• Pingback: Some Quick Thoughts About “Serato Face” | Argh, It's In My Head!

  • Kraid

    Fucking retarded article. What do people care what the DJ is doing anyway?

  • daz

    can someone else use my dj serato on my laptop.on other cpu in the house without me knowing.e?every time i use my controler setup has changed

  • Zain Mehdee

    load your track, and quickly bring tempo/pitch to ‘about’ where it needs to be, and then lower the laptop screen, beat match the rest proper by ear, and watch the crowd watching you….

  • Corey

    It’s about the music…not the dj. any other way is self-righteousness.

  • KidsThatKilledDisco

    laptop DJs are all cock suckers anyay

  • Mindflow

    Hey, what do you think of this solution http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/diskplay

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.loranger Justin Loranger

    CDJs have waveforms on them and a lot of DJs are staring back and forth between the two of them, even if they don’t have a laptop. Le sigh.

    I guess real vinyl is the only solution

  • New @ the Zoo

    I don’t believe the trick is as much about whether or not you stare at a screen while you Dj. Djing has become a performance art. The true selling point is to just enjoy yourself on stage. Or at least appear to be enjoying yourself. We like to dance, sing along. and throw our hands all over the place while we perform. The audience picks up on that in a huge way. If you watched a rock band perform that just stood around tediously strumming away at their guitars, that would be boring. If they’re jumping around and kicking their feet here and there, The audience can tell how much fun they’re having doing what they love. Go ahead an have your serato/traktor face. Just dance or sing while you rock that face. Let the audience understand that you’re a part of the same moment that they’re enjoying, rather then participating in a moment that you haven’t even given to them yet… Do what you love, love what you do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/VDjDirtyD Dustin Stellwagen

    one thing this article doesn’t mention is your computer, most of us have macbook pros if you dont already have one consider going with a 13inch there cheaper and you dont have a huge screen in front of you. Ive seen djs spinning with a 17inch infront of them from the dance floor im wondering if theres a person behind that screen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maurice.huber Reese DjAa Huber

    The ladies love Traktor Face! SMH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.durango Jack Durango

    you could always…. wear a plastic mouse helmet….

  • http://www.facebook.com/djdocmartin Doc Martin

    I’ve watched this phenomenon closely in the clubs for awhile now, and it always disturbed me that a lot of DJs just stare at their laptops, don’t read their crowds, and just use their headphones as a “necklace” or “prop”. I’m Old School (vinyl-born and trained). I transformed into a Digital jock because it was a hassle bringing 10 crates of records to clubs with little or no room in the DJ booth AND I love the ability to have my entire library at my disposal to play in any situation. I’m a Serato user but I’m considering Traktor because it doesn’t have the waveforms place side by side and it has superior beat mapping to help me with my 70′s dance music. I agree if you don’t want a “Serato Face,” try practicing with your old vinyl at least once a week. First you’ll find the latency is much different and if you’re a beatmixer you’ll remember the joy you experienced when you put your hand on the record to slow or speed it up. And please, PUT YOUR HEADPHONES BACK ON AND LISTEN TO THE MIX!

    P.S. Don’t get me started on the “Sync” button controversy!

  • thehadgi

    S-s-s-s-s-serato face

    muh muh muh muh

  • Daft

    Turn the brightness on the screen right down until the screen is black. Screengaze all you want but you will find nothing there

  • http://www.facebook.com/Cbellj Cbell J

    i set my laptop far awy from the decks, so when i need to look for tracks, i’ll just turn back to select the track and back on the decks and jump around like a monkey to entertain the crowd

  • DJ Dominik Dale

    I run CDJ’s so I try my best NOT to use a laptop! But when I DJ at a party where they want me to use traktor/serato, I look at the screen partially, but also, focus on dancing with the crowd, and when the beat drops, I MAKE SURE I AM LOOKING UP! The main thing about looking up when a drop comes in, is you see how everyone reacts to it, if they dig that kind of ‘surprise’ drop, or the commercial ‘here we go, it’s coming, and BAM!’ style drop!

    Increases your connection with the crowd not looking at the laptop, leaving you with more people loving you afterwards :)

  • http://karlcardoza.com/ Karl Cardoza

    a pair of awesome sunglasses and a smile does the job for me

  • Dj Flyer, Sweden

    I enjoy being on a stage instead of in the corner. We are finally being accepted as artists and performers, not just the goofy nerd in the corner.

  • Joe Pic

    Wanna know how to get rid of “Serato Face?” LEARN HOW TO DJ before buying the software. Move that computer wayyyyy off to the side and LISTEN to the tracks….and not watch the wav forms.

    Serato should be earned.

  • Edgar

    Just play good music and make sure everyone is dancing and having a good time. That’s all that matters.

  • Juan

    Question are serato users more glued to their PC screen than traktor for the fact when mixing/comparing both tracks side by side for beat mathing?

  • DJSL!MM

    Personally I keep my laptop as out of the way as possible, I never use a stand and I keep it beside me not in front, DJSL!MM, Facebook.com/slimmaudio

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcusgpowell Marcus Powell

    I will admit at times during my sets I have a serato face, but my prob is I spend alot of my time looking back and forth from my screen to my crowd as im trying to decide what to play next, because I dont plan my sets, instead I play to the crowd, I end up spending alot of time staring thru my crates trying to decide what the hell to play. I also use waveforms alot to mix, the reason being is I use to do it by ear, but I find doing it visually saves my hearing from being exposed to loud headphones (plus I use to always break my dam headphones), my DJ friends now days mostly have huge hearing problems, but I dont because I have looked after my ears and using waveforms is a great way to do this

  • DJ BendyStarz

    I find it weird that people even have that problem. I’m 18, I’ve used software alone, and I’ve used software w/ hardware, and I’ve never just stared mindlessly into my screen. In fact, I’ got really used to mixing and looking after my little sisters. TV helps too. I guess my way is just practice while occupied with something else.

