British creative collective Boom City has released a turntablist documentary, Making Mad Noise – 10 Years of Community Skratch.
The Community Skratch event series brings turntablists together from around the world for showcases and networking. It began with the Community Skratch Games in 2006 in Galway, Ireland. It later expanded to Brighton, UK, with DJ Manipulate‘s Community Skratch BBQ.
As the turntablism community grew, the event series branched out with UK and European tours. Community Skratch has also begun to collaborate with Battle Avenue, expanding the turntablist network even further.
In January, we traveled to Taipei, Taiwan to attend the Red Bull Music 3Style World Finals IX. The week-long event included five nights of battles, pre- and after-parties, panel discussions, tours of the city and surrounding area, plus more.
DJ Jazzy Jeff at the PLAYLIST Retreat in Delaware in August 2018. (Credit: Julian Melanson)
At the beginning of August, DJ Jazzy Jeff hosted the fourth annual PLAYLIST Retreat at his property in Delaware. The multi-day event brought together like-minded DJs, producers, and songwriters to network and collaborate.
In attendance were legendary DJs like Z-Trip and Skratch Bastid, music producers such as Lord Finesse and DJ Khalil, and companies like Serato and Roland, among many others.
Like previous years, the retreat featured a song making competition that grouped random artists into teams.
Watch DJcityTV’s mini-documentary about the retreat below.
Pete Tong at Blue Marlin Ibiza. (Photo credit: Alex Caballero)
In 2016, Avicii surprised the dance community when he retired from touring at the age of 26 due to health concerns. Now, more DJs have shared their struggles in a new documentary from Pioneer DJ’s DJsounds.
Why We DJ – Slaves To The Rhythm explores what drives DJs to put themselves through rigorous schedules and the toll it has on their health.
“I’m addicted to the feeling of connecting with a crowd and controlling the vibe,” says legendary DJ Erick Morillo.
The New York City native’s sentiments are echoed in the documentary by renowned house DJs like Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Seth Troxler, and Ben Pearce.
With their addiction to performing comes consequences, however. The side effects include deprivation, loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse, and pressure from fans and management.
“I was deeply unhappy,” Pearce says. “I was drinking every day and basically chugging my life down the drain. And I think it got to the point that I knew that if I didn’t do something about it, I wouldn’t be around much longer.”
Tong adds: “It’s a very hard job to get any sympathy for because everyone has this image in their heads of private jets and spraying champagne. But the touring life of a DJ is really hard.”
DJ Jazzy Jeff takes a group selfie at his PLAYLIST Retreat in Delaware. (Photo credit: Julian Melanson)
Last week, DJ Jazzy Jeff hosted his third annual PLAYLIST Retreat at his estate in Delaware. The invite-only event brought together like-minded DJs, producers, and songwriters to collaborate and network.
This year’s retreat was the biggest yet and featured acclaimed names such as J. Cole, DJ Dahi, Mr. Carmack, Lord Finesse, Young Guru, Z-Trip, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Skratch Bastid.
There were a variety activities, including a producer challenge in which artists were randomly grouped into teams and tasked with making a track.
DJcity was invited to the event and captured it on video. Watch below.
In 2013, Brandan Duke, a.k.a. Dextrous One, set the Guinness World Record for Youngest Club DJ. He achieved the feat by performing for a crowd of eight thousand at just six years old. Now, the 10-year-old is aiming to be the world’s youngest professional music producer.
VICE Canada caught up with him at his home in Ontario to learn more about his background as a DJ and foray into producing. Watch above.
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s highly-anticipated documentary The Defiant Ones is now airing on HBO. The four-part series traces both of their careers along with their 20-plus-year partnership.
On the first episode, Dre recalls his beginnings as a DJ.
How he got into DJing:
“There was a club in the neighborhood called Eve After Dark. One of my uncles was a bouncer at this club, and he snuck me in one night, and Kurtis Blow was performing. And his little brother, Davy DMX, he was the DJ. This [was] the first time in my life that I saw scratching. It just f#cked me up. I knew that this was my calling. There was a friend of mine, and he put together two turntables, and he used a balance knob to be able to go from turntable to turntable. I started [DJing], and I just fell in love with it.”
His first mixer:
“My mom bought me a Numark [DM]1150 mixer [for Christmas]; I [had] the ability to make tapes. [It was] one of the best gifts I ever got in my life.”
“One of the first times that I performed for an audience was in Eazy-E’s backyard after a block party. Next thing I know, all the kids in the neighborhood were coming over to my house to get their tape. I would shout your name out on the tape, or you could talk on your own tape. This was the first way I started hustling and making money.”
Kronic has become one of the most versatile DJs/producers from Australia. Earlier this year, his track “Push” with Far East Movement and Savage was featured in the Fast & Furious 8 trailer during the halftime broadcast of the Super Bowl. Today, the Gold Coast native has released a documentary titled Long Story Short to discuss his career journey.
Shot and produced by DJcityTV‘s Creative Director Julian Melanson, the video shows Kronic talking about his start as a DJ, moving to Los Angeles, and working with artists like Pitbull, Lil Jon, and Austin Mahone.
To accompany the documentary, Kronic has also shared a Long Story Short playlist on Spotify. Watch the four-minute video above and check out the playlist below.
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…”