• A-Trak Reacts to Possibility of Expanded of Laptop Ban on Flights

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    A-Trak performs at the 2016 We The Future Festival in Puerto Rico. (Photo credit: Steve Garfinkel)

    Expanding the ban on electronic devices in airplane cabins to more countries could force A-Trak to change the way he DJs, the Fool’s Gold chief wrote in a op-ed for Mass Appeal.

    “If I had to check in a laptop, which my entire DJ profession resides on, the risk of that bag being delayed or lost is high enough that it would probably force me to rethink the whole way that I DJ,” A-Trak said. “There are obviously different set-ups for DJing. There are DJs with just a flash drive or [an] SD card. I could fit that in my pocket, and I wouldn’t need my laptop as much for that.”

    A-Trak’s article was in response to a recent meeting between US and European officials to discuss expanding an existing ban to European countries.

    In March, the US and UK banned devices in cabins for flights from a number of Middle East countries. The ban was based on intelligence that the Islamic State was developing a bomb that could be hidden in electronics.

    US and European officials have since decided to forgo a ban for European flights, but A-Trak’s commentary is still insightful.

    “There was a point about three years ago where I decided to start using CDJs for some of my shows,” A-Trak wrote. “I still [use a laptop] with Serato as far as the song selection, but as far as the hardware equipment, I started using CDJs more because I had to accept and realize that there were certain conditions and certain venues where it became so cumbersome to be the only guy asking for turntables. It’s a handful of us still asking for turntables; it’s me and DJ Snake and Craze and Jazzy Jeff. That’s it.”

    A-Trak added that he, like many DJs, has a backup plan in case there’s a problem with his laptop.

    “I can just plug in an SD card and play a set. Maybe it’s not quite as technically fancy as what I’ll do with my preferred set-up, but I can play. At least I can give people a show.”

    Yet, despite his ability and willingness to adapt, A-Trak recognized that ditching his laptop all together would be difficult.

    “I spent years and years and years and years already converting my turntablist meets party-rocking style from vinyl to Serato. To have to rethink that to yet another technology, essentially, that would represent a lot of work.”

    Updated on May 22, 2017 at 6:02 p.m. PDT

    Related: US and UK Ban Laptops and Other Devices in Cabins From Some Flights

    Posted in DJ Culture, Music Tech
  • Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire Talks All Things Dancehall

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    Walshy Fire
    Walshy Fire in the mix at Tuxedo Junction in Danbury, Connecticut. (Photo credit: Dan Nilsen)

    Leighton Paul Walsh, a.k.a. Walshy Fire, is best known for being a member of Major Lazer. The Jamaican-born MC, selector (DJ), and producer has had a successful career outside of the group, though. In 2004, Walshy joined the Miami Black Chiney sound system. He toured with it for 8 years and also hosted a popular radio show in the city. It wasn’t until 2012 that Walshy joined Major Lazer. Yet, despite the group’s success and busy schedule, he has still found time to continue his solo career. On Wednesday, Walshy dropped a new riddim album called “Chicken and Dumplin” with soca producer Kubiyashi. The project includes songs from heavyweights Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Shaggy, among others. On Friday, Walshy will headline Mad Decent’s takeover of Avalon’s Control party in Los Angeles.

    We caught up with Walshy before the show to discuss all things dancehall.

    As someone who was born in Jamaica and has been involved with dancehall for their entire career, how do you feel about its current popularity in the mainstream?

    It’s great. Dancehall is for everyone, for the masses. Hearing it world wide is a great feeling.

    Some pop artists have been criticized for appropriating dancehall culture and not giving credit where credit is due. Do you agree with that criticism?

    Credit is really all anyone wants in life. Every genre of music, every artist, every musician. So credit should always be given. Allow people to know where you sampled from.

    You once said in an interview that your sole purpose with Major Lazer is to “bring back some glory and international exposure [for] reggae and dancehall.” Do you think you’ve achieved that aim?

    I wouldn’t say, but I have a lot more work to do.

    Walshy Fire and Kubiyashi’s “Chicken and Dumplin” riddim album. Download select songs on DJcity.

    You’ve been credited with coining the term, “future dancehall.” What’s your definition of it?

    Future dancehall is dancehall mixed with EDM influences. It stays at the same dancehall tempo (94 to 100 BPM) but has rises and drops. And I don’t want the credit for making that name up. A lot of folks were calling it that before me. I might just be the one who made it popular.

    What is your favorite dancehall riddim of all time?

    The Answer Riddim.

    In your eyes, what are the similarities and differences between Jamaican selectors and American DJs?

    For Jamaican DJs, it’s not about the music as it is about the personality of the DJ. You can play an obscure song no one’s heard and with your personality make it big. You can make people laugh and do things they didn’t plan on doing, etc. Also, Jamaican DJs mix very quick. For American DJs, it’s more about shutting the club down with the big songs, scratching, blending, etc.

