Deadmau5 keeps it real: we all hit play

Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
55,385
1,517
126
How did I miss this gem? Srsly, EDM now is so much different than it was 10 years ago. 10 years ago you were the shit if you rolled in with 4 SL1200's and tore that shit up. Now you roll in with 2 MBP's and an iPad.

we all hit play.

its no secret. when it comes to “live” performance of EDM… that’s about the most it seems you can do anyway. It’s not about performance art, its not about talent either (really its not) In fact, let me do you and the rest of the EDM world button pushers who fuckin hate me for telling you how it is, a favor and let you all know how it is.

I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing at a deadmau5 concert. Just like i think ANY DJ in the WORLD who can match a beat can do what “ANYONE else” (not going to mention any names) is doing on their EDM stages too. have a look, then let me explain:

okay, so heres me, in a big silly mousehead.. twiddlin a knob or somethin… okay so heres how it works…. Somewhere in that mess is a computer, running ableton live… and its spewing out premixed (to a degree) stems of my original producitons, and then a SMPTE feed to front of house (so tell the light / video systems) where im at in the performance… so that all the visuals line up nicely and all the light cues are on and stuff. Now, while thats all goin on… theres a good chunk of Midi data spitting out as well to a handful of synths and crap that are / were used in the actual produciton… which i can tweak *live* and whatnot… but doesnt give me alot of “lookit me im jimi hendrix check out this solo” stuff, because im constrained to work on a set timeline because of the SMPTE. Its a super redundant system, and more importantly its reliable as FUCK! And obviously, ive done the show a couple hundred times easily by now, so the focus over the past few runs with the “cube show” has been more revolved around adding new audio / visual content to keep it current.

so thats my “live” show. and thats as “live” as i can comfortably get it (for now anyway) of course itll evolve, and change up, but im sure a few key principles will always remain the same.

Im just so sick of hearing the “NO!!! IM NOT JUST DOING THIS, I HAVE 6 TABLES UP THERE AND I DO THIS THIS AND THIS” like… honestly. who gives a fuck? i dont have any shame in admitting that for “unhooked” sets.. i just roll up with a laptop and a midi controller and “select” tracks n hit a spacebar. ableton syncs the shit up for me… so no beatmatching skill required. “beatmatching” isnt even a fucking skill as far as im concered anyway. so what, you can count to 4. cool. i had that skill down when i was 3, so dont give me that argument please.

my “skills” and other PRODUCERS skills shine where it needs to shine… in the goddamned studio, and on the fucking releases. thats what counts… because this whole big “edm” is taking over fad, im not going to let it go thinking that people assume theres a guy on a laptop up there producing new original tracks on the fly. becausje none of the “top dj’s in the world” to my knowledge have. myself included.

you know what makes the EDM show the crazy amazing show that it is? you guys do, the fans, the people who came to appreciate the music, the lights, all the other people who came, we just facilitate the means and the pretty lights and the draw of more awesome people like you by our studio productions. which is exactly what it is. But to stand up and say youre doing something special outside of a studio environment, when youre not, just plain fuckin annoys me.
http://deadmau5.tumblr.com/post/25690507284/we-all-hit-play

related:
Don't Push My Buttons
There's a new buzz-word in the world of DJing: "Button Pushers." As the DJ moves from club booths to festival stages, the equipment has become increasingly varied. And as the lines continue to blur between a DJ who mixes and a producer who presses play, questions of authenticity have been raised. I should mention that I am a DJ myself. I won five world DJ championships (yes, there is such a thing) at a young age, and this has been my career for 15 years, so I feel a certain responsibility to weigh in on the subject.

Traditionally, a DJ spun vinyl records on turntables and would change his set every night. So what about guys who play on laptops? Those who spend more time raising their hands than mixing? Or those whose presence is lost behind intricate light shows? Esteemed electronic producer deadmau5, who recently graced the cover of rock bible Rolling Stone wearing his namesake, robo-rodent mask, decided to blow the whistle himself with a refreshingly frank tumblr post entitled "We All Hit Play." Explaining how his pre-planned stage show works, he admits that the term "live" is an overstatement. But his tone is strangely defensive and he unjustly lumps DJs into the argument, reducing their craft to mindless beat-matching: "I had that skill down when I was 3."

