• 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

  • 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

    Posted in DJ Culture
  • 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
  • The Art of DJing, According to Dance Pioneers

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    Roger Sanchez
    Roger Sanchez (photo source: Facebook)

    A new documentary from UK label Toolroom Records has put a spotlight on the art and evolution of DJing from the perspective of dance music pioneers.

    The video features commentary from legends Andy C, Roger Sanchez, Danny Tenaglia, and Toolroom founder, Mark Knight. It also includes DJ Mag’s editor, Carl Loben.

    The documentary opens with Roger Sanchez discussing what it means to be a DJ.

    “DJing isn’t just about, you know, ‘I wanna see hands up in the air all night.’ It’s about creating a journey; it’s about telling a story, it’s about musically moving people from one vibe to another.”

    Mark Knight adds, “Some of the guys that really influenced me back in the day were guys like CJ Mackintosh, Masters at Work, Tony Humphries. They really had the ability to go into a room, evaluate the mood and the vibe of the room, engage with people, and really manipulate the energy and the steer of the night and that really resonated and stuck with me.”

    The DJs also discuss how the art has changed over the years.

    “A lot of the new DJs are producers,” Andy C says. “They make tunes and so they have to go out and play them [sic] tunes. I come from an era where I went out to buy records and would camp out in the record store every day.”

    Sanchez points out that the dance scene, like hip-hop, had an open-format beginning.

    “There was so many different types of music that would just fall under what you’d play in a club. It’d be everything from soul, funk, disco, jazz, as long as it worked on the floor, we used to put it in the mix.”

    The transition from “marathon sets” to shorter headline performances was another significant change in the scene, according to the DJs. It’s a recurring topic throughout the documentary.

    “…you’re obligated when you’re booked as a headline act [nowadays] to go in and give people what they want,” Knight says. “But I really feel that the art of DJing, in its purest form, is much more than that, is much more than being a jukebox. It’s an expression of what you’re about musically, especially if you make music and you’re a producer. It’s the opportunity to go into a room and say to people, ‘This is what I’m about, from here to here.’ And that is very hard to do in within two hours…”

    Watch the full documentary below.

    Related: Grandmaster Flash: Technology Is a Gift and a Curse

    Posted in DJ Culture, Videos
  • Details of Next Red Bull 3Style World Finals Revealed

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    Red Bull 3Style has announced the details of the eighth world finals, which will take place in Krakow, Poland.

    Entries for the competition open on May 1 and close on May 31. To apply, DJs must register and submit a five-minute performance video on the 3Style website. A full list of rules can also be found there.

    Speaking of rules, for the first time, 3Style will allow DJs to use all-in-one controllers in place of players and a mixer. However, their website says that DJs “better freak that thing.”

    3Style will announce the participating countries on July 1 along with their respective finalists (six per country). DJs who don’t live in a participating country will still have a chance to compete in the world finals as a wild card. The list of wild card finalists will be revealed alongside the national finalists.

    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.

    The spelling and numbering convention of the competition have also changed. The spelling is now “3Style” (it used to be “Thre3style”) and Roman numerals are used instead of the year (3Style World Finals VIII).


    Related: 69Beats Shares Advice on How to Create a Thre3style Routine

    Posted in DJ Culture
  • Grandmaster Flash: Technology Is a Gift and a Curse

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    Grandmaster Flash

    DJ and hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash discussed the role that technology plays in DJ culture during an interview with CNET at SXSW. The conversation took place before the debut of part two of Netflix’s The Get Down, which Flash associate produced.

    “The audience wants to see you perform. And as a DJ, the best platform will always be turntables,” Flash said when asked how he feels about DJs scratching with the Touch Bar on Apple’s new MacBook Pro.

    “Especially if you play multiple genres of music, the [beats per minute] fluctuate on all songs, you’re constantly trying to lock it in so that one beat connects on time to the next one. People want to see the constant battle going on. It’s something for them to look at, as opposed to [having] something that does it for you. I won’t say that it’s right or wrong, left or right, black or white. But why?”

    Flash added that DJing, like everything else, goes in cycles.

    “There has never been this much awareness for yesterday, of what was taking place in the ’70s,” he said. “So many people are trying to replicate what was.”

    However, Flash doesn’t disapprove of all new technology.

    “I used to have a room full of all the hardware. Two things happened: The room is increasingly hot — your power bill is out the window, it’s a mortgage. And it breaks down quite a bit. So, the scientist that I am, I went on a tear in the early ’90s when a lot of technology companies were making software versions of, like, a base module. Once I bought the app version, I took the hardware version and put it away. Slowly but surely, I put all my stuff away, because the wonder about technology is you can carry it with you. That’s a gift in it.”

    The curse, he said, is when the technology does the work for you.

    “I find that to be an insult to the audience. If you ain’t really mixing, then go try another profession. Don’t cheat the audience like that.”

    Watch a clip of Flash’s master class for The Get Down cast below. Part two debuts April 7.

    Related: Watch Grandmaster Flash’s Lecture on the Development of Hip-Hop DJing

  • Skratch Bastid Discusses the ‘Amen Breakbeat’

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    The 2016 Red Bull Thre3style World Finals included a variety of workshops and jam sessions. One of our favorites was the “Ultimate Breaks and Beats” event, which was named after the 1980s compilation series of the same name.