  • Frank Lemon

    I think if your a Hip Hop or Drum’n’Bass DJ it’s not mainly your Job to visually entertain your audience with ultra interactive performance.

    It’s the job of the MC to interact and entertain the crowd.

    Your job is to play the right music!

  • C-Money

    i’ve seen a dude eating a sandwich while mixing an opening set on serato. even if you are “manipulating” vinyl the program cues up for you immediately and assists one in beatmeatching, so I’m not sure what kind of skill is involved there. if you’re going to stare at a computer screen, use midi controllers, they’re more interactive. also, while i might do my share of staring, be it at the turntable or mixer, i also stare alot at the crowd, and try to be conscientious of whether they’re feeling the music or not.

    regardless, none of this should be taken too seriously, so long as you’re having fun.

  • TT

    bullshit, it´s all about the right selection! that´s the only important thing!

  • dancenoise

    Such discussions in Russia are called as “srach” (douche of shit of each other) and concerns a subject about the one who or that is better. For example Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris and so forth. And so – srach is began!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1149661506 DaveCalculator Djdc Calcagni

    Laptop off to the side most definitely. Look at the screen ONLY to pick your next track. You don’t mix with your eyes you mix with your ears.

  • http://www.facebook.com/darien.auzenne Darien Paul Auzenne

    Could also practice by covering up your screen with a black cloth, to help practice beat matching by ear

  • DJ Probz

    Why dont you map the face to one of the controller knob :D

  • Anonymous

    It amazes me how long of an article can written about such trivial and obvious topics. DJing used to be about learning for yourself and getting the opinions of your peers and fans. There used to be an enigmatic essence about DJ’s. Now with all these tutorials and ‘this is how you do it’ articles you’re adding untalented people to an already untalented cesspool of DJ’s. No wonder people can’t take their eyes of the computers when they DJ, so many unexperienced ‘wanna be’s’

    If you’re not aware enough to not stare at your laptop when you DJ or you don’t know how to organize your own music, backup your stuff, learn your programs, get paid and get laid, you probably shouldn’t be DJing in the first place. Quit writing and reading articles about how it’s done and just go do it. Real DJ’s don’t and shouldn’t have time to read or write articles like this. I’ve already spent way to much time typing this, and for the record didn’t read this article.

    • Gentleman Menace

      What a freaking tool bag. If you didn’t read the article and have nothing constructive to add, go back to spinning your Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana mixes you pretentious snob. For those of us not born with knowledge of everything, I appreciate articles like this, the tips, the tricks, little things I might have overlooked.
      You know who is a wannabe? The guy who doesn’t read an article then talks shit about it. Go do something useful, share your knowledge with a wannabe, that wannabe might just be the next game changer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.moczygemba.9 Jeremy Moczygemba

    I just think it goes to the one simple rule…not everyone is cut out to be a peformer. I saw kaskade live and he uses the basic pioneer setup and what he would do is bob his head to the beat, hand gesture, and etc. Obviously he loves his job that much to think about his crowd. Some people have the impression that when they dj they dont have to worry about a crowd though….well, its your reputation on the line i believe…a “borring” product. maybe the guys who are into this hobby wont think much of it, but your common random customer will be the icing on the cake to your success.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.moczygemba.9 Jeremy Moczygemba

      unless you’re a famous producer like the crystal method who are natorious for standing still during a show….but not all of us a mega producers lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/maanijak Edis Dj-Maanijak Isakovic

    know your music your shortcuts make quick glances not all out stares. It is like professional speaking the speakers dont just stare blankly into a screen or a sheet of paper they read memorize and study their material and then observe the crowd. that is my take on it

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dylan-Kember/678305381 Dylan Kember

    Levan was hidden away at the Garage whilst focusing intensely on the job at hand. He was still a god in the punters eyes without fist pumps, hands in the air or showing off with generally pointless tricks. If he had been checking a screen would anyone have cared? A DJ should remain a DJ and not this ridiculous parody that seems to be current trend. This is much more of an issue for me than using a screen as a tool

    • http://www.facebook.com/rruel Ryan Ruel

      That is true. But a lot has changed. When people went to a club in the 70′s, 80′s, and even 90′s, they hadn’t heard most of the music the DJ would play. They were open to hearing new tracks. Today everyone wants to hear the DJ play what they already have heard and know, and they want a show. It’s a sad reality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vasily.greshnev Vasily Greshnev

    Giant projection on a back wall of a dancefloor with serato/traktor main screen and it’s done: you’re watching the waves throught the crowd and just not to forget to smile or Jesus face or whatever)

  • Reyification

    You forgot one important thing: When you look at the computer screen –> SMILE! It shows that you love what you’re doing and you’re having fun!

  • http://twitter.com/VinylRichy Vinyl Richy

    This may have been mentioned further down but an easy solution in Serato is to turn off the big waveform view. This gives you nothing to really zone in on so you won’t get that goofy staring into the screen look and yet you can keep that laptop directly in front. I can’t stand when a DJ only knows how to mix because of waves. However going from vinyl to serato I have noticed two positives to waves. 1) When seeing the waves you can actually see a mix become off beat before it happens meaning you can correct it before it becomes off beat. In headphones you won’t know that mix is going off beat until its happens. (This is by all means no reason to ride waves lol)… 2) Watching waves at a minimal level keeps your monitor level considerably lower which the older you get, this is nice. Riding waveforms is not dope but neither is going def before your 80 lol

  • Cisco EL Nino

    its a reason for DJ to forget to fist pump…and im fine with that

  • emzero

    I don’t really care about this whole big issue you’re making here…

    I prefer a DJ who’s staring at his computer, doing something all the time, rather than looking to the crowd and do the jesus pose like those famous “DJ” stars….

    I mix psytrance and do a lot of mashups, cue juggling and really mixing everything I can. I could not do it without waveriding.