Coincidentally, the same week the DJ world was set a-twitter (literally) by SNL-worthy videos of Paris Hilton's inaugural DJ set. In fact, this DJ-as-Milli-Vanilli debate started simmering last summer with the emergence of a YouTube clip entitled "Steve Angello -- How To Fake Your Fans." It showed the Swedish House Mafia DJ playing 15 minutes of a pre-recorded set from a single CD deck. He later explained that this was the finale of a show where fireworks, pyro and CO2 were timed with certain cues and that it was impossible to perform this segment while mixing live. Having seen Steve mix in front of me many times I can attest to his (actually remarkable) DJ skills. But let's back up a bit: fireworks, pyro and CO2 with house music? Something new is going on here...

A large part of the attention that DJs are getting at the moment is due to the Electronic Dance Music explosion. There's another buzzword for you: EDM. For better or worse, this rising genre is dominated by laptop production whizzes who do not play live instruments. Thus, there are inherent challenges to what an EDM performance can be. Look no further than this year's Grammy Awards: the way David Guetta and deadmau5 were lumped with Chris Brown and the Foo Fighters seemed like an awkward foreign exchange, didn't it? But Guetta and Mr. Mau5's music is catchy and hugely successful. Fans want to experience it in large venues, so there is a need to build a show around it.

Festivals started spending millions equipping their stages with the biggest LED panels and brightest lights, competing with rivals all in the name of this "experience." Now we are in the middle of an arms race where every DJ tries to out-do the next one with shock and awe. As the performance aspect becomes predominant, a paradigm shift is underway. Crowds used to come see DJs for a musical journey. Now they expect to hear specific songs and furthermore, they want to see a show. I can attest to this myself: the craziest crowd response that I get in my sets is when I play my own tracks, and I built a huge, illuminated A-shaped structure that I bring to my biggest gigs. But one has to wonder, when so much emphasis is put on hit records and mise-en-scène: is there still room for DJ skills?

I come from the most technical tradition of hip hop DJing, known as turntablism. I practiced daily for years with monastic discipline, learning and creating intricate patterns of scratching, beat juggling and trick mixing. To me there is a certain romance to this arcane craft. To me this is DJing, an art that fascinates because it's a subversive way of playing music. In any genre -- whether it be hip hop or electronic music -- DJing is equal parts technique and selection. A good set is like a convincing speech: the message is as important as the delivery. The magic happens when the tracks are assembled in front of (and in reaction to) a given crowd. When a DJ mixes, his creative effort takes place on the spot. In contrast, for a performer like deadmau5, the creative tour de force takes place ahead of time, in the conceptual stages of his show, and he is then able to execute it like a theatre play. Good theatre is entertaining, it is moving and certainly has value. This is a classic dispute of apples and oranges, and deadmau5's only mistake in his tumblr post is trying to compare the two. I happen to know him; he's a smart guy and he can take a joke. I also think he doesn't fully understand -- or care for -- what DJing is at the core, but that doesn't take away from his talent.

Recently there was a very cogent editorial post on the EDM blog Dancing Astronaut entitled "Dance Music Has Gone Mainstream But It Doesn't Have To Sell Out." It accused EDM DJs of becoming complacent in their selection. The writer states: "What worries me is not that DJs are simply 'pressing play', but that they're pressing play on the same tracks in the same order night after night after night." This is very true and might be the source of deadmau5's confusion. For the DJs who bounce from venue to venue, playing the same set without the redeeming quality of a personalized stage production, there is no excuse. This laziness is actually giving "live" performances more value! After any big EDM festival, look up the DJ playlists. They're frighteningly similar. This scene is turning into a caricature. Explosions, private jets, standing on tables (I plead guilty to the latter), and now carbon copy playlists... The hair metal soap opera of EDM risks devaluing a culture that has waited for its big break for 30 years.

Real DJing lives when you witness someone play for hours and take risks, reading the crowd and surprising them at the same time. On festival stages, it makes sense to use fool-proof equipment and put together a spectacular show. In today's context, wouldn't it be fair to say that the holy grail is a live performance that has the flexibility to integrate true improvisation? That is the ultimate win-win. To the DJs who choose to bypass the LED screen arms race and stick to their decks, I respect that too. Just make sure you give your audience something new every night. If you want to play David to deadmau5's Goliath, earn it. Challenge yourself to challenge the crowd. And to all the new fans just discovering this genre, come to the shows with an open mind. Don't just wait to hear the songs you already know. There's a reason you're not watching a band. DJing is still at the cutting edge of new music. Let yourself be surprised.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/atrak/dont-push-my-buttons_b_1694719.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
 

Saint Nick

Lifer
Jan 21, 2005
17,722
6
81
I never understood why this whole scene carries such an ego with it. Especially deadmau5. I was real into his stuff when he was getting started, but nowadays I could give a damn mostly given his ego. Really, I don't like most EDM artists because of their ego.
 

