 hours, eventually I see him show up in his pickup, drive by slowly, he sees me and bolts off. You could imagine how frustrating this is to be chasing your money like this. At this point, I start calling up the big homies infuriated explaining the situations, and seeing who’s interested in handling this shit in a not so polite manner. I look back at emails we exchanged, check the source and I’m able to find the IP address he was corresponding from. I plugged in that IP address and managed to find his place on Googlemaps! Low & behold, in the google street view screenshot, the same truck he rolled by The Falcon with and originally picked up the cash from and met us in was there, blocked in by 2 other vehicles in front of the garage on the driveway. At this point, we had already been more than patient. I did reverse phone lookups and more and managed to get a hold of his sister and mother. At this point, I sent over a cropped image of the google street view of his place, said we had already spoken to both his mother, sister and ex-girlfriend with the restraining order and he’ll either get us our money and some extra for the effort or we’ll be by his place to …take what we need to in order to make up for the wasted time, money and recover the balance. Surprise surprise, dude calls us back almost immediately and asks us to meet him in downtown Whittier at some sushi spot. I explain the severity of the issues at hand and state that if he’s not there this time and we don’t get our money returned in this attempt, we will be taking it into our own hands to solve the problem. Fast forward, we’re sitting at the sushi place eating, dude shows up in a brand new tux, gives us our money and then some… says maybe two words. neither of which were my bad or I’m sorry and then just disappears. Annnnnnnnd that’s all folks 🙂 so the bottom line, be very careful who you do business with, keep records, and cross-reference people. It never hurts to research the business and people you are intending on doing business with before actually doing business, that’s just being smart. plain and simple. Don’t Trust Anyone.
2. And For My Next Trick! – Ugh, so this was like 2011 or 12 I think? I launched a series called Westside Wednesdays at Dim Mak Studios in Hollywood with some kids I was helping with parties, we featured Warm Brew, Andre Nickatina, YG, Casey Veggies, and Pac Div alongside several other acts. Also had my homies from HamOnEverything on a bill or two – crazy to see how far we’ve all come. I’m only going to focus on one of those shows, because there was just all kinds of fuckery throughout this whole place. Let’s start at the beginning, so let’s imagine you just drove across town to catch YG who was a buzzing artist and blowing up right before your eyes. Now I can talk further about the bullshit I had to go through to even “make the show go on” … like calling my friend Nocando who had a connection to a guy named Brandon who was managing him at the time with Stampede, but we’re just gonna skip over that part and focus on the stupid club shit. Right, so imagine you drove across town to see this artist, you wait in line for 30-45mins while nobody is inside, you finally get to the front. They ask you for ID, then take it it from you, while simultaneously pushing you forward into the venue, so by the time you got upstairs and the bartender asks you for your ID – you realize that you somehow have managed to lose it between the doorman who asked for it prior, and the bar. Sounds like the start to a good night, right? So imagine getting back downstairs and the head / lead guard has your ID, and says they found it on the ground. Furthermore, they say you’re not allowed inside the venue (after paying) without an ID. Then they say if you want to get your ID back, you’ll have to pay them $40 and if you don’t have it, you’re going to have to leave because you cannot be inside the venue without a valid ID. Fun right? Well beyond that shady shit, so there was a moment where my homegirl Ashley who was working the door caught these guards running side deals all night, basically slip a guard anything from a 20 to a 100 under your ID in line, and he’ll have you step out, and enter through the alternative entry OR just walk you in past the door. Some people would pay in line, get the lineskip, then have to pay again at the door, but would be complaining at that point about having just paid someone (a guard) for entrance. This shit happened at least 5x in the night to the point that it was brought to my attention by Ashley who I then rounded up all the guards with and said stop fucking cutting side deals. We will take care of you guys at the end of the night, just please do your jobs right. Between holding the line in order to get impatient people buying into this garbage technique of a hustle. To the ID thing, to YG’s entourage of 40 bloods then all the people who went in behind them it was just a shit show from start to finish. His set was good, people who got in without the bullshit enjoyed themselves despite the discomfort of the room being packed with people who were there for more security/support than anything. The 30-50 people who got fucked with that night proceeded to write me and sound off. The owner said he’d talk to his crew the next day and take some action (yeah right) – long story short, nothing was done. Our series ended and we got the fuck out to never return. Again, just a moment of trust, and being on your p’s and q’s, this shit killed the customer experience and definitely ruined some peoples night, and it also cost us quite a bit of money at the door. Some people were leaving after seeing those in front of them just being whisked right in for an additional surcharge.
