• KidCutUp: What I Learned From Touring With Pink

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    KidCutUp warms up the crowd for Pink at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA. (Source: KidCutUp)

    From March 1 to June 1, DJcity’s KidCutUp joined pop star Pink on her Beautiful Trauma tour. The Milwaukee native was the opening act at about 50 sold-out shows across the US, averaging 12,000 to 18,000 people a night. Now, after a few weeks off, CutUp is back on the road for the singer’s Australia tour. We spoke with him via email about what it was like touring with one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

    What was the audience like?

    Most of the audience is older than a typical bottle service club crowd, and there is a solid LGBT presence. It was a down-to-earth, fun party crowd. Surprisingly, it was pretty much the same whether we did large cities like New York or smaller markets like Wichita or Tulsa.

    What was your set like?

    Because the audience wasn’t the usual 20 something millennials, my set had a lot of classic, throwback party music. It was heavy on rock with a lot of old-school hip-hop as well. The audience’s taste was pretty wide, so I was looking to see which songs could bring people together instead of catering to certain parts of the crowd one track at a time. It was challenging. Sometimes it involved doing blends and intricately weaving tracks together, but it started with picking the right tunes in the first place.

    Did you get nervous performing for such large audiences?

    I felt less nervous on this tour than other ones I’ve done. Once I got in tune with the crowd, and the bulk of my set was dialed in, I knew it would work and how people would respond. There were so many people in the crowd that I couldn’t comprehend how many were actually there. My brain just considered it one giant bunch. Also, I worked on my set every day, so I felt pretty good about going up on stage.

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    What was your setup?

    I used two Technics 1200s, a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9, and a coat rack, because where else am I going to put my coat when I’m on stage? It was a simple setup without a full light show or crazy production. It came down to the actual DJing and connecting with the audience. I didn’t have much to hide behind up there!

    What was your life on tour like?

    Touring takes a bit of getting used to. As the opening act, I had an easier time than the crew. They were incredible to watch. They’re the first people in the building, getting the entire stage built and rigged up, and they’re the last to leave. On back-to-back show days, the only time the crew could rest was during the show itself and on the tour bus as we headed to the next city. Luckily, the routing wasn’t that brutal, and the tour was organized well to avoid too many back-to-back shows. Still, you’re in a new city every other day or so. Usually, it’s one night in a hotel, and the next you sleep on the bus in transit to the next city. As far as my day-to-day activities went, I spent time working on my set, tweaking things. I would add new songs, touch up the produced parts, remaster the older songs and whatever else the set needed to stay fresh. I would try to make things tighter than the previous show. There were also business things to sort out. I met with my tax guy when we stopped in his city. It’s important to stay on top of those things while on the road, so you don’t come back to a mess.

    Follow KidCutUp on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Listen to KidCutUp’s Beautiful Drama tour playlist on Spotify.

    Related: KidCutUp Delivers DJcity Podcast Mix

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  • Watch: DJ Prospect and DJ ELLiNGTONE Discuss the Importance of Networking

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    UK DJs Prospect and ELLiNGTONE recently sat down with the TalkOver Podcast to discuss the importance of networking. The show, which focuses on DJ issues, is hosted by UK DJs Stylus and DUBL.

    Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Prospect is a mixer on BBC Radio 1Xtra and member of the DJcity UK team. ELLiNGTONE, who also lives in Edinburgh, holds it down from Wednesday to Sunday in clubs throughout the city.

    The conversation focused on the UK scene, but most of the tips and insights are relevant to DJs of all countries. During the discussion, Prospect and Stylus spoke about the impact of the DJcity linkups in the community (around the 13 minute mark).

    Watch above.

    Related: Watch: UK DJs Connect at DJcity Linkup in London

  • Watch Damianito’s ‘MikiDz Show’ Set

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    Damianito on DJcity’s “MikiDz Show” in Los Angeles on July 9, 2018. (Credit: Keith Oshiro)

    On Monday, Red Bull Music 3Style world champion Damianito kicked off the new season of DJcity’s MikiDz Show. The Italian DJ and turntablist delivered a creative set of hip-hop, bass music, and more, including a section of Italian hip-hop.