    My sets sound great, I love it and so my crowd. Live with it =P

  • Sylix
  • http://www.facebook.com/89jase Jason Ford

    I simply avoid it by always leaving my traktor screen on Browser. Get small wavelengths to remind you how the song will progress and use the rest of the screen for browsing tracks.. I have my very small laptop on the table and to the side, not top and center on a stand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/clay.ford.167 Clay Ford

      I’m surprised it took someone that long to say this. That’s what I do!

  • http://www.facebook.com/piopro James ‘Pioneer’ Burkill

    I can’t say for serato as I’ve never used it but as a traktor user I think intuitive mapping on a midi mixer, solid cue points and a little pre-prep playlist can keep you from doing this the only time i have do this is when i search for a track by typing the name, but a mapped browser and and 1 button load and deck focus allows a natural cueing method for me if i know where track I can navigate to it straight of the mixer and keep looking at it to a minimum for me

  • gigglekey

    If you have a MF3D, you can program one page to handle loading, browsing, and playing. Even without using timecode, you can configure the MF to show track position as a color spectrum, and beat phase as a blink. Voila, no need to look at a screen ever.

  • kobe

    serato face is better than paddling an inflatable boat across the audience, or throwing cakes at them.

    • Dj-Ish3

      dissagree

  • modredtrenton

    put youre laptop down, shut the screen down, do it by ears … bla bla this is ridiculous. laptop is king and i dont look at it half of the time i looked on my record crate. of course you have to interact with the crowd and you can do it much more than when you mix by ear because mixing is faster nowadays. dont be pussys and dont be ashamed for youre laptops!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.jones.750 Jay Jones

    it only takes seconds to que up so why stare at the screen. as soon as you’ve brought a tune in you should know what track you wanna play next, find it, select it, que it up then watch the dancefloor for a few minutes, have a drink etc. then when it’s time to bring the next tune in go back, mix it in, find next track select it cue it in and watch the dancefloor again….there are much finer things to look at out there than waveforms etc. you wanna play out, you put yourself in the spotlight so embrace it, if you wanna hide away behind your equipment you should have gone into radio

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.j.nava Richard J. Nava

    If you find yourself constantly staring at the screen, just throw your arms up and wave them around ever so often. Isn’t that a prerequisite for dj’s now a days? Or is it stage diving?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.wong.3511 Alexander Wong

    my big thing has always been to offset my laptop and keep it lower than eye level. This allows you to see over the laptop and still glance at it but look like you are watching the dance floor. Besides that, you can pretend your looking at your laptop when in reality your just checking out some hottie on the dance floor. lol

    One thing I notice though is that the expectations are different from venue to venue. Be aware of what your role is at the venue. If your supposed to be “performing” then hide that laptop as best as can, if your just “providing music” then sometimes hiding yourself can be justified.

  • Squachek

    I got rid of my laptop stand and put the lappy over to the side. Much better for interaction.

  • thejone

    its all about line of sight. sure you need to rummage through a record bag back in the old days, but you didn’t have it front and centre sitting on the dj console.
    Give people the respect they deserve and get the damn laptop out of your face!

  • davestalker

    i got on the decks for the first time in 1989 and haven’t really left them alone since. i’ve gone through the times when mixers didn’t do a whole lot, to the kind of thing we have now. i’ve gone from vinyl, to serato with vinyl, to serato with CDs, now i generally turn up with a memory stick and use CDJs and play with the toys on the mixer. personally i think it’s definitely more fun that way and allows you to be a bit more spontaneous. that said, i’m a fat ugly bastard so nobody wants to see me jumping around like david guetta anyway…

  • deejae snafu

    its all in the mapping, i rarely need to look at my laptop

  • Johnm

    I completely agree. When the age of the DVS DJ started to become popular. I stopped going to the clubs where the resident had his laptop in his face. I just didnt feel the connection with the DJ, the music and the crowd. He would be so focused on the laptop.. He would not notice the fact he just cleared the floor. For this reason, I stuck to vinyl.

    Yes, I’ll admit back when I was a vinyl only DJ, I would have my back to the decks or down under the decks digging for records. That WAS because i was playing to the crowd. I was changing my set on the fly to find something else to play.

    That is not the same as waveriding at all ..
    Personally, I keep my laptop down low and off to the side when i do use one. I also tend to leave my screen in browse mode so I have no or minimal waveforms. I know my music very well. I know where it breaks. I know its BPM (and about where my live BPM is at all times) without reading it on the screen or mixer. I have my cue points set so that i can get a fast beatmatch. usually i have an idea of about where the pitch should be for what i just loaded ahead of time. I have no need to look at it other then finding the next track. the rest is just old school beatmatching and mixing.

    Bottom line… my laptop is just my “new” crate.

    I went digital for 3 reasons: 1) Many new tracks don’t exist on vinyl. 2) the clubs went CDJ. 3) I was tierd of lugging around several crates of records for a gig. a flashdrive (or CD wallet) and headphones spoiled me…. But yes, I still love vinyl night and lug my crates for those.

  • johndavid

    get that laptop out of sight!

    I still don’t understand why it’s standard practice to have laptop stands in the middle of a commercially produced dj booth (maybe you can still modify the placement upon delivery of the item … )

    For one, I’ve always preferred to have it on the right side, being right handed, but sometimes gotta do it on the left side.

    GET IT OUT OF THE WAY DO NOT BLOCK THE CROWD!

  • Audio1

    Dicers have helped make with having to resort to the laptop. X1′s too.

  • Audio1

    Simple. Learn your tracks, Add cue points and Mix by ear. 1/2 the people you see playing out downloaded the tracks they are playing out that same day, hence you hear big lapses between the intros and breakdowns/buildups. Learn your music. Plain and Simple. DJing is more than pumping fists and throwing your hands in the air.

