• Anonymous

    word

  • ms. yeap

    Props to you Jay Slim!

  • ms. yeap

    Great insight from Jay Slim. Thanks for helping us, at least me to clarify this. Being a so-called sophomore, I’d always thought that technicality and skills are look upon higher than musicality in turntablism. What battles looks like to me is,” whoever is the fastest and strongest, win the game!”

    This statement really shed alot of light… It’s because we let our music evolve into
    something that’s more technique than art to the point where the only
    people who can appreciate it are other turntablists, if even that.

  • SK I0I

    respect to all styles..yes, even the euro stuff.

    if there’s anything i’d like to see/hear

    BRING BACK FUNK, BREAKDOWNS & HEADNODS.

    (thats jus me tho.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782115386 Ewan Matheson

    I’m not a turntablist.  At all.  I have a huge respect for the artform, especially when I know how wrong I can get it on Traktor…  Hopefully when I next have a bunch of cash I’ll be splashing out of some Technics as I really want to start learning and then combine that with what I know already!

    My take on this article is that it was about moving away from technical proficiency, and moving towards a more articulate expression of what can be done with turntables.  This seems to have provoked some backlash.  Despite not being a turntablist, I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who can scratch and juggle and to reference someone else on this forum, yes, a toddler could use an S4, although I suspect that mixing Barney the Dinosaur into Sesame St might not work well… (anyone who plays vinyl, quit hating on us… please? I still have to convince people who know nothing about it that it’s not just a CD player… I don’t need people who actually understand it giving me a hard time!  Tell me a toddler could organise and maintain a set with linked traktor and ableton, custom VSTs, a synth, guitar and drum pad inputs, and yeah… I’ve got a cowbell.) the analogy I was thinking was that turntablism is where guitar was in the 80s, the most celebrated guitarists were the ones who could play 1/64 arpeggios, sweep picked up through every variation of a scale.  Do we remember these as the most amazing artists of the 80s? No. We remember the anthems, the little nuggets of musical genius.  Similarly turntablism needs a champion, someone to show what can be done musically, especially now that everything is pitch corrected, quantised and to a digital musician like many others on here, sounds wrong.  I would site Nirvana as the guitar act to break out of this “noodly” guitar phase, turntablism needs their own Nirvana.

  • spektakx

    “I can’t think of a single controller that’s out there, or that’s even being developed, that I’d even remotely consider for a turntablist performance”
    I am going to shut you the hell up

  • DJ Jor-el

    Growing up, the DMC was always fun to watch….but there was nothing like watching the head-2-head battles of the NMS, ITF, and Vestax World Championships. To me, even though each DJ had a number of routines, those battles still epitomized what made turntablism what it was.

    Someone mentioned earlier that Hip Hop is dying. DJing is reflective of that. 4 of the 5 major elements of Hip Hop are rooted in battling. It was all about not only being better than someone else, but learning from that person while maintaining your individuality. As one can see, a LOT of DJs now sound the same, crap like ABDC is passing itself off as what Hip Hop dancing is supposed to be, MCs are no longer recognized for lyrical eloquence, and even Graf artists are now using stickers and stencils. The whole battling aspect still exists, but it is now somewhat of an underground thing.

    It seems that when battling was at the forefront of Hip Hop, it was thriving. Hip Hop dancers all move the same…a lot of successful MCs sound the same…a lot of Graf artists would rather use a stencil instead of a fat tip…Now, is it coincidence that a bunch of DJs sound alike? Not really…

    Bottom line…I miss battling…it’s what Hip Hop was built on….

  • chile
  • Shrink_ii_fit

    I get it. Dexter’s second place in 2000 wasnt for technical skills, but it still ranks up there (for me) as one of the most musical sets I have heard. The same goes for Kentaro…

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephan.bruno Stephan JackofClubz Bruno

    Why can’t you love one medium without putting down another?

