Weekend Recap – Sync, Sank, Sunk

We’re joined by the one, the only, Dj Solarz of the mighty Rock-it! Scientists. We discuss their recent trip to China, Trap remixes, the sync button and the new CDJ2000 Nexus.

LINKS:
CDJ2000 Nexus
Run DMC Perform Again
Calvin Harris @ the VMA’s
Forbe’s Hip-hop Cash Kings

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3 comments

  1. Great to see Solarz back, even if just for the recap! Great recap by the way!

    Learned something new watching this. JD talked about the CDJ 2000 Nexus model, which I had briefly read up on and was aware of the sync feature but didnt read to much further on it. JD had talked about the sync feature in which you can use it to say sync one CDjs pitch to the master pitch on another CDJ! Well, I can tell you that Pioneer is a little late implementing this feature!!, as some may or may not be aware, Numark (and Im sure others) had this feature on its Fusion series Axis 8 and 9 CD players back in 2002. Now I know its a little bit different of an animal, because on the Pioneers you can use them with Serato, as for the Numark CD players, Computer DJing was a couple a years away from being perfected back in 2002.

    I had purchased the Axis 8s and then the 9s shortly after back in 2002(which I sold just as fast back in 2004, lol) to DJ a 2X4 weekly set with a DJ friend, and since we were simultaneously DJing at the same time (not switching out one after the other), I was looking into something low cost CD based that would give me enough hot cues(this one had 3 with CD cue memory of those hot cues once you took out the CD) and a plethora of FX. I found that in the Axis 8s and 9s, and since I was a Turntable guy at that point, I didn’t want to spend a lot on CD players. What made me give the Axis 8s another look, was because it was the first time I had seen Midi In and Out on a CD Player at that time back in 2002. Basically what that allowed a DJ to do was to be able to sync both units and utilize the control of a Master Pitch controlling other CD Players linked to it, and furthermore, start and stop things like drum machines and what was key for me, since I traveled with a small keyboard to this gig, I was able to play a melody on the keyboard from the disc that was playing the song. Pretty sick for that time period! However I don’t recall that there was a sync button on the unit, they called it “Relay” or “Relay Link” which when activated, the Midi allowed you to sync, basically a MIDI band to the one CD Player playing.

    Check out this link, if you never saw this player in action, I think it was this very video I had seen which made me try out the keyboard linking to the CD player to play the cd via a synth. That part happens around 3 minutes into the video! However I dont think the video shows the actual Syncing of Pitch sliders, although Im sure someone has a video showing that feature off. http://youtu.be/aT0wBdAUpSk

    They were to a degree some of the first predecessors to what we now know as Midi Controllers of today’s era . However I noticed that both players could be daisy chained and linked to one another via MIDI(a feature that they later removed-don’t know why). When I linked them together I found that surprisingly enough, they did a very good job of following each other, especially in what JD was talking about, utilizing one pitch slider on one CD player to control the other one. Since my main focus on the 2X4 set was to add in all FX, acapellas, loop overdubs, and as well as mixing my sets to and from my friends sets, I found that this MIDI link feature was so stellar that we just had to try it out on our first night at that Gig, and it performed as expected. I quickly utilized this feature to do on the fly transitions from House to Top 40 to Hip Hop, etc.

    Basically, what we did was, when I was playing a fast BPM, and I wanted to bring the BPM down to say the 100 BPM range, I utilized this feature. What was even better, and I’m not sure if the Pioneer Nexus does this, but it probably does, when I had the master temp on, I was able to get a smooth transition down to 100 BPM while maintaining the pitch(just like how DJs do with CDJ pitch today) however when I shut off the master tempo, I was able to use this feature one step further in an even more creative way. I would have the 100 BPM song on the CD player I was about to bring in ,(playing the track in my headphones) while the 130 BPM song was playing out to the crowd. As I slowed down the 130 BPM song without the master tempo on, it created the well known “turntable motor off button” slow down, affecting the pitch as if the platter on a turntables motor was shut off, however since the 100 BPM song in my headphones was in sync following all of these changes via the pitch slider, as soon as it sounded like the 130 BPM record was coming to a slow down, immediately I raised the mixer channel fader volume of the 100 BPM song as I was at the same time raising back the pitch slider to its default 100 BPM value. So, in other words, to the crowd, it sounded as if the 130 BPM song quickly slowed down, and just as quickly sped up again, this time morphing into the new 100 BPM song. Sounds more complicated than it is, but it all happens so quickly, no one can tell what was going on. And that particular effect was used sparingly, just as something different other than what I would normally use to transition. Also, it was kind of fun to utilize the Midi Link to do this for the first time!

    Now having said all that, I’m sure utilizing the Sync button on the new 2000 Nexus allows for a DJ to be creative, and I’m sure many of us saw it coming ever since the CDJ 2000s implemented HID, the CDJ essentially became an overpriced MIDI controller, however having said that, it continued to remain as an Industry/Club standard for being reliable and durable, minus some of the hiccups it has had along the way!

    In essence, you can probably say that my old Axis 8s were syncing(they were obviously), but as I recall, I dont remember there being a sync button but if you utilize the sync in that manner for creative things like transitions, it allows for creative FX that go over smoothly to your audience. In this way, your not sycing one CDJ to the other so it can beatmatch and do all the work for you.