3. Cruisin For A Bruising – I feel like I’ll end this one on a high note as this story is kinda funny with some twists and turns. This happened on a Thursday night when LA has a residency called Respect, a dope gathering for people into Drum & Bass, Jungle and similar sounds. The regulars here are/were as consistency as Low End Theory’s crowd is for electronic instrumental production. Always a good time, community vibes featuring emcees, producers and dj’s alike. This event happened at The Dragonfly, a place I’ve blown the roof off of with a few events, and was happy to have a good relationship with. Bear their head guard was always there to greet people and his crew was solid and ethical. Anyways, so I was out doing my rounds, dropping on events that friends were producing and performing at, and was on santa monica blvd passing by and decided to drop in. I grab a drink at the bar, get on the dance floor a little, step outside for some air and to smoke some trees. This girl comes out of the hallway and walks up to me, asks for my name, introduces herself. She’s cute so I talk it up with her for a bit, meet her friend briefly who then disappears and leaves me to chat with this girl further. I ask if she wants to smoke, she says no, I go inside. At this point I felt like I had already been here too long, I normally don’t spend more than an hour or so in a spot unless it’s really jumping, I have friends with me or I just don’t have anymore stops for the night. So I end up going inside by the entry near the photobooth. She walks up and grabs me and begins to start kissing me. Now I’m not mad, again she was cute – I didn’t think she was drunk or on anything at the time so I was like, this is different, let’s see where this goes. back against the photobooth, we go inside of the booth and continue making out a bit. She starts taking off my belt, pants, etc, turns around and before you know it, we’re fucking in the photobooth. Irony here is this isn’t the first, or second time I’ve handled biz in a photobooth, but I had mixed feelings here because I literally just did an event a month or so prior and I genuinely respect the spaces that treat event coordinators/promoters and nightlife pros right. Plus I knew a handful of people there, and really just wasn’t completely sold. Too fast, too soon? Who knows. Anyways, a guard comes to the booth… he opens it up with me pants down. Of course it’s a guard I fucking know, and he’s like “awww it’s you bro? I don’t even know what to do at this point, do you wanna finish? want me to stand outside? I was like nah man, I’m good here it’s cool – I don’t wanna disrespect the spot. So I exchange info with the girl ( which I guess would’ve been smart to do beforehand ) – she says she’s gonna go outside and smoke, I say I’ve gotta bounce to Echo Park. She asks me to come back to her place, says she’s only in town for a few days from the bay. I say I live here, I’ll be around tomorrow if she wants to get together. I promptly go out front ready to leave and Bear calls me out saying “that was you? damn man, with xyz girl? yeah, she’s cute” so he convinces me that the girl is worth going after, verifies her ID wasn’t from LA, and was military. Said her friend was already in the car waiting for her…I tell him I’ve never in my life chased pussy and really just let things kinda take shape on their own. Somehow he convinces me to go with her. She comes out shortly after this convo and then asks me to follow her to her hotel in studio city. At this point, I figured you know, why not – I was already past the point of no return with her so I may as well just go further. I follow her up wilcox, she pulls into 7-11. I pull in behind her, grab some condoms, a gatorade and smartwater and ask if she wants anything. She already has her starburst and whatever the fuck else. I hop back into my car and lower the window, saying “so we’re good, I’ll meet you over there – it’s only about 13minutes away right” and she says yeah, closes the door. Friend is still asleep in the passenger seat. She moves her car into reverse and then slams into the front bumper of a BMW m6, smashing the front lights and grill. Then she immediately pulls into drive and jets out of the 7-11 parking lot and north into the freeway. The dude runs out of the store and chases her car on foot after cursing a bit then hops in his car and speeds out of the lot and up the freeway too. At this point her phones dead, I’m following him and I don’t see her car in front, but I’m assuming that he does with the way he’s driving. Eventually my GPS tells me to get off as the hotel is down the street, I take the exit, sit at the light and then just go to the hotel and wait… Her phones dead, my phones dying. So I wait in the parking garage of the hotel for 15minutes or so. At this point, I’m just like is it even worth it? This is such a crazy night, and now she’s committed a crime. I should just bounce. I express the story to my homie who was the guard by text and then head start heading to echo park keeping in mind that this is exactly why I don’t chase women haha. I get to the gas station before the freeway and think, maybe I should go back and just at the very least see if her and her friend are alright. I go back to the parking garage, the cars there – all fucked up, looking like she backed into the fist of the incredible hulk. I call her phone, dead. I ask the hotel manager/cashier person if he could tell me what room the two girls just went into, he said without a police escort he’s not permitted. I took that as a hint as I should definitely just leave and not come back. I go on with my night, drop by short stop, say hi to some friends, tell the story, shoot some pool, then head home. The next day she hits me up with paragraphs of apologies by text, tells me she’s got another day in town til she goes to Vegas. Adds me on social media, I see she’s got a kid… It was all too much for me. Haven’t seen or spoken to her since. Dragonfly is now closed, Respect DNB has moved. Haven’t seen Bear since (sadly), The End.