  • Uno

    Sorry but this guy is talking absolute bollocks. We’ve heard this “everything was better back in the day” argument before a million times and its bullshit. The people who enter the battles are the ones that say where the scene is going and what it sounds like today. If they want it tech, then it’ll be tech. If they want it funky, then funky it shall be so dont criticize the people who practice all year for their one shot at the title for doing what they want. It’s up to them to represent themselves in whichever way they link right? How about this. I challenge you to stop writing ridiculous articles on websites and go back to watching the 90s DMC videos while the rest of us enjoy whats happening now.   

  • Dj L-Biz

    Dj L-Biz:

    I like the challenge – I think back to the dmc sets that inspired me the ‘step up routine’ in scratch was unbelieveable – And still is! The point is its what the music makes you feel. Many sets these day just make you go ‘uh yeah that was pretty tight’ but never like ‘dammmmmm son!’ (like seeing rob swift double up Dr knockboot)

    Technically we have advanced but the Musicallity has suffered.

  • http://twitter.com/iamhiphopslop Brett

    Quality CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

  • DJ CNTRL

    Is this what the author wants to see?

    Hmm…I wonder.

  • Thedonsantos

    I aggree with B*Money  “I completely agree but from the thing that you have to keep in mind is
    that the JUDGES, who are mostly former battle champs kept consistently
    rewarding these types of routines, and I think that is why that certain
    style has become so prevalent.”  I made electro routines exactly because of this,.. to please the judges. 

    • DJDeus

      I refuse to compromise on my style to go electro. I might incorporate 10% of it but not 100%. Then again, I am not hungry to win. My style represents me and that style has progressed over time. Euro or electro is not my style unless I can make that shit funky. Regarding judges, everyone is different. When I judge, I look for originality, creativity, musicality. Everyone rocking the same style (euro) but on different produced records is not being original. This is not a battle of who can produce the dopest record to flip in a battle, but that’s what it’s turning into. I agree with Slim on this article, but I do agree that if you don’t like it, do something about it and that’s why I am in this year.

  • proben

    What ever happened to C2C, the French turntablist crew that won DMC’s group category like 5 years in a row?  They were the most musical turntablist act I’ve ever seen; you could throw on a CD of their routines and people would just groove out, and have no idea they were even scratching.  

  • Theo Void

    I definitely have respect for this art form simply because these guys have ridiculous skills. I don’t have anywhere near the coordination to manipulate machines in this way. That said, it sounds absolutely awful!!! The reason that turntablism has evolved technically and not musically is because it is SOLELY technical. It’s all about how fast you are, how many tricks you can do, etc. Music takes a backseat to showing off. Sorta like how rap is dying because all these dudes wanna rap about is how much $$ they have, how many bitches they bang, and how much they’re fucking grill is worth!!! In a world where people are scraping to get by because they’ve been raped by Corporations, nobody wants to hear some asshole rubbing $$ in their face!!! OK that last part is not relevant, at all.
    Sorry for the tangent. ANyway, like I said, I have mad respect but I could NEVER consider this music. Could you imagine actually putting something like this on and actually sitting and listening to it? I can’t. 
    It’s all show!!

    • Voice of Reason

       You’ve been exposed to all the wrong dj’s, one doesn’t represent all

  • Saewerd

    Spot on article. Turntabalist’s all over don’t get the respect they deserve, being a turntablist compared to a big club dj is almost all passion driven. Kids these days look at controllers, that pretty much do they whole mix for you, and decide to take the easy route with these instant mix machines.

    I started scratching about 8 years ago (currently running two ttx’s and a vestax pmc-08), I gave into the hype of the s4 and the awesomeness of Traktor. It is currently on my desk gathering dust. Don’t get me wrong its an awesome controller, tons of fun. But so simple an infant could pick it up in a half hour. Controllers just aren’t an option if you actually want to express yourself. That quote from Q sums it up. I’ll stick with my tables.

  • El Tiburon

    The V7 and the Denon 3900 smoke TT’s. You can do everything with those controllers that you can do with technics minus having to worry about needle skips or weight. V7′s are the best controllers on the market, only downfall is that Native Instruments is too lazy to support natively and Serato is taking too long to support them Natively in SSL. Now if that were to change, you would eventually see them become the “decks” to use at a DMC. Almost anyone who is a turntabalist and has used the v7′s can attest to their potential as true TT killers. NI and Serato need to step their game up with support.