  • Pimpro

    Just mix by ear. If your a Live PA Player, make use of controllers and other HARDware, not more waveform software. if you cant mix by ear, you missed the bus back there. go back to scratch and learn the fundamentals. simple as that. waveforms only need to be used when mixing a brand spanking new track that you haven’t had time to review yet, and only then, just to read ahead so you can see when a drop is coming.

  • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

    Regardless of where you look, COVER THE DAMN APPLE LOGO ON YOUR LAPTOP. When this is the only visible brand on stage, it’s a pretty sad statement.

    • Dj-Ish3

      Why?

      • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

        Because the audience’s visual memory of the musical experience will be a floating Apple logo. I don’t know about you, but corporate logos do not make me feel like partying.

  • feez

    if it helps save my ears, im all in on serato face

  • dddjjj

    wear sunglasses, turn screen brightness way up and keep your face to the crowd while your eyeballs shift around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoelTYoung Joel Young

    As another method for cataloging music I wrote a script which takes the BPM rounded to the nearest 10 (sort of) and the KEY in Camalot style and pushes it in to the comment field ie comment would be “10-8a” for a Moombahton track in ‘Am’. This means if I order my tracks by comment it makes mixing in key simples….

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gavintech Gavin Varitech

    Just move the laptop lower and off to the side, like they do in Europe. You want to be able to see it if you need to. but only when you need to. Look at Marco Carola, he has an X1 right next to the mixer to do everything one would touch a laptop for and you can hardly tell he has a laptop in the booth (unless you are in/behind the booth).

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoshuaCarlHall Joshua Carl Hall

    Pretty soon (actually already) you can run your monitor out via the hdmi/thunderbolt/miniDP ect ect to an external monitoring device…. then…. are you ready for this… the ultimate in wave riding experience…. send the signal to those high-end theater sun glasses, sure you might look like TerminatorX, but you can fold up your computer, use a bluttooth mouse & keyboard and stand there sternly looking like the terminator on the shitter! or, on the other side of the coin you can take advantage of cutting the cord from your laptop and put on a proper show in your cool specs! or even a little 7″ display monitor on your mxier…sky is the limit!

  • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

    On the one hand, this article touches on an important point : the DJ is a performer and should perform to the audience. On the other hand, basically every DJ I have seen in the last 20 years..

    a) Isn’t introduced by anyone, so half the time you have no idea who the hell is playing.
    b) Doesn’t interact with the crowd, for example on the mic.
    c) Stares first at his record crate (with his back to the crowd), then the turntable, then the mixer.

    Oh boy, now it’s staring at the laptop, then the mixer. How totally different!

    Calling this look “Serato Face” is still more (old) vinyl DJs patting themselves on the back for being able to do something anyone can do and which no one but DJs cares about.. being able to beatmatch manually. It should be called “DJ Face”.

    • dillinger23

      The DJ is NOT and NOR SHOULD HE BE a performer. He is a DJ FFS!!!!!!!!! Not a rockstar.

      • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

        Huh? Go see a real hip hop DJ.. or Moodymann.. and get yourself a late pass. The DJs name is probably on the flyer for a reason, and it probably has something to do with his ability to relate to the crowd, including through his music.

    • Preludecris

      i see being a DJ as a public service not a performer.

  • Not_Sean

    Well we can always replace the laptop with a Ipad, but somehow i can still see all the CDJ/Vinyl guys complaining.

  • John

    The fact of the matter is because DJing is the new cool thing everyone wants to do it but not many of them take the time to learn it properly. They just take the quick route so they can play out quicker in front of their mates. Start on a decent pair of cdjs and cover the LCD screen with black tape so you rely on your ears only for DJing

  • justsayin

    Train your ears not your eyes. Its simple. If you cant match beats your not a DJ. Period.

    If you’re only using 2 decks with “sync” you suck. Older Djs get upset because we trained to perform, mix, scratch juggle and etc. I freak out when DJs don’t use headphones. It doesn’t make sense. You’ll never WIN the crowd if you don’t even look up to see what the crowd is singing along to. Until you are a real producer who is charting and people come to see you perform (concert) you MUST engage your crowd watch them and appease them. That means juggling crates and mixing up tracks to better define your venues clientele. If you use a preset list you’re a fool. Go home, cover your laptops waveforms and practice. Make a practice crate shove 100 tracks in there and mix up the BPMs. Learn how to hear it, feel it and bring it in with headphones and a lot of love for what you’re doing. Then call yourself a DJ.

    • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

      The original DJs used mixers with no EQ. If you need a mixer with EQ to mix, you’re not a DJ. Period.

      • cp43

        Your period. Eq mixing is just one technique. Depends how far back u wanna go.

        • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

          Pretty much my point, responding to new DJ technology which makes old techniques less relevant as if using it means you’re not a “real” DJ… where do you draw the line? Variable speed turntables in or out? REAL DJs only mix tracks that are EXACTLY THE SAME TEMPO, BRO!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1137292039 Ronald Edwards

        Geez, I hope you’re making a point to “justsayin” because no one is the single source that determines what a DJ is or isn’t… PERIOD.

        • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

          Yes, in case you cannot detect the sarcasm… I was suggesting that trying to draw the line of who is and isn’t a DJ based on arbitrary technology is foolish.

        • http://twitter.com/awesomerdotcom Awesomer

          I was, in fact, being sarcastic. Reductio ad absurdum.

      • jerville

        I agree, man. I started djing at the early 90′s with only analog 2channel dj mixer w/ no EQ and 2 belt-drive shitty turntables w/ rotary pitch control

    • Anonymous

      @JUST SAYING, ive been djing almost my whole life (im 43)………..you made more sense than anyone on this whole thread.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1137292039 Ronald Edwards

      This is a classic case of intimidation paired with the false claim of: “this is how things are LEGITIMATELY done.” To the up-and-coming DJ: Develop a thick skin to let this kind of intimidation bounce off you or you’ll let other people tell you how to be… which is not being you.