    Syncing is obviously nothing new in the Digital world. I was a Show Production Sound Engineer for several years a while back, and that world I was in was heavily synced. It had to be. Just like almost every high end concert you see today, no Professional in their right mind is going to not sync lights to music, etc, if they have the means and ability to SMPTE sync. In the DJ world, it just took a bit longer to get to our actual DJ gear, but it is here in some shape or form. Hey, our DJ lights have been synced for many, many years, so I agree with JD and Spring, I dont have a problem with sync, because in essence when you talk about Sync, its not just the bad rap of the sync button found on DJ controllers, it goes deeper, its what you do with it. Like Solarz mentions, we have new tehnology around us, so why not embrace it. As DJing and Music Production become more and more closely bundled together (i.e Ableton/APC 20/40 or NI Maschine) it goes without say that eventually everything was going to basically “Sync” together!

  2. Hey Guys,

    Been a minutes since I have been able to sit and catch up but this weeks weekend recap is another example of why this site rocks. Spring mentions something that happens (Playing The Outfield-Your Love) and it clears the dance floor. First off, WTF!? Why does this happen. With this track in particular, I mean its not like you dropped freaking Hooka Tooka by Chubby Checkers or something. The wedding scene is something I think most DJs do and is something, atleast for me, that I have worked to get much better at and am finally making a great deal of cash in because of the different things I offer and do. I just wanted to chime in on the music selection quick like and when Solarz and you guys were talking about “We just want club music.” I work for a company that the owner is DCs HOT 99.5 live broadcast radio mixshow DJ. He DJs Fridays and Saturdays from 2 different clubs in DC (and hopefully I’m taking over his saturdays soon) but the people that listen to him and find they want us as their Wedding DJ, they want “No Corny Shit!” and “Club Music”. I don’t know if you know the history of Oh Snap! Who used to be a group but is now just Mickey and one person, but anyway, I was doing a wedding for a couple that had ex-Oh Snap! Member John Neilson doing a performance for the wedding at the beginning but then the couple wanted to play a lot of the old Oh Snap! Music, along with nothing but hip hop/edm club music. In our meeting, I tried to explain to the couple that its best to work its way into this type of music because for the most part, if you can get grandma and grandpa dancing and keep them busy while the young’ns are doing shots and drunken up, by the time they are prime, G’pa & G’ma are gonna be satisfied and we can kick it up a notch. They agreed; at first and before the day of. The ceremony finished, we did a custom wedding party introduction, kicked off dinner, into a fun way I get the crowd to the dancefloor. Got them up there, kicked off with some older motown and “wedding music” and i was just kind of sitting having a drink with John and even he was enjoying the music until the groom and bride came over and asked me to “Make this 99.5, lets club it!” I looked at John and he kinda laughed and said “I’ll let you do your thing bro” and I switched it. Needless to say, the 10-15 young’r (I say younger, but my age, late 20′s) were loving it, but with 30 minutes left in the night, and I’m in an old school hip hop set… Be Faithful, Let Me Clear My Throat, This Is How We Do it, Apache…and the grooms father comes up to me and says “DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING WHITE PEOPLE CAN DANCE TOO?” hahaha I LOST IT! I laughed so freaking hard mainly because Apache was playing and I figured the only black person I’ve really seen dance to this was Carlton Banks, but he was right, I was playing mostly EDM Club Music and Hip Hop, and (I didn’t) but seemed to forget about the parents. So I went back to Journey Panic City Remix track and played a slow song and the father came up at the end and said You made my sons wedding, thank you so much. This confused the FUCK outta me. 30 minutes ago I thought you were gonna ring my neck now we’re good?! $100 tip seemed to say we were.

    The reason i am writing MY experience here is because I now am able to explain this story to potential bride and grooms and explain to them the importance of doing 3-5 songs in a select genre and moving around.

    I’ve concluded that, the clubs and bars we DJ at, most of them have a select “theme”. Seems to me Scorpian bar is mainly rock but you can play Top 40 etc., not a lot of house music. So people that go there probably go there because its different and they want to listen to rock music and such. Same with this club i’ve been djing at here in Maryland for over a year now, we play 90% house and “EDM” music. People come there because of the music. There is a more hip hop based club/bar down the road, if they wanted that they would go there. In a long round about way, what I’m getting at, is people go to weddings because of the person they know. The couple getting married. When they get the invitation, its not like a Facebook Inbox/Event invite saying “DJ PRIEVO at Chesapeake Country Manor Saturday September 8th, 2012. Join us that weekend as we get married to the Newest House, Hardest hitting Dubstep, etc etc.” You get the picture. Its a mixing bowl. People are there to celebrate, the bride and groom just don’t want it to be lame and cheesy like generic Black Tie DJs that show up and walk you through doing the chicken dance and smiles way too fuckin much.

    When it comes to weddings, the main thing we as DJs (if you don’t own a business or work for one just doing them every now and again) this may be your hardest gig in awhile, but you really need to consider, this is, mostly for brides, the day they dreamed of since the barbie doll house days. If you treat it like a weekend gig and don’t prepare you could potentially ruin their wedding. If the people in charge of floral arrangements forgot the flowers, people wont leave saying, Man that was a great night, too bad their flowers didn’t show, it would have been a much better wedding. But if your not doing a good job as a DJ, that directly impacts the wedding. So to wrap this whole BS up with a question for you JD and Spring and for anyone else that does weddings, when the bride and groom say “We don’t want traditional wedding stuff, we just want club music.”?? It would be interesting to hear some stories others have ran into too if anyone has any.

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