🙂 So I hope you enjoyed these stories, with over 7 years of events I’ve got some pretty funny, sad, interesting, cool and exciting memories to tell. Since these are all Hollywood, I’ll probably jump to DTLA next then maybe Westside or EchoPark/Silverlake/EagleRock… Even got some crazy SXSW and 6th street stuff from when I lived in Austin, and a few from when I lived in New York.
In the spirit of Christmas, our very good friend, Dj Dstrukt showcases a special DJ showcase using the limited edition Serato Christmas Sweater control vinyl, as he flips his own versions of classic Christmas songs. Enjoy! Ho Ho Ho….Happy Holidays!
Producer Extraordinaire Dj Exile of the mighty Dirty Science crew & his cohort, producer Sirplus, brings to you a special Christmas gift!
“In the Spirit of Christmas I decided to make this gift to you, 9 Original Christmas Beats From me and Co Host Sirplus. We Cooked up this beat and this mix in only 10 days. Also Enjoy a Free Stream of my new album with long time partner in Crime Aloe Blacc, but hes rapping & killing it.”
For the next installment of “A Moment With” we spoke with D-Styles. His involvement with the seminal music collectives Invisibl Skratch Piklz + The Beat Junkies progressed DJ culture in the 90s + 00s, and he continues to pave the way for Turntablist / Beat heads as a resident of the long-running “Low End Theory” event based in Los Angeles.
How many times have you approached a problem thinking you had the solution, only to find moments later that you were trying all kinds of other things to solve it? Or worse, you thought you found the solution and then in the blink of an eye you forgot it already. The sad thing is all of this could've been avoided had you made the effort to do one simple thing. That simple thing is taking notes.
Solutions Don't Come Easy
Yet they come even less easy when we aren't consistently looking for them. You may feel that you're thinking about how to cope with your struggles in scratching, but it's the depth of your thinking that measures the quality of your solutions. Generally, especially in the act of scratching, our thought process is very shallow. This is especially true the less experienced you are at successfully overcoming challenges in your scratching, because you have so many more things to think about that could be going wrong.
When you approach a practice session with a plan to document solutions you come across, your thought process automatically deepens. This is because writing things down takes a lot more focus when scratching then just thinking briefly about what might improve things. Not only because you have to actually stop what you're doing to write things down, but you're automatically going through a review process in order to write it out properly. Additionally, you can come back at any time and review what you wrote further, as well as weigh it out against future sessions that might shed further light on the validity of your previous notes.
Complex Problems Need Serious Care
If you were in school facing an extremely challenging exam and you didn't take any notes during lectures that preceded it, how well do you think you'd do? You would most likely not do well and perhaps even fail. As a serious student, you can bet you wouldn't let that happen. Yet when it comes to practicing the art of scratching, you probably wouldn't even consider taking notes at all. Admittedly for most, it's a pretty foreign concept. However, that level of care will put you head and shoulders above the rest.
Taking Notes Might Not Seem Fun
Guess what is much less fun though. Performing at a mediocre level because you weren't proactive enough to take the actions necessary for greater, faster improvement at scratching. Believe me, having a moment of realization then capturing that moment, is actually more exhilarating than you might imagine. It's the feeling of ensuring all your hard work is going to pay off instead of just hoping it will.