    In attendance were some of Los Angeles’ most respected DJs, including Spider, Steve1der, and Dynamix.

    Watch Damianito’s full performance below, along with his interview with hosts MikiWAR and DJ Dainjazone. The convo included insights into the Italian scene and the 3Style experience. You can also download the audio via iTunes.

    Damianito with hosts DJ Dainjazone and MikiWAR
    Damianito with hosts DJ Dainjazone and MikiWAR (Credit: Keith Oshiro)

    The audience
    The audience (Credit: Keith Oshiro)

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    Related: Watch: Damianito Throws Down Turntablism Routine

  • Watch: Canadian DJs Connect at DJcity Linkup in Toronto

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    In May, DJcity announced that it was launching a team in Canada. The following month, DJs from the Toronto area came together for the country’s first-ever DJcity Linkup.

    The event, which took place at Nomads RestoBar, was hosted by DJcity Canada’s 4KORNERS, Andre905, and Trapment.

    “This is the most DJs I’ve seen in one room in a very, very, very long time, maybe ever,” DJcity Canada director 4KORNERS told the crowd.

    Watch the recap above.

    Related: 4KORNERS Drops DJcity Podcast Mix

  • Watch: ‘Inside Turntablists’ Puts a Spotlight on DJ Manipulate

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    DJ Manipulate
    DJ Manipulate (Credit: Boom City)

    British creative collective Boom City has released the second episode of their documentary series, Inside Turntablists. The video puts a spotlight on DJ Manipulate, a 21-year veteran from Brighton, UK.

    Manipulate is a member of the trio, Grandeurs of Delusion. He’s also a leader in the European turntablism community, having organized showcases, battles, and networking events across the continent.

    On the episode, Manipulate discusses his approach to scratching, his group Grandeurs of Delusion, and his involvement in the European turntablism scene.

    Watch the episode and a routine from him below.

    Related: New Documentary Series ‘Inside Turntablists’ Explores Global Scratch Scene

  • Watch: Grandtheft Talks DJing and Producing

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    Grandtheft is one of Canada’s most versatile and influential DJ/producers. From rocking clubs and festivals to performing at DJ battles like the Red Bull Music 3Style, the Mad Decent artist can hold it down anywhere.

    As a producer, he’s released some of the biggest club and festival anthems of the past few years, including “Keep It 100” with Keys N Krates, his “Sweet Nothing” remix with Diplo, and “Number One” with Major Lazer. He’s also seen radio success with original singles like “Easy Go” featuring Delaney Jane.

    On this episode of A Moment With, Grandtheft discusses how he got into DJing, his creative process for producing, what he wants to convey with his music, plus more.

    Watch above.

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    Follow Grandtheft on Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, and Twitter.

    Related: Watch: Trackstar the DJ on What It’s Like Being Run the Jewels’ DJ

  • Diplo Talks Career and Current State of Music at Oxford University

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    Diplo performs at Hyde Beach in Miami on March 23, 2018. (Credit: Dylan Rives/World Red Eye)

    Since 1823, Oxford University’s historic debate society, the Oxford Union, has hosted numerous high profile speakers. From Winston Churchill to Albert Einstein to Michael Jackson, the list is full of influential people who’ve helped shape the world.

    In May, Oxford added Diplo to the list. “I never imagined my career would take me somewhere like this,” the 40-year-old DJ/producer said at the beginning of his speech.

    During the hour-long conversation, Diplo gave a speech about his career and participated in a Q&A session with the audience. He discussed how traveling abroad influenced the development of his career, his thoughts on the current hip-hop scene, the lack of female representation in the DJ world, among many other topics.