    Your role in Major Lazer is an MC and producer, but you also have a solo career as a DJ and producer. Is your approach different?

    Yeah, I bring the Jamaican and Miami style of DJing.

    A recap of Major Lazer’s historic concert in Havana, Cuba on March 6, 2016.

    How did your experience as a radio host in Miami influence you as an artist?

    I miss it a lot. It allowed me to be able to be humble and relate to the average person who just wants to have a good time. It’s not about trying to be this untouchable celebrity DJ. That will never be me.

    In 2016, Major Lazer became the first major American artist to perform in Cuba since diplomatic ties were restored. What was that like?

    It was the Highlight of my DJ life. Check out the documentary we did on it called Give Me Future.

    Are you or Major Lazer working with any Cuban artists?

    I work with Yotuel [from Orishas]. He’s a dope dude. I also work with Ari Lopez who now lives in Jamaica.

    Who are some newer artists that you’re feeling right now?

    Meleku [Sizzla’s son], Jah9, Masicka, and Ricardo Drue.

    Walshy Fire and Sillva’s back-to-back set at the 2017 Rum Set Boat Party in Miami.

    Follow Walshy Fire on Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, and Twitter.

    Related: Wax Motif Remixes Major Lazer’s ‘Run Up’

  • 11-Year-Old DJs Amira & Kayla Featured on Fallon

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    11-year-old twin sister DJs Amira & Kayla were featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday. The girls spoke to Jimmy before performing a turntablism routine using Eric B. and Rakim’s 1987 classic, “I Know You Got Soul.”

    The New Jersey natives have been gaining momentum lately, performing at a New York Knicks game, Jay Z’s 40/40 Club, New York Fashion Week, and Hot 97, to name a few. They’ve also received praise from legends like DJ Premier, Just Blaze, and Swizz Beatz.

    Amira & Kayla have been DJing since they were 3 years old and are residents at Little Clubheads, a nightclub-style party for kids. They were inspired by their father, Elijah Wells, who’s an artist manager and Grammy-nominated producer.

    Watch the video of them performing on Fallon above (skip to the 2:28 mark).

    Related: This 82-Year-Old Dumpling Maker Is Now a Professional DJ

  • A Look Inside the Beat Junkies’ DJ School

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    Beat Junkies

    In April, the legendary Beat Junkies crew launched a DJ school called The Beat Junkie Institute of Sound. Located in Glendale, California, the school offers fundamental and specialized DJ courses, workshops, and private lessons, all taught by members of the crew.

    The Beat Junkie Institute of Sound puts on an emphasis on the foundation of DJing. For example, students start by learning with original vinyl and then move to digital. Its state-of-the-art facility features 12 workstations, a merch store, and a “longtagon,” which is a table for group scratch sessions.

    Power 106’s DJ E-Man recently took a tour of the institute and spoke with instructors DJ Babu and Mr. Choc. While he was there, he saw a scratch session that included DJ Premier. Afterwards, E-Man spoke with Premo about what it means to be a DJ today.

    Watch the video below.

    Related: Watch DJ Premier and Miguel’s ‘2 Lovin U’ Video

  • The Samples Behind DMX’s ‘It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot’

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    Power 106‘s Wax Only series has returned with a new episode, this time to review the samples from DMX’s debut studio album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.

    Released on May 12, 1998, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It sold over five million copies and was certified quadruple platinum in December 2000.

    It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot featured the singles “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get at Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy,” and “How’s It Goin’ Down.” It was produced by Dame Grease, PK, Swizz Beatz, Irv Gotti, and Lil Rob. Some notable samples on the album include Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me,” and The Bee Gees’ “Nights on Broadway.”

    Watch above to see Vin Rican go through the samples.

    Related: The Samples Behind Nas’ ‘Illmatic’

  • Entries Open for Red Bull 3Style

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    Red Bull 3Style has begun accepting submissions for this year’s competition.

    DJs from around the world can now apply for a chance to compete in the national finals of their country of origin. If their country is not hosting a national, then the DJ has a chance to compete in the world finals as a wild card.

    This year’s 3Style is open to DJs who use all-in-one controllers in place of players and a mixer. However, 3Style has noted that DJs who use all-in-one devices should make the most of their capabilities.

    To apply, fill out the form and submit a five-minute performance video at 3Style’s website. The submission process ends on May 31.

    3Style will announce the participating countries along with their finalists on July 1 (six per country). The wild card finalists will be revealed on the same day.

    The national finals will take place from September to November 2017. The winner of each final will represent their country at the world finals in Poland.


    Related: Details of Next Red Bull 3Style World Finals Revealed

  • Destructo Talks DJ AM, Real DJs, Blending Hip-Hop and Dance Music, and More

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    Destructo and Too $hort. (Photo source: Facebook)

    HARD Fest founder, DJ, and producer Destructo stopped by Power 106 on Tuesday to announce the lineup for this year’s HARD Summer festival. The Los Angeles native, who worked at the station in the ’90s, discussed a variety of topics relating to DJ culture and the convergence of hip-hop and dance music.

