“You can’t call yourself a DJ unless you can mix on vinyl.”
It wasn’t meant for me, but I overheard it recently and it’s stuck with me.
In 1996, I walked into a HMV and saw Technics 1210s spinning their hypnotic perfect circle at the back of the store. I was already in love with dance music. I’d divide my time in clubs, between dancing (badly) and standing near the decks to watch the vinyl spin and hopefully grab the name of whatever tune was going off.
That trip to HMV, was my first touch of actual decks. The start/stop click. The pitch controller slide. The pretty little needle torch. It was very seductive and still is. But it was 1996.
I spent hours learning to mix(badly) on vinyl back then. Paul Van Dyk mixes really well with Gouryella by the way. Anything normally does if you do it 20,000 times. The more you practice the luckier you get right?
However you decide to build or programme and eventually play out your set is YOUR choice. For me the chance to play and pre-build moments in a set on Ableton is far more exciting and constructive than just going from one record to another on vinyl. You can be a DJ without ever touching a piece of vinyl. Other people’s opinions of your craft, are none of your business.
Practice, Play, Presentation. What will sound the best for the audience? What can I do to enhance their experience? How can I utilise all my skill for maximum benefit?
If I ask myself those questions, the answers will never involve vinyl. And that’s fine by me.