Documenting Your Thoughts Doesn't Come With a Guarantee
Admittedly, taking notes about what you think are solutions to your problems, does not mean that what you write is always going to improve things. However, not writing out your thoughts increases the odds that you don't get your problems fixed in a timely manner, if at all. In fact writing out the wrong solution is actually still a step in the right direction because it makes it easier to eliminate it from the possibilities of what is going to pan out. You don't want to think you have a solution, find out it doesn't work, still not have a working solution and then stumble upon it again, repeating the process. Now you have a document of what to avoid as well.
Before You Find Solutions You Must Find Problems
All this advice is well and great, but what if you don't even know what your problems are? Note taking can still aid you in such situations. If you haven't spent some serious time examining what's wrong with your scratching, you'll be even further behind. Fortunately such a predicament is reversible. Simply follow the advice I've given you in this article, but with problem finding in mind and before you know it, you'll have a whole laundry list of things you can seek out solutions to.
Reviewing is Undeniably Crucial
Note taking is great, but reviewing your notes is where the true power lies. Otherwise, you're just a minor step beyond those who only think about solutions. Repetition is the mother of mastery, so finding a solution and continually reviewing it will get it imprinted permanently in your brain, making it that much more reliable info to actually put into practice. So don't let all your effort to find solutions go to waste. Get out what you put in and watch the results stack up.
We the Beat Junkies are always looking for new ways to make music as well appreciating new techniques and this is something we think you should check out if you want expand on your repetoire. Ladies & Gentleman…..Beat Discovery!
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The idea was to merge the ease of analog drum machines together with the digital world of unlimited sounds. After the initial user interface was designed, they both partnered up to bring something new to the world of electronic music.”
Check out Ruckazoid & Teeko make 15 beats in 20 minutes!
Download BeatDiscovery Presents: The Findings Vol 1: http://bit.ly/thefindingsvol1
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Have you ever felt like you were putting way too much effort into scratching? You push and push and yet your results seem to be pretty stagnant. Well there are several symptoms that could be at the root of your suffering. In this article I plan to focus in on one of them.
This issue typically plagues the beginner worse than anyone, but make no mistake, this can and will affect anyone. I’m talking about unnecessary tension in the fader hand. I want to share with you some ways you can begin to alleviate this problem so you can focus on your development as a scratch dj more freely.
Taking An Assessment
First let’s take a look at your average beginner scratch dj so we can get a better understanding of what I’m addressing. You begin scratching and the fader is all over the place. You just can’t seem to control it. You’re having trouble getting together any proper technique. You’re probably strong arming the fader way too much and straying way too far from the cut off point.
Does Equipment And It’s Settings Play A Role?
Now two things have to be made clear before I go any further. If you want to get the most out of your scratching in the short and long term you need to have your cutoff point set as close to instant as possible. Also it’s ideal to have a very loose fader. I personally love the fader of the Rane 56, but regardless of what mixer you have, nowadays there are options for using scratch friendly faders regardless of what type of mixer you’re using.
No Fader Control, No Dice
Obviously if you have a hard time controlling the fader you will have basically no hope of getting any decent scratches pulled off. The solution to this may seem as obvious as taking the power you’re exerting back a few notches and in a way it is. In fact the solution is actually not much more complex than that.
What you need to realize is that although this will help, you are not through correcting this problem. Ultimately you need to discover with experimentation what the least amount of power is needed to control the fader and only use that. Simple right? Well not so fast. Understand that this is not a fix and forget issue. Only through consistent, highly concentrated awareness can you really reap the benefits of focusing on this method.
Why All DJ’s Will Benefit
This is truly a lesson for scratch dj’s at any level. No matter how well you grasp the concept of minimum power you can always improve your current scratch technique. I personally can attest to this as I’ve gone through many stages of this issue.
Sometimes you may be taking on a new technique and have yet to really gauge what is needed to pull it off. You may be starting off slow and not ready to put a lot of speed into it. You may be doing one technique that requires more energy and power than another technique. Not to mention all the combinations of scratch techniques you already know. As you can see it begins to become somewhat intricate.
Narrowing Down The Process
What we need to do right now is take things down a notch. Several notches in fact. Take the most simplest fader based scratch possible. We’ll use a forward 2 click transform for this exercise.