  • Ryan Supak

    It kind of reminds me of what happened to skateboarding…like turntablism, the “fun” emphasis seemed to be replaced by a rigorously technical one. Custom-cut “battle” records also bore me to tears for the reason he mentioned. It’s a lot more impressive when somebody is doing live surgery on a “stock” track.

    Here’s one of my all-time favorite routines — DJ Aladdin from 1989. It combines jaw-dropping skill with fun and musicality.

    (Is anybody doing anything close to this impressive with controllers? The closest I’ve seen is James Zabiela on the EFX, and nothing even 1/10 as entertaining and fun as this with MIDI and Traktor. That’s not a putdown either. If anything half as impressive is going on with controllerism I want to see it.)

    rs

  • DJ Bloodhound

    thanks for the article guys. best content i’ve seen this year! 

    try for some more turntable based articles if you please :) there are some of us that still like the wheels of steel.

  • http://twitter.com/NotSoSiniSter NotSoSiniSter

    They need to make a controllerist DMC kinda competition. I can see people not using TTs at all, and how can you compare that to someone on a pair of TTs? Apples and Oranges. I see a gap in the DJ market.. :) 

  • Cocheze

    I think DJs need to let there routines BREATHE, Ive seen a lot of people start out of the gate with some heavy fast scratching, like they blew there load in the 1st 60 secs. Let your routine grow, add elements from multiple genres, not just one dimensional. Funk is great, so is Hip Hop, Soul, Reggae, Dub Step, Glitch Hop, Moombahton, Drum and Bass. Im a dabbler, i play all genres. Dont out weigh the technical aspect of the routine with the musical aspect. Find a happy balance especially if you know that some judges are looking for tech and some are looking for musical ability. At the end of the day its up to the judges, so make yourself, the crowd, and the jusdges happy in 6 minutes.

  • B*MONEY

    I completely agree but from the thing that you have to keep in mind is that the JUDGES, who are mostly former battle champs kept consistently rewarding these types of routines, and I think that is why that certain style has become so prevalent.  I would issue the challenge back to the judges to start rewarding creativity and funk over routines that are just fast and clean!  Thats just my opinion!  Props to Jay Slim, all the judges and competitors!!  DMC battles rock! 

    • DJDeus

      B, but put it in this perspective. Let’s say you are an emcee that is devoted underground hip hop. You don’t get as much shows as you would like to because the underground scene is not accepted as much as say, that hip hop dance crap. Do you sell out? Or do you, as as a musician, stick to who you are? I’m just saying. Patience pays off. It’s up to US to make our style “our style” again.

  • Uttamreddy33

    Completely agree. Creativity is lackin these days, and its time to raise the bar back up.

  • Mista-B

    He gets it. Speed isn’t everything folks. Also, wearing a mask with a background doing the same thing over and over gets old. J could probably take a lot of these new kids out if he wanted too. People need to space their routines more these days. Doesn’t have to be something going on all the time. 