    The interview began with host J Cruz asking Destructo who his favorite DJs are.

    “One of my heroes as a DJ was DJ AM,” Destructo answered. “I think he was one of the first superstar DJs, so I always give him props and respect for crossing over. He was that first guy to break through in Vegas. He blended stuff like rock and rap. He’s a DJ’s DJ, a real DJ.”

    Destructo recalled his most memorable moment with AM, his performance at the first HARD Haunted Mansion in 2008.

    “[AM] had the [Daft Punk] helmet and everything and he went on [stage] and started playing every Daft Punk song,” Destructo recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh my god. Daft Punk is gonna get really mad at me.’ It kinda looked like we were like punking the audience. But then about 40 minutes in he took the helmet off and hit the Speak & Spell [that said] DJ AM.”

    Cruz followed up by asking Destructo if he thinks DJs get enough respect these days.

    “Oh yeah, 100%. I think they might be respected a little too much,” Destructo said with a laugh. “We got it so good. Be happy. Don’t take it for granted because I’d been around for 20 years when nobody liked DJs and nobody gave a f#ck about it, and now everybody’s into it. And I think a lot of DJs; they take that for granted.”

    Speaking about HARD Fest, Destructo explained how it’s different from other festivals.

    “It’s like I’m bringing [Los Angeles] to the rest of the world because I think my perspective on music is completely different than anyone else’s in electronic music,” Destructo said. “And it’s from growing up here [and] listening to this station.”

    He added:

    “I blend all kinds of weird things together that no one would think [of]. The first HARD [festival] we did [featured] Justice. 2 Live Crew played. Steve Aoki played the second one. I had N.E.R.D. We had Pharrell. And this was in 2008, and now everyone’s like, ‘Put electronic and rap together,’ and [I’m] like, ‘Where have you guys been?'”

    In a larger sense, Destructo believes hip-hop and electronic music are one in the same.

    “Rap music to me is electronic music,” Destructo said. “It’s made with the same computers and machines, it’s just got different flavor.”

    Even the meaning behind the name of his new EP, Renegade, fits in line with his open-format philosophy.

    “I feel like the people that like my music, the people who come to my shows, they’re renegades because they’re open to something new and trying something different,” Destructo said.

    Watch the full 25-minute interview below and download Destructo’s single “All Nite” featuring E-40 and Too $hort on DJcity.

    Related: HARD Summer 2017 Lineup Revealed

  • Lawyer-Turned-Radio Host Launches DJ School in Africa

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    Gesh Groove, a lawyer-turned-DJ and radio entrepreneur, has launched a DJ academy in the southern African nation of Zambia.

    Born Chishala Chitoshi, Gesh practiced law for 10 years before leaving to pursue his passion of being a DJ and radio host. In 2008, he helped launch Flava FM and made a name for himself.

    Four years later, Gesh started The DJ Academy Zambia to pass on his experience and leave a legacy. His school teaches people the skills needed to have a successful career, including both the technical and business sides of DJing.

    “The misconception about DJing I think needs be thrown out of the window,” Gesh says in an interview with BBC World News. “This idea of just saying somebody just needs to play music and get drunk; it’s not about that.”

    Watch BBC’s video above.

    Related: New Documentary Searches for Africa’s Best Nightclub

    Posted in DJ Culture, Videos
  • The Samples Behind Nas’ ‘Illmatic’

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    On April 19, 1994, a young Queensbridge rapper by the name of Nas released his debut album, Illmatic. Now, to honor its 23-year anniversary, Power 106’s Wax Only series has examined the samples used on the project.

    Illmatic is widely regarded as the greatest hip-hop album of all time by critics and fans alike. Wax Only host Vin Rican agrees, naming it his pick for best ever. The album peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and eventually went platinum.

    The album was produced by some of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time, including DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and Q-Tip. It sampled artists like Michael Jackson, The Gap Band, Average White Band, Ahmad Jamal, and Donald Byrd.

    Watch above to see Vinny go through the samples.

    Related: The Samples Behind Eazy-E’s ‘Eazy-Duz-It’

  • This 82-Year-Old Dumpling Maker Is Now a Professional DJ

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    Changing careers isn’t that uncommon these days. However, 82-year-old Sumiko Iwamuro a.k.a. DJ Sumirock is a rare case.

    The Japanese native, who works as a dumpling maker during the day, started DJing in her ’70s. She had been inspired by choosing music for her son’s birthday party.

    Sumirock now performs at clubs across Japan — usually for younger audiences. So far, she has only played in her home country, but she hopes to make it to New York City one day.

    As the saying goes, you’re never too old to reinvent yourself.

    Watch a short video about Sumirock above.

    Related: Britain’s Oldest DJ Retires

    Posted in DJ Culture, Videos