Execute a simple forward transform scratch over and over at a low tempo such as 60 beats per minute and pay close attention to how much power you’re exerting. Is your forearm, wrist or hand getting sore? Are you pushing the fader too far away from the cut off point? Is the sound of the record running out before you have a chance to finish? These are things you should be asking yourself as you’re performing the transform scratch. If the answer is yes to any of these, try relaxing and releasing as much power as you can while still maintaining control.
Is Doing Nothing A Solution?
Well yes, it can actually be a highly effective solution. However you would not simply be doing nothing and stopping there. You would be resting between each repetition. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid unnecessary tension. So always make sure you bear that in mind.
While it is typical while learning new scratches that there will be some forearm burn, you can usually reduce it substantially by following the advice outlined in this article, especially this particular point. In fact it really doesn’t matter what technique or combinations of techniques you do. Resting between every transition will make a HUGE difference.
What Else Is Choking The Life Out Of Your Potential?
There is another culprit that creates unnecessary tension while scratching and that is unnecessary tension in the body. While it may seem obvious by now that you need to have just the right amount of tension in your hand, wrist and arm, it’s important to note that holding extra tension in other parts of your body can be detrimental as well.
The biggest key here is awareness. You have to pay attention to how you’re feeling while you’re scratching. If you notice that you’re tightening up in your neck, back or another area you’ll need to consider changing your posture and sending a message to your brain to relax. This is a process that will require consistent, focused monitoring so keep alert.
Keeping Things At The Forefront Of Your Mind
One final point I’d like to mention is that you shouldn’t just read this article and then leave it to memory. Use this information to your advantage on a regular basis. You can potentially shave off years of frustration by following this advice. Stay aware, focused and above all else have fun!
If you’d like to know more about this topic there’s an excellent video by my music mentor Tom Hess. While he’s primarily focused on guitar you can easily apply the concepts he’s teaching to scratching as this article has demonstrated. Enjoy: Finger Tension
Our very own Rhettmatic did a special 45 set at the Soul Summit Dance Party in Chicago this past weekend. Before his gig, he recorded a couple of practice sets to help him prep up for the gig:
“This past Sat. (11/19/16), I had the pleasure of spinning a special 45 set at the Soul Summit Dance Party – the Double Door in Chicago. To tell you the truth, I was kinda nervous because of the high caliber of talent that spun at this event that I had to live up to: my Beat Junkie brother J.Rocc, Breakbeat Lou, Peanut Butter Wolf, Prince Paul, Ali Shaheed Muhaamad (ATCQ), Dj Maseo (De La Soul), Adrian Younge, Rich Medina, Dj Spinna; you get the picture. So the whole week before my gig, I literally went thru all my 45 vinyl records to prepare for my set, & I tell ya, I was kinda overwhelmed….hahah!
Anyways, after changing my set a couple of times & get some practice in, I recorded a couple of practice runs with all the skips, spinbacks, & record burns included. This is the best recorded take out of all of them. I ended up not playing exactly what I did at Soul Summit but this mix is gives you an idea what I tried to do. Thank you to Dave Mata, Scott Williams, & the rest of the crew. Hope you like it!”
The ego is a funny thing. When it comes to our musical skills, most of us don’t let our ego rage out of control telling us how amazing we are. We tend to believe that we have a pretty firm grasp on what our current ability of scratching is. Unfortunately, even the most level headed, conscientious individual will have trouble being highly aware of all their scratching flaws.
Sometimes what we want to hear and expect from ourselves becomes what we hear despite the fact that it is not what’s actually happening. Consider a singer who has nearly mastered a popular song. The line between nailing the song and almost nailing it is very thin. As time goes on their vision of what they’re working towards could seemingly come into reality. However, another singer who is also very familiar with the song could likely spot some mistakes that the first singer is making such as occasionally going out of key.
If that person was to be informed that they’re having problems, it may be difficult for them to take the critique seriously. A situation like this could benefit greatly from a recording. If they listened well to a recording of themselves they’d likely catch the mistakes that their mind wasn’t allowing them to hear in the midst of actually singing it. This is great for the singer because they now have the dose of reality they need to tackle the last parts of the song that are preventing them from getting it down cold.
What This Means From A Scratch DJ Perspective
Since scratching is much more physical, video recording would actually be more beneficial for catching all the flaws that are holding you back. With scratching there are so many things that could be improved and in order for it all to sound like you mean for it to sound, you must be very precise. Often times you can be barely off in your scratch technique or timing, so it’s crucial that you have the ability to review your scratching with a critical ear and eye since it’s much harder to catch such minor issues while in the act.