  • Dj Elementz

    The fact that spinning platters are becoming a rare occurance in most equipment that is being manufactured these days, and people call them ”digital turntables” instead of what they really are, cd/media players with jog wheels hence the term ”cdj’s”. And the fact people buy them from companies who lie straight to your face is a discredit to the company and the consumers who buy them, cause they repeat the “i got turntables” lie, and both parties look stupid. It’s not a turntable if it doesn’t have a platter that spins, which is done by some sort motor and that’s a fact. I think companies are being cheap, lazy and act like dictators by not giving US the options, like a button to turn the platter on or off on all models. Sorta like cars. For instance some people want manual locks and windows, some folks like automatic. There is no reason why this cant be done on equipment. The fact that pioneer will never make a spinning platter means they will never see a cent from me cause they refuse to cater to MY standards and expectations of what a turntable is was and shall forever be. they think they are re-inventing the wheels of steel, but they are not!!! They are selling plastic and rubber garbage, with the play/cue buttons that look like shiny metal that doesn’t even look interesting if it’s turned on and playing. I want my whole deck polished aluminum and to have options like rotary dials or up/down fader choices and button or switch where ever i want them. Basically most equipment looks like paper weights with lights. I like to see the equipment alive when i’m playing on it and watching from the stands to. These days Dj’s are boring to watch playing on their dead-weight Decks no matter how or what they play, cause u can’t actually see the interaction between man and machine. Personally i think most dj’s ESPICALLY the big ones just fake playing live sets, because there is just no way to tell what they are doing cause it looks like a boring vesion of lip-syncing done with hands. I’m not impressed by the companies or the dj’s who buy and play on the prescribed equipment by people who really aren’t hardcore visionary innovators in my opinon. I’m the one playing, i want my equipment to function the way i want. Customized equipment is the future in my view to execute tricks and work on new playing styles of what is possible djing. Besides first and foremost i’m challening myself and the equipment, technically…it’s a battle with Djing Manufactuer Companies=DMC for me. If i get my way i’ll have a hand in making a piece of equipment that will set standards, last for decades and push the boundries of imagination and technique. So Winning a one year battle is just tame in comparison to me, and what i want to do.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Morris/100000829604990 Chris Morris

       DAMN IT….  Preach brother!

  • http://www.facebook.com/keithbrady Keith Brady

    Sound’s like he was using Echo effect not filters for scratching the drum over the guitar part. Turn down the Echo to the lowest parameter on our mixer/software and then move it up slightly through the low parameters to get the effect he used in the video. Vajra making the best out of this method in the video. 

    • INBiTuiN

      I would say that’s flanger and he was using the scroll knob to mix in the effects at various stages of drumming.

  • DJDeus

    Funny thing is, this is the reason why I chose to enter DMC this year. Sick of the USA sounding like Europe now and am going to do my best to do something about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DJTEEOH Shuriken Tenshii

    Alot of good points, an opinion I agree with. But what does putting out a challenge like this do? How can you measure results? What can one bottomfeeder turntablist like me do compared to a famous dj like you? I understand you trying to inspire, but issuing a challenge to a sea of controllerist is going to fall on deaf ears. And the turntablists who read this, either agree or will ignore it because they are one of those djs doing ridiculous scratches for the look of it. So what do we do? As you said, history evolves. Techniques change and grow and music does too. If the DMC has evolved thats because the DJs have. Not saying doing it the “old way” is bad but you are contradicting yourself. You say change is good and use your resources….but then say “do it like I used too”. I agree with the message but I’m not seeing how this “challenge” is anything more than a complaint.

    • Patch

      It’s in the hands of the DMC judges (of which the author is one!).  They have to start rewarding those entrants that bring the funk, and not the ones that just hit all the check boxes for technical scratches.

      The technical scratches HAVE to be there, mind you (that’s what differentiates the true pro’s from us “bottom-feeders”!) – but in context.  They have to be built up to.  Like in Vajras vid above – he got some mad fast scratching going on at the end of the routine, after having built up to it.

      We’ve all been blown away by the technical skills of DJ’s like Kentaro et al, but now it’s time for the Vajras to bring the funk back and get back to the grass roots of DJ’ing – rocking a party!

  • Upbeatentertainmentny

    im with ya and have been following dmc since the video tape days, your set should reflect the fact that you know all the tricks and then some, however , the overall effect should be a showcase of creativity. more than anything else it should be entertaining.
     

  • JuanSOLO

    Nice post, and GREAT vids. I like how this piece harkens back to pre internet, a time where your underground treasures were rare, tangible, and special.  Yet I am grateful for YouTube as well.

      

  • Mutis Mayfield
  • NIKK C

    great choice of videos. nando vs deus is my favourite battle of all time.  

  • Patch

    And if that Vajra vid is a sign of the way things are gonna be going forwards – I’m a happy man.

  • Patch

    GREAT article.  The DMC’s lost the funk, years ago for me – it all got far to technical.

    Bring the funk back.  Try nodding your head to some of the technical routines, total waste of time.

    The best routines for me are always the ones that make you nod your head, and even smile a few times!