    • Rave47

      As a DJ your job is to play good music, feel the crowd, and respond accordingly. That’s not a technical skill, that’s the “Art” of being a DJ.

      Personally I fail to understand how strickly technical skills(and outdated skills such as manual beat-matching), have any effect on the music that is being played.
      The only “Skill” that’s required to be a DJ is great song selection, and for that you don’t anything other than WMP or iTunes.

      Before I’m a DJ, I’m a promoter, and when I’m going to check out a new act, I don’t give a shit whether he can manualy beat match on vinyls, or rides the waves all night. If the set is good, the DJ gets hired, if not – better luck next time. Thinking and acting otherwise will send a DJ to unemployment in his line of work.

      So, you wanna be a DJ? leave aside all those toys, and start making great playlists on WMP. Technical skills can always be obtained by practice, tutoring, online schools and real live DJ academies, all good options. But the heart of DJing lays at the music. Music is not bound by hardware, it is not defined by mixers and turntables, it is the connection of physical sound and human spirit.
      If music is so free and unchained, why should any musician (or DJ for that matter) be different?

      • motivewithin

        now this guy know’s what he’s saying. Agreed.

      • Wizz

        Awesome post. I totally concur. Nice to see there are actually sensible DJs out there. :-) I’m tired of all the moronic “you’re a real DJ only if you use hardware X or if you have technical skill Y” that you find everywhere on the web. Sigh…

    • http://twitter.com/koningwoning Eric Woning

      I don’t know….you probably were frequenting different clubs than me mate. In EU DJ’s didn’t scratch or juggle… they mixed. They were the ones who had the killer tunes – they mixed that up with other stuff that rocked. I

      I completely agree that you must see what the crowd likes and doesn’t like and adapt to that. A DJ in that way is far more a music psychologist than anything else. Where you go off the railroad is thinking that this means you got to have bad ass skilz in doing all kinds of batshit things. You don’t. If you can get the crowd go wild just putting one song directly after the other without hitting a crossfader – you are a GREAT DJ. Your true DJ skills are as good as how well your records are received. Period.

    • Preludecris

      if pauly d can be a dj then everyone is a dj! hahahaha

  • http://twitter.com/RobertWulfman Robert Wulfman

    there’s actually a really easy fix for this. Just go to your battery life settings and turn the lid close action to “do nothing” then just close the lid of your laptop when you aren’t browsing for the next track

    • atifmradio

      this can cause over heating or just play excessive heating while its shut. Being a computer nerd for over 30 years, i would extremely avoid doing this with laptops.

      You never know when that HDD is going to be running its fan and when the fan just DIES. And that…. can spell V-E-R-Y B-A-D N-E-W-S

  • http://twitter.com/ksocreative christian thomas

    fist pumping is always a better option. ;-) lulz.

  • http://twitter.com/Stephy_Hubanks Stephen EnricoLovick

    I do one of three to avoid my tractor set computer on outside of my coffin so im working in a lateral structure which makes it looks like i am doing more than i really am i set up cue points like crazy as my go to songs, where a mask, or stare in a large group of women or close my eyes as i bring in songs it helps me feel it more

  • Kirin

    Wear a mask.

    (or a giant mouse shaped head)

    • DJ Arctic

      Workin’ on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rglassman1 Ryan Glassman

    Practice by turning your screen off (brightness = 0). Turn it up a notch or two when/if you need to load or search for a track, then turn it right off again. Added bonus: leave Trakto/Serato in browse mode so you can’t cheat when you turn your screen on to load.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rglassman1 Ryan Glassman

      At my local night, the old residents challenged the new residents by turning the screen off or covering the screen with a vinyl sleeve, without warning, in the club, at peak hours, right at the beginning of a transition.

      • Dj Raize

        i wish they did that at every venue to every superstar Dj touring right now. Just sit back and hear a chorus of train wrecks around the world. Game changer over night. I know you have to be from Europe because here in the states the day of the no mixing laptop syncing are in full bloom. Its sicking. and even with all the equipment on the earth, most people still cant blend. still cant ride a mix through proper. Its funny as shit. but also quite sad the lack of caring about quality in the states. its quite pathetic. Good on for your mates and your club.

    • Johnm

      I agree.

      I have been teaching my buddy to DJ. I thought him the basics on vinyl. after he got the basics. He got himself a secondhand controller. Since he only has a controller to practice on, once he has the next track loaded, He turns off the monitor and the rest is by ear.

      When he is ready for the next track, he turns the monitor back on. Hopefully he will continue this habit as he transitions from the bedroom to gigs.

  • Cronin

    With DJing for years on TTs I fallen into a rut of looking at the screen because of the ability to jump around a track to lay in a quick and smooth mix. Now to avoid that, I have been setting up my tracks with cue points to match perfect spots for mixing in. Cue point 2 is 64 bars in the buildup, making it easy for me to load a track, hit cue 2 to land on the one, and then let it go and beatmatch by ear.

  • JuanSOLO

    I agree that starring at screens creates a disconnect weather your DJ or waiting for the bus, however, I dont want to fuel the expectation that DJ’s should physically “perform” to be considered quality DJ’s. A pumping fist never made me like the music more. That said, I still haven’t seen a controller DJ wow me like a DJ Craze routine from 10 years ago. Yet when I listen to a record, I am not sitting their judging the choice of tools needed to create it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1137292039 Ronald Edwards

    Serato/Traktor/whatever-face is a direct result of not being a performer. Sure, a monitor gives you great feedback regarding the tracks you’re playing, but as illustrated above, it acts like a “hiding spot.” Once you master DJing with a laptop, you should really focus being something people want to look at. If you’re a good performer, you’ll play with and perform to the audience. Check the screen whenever you want, but don’t make the audience feel ignored. Your (real life) significant other doesn’t care that you do other things, but they do not like being ignored… the audience (when you are playing) is your significant other… learn to recognize the signs.