How Often Should You Video Record Yourself?
Well, it really depends on your skill level and needs. However, a good general guideline would be as often as once a week and no less than once a month. If you are practicing scratching daily a month is a long time to go without giving yourself the type of feedback that video recording affords you. Since we’re naturally prone to miss a lot of the flaws without such perspective, letting months and months go by can be dangerously risky.
Even a week can be a long time if your practice efforts are efficient and effective. If you’re working through a quality daily scratch practice strategy your progress should be notable each week. In fact, recording weekly could be an eye opener that your practice strategy may not be as effective as you assumed it was. Video is a good way to review your victories and defeats and gear the following week’s practice schedule towards your scratching problem areas so you can continue to speed up your scratch progress.
Is There Such Thing As Too Much?
While I do believe that weekly recording sessions can be extremely helpful, I understand that it might be tough mentally for someone who doesn’t feel they’re progressing at the rate they want. If you are that type of person you might want to dial back the amount of recording you do to a monthly basis. I must caution you though that you’re probably worrying too much about your feelings and not enough about what you can do to ensure that you will increase your rate of improvement at scratching. The beauty of recording often is the pressure that comes with it melts away. It just becomes a natural and essential part of what you do.
It’s Not Just About Mistakes
Not everything that you want to fix will be a technical issue. You may be doing plenty of things that are technically correct, but don’t necessarily sound good to you. This is an excellent opportunity for you to note what you like and don’t like about your scratch style and begin crafting a style that is much more pleasing to you. This is where your personality starts to shine through a lot more because you’re making personal choices about how you want to ultimately sound when you scratch.
Excuses Will Not Get You Far
Nowadays the cost to record is dirt cheap. Granted it won’t be the ultimate in high definition recording if you go low budget, but that’s irrelevant. You just need a clear enough picture and sound so you can catch all the details of what you’ve captured. Many of you already have a device that captures video like a webcam or cell phone, so even if you plan to get a nice camcorder later on you can still get started today.
Our good friend Dj Nu-Mark does a monthly video showcase in honor of the characters of Horoscope.
This episode of Zodiac tracks pays homage to: Pharoahe Monch, Scarface, Lou Donaldson, Diddy, Prodigy, Mobb Deep, Alchemist, Buckshot, Madlib, Oh No, EVE, Warren G, Monica, JRocc of The Beat Junkies, Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde, Phife Dawg and Minnie Riperton. The FB video will be up for a limited time so please share with the ones that count!
Click on the link to watch video: https://www.facebook.com/djnumark/videos/10154770967534390/
There are so many things to learn in scratching. Even if you're not new to turntablism you can still find yourself feeling overwhelmed. This becomes truer as you start to realize that there really is no end to what can be done on the turntable.
Unfortunately many people don't do anything to address their feelings of overwhelm. They simply keep focusing on more new things. While there is nothing really wrong with learning new things, it is only one piece of the puzzle. The biggest reason why feelings of overwhelm start to rush over you and take hold is because you're not giving yourself enough time to get comfortable with scratches you already know.
Imagine you're at a party filled with hundreds of people. Do you think you will make any worthwhile connection with anyone if you're approach is to say hello to each and every one of them? Obviously you wouldn't, but you would increase your chances tremendously if you limited your time to only a small handful of them. Of course you can increase your social circle further over time, but it's always going to be more valuable to invest time developing friendships than to know tons of people without really knowing them.
Mining for Gold
Approaching scratching from a similar viewpoint is crucial if you ever want to get any true value out of anything you know. This isn't a game to see who knows the most scratches. It's about scratching as expressively as possible with what you know. This will always ring true whether it's something you've been doing for years or something you just picked up the other day.
The Ins and Outs of Refinement
When refining your scratching there are multiple things to keep in mind, but the most important thing is thinking about what your biggest problem is with the particular aspect of scratching you're working on. Sometimes this can be clear as day and other times it will not be so obvious. Two things you can focus on that will make this task easier are to decide what you ultimately want the thing you're working on to sound like and what you're doing that's preventing you from achieving your desired result. As mentioned this will not always be easy, but by investing time to figure it out you increase your odds greatly to getting the issue resolved.