  • http://twitter.com/Mrwaller81 Adam

    The problem is that real hip hop in general is dying, there will always be a scene underground but while artists like pitbull and flo-rida continue to water the mainstream down further, the sound of turntablism will get more and more distant to most people.
    couple that with all the acts striving to get the same weird euro/electro thing and big name djs leaving the scene like craze and you realise that its not just the dmcs that need fixing, its hip hop itself…

    Oh and as for the controller comment, the v7 is pretty close but most edm djs wil soon admit that they can live without the spinning discs altogether, the twitch was the writing on the wall.

  • http://twitter.com/andreas_savv Andrew Savvides

    nice to see a bit of turntablism on DJTT for once! keep it up ean and the team

  • http://www.facebook.com/joesdomingo Joes Domingo

    i (heart) my sync button.

  • justnine

    totally agree. i’ve been losing interest in the dmc competitions for the same reasons he just listed. but i also love listening to old funk records and cannot stand most dubstep. so maybe it has to due more with personal taste instead of dj’s needing to step their game up. but i have faith in the newer generation of djs bringing it to the next level now that serato is being incorporated into the battles. im waiting to see our own “Linsanity” happen at one of these competitions. maybe i should start competing…

    • Johnleijen1

      Its about the music and how you present it. 5 minutes of scratching becomes a little mundane no matter how techincal. As a non turntabalist (but an avid follower) i admire the skills and knowledge. My opinion which some of you may agree with or not is that it needs to be more about the music and how YOU project it, twist it, re-arrange it or basically get the crowd to bounce their heads and be blown away by your style in playing or reproducing a track on the fly is what (in my eyes) would make you a winner

  • Anonymous

    I like the challenge or better what is being expressed by Jay. He just wants to hear more artistic work and less technical work. Yes, use your techniques (haha, nice pun ey?) to express your artistry, but let your style and artistry speak louder than your techniques.
     
    scamo
     

  • AENSLAED

    Amen to that. Art must use technique as a vehicle to yield different results of expression, but requires the senses and the life to keep it away of unnecessary monotony and automation. Now I am proud I bought my first pair of turntables. As a bass guitar player, I understand where this challenge comes from.
    Now, this is also the common ground where all people involved can converge…

  • noxxie

    i have to agree here, i am certainly not a turntablist nor do i have any skill whatsoever concerning the art, but musically most turntablism sounds totally awful, the techniques involved are mind boggling sure, but aurally it sounds messy and horrible.
    I think the idea is to show what can be created with fragments of other music using only the control surface of turntables, ie new music. Not to show what ways you can move both hands at the same time, regardless of the overall sound.

    if you want to show how great you are at moving your hands without concern for the sound of a piece of music then show your girlfriend or wife ;) haha!

  • HAKU

    AMEN!!!!

  • Djpandemonium+djtt

    ” I can’t think of a single controller that’s out there, or that’s even
    being developed, that I’d even remotely consider for a turntablist
    performance.”

    Dicers?

    • Jvarela

      I think jay slim is talking about the lack of a controller replacement for the turntable… And I have to completely agree with this and his article as a whole… An example is how poorly the Vci 400 jog wheels are integrated for scratching with traktor and yet most of the comments I see from users is that they don’t care because they are not interested in that aspect of Djing… I think it’s really sad actually.

      • http://twitter.com/Mrwaller81 Adam

        v7 anyone? 

      • Micha

        ?

        Controller replacement?
        Timecode???

    • DJDeus

      This article is the sole reason why I am entering DMCs after 12 years.

    • Zilla

      I cahear what 

    • Zilla

      I hear what you are saying here in this article but if you’re stating that DMC routines are boring, please take a look at the state of club DJ’s. The “dick measuring contest” of who can run through the most tracks in one night is just a waste. And the off beat / key mashups wow!

  • Oldmen

    Problem here is its solely subjective – and Jay seems like he has taken the “im bored” overtone… If you don’t have the passion anymore thats fine step off the judges table. But why are you challenging everyone else? If your a DMC champ and you arent hearing what you want to hear… seems like you have a grand opportunity to fix that yourself, make a bigger name for yourself and progress the art-  not whine that others aren’t doing it for you.