    On how he stays passionate about DJing:

    “I found a way to regulate my life so I can get work done and do shows. And I’m actually really lucky that I love it. … The randomness of my career and the eclecticness of what I DJ makes it easy to do different things. I never plan a DJ set. I have so many different projects I can pull from to play. It might be the pop songs [or] it might be something underground I just created. I think when people come see me play they’re going to expect to be surprised. So I’ve been really lucky that I never get bored.”

    On the younger generation of rappers:

    “It’s fascinating to see how, if you look at the top charts on Spotify or Apple Music, the top 20 charts [are] gonna have 19 rap songs by young kids that are between 15 and 20 years old. And I think that’s an amazing shift because the audience wants that. They’re reaching people directly. And I feel like hip-hop always had the chance to be that music that reaches directly, but there was always a guard by the labels, by the radio, and now we don’t need any of that. You just go straight to SoundCloud or Spotify, and you’re reaching an audience. So I love that. I love the rebelliousness of and the anarchist qualities of these young guys who were on the last EP I just produced.”

    On how an aspiring songwriter can get his attention:

    “I listen to as much music as I possibly can, but now you have to be something crazy. I’ve lived in [Los Angeles] for so long, and there’s such a songwriter-y world there where the songs are the same. They’re just dressed up differently, and I’m so bored. … But I’ve always been the kind of guy that’s been on the outside, trying to do something different. And it’s never been easy for me to write a simple song or pop music. And I think you have to be really exciting. I don’t have an ear for pop that much. I have more of an ear for craziness, and I can help you figure out how to make that work. … [So] just be different because we have so much of the same happening right now in the music scene that I think that if you push yourself to be as crazy as possible it’s gonna be your only hope to succeed.”

    Watch the interview below.

    Related: Watch Diplo Perform at Boiler Room’s London Headquarters

  • Shaq Announces His First-Ever DJ Tour

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    Shaq performs at Tomorrowland. (Credit: Stijn De Grauwe)

    Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal a.k.a. Shaq has announced his first-ever DJ tour. The 15-date Summer of SHAQ tour will include a performance at Diplo’s Mad Decent Pool Party in Miami, and with Cash Cash at Echostage in Washington, D.C.

    During the 2018 Miami Music Week, the NBA Hall-of-Famer hosted an event called Shaq’s Fun House. He performed under his stage name DJ Diesel, alongside heavyweights such as Diplo, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak.

    “A lot of people think I am just a celebrity DJ, but I’ve been DJing since I was 14 years old,” Shaq told Billboard.

    Check out the dates below.

    June 8 – Club Sirteen – Beijing
    June 9 – Life In Color Festival – Shanghai
    June 29 – LIV Nightclub with Gucci Mane – Miami
    June 30 – Mad Decent Pool Party with Diplo, Delano Hotel – Miami
    July 4 – TBD – Bahamas
    July 14 – HQ2 Beach Club at Ocean Resort – Atlantic City
    July 14 – Echostage with Cash Cash – Washington, D.C.
    July 15 – Shaq Sized Surprise Announcement – TBD
    Aug. 1 – Prysm Nightclub, Official Lollapalooza Aftershow – Chicago
    Aug. 2 – The Grand Nightclub – Boston
    Aug. 4 – Cabana Pool Bar, Caribana Weekend – Toronto
    Aug. 5 – Rehab Beach Club, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas
    Aug. 30 – TBD – TBD
    Sept. 1 – TBD – TBD
    Sept. 2 – TBD – TBD

    Related: The Houston Rockets’ Official DJ Shares His Playlist for the NBA Playoffs

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  • How DJ Tessa Is Empowering Female DJs With Her Agency, Prism DJs

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    DJ Tessa performs at the LA Food Bowl. (Credit: Matthew Withers)

    In an industry that is still predominantly run by men, Tessa Young a.k.a. DJ Tessa is pushing boundaries for female DJs. While DJing in Los Angeles in the early 2010s, the Reno, Nevada native noticed that booking agencies had few women on their rosters. With years of DJ experience, connections, and a paralegal background, Tessa launched Prism DJs, an all-female agency.