    On a personal note: I have played “Peek-a-boo” with the audience on more than one occasion and I only duck behind the monitor when I telegraph that I’m going to, then work on a transition or effect or whatever… when I make that change work well, I slowly come out from behind the monitor and do the “gimme some love” body gesture… when I don’t do such a great job, I do the “please don’t hurt me” body gesture (while partially hiding my face)… and I will intentionally screw up some things to make the really good parts even better.

    If someone tells you that DJing is only about the music (the fans want to hear) they’re only mostly right.

    • Megowan

      I wear a purple tarp while my friend MCs and gives girls champagne facials on stage. It’s working so far :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1137292039 Ronald Edwards

        That is AWESOME!

    • http://twitter.com/koningwoning Eric Woning

      You know you just called Thom Yorke not a performer….. seriously? http://seratoface.tumblr.com/post/36609696235/sup-thomyorke

  • http://twitter.com/KasataSound Kasata Sound

    I think Serato Face is a legitimate concern and would like to respond to a few of the ideas brought up here.

    1- Yes, it’s true that if you are not staring at a computer you are staring at SOMEthing, be it a CDJ, or turntables or a guitar or whatever. The reason Serato face is a problem is because of the fact that staring at a computer is NOT the same as staring at those other things for one simple reason. A turntable, CDJ, or Guitar, has never and will never evoke the symbology of a deskjob where you check your e-mail. We will never associate someone staring at a CDJ with day jobs, it’s different because it’s a computer, a computer is a different social symbol.

    2- Working from the computer is a different kinesthetic task than working with hardware. We are hardwired to feel a deeper sense of reward when manipulating machines and mechanisms that feel more like tools. This means cueing with a CDJ is a more rewarding experience than cueing with a track pad, it’s also more rewarding to look at for the same reason since we know that when we watch people make physical movements we have SYMPATHETIC kinesthetic responses, that why it is fun to watch dance for example.

    3- I agree with everyone who suggests that moving the computer out of the way helps a lot. I myself use a computer and not CDJ’s or turntables yes I do agree that one has to be sensitive to what the presence of a computer may evoke in an audience.

    • Spacecamp

      1- good call – anyone in the audience can see someone staring at a laptop and think “oh I do that everyday”

      2- Interesting theory. Do you have any further reading on this concept of tools feeling more rewarding? Would love to see how this applies to DJing..

      • FunkyTrybe

        This is related to NLP theories. Good job making these observations!

      • http://twitter.com/KasataSound Kasata Sound

        Hello, I don’t have the books handy but I can further distill the claim into a very basic axiom of neuroscience. More kinesthetic movements increase proprioception (your sense of where you are in space). Having this sense is like having balance essentially. Also, consider that most high end hardware developers have some kind of ‘haptics’ research team (Tactile feedback) to ensure the product provides the most rewarding experience for the user. The fact that tactile kinesthetics provides a more rewarding experience is taken for granted by many developers. SYMPATHETIC kinesthetic response can be followed up on by many dance scholars. And lastly some doctors at Duke discovered that in infants Tactile kinesthetic response improved development. Thanks for the feedback on my ideas y’all. Love to DJ Tech Tools.

        • http://www.facebook.com/JayBairstow Johnathan Bairstow

          I dont think thats the point people are tyrin to make at all…

          Basically if you are sat looking at the screen your whole performace you may aswell be sitting pressing a sync button… Serato has a waveformat and if you know what your doing you can just match up the lines and get everything beatmatched pretty automatically.. That way your cheating and just as bad as someone who use virtual DJ and pesses the sync button :P

    • Peter Warnet

      Interesting that you relate to guitarists. Ever went to a concert and see the guitarist stuck onto his fretboard? Boring indeed. I think that balance between a good crowd interaction and some focus on the important stuff that cuts off the performer from the crowd is key.

      I think it’s what makes makes a good performer. How he deals with it’s instrument, not the type he uses.

  • http://twitter.com/realjuicy DJ Real Juicy (WFGC)

    I hate my serato face…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1137292039 Ronald Edwards

      Does it look like Duck Face?

      • Mr.SukaMu

        I aways seem to give the crowd Blue Steel when I’m in the mix;-p

  • Jade

    I personally put my laptop as far out of my face as possible. I would rather see the crowd than my laptop in my face.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Metachemical Mike Stannard

    I have an easy fix for this – stop making the dj some kind of rock star-esque focal point and put them in a corner booth – like it used to be. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

    • DJ Brookstar

      I agree. I play RAD dance music and even get out and dance with the crowd a few times a night to pump the energy level on the dance floor and have some fun, but I’m not a celebrity. My job is to support the dancers. THEY are the stars of the night and I think the attention should be on them. When someone is really getting down to my music and busting some hot dance moves I cheer them on.

  • http://twitter.com/DjAslan Dj Aslan

    I would like to emphasize the part of my comment that says “practice at home on vinyl”. I didn’t say “use vinyl only”. I’ve had Final Scratch since 2002 and Serato since 2006 and very much embrace DJ technology. If a “DJ” has real turntables at home and a couple pieces of vinyl he should really try to beat match purely by audio/listening skills so that he/she doesn’t have to rely on “wave-riding” when he/she takes it to the public.

  • Fabian

    Why would one give a crap? I for myself am far to busy doing my shit – not to be taken literally – on the dancefloor. I check out the DJ when I come in to see if I know him, but apart from that I don´t care at all.

    And why would it have changed over time? What are you doing on the screen? Given that you´re not actually checking your email or doing some crazy-funky-Hawtin-stuff, you have to spend the same – if not less – time not looking at the crowd. A DJ looking through his crates or down at his Mixer is in no way better than a screen-staring one. But anyway, the first paragraph applies.