    Isnt that why everyone DJ’s? to hear what they want correct all the perceived errors of others and one up each other?

    • RBX

      Good point however the message it still isn’t getting through.  The routines are still becoming faster and more conservative and this hasn’t really changed in a decade.  The apparent innovators don’t seem to be making a big influence.  To some degree the judges are also to blame often picking technical skill over the music.  I think what he’s trying to say is that personally as a judge he’ll be rating the latter over the former…

      • Oldmen

         I got the message – however. If im gonna sit in my room and practice my 2:00 minute routine for 6-8 months…. I am gonna listen to and perform what I want to hear. And for alot of the younger crowd its Glitchy wobbley beats..so be it… dont fight that because its not what you like and try to “challenge” me to  waste an extreme amount of time and energy to practicing funk juggles because thats how Jay came up and thats what he wants to hear or bring back or whatever, that is not my responsibility… If your putting in serious time and dedication that DMC takes that makes you an artist, and an artist should stay true to themselves.

        • Patch

          I think you may have mis-understood.  I’m certain Jay didn’t mean the genre (funk), and neither did I in my earlier posts.

          Glitchy/wobbly music an still be funky.  Making people nod their head is a talent that not every DJ has – that’s why there are judges there to look out for it. 

          • Oldmen

            your right, it CAN still be funky – IF thats what I – the artist chooses to do. see what Im saying?

            This “challenge” just has Jay isn’t happy written all over it. And when you start to delegate your feelings of where you  want music to go in the future instead of driving it there, you should hang it up.

          • RBX

            I still think you’re missing the point.  I will agree with you that it does sound like a whine but don’t get too caught up in the tone of how its presented.  He’s not saying ‘play funk not glitch’ because lets face it, playing funk in a dmc routine isn’t exactly original either.  This is probably why Craze took ‘em out with his d’n'b routines as it was so new and fresh. What he’s sayin’ is if you’re going to juggle do something new with what you have rather than making it sound just like only one record is spinning.  A good example of this is when Skratch Bastid grabbed 2 instrumental copies of Buck 65′s – The Centaur and flipped it into the star was imperial march at Scribble Jam 2001 (youtube: skratch bastid star wars).

            DMC stands for disco mix club which kinda shows how much it has changed, however it seems like it has started to plateau.  That’s what I think was unfortunate when Dj David won in 1990 because all he did was flip Cash Money’s 1988 set with loads of the same records but did it faster which set a bad example.  Rather than going faster, make it sound varied, different and most important GOOD I think is the take home message.

            peace,
            RBX

          • Patch

            Great post, and great example, RBX.  A perfect example – changing 1 genre (any genre) into something completely fresh.

            Much harder to do than change dubstep into some different dubstep…  (Not bashing dubstep here…)

    • Dj Villanus

       To say “[it's] solely subjective” is to dismiss the podium from which Jay speaks. He is a judge, he has competed, and, as a mentor, he is challenging the next generation to broaden their efforts beyond technical articulation. He is not discussing genres. He is calling for a sense of feeling for the music in the competition. It is presumptuous for you to question Jay’s passion. He is still involved in the DMC. Oldmen, your post is arrogant and pushing disrespect. I don’t have a problem with your voice, but I do want you to heed your attitude.

      • Oldmen

        and what platform do you speak down to me from?  lmao
         Jesus – All of art is subjective. one of the most common threads that binds all forms and mediums of “art” together is subjectivity.

        All of you guys keep saying genre… your missing it.. replace dubstep with the phrase : What I want to bring to the table – and funk with the phrase What Jay wants to hear.

        Judge me professionally, as a judge however you like for what I bring to the table, but don’t tell me to bring vanilla cause you don’t like coconut.

        As far as heeding my attitude – you trying to scold someone on the internet for an opinion that led to a civil conversation between a few people. Your  not my father, your not my wife and acting like you have authority is exercising Mongoloid futility at its finest. Seriously, my attitude is my own, just like my routine is my own, my music is my own. Im sorry if you disagree, im not here to force it upon you. You and Jay can share a box of tissue if your still bothered.