    In this behind the scenes clip, Skratch Bastid discusses the importance of the “Amen break” and Poland’s VaZee scratches over it.

    Released by The Winstons in 1969, “Amen, Brother” is one of the most famous samples of all time. According to WhoSampled, it has been used in over 2,500 hip-hop, jungle, and drum and bass songs.

    Related: Skratch Bastid Gets Busy With Anderson .Paak’s ‘Come Down’

  • Playing for the Crowd vs. Playing for Yourself

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    When it comes to song selection, DJs often identify with one of two camps: Those who play for the crowd and those who play for themselves. DJ TLM doesn’t think it has to be one or the other, though.

    Watch above to see him discuss the topic on month’s episode of Share the Knowledge.

    Related: Dropping Tracks On ‘The One’

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

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    Emirates Airlines (photo source: Facebook)

    DJs who plan on returning to the US and UK from some Middle Eastern and North African countries might have to change their travel plans.

    Effective Tuesday, US and UK-bound airline passengers are prohibited from carrying personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone in the cabin. The order doesn’t have an end date.

    The ban comes after intelligence showed that the Islamic State is developing a bomb that can be hidden in portable electronics.

    Passengers will have to put their laptops, tablets, portable DVD players, cameras, and other large devices into their checked baggage. It’s a major inconvenience, especially for DJs, who prefer to work on mixes, tracks, and other projects during flights.

    For US passengers, the impacted airports are:

    – Abu Dabi International, United Arab Emirates
    – Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
    – Cairo International, Egypt
    – Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
    – Kuwait International
    – Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
    – Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
    – King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    – King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    – Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey

    For US passengers, the impacted airlines are:

    – EgyptAir
    – Emirates
    – Ethiad Airways
    – Kuwait Airways
    – Qatar Airways
    – Royal Air Maroc
    – Royal Jordanian
    – Saudia
    – Turkish Airlines

    For UK passengers, all flights from the following countries are affected:

    – Egypt
    – Jordan
    – Lebanon
    – Saudi Arabia
    – Tunisia
    – Turkey

    Check out the BBC News’ full report for more details.

    Related: Travel Tips for DJs Visiting London

    Posted in DJ Culture
  • Travel Tips for DJs Visiting London

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    Martin 2 Smoove
    Wiley (left) and Martin 2 Smoove (right) at Ministry of Sound in London. (photo credit: Milkshake)

    DJs may not know where to eat, stay, and play when they get booked in cities they’ve never been to before. To help them get the most out of their visit, DJcity has launched a monthly series called DJ Travel Tips. The series highlights some of the best things to do in some of the most popular destinations around the world.

    Where to Stay

    DJ Nick Bright, BBC Radio:

    “If you’re balling out, then you have to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard. It has the sickest views of London as it’s the highest hotel in the city. It’s right above London Bridge station so getting around is easy. If your budget isn’t quite at superstar rapper level, then the Ace Hotel is a decent alternative. It’s right in the middle of Shoreditch, one of the busiest and coolest areas in the city. If museums and local culture are more your thing, I would recommend The Nadler Kensington. It’s a quick walk or train ride to the museum quarter and has a really cool boutique vibe.”

    Where to Eat

    DJ Cable, BBC Radio 1Xtra and DJcity:

    “Check out ICCO on Goodge Street if you’re into pizza and Chisou on Princes Street for Japanese. Brick Lane has loads of options for a curry, not to mention one of the nicest bagel spots in the city, Beigel Bake. And of course, no trip to London would be complete without a visit to Morley’s for a late night three-piece chicken and chips after a night out. I’d also recommend the restaurant in the Mondrian. Not only is the food great, but the service is always top quality.”

    What to Do

    Martin 2 Smoove, Ministry of Sound and Capital FM:

    “In London, something is going on every night of the week. If it’s clubbing you want, you have to check out the newly reopened Fabric or Ministry of Sound, where I’m currently a resident. There’s always good live music throughout the week, from the big venues like The O2 to intimate places like the Notting Hill Arts Club. When I’m not DJing, my favorite place to hit up is Hip Hop Karaoke at The Social on Thursday night. It’s one of the best places to have unpretentious fun!”

    Where to Party

    DJ AIK:

    “There are a lot of really good venues in the West End where you can experience a mixture of house and hip-hop. Tape, Toy Room Club, Libertine, and Cirque le Soir always have great DJs and are favorites of a lot of big American rappers and celebrities. Drake, Big Sean, Young Thug, and Travis Scott have all been there recently. My favorite West End club has to be The Box. It attracts an eclectic crowd, and their shocking live shows leave little to the imagination. The combination of house music, vintage decor, and “trash” stage performers makes for an interesting club concept. If you want to experience electronic music or the underground music scene in London, Shoreditch is a good place to go. Check out Brick Lane on a Sunday where you’ll find some house day parties going on. You can also stop by the headquarters of the legendary Defected Records.”

    Related: Travel Tips for DJs Visiting Houston

    Posted in DJ Culture