    Launched in 2015, Prism books DJs for mostly mobile gigs such as corporate events, weddings, and other special and private events. The agency currently has 23 DJs on its roster, including Annalyze, ShanLynn, MissNINJA, and Frazier Davis. As the female DJ movement continues to rise, we caught up with Tessa to discuss Prism DJs, the challenges of running an all-female agency, what she looks for when signing new talent, and more.

    Why do you think there is such a low number of women represented by DJ agencies?

    I think there are just more male DJs than female DJs in general, so it was never going to be equal based on the ratio. But now, in a time when mixing and production lessons are more accessible, less intimidating, and our male counterparts are more supportive, I see more women genuinely interested in music production and DJing. In turn, more women will be added to these rosters eventually. We all need to make it a priority to level up creatively and skill-wise if we want to play on the same field.

    How does Prism differ from other agencies?

    Our DJs are talented, vetted, and have several years of experience. Also, I make it a priority to protect Prism’s DJs by being transparent, ensuring timely payments, handling riders, logistics, and securing, and enforcing contracts.

    What are some of the unique skills required for being a mobile DJ versus a club or festival DJ?

    Being a mobile DJ is definitely more labor intensive if you are setting up and breaking down your own gear. If there is a technical problem, you need to know how to fix it yourself. As a mobile DJ, especially for weddings and dance parties, the DJ needs to know how to read a crowd and select accordingly, be aware of energy levels, have knowledge of many genres, and span generations of music. Club and festival DJs might have the luxury of playing their own produced tracks or a curated set. Sometimes they get their own on-site audio technicians that standby to handle technical difficulties for them. They can have more freedom to play what they want or what they specialize in, rather than a mobile DJ that caters to the crowd.

    Prism DJs at Serato’s studio in Los Angeles. (Source: Instagram)

    What is the biggest challenge of running an all-female DJ agency?

    The Los Angeles market is very competitive, whether you are male or female. There are so many amazing DJ options. In this social media-driven world we now live in, we need to market ourselves more sophisticatedly and creatively. Just being titled a “female DJ” or “female DJ agency” does not ensure work.

    What do you look for when adding new talent to your roster?

    I look for several things: above-average mixing skills, exceptional selection, vast knowledge of music genres, professionalism, and a positive attitude. I prefer that the DJs can jump on any gear with ease, including turntables, CDJs, controllers, and various mixers. DJs must also have more than two years of experience playing regularly in public. In the age of social media, it is also important for the DJ to have a good online image because clients are doing their own research to make sure that their DJ choice is a good brand match for their event.

    What are your plans for the company and where do you see it going?

    Prism DJs is still growing as an agency and brand, so I am continuing to work diligently on that. In the very near future, I would like Prism DJs to get more involved with the community and offer workshops to young, aspiring female DJs. Other than that, we’ll just see where this takes us!

    Do you have any advice for someone who’s looking to start a DJ agency ?

    If you have good eyes and ears for talent, along with marketing, management, and administrative skills, then you have all the necessary elements required for a successful agency. Go for it!

    Follow DJ Tessa on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Follow Prism DJs on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: Las Vegas Talent Buyer Dave Fogg Gives Insight Into His Booking Process

  • New Documentary Series ‘Inside Turntablists’ Explores Global Scratch Scene

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    British creative collective Boom City has launched new documentary series, Inside Turntablists, which explores the global scratch scene. The series looks at the full spectrum of turntablism, from club DJs with chops to underground turntablists who don’t DJ in the traditional sense.

    On the first episode, Inside Turntablists visits DJ Robert Smith, the 2017 DMC Germany champion. Smith discusses why he’s dedicated his life to turntablism and what it’s like being an artist in Berlin.

    Watch above.

    Related: DJ@War is Developing a Scratch Training App, skratchEZ