  • DjChachi PR

    What I do is I put my laptop on a side, never in front of the mixer. I only look at the screen at the moment I’m searching for a song, but never to read the wave form. I try to use my DVS much like the old vinyls days. If you put the laptop in front of you, you will end up looking at it, much like if a beautifull blond pases by, YOU WILL LOOK

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexandru.sereseoan Alexandru Sereseoan

    I admit that I do stare at my laptop screen from time to time but I also look at the crowd, especially when there’s a drop or when I use effects on the track that is currently playing etc. I only stare at the screen for track selection or prepping some loops and sometimes for mixing the next track in, but even then I just prep the transition and then look at my mixer and jog wheels…
    Oh, and I ALWAYS have my laptop on the side not in front on me!

    I pretty much stare at everything at some point for a short while, I don’t really get how you can JUST look at the screen for a long period of time during a set. I mean how can you not want to instinctively look at the crowd when it goes wild! Or even when they don’t, you still check to see what’s going on because in the end it is them you are playing for,not just yourself.

    Bottom line: Look at EVERYTHING! Laptop screen, mixer, decks, crowd, fellow djs etc.

  • koodiak

    You guys should’ve mentioned C2C’s setup. Their laptops are sunken into their DJ-booth with the record players lifted up. Looks really cool and because of the entertaining visuals in front of them, you don’t even notice that they are looking at a screen :).

    • 32digits

      +1 didn’t knew about them but it does look cool indeed :p

    • devin

      damm cant even describe how much i love c2c, i could listen to that album for hours.

    • CKsoundmachine
      • jontfu

        They even have a magic trackpad in case their controllers can’t do everything :) Well thought setup

    • CrateDigga

      Never noticed that before. Well done! Not practical for most of us, but still, very smart.

    • Steve Robertson

      BTW…3 guys looking down. One guy looking up. I’m guessing that’s because his loop is playing…

      • Poukav

        learn more about them before saying that …

    • Mike Waz

      Nice if you can, but for most of us working DJs we have to setup in the space we’re given. And, speaking for myself, putting a laptop in a small space at the bottom would concern me in case of overheating and/or drinks being spilt from pissed up punters. I’ve luckily not had a drink spillage in my booth since the digital era (touch wood) but I know many who have and as a precaution I prefer to have my laptop lifted up to reduce the risk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=889370654 David De Garie-Lamanque

    another way to avoid it is….get a Korg EMX!!! but then you’ll most likely have EMX-face.

    • http://twitter.com/protocollie TECH-STERMINATE

      not sure i get the point of this comment

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=889370654 David De Garie-Lamanque

        it is a somewhat obtuse reference to Mistabishi, a DnB producer who got caught faking DJ sets twice, playing a pre-recorded mix CD and mimicking various knob twiddling gestures. It pretty much made him the laughing stock of the whole DnB scene, he got no support from his label Hospital Records (biggest dnb label in the UK) and it pretty much ended his career as one of the rising stars of the genre.

        He makes music that he releases on his own now and is a terrific producer and plays all his live shows since with a Korg EMX, which some might argue is closer to a live performance than DJing because your interacting with a little machine that is making all the sounds.

        Those sounds are still programmed and structured into songs prior to the performance but the performer can drastically alter the very sound of the entire performance on a whim, change the tempo at will and really manipulate the dynamics of his performance.

        I would also compare it to the earlier form of controllerism (before everyone was finger drumming) which was all about mashing a bunch of loops together and fucking them up with crazy effects (which is what i still enjoy most, but i do feel is limiting…), but then again a comparison to finger drumming also can apply in that the sound is generated live as a direct result of the performer’s actions.

        aaaah live electronic music, unattainable reality or just strange paradox?

  • scomo

    doesn’t ecist

  • The Philosopher

    vinyl purists are conservative asses…

    I don’t argue vinyl is sweet, but it’s not like it’s the only thing that matters…
    Whenever you watch a gig on youtube you’ve gotta love them with their stupid comments:
    You don’t dj if you don’t use vinyl or You’re not a dj until you grew up with vinyl

    really :)

    anyway nice article as always

    • Spacecamp

      You don’t shoot photographs unless you shoot on film!
      Real drivers only drive manual cars!
      You’re not a chef unless you cook over campfires!

      • http://www.facebook.com/djmadwax Madden Wachsenhoff

        “Real drivers only drive manual cars! ” actually that ones true *ducks*

        • zzzuperfly

          +1 :)

      • D33P

        To be accurate: Real drivers only drive cars with a crank start ;-) Or to be really old-school, you ride a horse! Then you are really both a driver and a jockey…

  • Anonymous

    Hehe.. I know I have a Traktor face. But, I know it looks better than a Serato face. ;)

    scamo

    • http://twitter.com/DJJokerboy DJJoKerboy

      lmao! GOOD ONE! –me too.

    • CUSP

      Gosh, I hope no one is looking at my face when I’m deep into my groove… if they are, I guess I’m failing to give them what they’re there for… an awesome time.

  • Dan Tait

    You didn’t mention using HID on the CDJ-2000s. This allows a laptop based DJ a much more traditional CDJ style of playing. I.e. looking at a CDJ for the waveforms and browsing for tracks.

  • boarderbas

    This is why they invented laptop stickers

    • genspeed

      LoL. Funny but TRUE!

  • CKsoundmachine

    I always place my laptop on the right side next to the CDJ’s. Not in front of me. This gives me a more open feeling towards my crowd.
    Knowing your tunes and picking the right midi controllers for you is a must. :-)

  • santi elena is cool

    need advice like this? go get a job!

    • Spacecamp

      A job where you stare at the laptop all day? Not sure it’s much different ;)

      • santi elena

        great reply, i’m sold!

  • Der Langhaarige

    Serato Face is bullshit. Before DJing went digital, DJs stared blanky on their mixers or had their back to the crowd while looking through their records and nobody cared.