Once you have gotten past it you will want to look at what the next biggest issue is and repeat the process outlined above. Once you get that achieved you will continue tackling the next biggest issue until you have arrived at mastering that aspect of your scratching.
Don't Lose Yourself!
I must warn you that I am not saying to take this approach with just one challenge within your scratching at the expense of everything else you know or new things you want to learn. Doing so would be just as detrimental as doing nothing but learning new things. There has to be a balance, so I recommend singling out a handful of what you know and refining those things. You can have different priorities on a daily basis.
On day one you could try focusing on refining just a few things. On day two you could focus on a few others and so on. You could even have a day reserved solely for working on new things as well, but I would recommend you make that about 20% maximum of your weekly practice time.
Figuring out, understanding and staying on top of your priorities is the best way to ensure that you get the most out of scratching with the least amount of effort. Otherwise you will fall into the trap of spending many hours, weeks, months and even years focusing on the wrong things and improving at a much slower rate than anyone would ever care to progress at. I really doubt you want such a poor outcome for yourself so be sure to stay aware of the actions you're taking.
When Nothing Seems to Work
You may find yourself getting stuck on something because you are either unable to discover what is wrong or you are really unsure about how to get past what is holding you back. In situations like this the most effective thing you can do is seek outside advice. A qualified scratch instructor or high quality scratch instructional material authored by such a person is your best choice and will be invaluable in your quest to achieve your goals.
Scratching in a band is not common place. There are many instances of a turntablist performing with other turntablists. However, seeing a turntablist perform with guitarists, bassists, drummers and other types of musicians is a rarity.
While there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, it is unfortunate in the fact that an art form as enjoyable as scratching is getting passed over by many people that would likely welcome it with open arms. The lack of tablists performing with bands stems from the background it sprung from.
Hip-Hop birthed scratching and the bulk of Hip-Hop is based around programmed beats. This eliminated the need for a fully fleshed out band and also brought in a very cool way of performing music that was extremely unique for the time. A lot of great innovation came out of Hip-Hop which has continued to be built upon over the years, not least of which is scratching.
What Breaks Tradition Also Creates It
While Hip-Hop decidedly walked a very different path than other forms of music, it now suffers from the very standards developed to define itself. Like Hip-Hop, turntablism was a significant break from the genre that birthed it, while still maintaining some real roots to the music it came from. In fact I would consider turntablism to be not as disconnected to Hip-Hop as some may think, but rather a dramatic expansion in expressive dj capabilities. Hip-Hop has always been about taking other genres and creating something new out of it and turntablism is really no different. Thus there's no reason to chain tablism to lots of set standards and unnecessary limitations.
What Music Stands To Gain
Looking more in depth at other genres of music, you'll tend to notice at their best, they sound extremely expressive. Yet there's a lack of uniqueness that turntablism so easily captures, simply because genres like jazz and rock aren't nearly as new to the world. Also, in a lot of ways tablism is really an answer to people that don't recognize how truly expressive the turntable is as an instrument.
Turntablists have taken huge strides over the last decade and a half in developing a scratch vocabulary that easily puts them on close to, if not equal footing as other musicians. That being the case it seems only natural to take the next step and join forces with non scratch musicians, continuing to expand our expressive options within music. This is especially beneficial to our development considering the fact that most live instrumentation encompasses much more variety than a typical 4/4 Hip-Hop beat.
They Don't Understand
One issue that crops up when gaining exposure for turntablism, is it tends to be tough to comprehend for people that don't practice the art form. In its most hardcore style, scratching is very percussive and somewhat dissonant since there really isn't a way to generate exact notes within any particular scale. In a lot of ways you could relate it best to rap which also significantly lacks melodic content. However, the beauty of scratching is you're not limited to scratching in such an in your face style.
You can take any melodic sounding record and chop it up in a variety of ways while still retaining the melodic content of such a record. In a band context this means you'd have to be ultra vigilant that the sounds you use are generally in tune with the rest of the band. This doesn't mean that tablists seeking to play in a band should abandon much of the complex scratch vocabulary that exists. In fact possessing a high level of technical aptitude in scratching makes melodic style scratching much easier to facilitate. It also allows you to break up the more melodic style with hardcore cuts should it sound appropriate to do so based on the music your band is performing.