T_Yamamoto

Lifer
Jul 6, 2011
15,004
787
126
Hell no. Read DJs still use decks (like those sexy pioneers) but people who aren't as good just use virtual DJ and iPods. Those people don't give real performances.

Look of beat ports live stream and with Krewella live. They are amazing (and pretty cute)
 

UNCjigga

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
23,918
7,082
136
Wanna watch a real show? Go see Beardyman live.

What this man puts out with one finger on a Kaoss Pad and his voice is more than all other DJ talent combined.

Saw him last year when he ventured stateside for Austin City Limits...sick set.
 

Dr. Detroit

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2004
7,816
346
126
The speed and accuracy in which turntablists perform is something the Mousketeer does not seem to understand.

digging through a crate, dropping a record on, creating a loop and then hitting that spot dead on over and over again record after record from the crate you spent years putting together.

I still enjoy quite a bit of the current EDM stuff but nothing compares to the golden age of techno for me '98 - '02.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,579
1,339
126
So when does he actually play music?
He doesn't. But that's okay.

He plays back loops, which a computer or mixing board keeps synchronized for him. The creative aspect is deciding which loops to play, when, and in what combination. What he's saying in his essay is that he plans all that ahead of time and programs it into the computer, which 1) makes it less likely that something will go wrong, and 2) removes most of the creativity from the actual performance.

He still had to come up with the recipe in the first place, but the computer cooks it for him.

Most people lack the personality, showmanship, and (occasionally) large quantities of drugs necessary to keep several hundred people engaged and enjoying themselves. That is why we are not all DJs.

From the audience perspective, while you may occasionally pay attention to the DJ, you are spending most of your energy and time interacting with the other people in the audience. And hopefully having sex with one or more of them.

DJs need to stop pretending they're on par with "real" musicians*, and the "real" musicians need to stop pretending they could be DJs. Then everybody will be much happier.

*DJs are musicians, in the technical sense. However, it's a narrowly focused musical skill set which obviates the need for years, or even decades, of intense training. DJs need to acknowledge this, and take solace in the fact that they get laid a lot more.**

**This pisses off more traditionally skilled musicians to no end.
 
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mmntech

Lifer
Sep 20, 2007
17,504
12
0
I never understood why this whole scene carries such an ego with it. Especially deadmau5. I was real into his stuff when he was getting started, but nowadays I could give a damn mostly given his ego. Really, I don't like most EDM artists because of their ego.
Especially since he's just some scrawny white kid under that dumb mouse head. Tell him to call me when he learns how to play an actual instrument. I can screw around with pro tools too but that doesn't make me an artist.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,579
1,339
126
The speed and accuracy in which turntablists perform is something the Mousketeer does not seem to understand.

digging through a crate, dropping a record on, creating a loop and then hitting that spot dead on over and over again record after record from the crate you spent years putting together.

I still enjoy quite a bit of the current EDM stuff but nothing compares to the golden age of techno for me '98 - '02.
1) ...you don't just stick a little piece of tape on the record so you know where and when to drop the needle?

2) Records wear out. Digital is better. Take your tube amp and your false sense of superiority and go home.
 

pelov

Diamond Member
Dec 6, 2011
3,510
6
0
He doesn't. But that's okay.

He plays back loops, which a computer or mixing board keeps synchronized for him. The creative aspect is deciding which loops to play, when, and in what combination. What he's saying in his essay is that he plans all that ahead of time and programs it into the computer, which 1) makes it less likely that something will go wrong, and 2) removes most of the creativity from the actual performance.

He still had to come up with the recipe in the first place, but the computer cooks it for him.

Most people lack the personality, showmanship, and (occasionally) large quantities of drugs necessary to keep several hundred people engaged and enjoying themselves. That is why we are not all DJs.

From the audience perspective, while you may occasionally pay attention to the DJ, you are spending most of your energy and time interacting with the other people in the audience. And hopefully having sex with one or more of them.