    • Anonymous

      problem is people expect a concert these days rather then a set. and you can’t have a concert without interacting with the crowd and a host of cheesy dance moves lol

    • dillinger23

      excellent point. when i started clubbing more than 20 years ago in the UK I never even SAW the DJ. The boot was hidden off to the side, probably behind a cloud of dry ice. At the very end of the evening in a club, the lights would go up, the music would stop and then we would all see and righteously APPLAUD the DJ. Rockstar DJ bullshit has killed the dancefloor.

      • Anonymous

        for the most part you’re right. I’ve found a few places on the west coast US where there’s a healthly medium between those two extremes. the DJ is visible and interacts with the crowd at some level, but the emphasis is still that he/she works together with the dancers to make a good night :)

      • Tara

        Yes, because you went to a club and there was a dj playing music…now people are PAYING to see a specific DJ Spin. Obviously there are gong to be expecations when you are paying 20 bucks cover to see someone spin and put on a show when all they are doing is looking a computer screen!! ON TOP OF ALL OF THIS CRAP – I am an event photographer. I shoot DJS on a massive level, and I am sick an TIRED of taking pictures of DJs and they can’t even acknowledge that I am there, they just contiune to start into their laptop like it’s the most important thing in the world. Which newsflash IT’S NOT! I’ve seen many amazing DJ’s do there thing and still manage to interact with the crowd. Oh and it’s your fucking job to pay attention to the venues photographer. They pay me, to shoot you doing something. Not to stare blankly.

        I would also like to say 20 YEARS AGO, there wasn’t a large amount of competition for DJS. There wasn’t 400+ DJ’s in every city. In this day an age if you can’t spin AND interact with the crowd, then you literally SUCK…why?? Because there are or will be plenty of amazing DJ’s out there who will work there ass off to be good at spinning AND putting on a show JUST so they can surpass you.

        • dillinger23

          Not true my man, we went to see specific DJs play (Mr C used to play at a monthly night before he became huge and opened The End nightclub, and he was a phenomenal electronica DJ), we just preferred not to stand there gazing at him all night, and dance and smile at those next to us. Happy happy loved up dayz, London in the early 90s. :o)d

        • adelord

          “Oh and it’s your fucking job to pay attention to the venues photographer.”
          Absolutely not. This is 100% wrong.

        • CUSP

          Tell that to Daft Punk and Deadmau5.

    • Anonymous

      This is kind of the notion I got. I for one like that there is more interaction with the crowd, but not like the silly jesus posers etc. More like if the DJ is getting down and having fun, and is visibly enjoying his music choices, then i’m likely to as well ;) Serato face is specifically mood killing cause they’re usually staring in the direction of the crowd looking up. you get those blank eyes just peering (sort of) at the crowd as if they are bored instead of doing something. looking down at the mixer to get the sound right, or turning around to grab a record is different, you’re visibly doing something.

      • dillinger23

        even if i have traktor face for a few seconds, my bootie never stops shaking. ;)

    • Stylus_XL

      Totally, totally true. I’ve seen plenty of ‘analogue’ DJs stare into space blankly when they’re concentrating hard on riding the pitch.

    • G Phunk

      no I didn’t!

    • Mike Waz

      Exactly! Couldn’t agree more…and, more to the point, if a DJ is staring at his equipment, be it a laptop, CDJ, mixer, etc, then I’d be happy to know he’s working (whether he is or not).

      When did so many people start concerning themselves with how the DJ looks or acts? When I go to a club to see a named DJ I want to see (or even to a local bar where I’ve previously enjoyed the music) I like to stand in an area with a decent amount of personal space where I can hear the music and dance. Fuck these people who go to a club to barge their way to the front and watch a “DJ” posing like he’s a god. Those people are the bandwagon jumpers who’ll move on to the next big thing within a year or so.

      • Kraid

        That’s what I’m thinking. People are fucking sheep and they need someone to fucking lead them I guess that’s what they’re wanting.

  • http://www.djpc3.com/ DJ PC3

    I agree with column as well. I avoid the Serato face by keeping my laptop down and to the side.

    When I first started DJing (hole in the wall bars in Chicago), I didn’t have that luxury because I wasn’t given a “traditional” DJ booth (often just a table in the corner of the room), so I couldn’t risk a drunk spelling/knocking over my Mac.

    Now I have some pretty decent gigs with traditional elevated booths, so I normally just put my Mac down on the table next to me or reposition the DJ stand, it so it’s not dead center in front of me.

  • Anonymous

    I watch TV when I practice. That gives me something to look up at instead of staring at my laptop.

    • bender

      that’s what i do too. yo sometimes i can’t help but look at my laptop though. i’m doing fast cuts, spinning 5 to 7 tracks in less that 3 minutes… yo they burned diplo LOL mad decent forever!!!!!

    • antifmardio

      i do this at my hiphop club night. i cant stand it but it pays so i might as well find something enjoyable

  • steve

    Totally agree with this article, but I wish that there was more controllers that actually had built in displays that told more info about playing tracks so that I could glance down instead of looking at my computer screen. S4 with waveforms please!!!

    • 32digits

      +USB stick so we can also plug it straight in ;p

      They should not make a new S4 tho, just add a mod or something alike that will cost not too much ;D

      like an upgrade set :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/alexandru.sereseoan Alexandru Sereseoan

      So you’d be just staring in a different direction then…

    • Jade

      People just need to learn their shit, I see dudes staring at CDJ2000s all day, has waveforms, BPM, all their tracks on there etc.

      Its just bad habits that need to be broken.

    • antifmradio

      but this is where i draw a line and start to think…. why? Do we really need controllers with more visual feedback, just because its possible to make that happen or, is it really needed? As the dj, i should know what im playing. all mixers have a way to CUE what you want to hear (Pre output). So if i know what im doing, i should really need to check my screen for say, few seconds every OTHER song? It shouldnt be any different then using actual VINYL. Only think you needed to look away for was, which side of the LP am i playing.

      I think if we moved into hte direction of MORE visual aids on our controllers, we would end up with “CONTROLLER FACE”