Reaching Ears and Opening Minds
Scratching isn't necessarily a hard pill to swallow for people. It has more to do with how it's presented. Scratching in a more melodic style within a band as described above, is a very effective way to introduce people to turntablism. Seated among music that people already enjoy, scratching can really spice things up in a nice and ear friendly way.
Examples and Ways to Get Started
While it is rare for turntablists to be in a band, it is not unheard of. Some examples of songs or bands featuring scratching that you should check out include: Herbie Hancock 'Rockit' (featuring scratching from DST), Praxis (featuring scratching from TurntablistDisk), Gunkhole (featuring scratching from D-Styles, Ricci Rucker and Mike Boo. The best example being their DVD 'Live In Bologna' which involves a drummer, standup bass player, as well as a sax and flute player) and Secret Sidewalk (featuring scratching from Mike Boo). I have also played in a band and a quick segment of one or our performances can be found here: Live at 19 Broadway
Joining a band isn't as intimidating as it may seem and can be as simple as linking up with even one musician that's not a tablist. Simply place an ad on craigslist or network on sites like twitter and facebook and go from there. Just remember, the goal is making music that's enjoyable regardless of being in a band or otherwise, so have fun scratching and soak in everything that will come your way as a result.
When working to achieve your goals it is very common to think only of your goals as the mark of achievement. While there is some truth to this, if you only think in this manner, it will be very difficult for you to continue moving forward with your scratching. Particularly, if the goals you're working to attain are extremely challenging. The reality is there are many steps of achievement within each and every goal you will ever take on and it is vital to acknowledge and appreciate when you've accomplished them.
When you don't appreciate each moment of progress you experience, your mind tends to focus on only one thing. That thing is frustration and if that's all you're focused on, you will bury yourself in it. Staying motivated in a blanket of frustration is next to impossible. The natural result of this type of negative mindset when scratching is you'll start to believe you can't actually achieve your goal. The more you believe you can't do something, the more it will become true because your mind believes what you tell it. Once you fall that far into disbelief, it'll only be that much more frustrating to withstand the challenges of your goals and like most, you'll probably give up.
Open Your Eyes and See What's There
Admittedly, it isn't always easy to keep track of all your accomplishments, especially if they aren't blatantly obvious. However, it can be done much easier than you may realize. Imagine, you were on a weight loss program and you had a goal to lose 100 pounds. Obviously, losing 100 pounds is not an easy task and if you truly need to lose that much weight, it'll take awhile before you start visually noticing actual weight loss. If you didn't have a scale, you would probably assume within the first few weeks that all your efforts towards your goal are ineffective so why bother. Clearly, that is a foolish way to go about things though and using a tool as simple as a scale to keep track of your progress is extremely common and effective.
Use the Right Tool for the Job
In scratching, progress is more measurable in some areas than others. However, all of your progress can be kept track of with recording. For example, if your goal is to scratch at a very fast speed, you can record yourself scratching over a beat and incrementally increase the speed of that beat until you reach the speed you desire. All the while listening to your recordings to hear how close you are coming to scratching at the level you're aiming for.
When working on something like improvisation, it can be harder to measure in such a clear cut manner as speed, but definitely something that can be put under the microscope. Simply record your freestyle sessions on a regular basis and compare older recordings with current recordings, while thinking of all the areas of your improvisational abilities you wish to improve. The more you listen thoughtfully, the more you should be able to hear how you're advancing in those areas.
When Regression Occurs
Truthfully, not every recording you make will be packed full of progression. You may experience moments of making mistakes you thought you had gotten past already. While on the surface this may seem like a bad thing, it's actually good because now you're aware that some of your practicing methods may not be as effective as you previously thought. This affords you the opportunity to seek out better ways of working to achieve your goals and begin getting much better results. While you may not know what those methods are, there is someone out there that does. I have worked with people such as you and helped them to achieve their goals much faster than they would have otherwise with fully effective and efficient practice regimens. If you feel you're not getting big enough results from your efforts check out my Scratch DJ Lessons.
Take Pride in Yourself
While keeping track of your progress is important, it's only a means to an end. Ultimately, when becoming aware of all of your improvement, you need to take time to actually enjoy the fact that YES, you are definitely moving forward. When you do so you will be happier, have more fun, feel like everything is not as hard as it may have seemed previously and thus continually stay motivated to bust through the obstacles that stand between you and your goals!