DJs need to stop pretending they're on par with "real" musicians*, and the "real" musicians need to stop pretending they could be DJs. Then everybody will be much happier.

*DJs are musicians, in the technical sense. However, it's a narrowly focused musical skill set which obviates the need for years, or even decades, of intense training. DJs need to acknowledge this, and take solace in the fact that they get laid a lot more.**

**This pisses off more traditionally skilled musicians to no end.
That's just a fancy way of telling me he's not talented.

And judging by some of these "tracks" I've listened to, I'd wager that's a damn good assumption. It isn't music, it just sounds like robots fucking.
 

Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
55,385
1,517
126
1) ...you don't just stick a little piece of tape on the record so you know where and when to drop the needle?

2) Records wear out. Digital is better. Take your tube amp and your false sense of superiority and go home.
can't do this on digital:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UjFZiOAZKc&feature=related

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ3N6XADe9I&feature=related

//edit

or maybe you can?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxgKCmGVnG0&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL9180513E52EE5306

O_O

jesus christ Qbert keeps it real:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=PL9180513E52EE5306&v=DxgKCmGVnG0#t=70s
 

T_Yamamoto

Lifer
Jul 6, 2011
15,004
787
126
I like DJs that put on a show and most people who aren't "pro" much like college DJs. For example Kap Slap. He has amazing bootlegs/mashups and play at his college. I love his new Frequent Flyers Album. Dr. Brixx is also very good. He mixes rock/alternative with pop/hip hop. These guys are college kids who just play locally. Sweekuh has gone "pro" since he's touring with someone. He just released his debut album which was very well made.

I've gotten my hands dirty in creating mashups using ableton, etc. Its a lot harder than it looks. Takes a long time to perfect songs. Creating is the hardest part. Performing is more of an art I guess you could call it that. You don't needs much skill to play songs BUT live mashes and live edm, creating and tweaking on the fly is hard.
 

actuarial

Platinum Member
Jan 22, 2009
2,814
0
71
Especially since he's just some scrawny white kid under that dumb mouse head. Tell him to call me when he learns how to play an actual instrument. I can screw around with pro tools too but that doesn't make me an artist.
If I were you I'd do it: seems there's a lot of money in it that you're just leaving on the table.

This seems like criticizing a writer by saying: "I can bang on some keys on a keyboard too."
 

clamum

Lifer
Feb 13, 2003
26,240
394
126
That's just a fancy way of telling me he's not talented.

And judging by some of these "tracks" I've listened to, I'd wager that's a damn good assumption. It isn't music, it just sounds like robots fucking.
Isn't it clear in deadmau5's description on his live show that it DOES NOT take much talent? That he's ADMITTING this? Studio is a different matter, he says, which I agree with.
 

shurato

Platinum Member
Sep 24, 2000
2,398
0
0
The term DJ is a pretty subjective term these days. I remember going to live performances of DJ Craze in the late 90s and early 2000's. Now that's what you call a DJ. Alot of EDM Dj's these days are like wedding djs. Everybody can play a record one after the other but you also have to add a little something else to entertain the crowd.

I think these days to garner respect the Djs have to produce their own tracks or remix. I caught Kaskade recently and he only played his own tracks and nothing else for the entire set. Can't say I enjoyed his set like I used to a decade ago but that gets alot of props from me.

Paris fucking Hilton is a DJ now? That's when you know edm has gone mainstream and going downhill. Afrojack just created the Antichrist of EDM.


Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
 

T_Yamamoto

Lifer
Jul 6, 2011
15,004
787
126
The term DJ is a pretty subjective term these days. I remember going to live performances of DJ Craze in the late 90s and early 2000's. Now that's what you call a DJ. Alot of EDM Dj's these days are like wedding djs. Everybody can play a record one after the other but you also have to add a little something else to entertain the crowd.

I think these days to garner respect the Djs have to produce their own tracks or remix. I caught Kaskade recently and he only played his own tracks and nothing else for the entire set. Can't say I enjoyed his set like I used to a decade ago but that gets alot of props from me.

Paris fucking Hilton is a DJ now? That's when you know edm has gone mainstream and going downhill. Afrojack just created the Antichrist of EDM.


Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
You gotta see the up and coming.

Krewella 3Lau etc
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
63,211
9,999
126
twitter.com
I never understood dubstep. The best is songs that are "dubstepped" and it's 5 seconds of the original song followed by a bunch of random electronic noises. What's the point? That's not music.
 

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