Rock Music At Weddings?

By Brian Buonassissi

Recently, a wedding industry pro asked me, “What Rock N Roll songs are you playing at weddings these days?” The question needs a bit of clarifying as that is such a broad genre – is this 50s rock, classic rock, current rock, etc.? It turns out the question was supposed to be broad.  This got me thinking about which ones are popular and which ones I still use. I really do try to keep my programming as fresh as possible and lean towards more current music. Also, being a destination-based DJ, the programming varies much more than a local market DJ.  However, they are some rock classics that, for the moment, always seem to find their way into my wedding sets. Because they are truly “classics” (in my opinion, this is due to their sing-a-long quality), I really don’t think they need a remix. In fact, remixes can hurt these tracks more than they help. I would never play all these songs in one event (usually I’ll use 1-3 max) but here’s a few that still work well:

*You Shook Me All Night Long – ACDC
*Back In Black – ACDC
*Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
*We Will Rock You – Queen
*I Love Rock N Roll – Joan Jett (yes, I’d qualify this as Rock – has it right in the title)
*Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
*Living On A Prayer – Bon Jovi (Jersey crowds for sure)
*Take Me Home Tonight – Eddie Money

Then there are some classics that when mashed with a current song’s beat or done with a redrum (modern drumbeat) work extremely well because the hooks of the song are so recognizable.  Here’s a few that I tend to use (again not all done at one wedding – a selection of 2-3 per wedding is usually just the right amount):

*Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas
*Sweet Child O Mine – Guns N Roses
*Jump – Van Halen
*Peace Of Mind – Boston
*Mr. Jones – Counting Crows
*Edge Of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks
*Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Where Rock where lives right now with the Millennial generation of brides and grooms (which is the bulk of most of our clients) is in the 90s-2000s era.  Rock songs from that time period that you’d never play during their heyday absolutely crush at weddings right now. In a lot of cases, the originals suffice just fine (though I have a ton of mashups with the hooks of these tracks). I play on average about 6-7 of these type songs per wedding – whereas maybe 5 years ago, hip hop classics or pop hits would make up the bulk of my wedding dance song selections.  The crazy part is that lyrically these songs are probably the furthest from true wedding content that you’d want but nobody seems to care now.  A good song is a good song.  Here’s a sampling of some that work super well for me (the key is when and HOW you mix them in).

*Mr. Brightside – The Killers
*The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
*I Write Sins Not Tragedies – Panic At The Disco
*My Own Worst Enemy – Lit
*Crazy Bitch – Buckcherry
*Stacy’s Mom – Fountains Of Wayne

So that leaves us with today’s alternative rock songs. I have to be honest – this genre has been dormant for at least the last several years as far as wedding dance floor fillers. There might be 1-2 tracks a year that seem to gain a bit of traction, but they never tend to last long and most are not for prime time dancing. There are some electronic rock or indie rock songs that work well for me during cocktail hour and/or dinner.  Here’s a few that may get used at a wedding of mine:

*High Hopes – Panic At The Disco (probably will fade out shortly)
*Broken – lovelytheband (also will fade out as it falls off the charts)
*Handclap – Fitz & The Tantrums
*Feel It Still – Portgual. The Man
*Heartlines – Broods
*Kangaroo Court – Capital Cities
*Let It Go – James Bay
*Take The World – JOHNNYSWIM
*What You Know – Two Door Cinema

DJs: What are you using these days in the rock category? Any that seem to get a great response?  Any outliers? Send me a note and let me know.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events.  He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with satellite offices in Southern California, Scottsdale, AZ Destin, FL, Tallahassee, FL and New York City.  You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com.

Meet the SQUID: Pioneer’s new multitrack sequencer

From Pioneer US HQ in TORRANCE, CA, April 24, 2019:

Take control of your workflow and make new styles of music with the SQUIDTM. Named for the blend of functionality and creative stimulation it offers, the SQUID (SeQUencer Inspirational Device) is a brand-new multitrack sequencer in Pioneer’s TORAIZTM series of musical instruments and production gear. Connect all your instruments to use the SQUID as the heartbeat of your studio and live setup, and get hands-on with innovative features never seen before on this kind of equipment.

It’s easy to start making unique sequence patterns and phrases as soon as you hook the SQUID up to your instruments. The layout of the controls is optimized so you can effortlessly bring your ideas to life whenever inspiration strikes, and the workflow is perfect for on-the-fly music production. All this means you can spend less time looking at the unit’s display and more time creating music.

With the first Groove Bend feature ever seen on a production tool,1you can really feel the groove and generate original rhythms in real time by simply moving the spring-loaded slider to change the trigger timing. UseRunning Direction to create different phrases by changing the playback direction of sequence patterns you’ve programmed on the 16 pads and fluctuate the playback speed of sequenceswhenever you want using Speed Modulation.All of these features contribute to a fresh, nonlinear way of making music that breeds creativity and helps you stumble across things that sound great.

When you’ve created a phrase you love, you can use the SQUID Manager to back it up, along with all your projects. SQUID Manager is a free dedicated application that enables you to quickly import/export sequence patternsbetween the SQUID and a PC/Mac.

Reaching out into your setup, the SQUID simultaneously controls up to 16 instruments with its master pulse. It keeps everything in sync, from your DAW to hardware instruments such as the TORAIZ AS-1 monophonic analog synthesizer and the TORAIZ SP-16 professional sampler. You can even run modular synths and vintage drum machines/synths seamlessly alongside your other kit.

The SQUID fits perfectly into any studio or live music environment and helps you turn your ideas into music. It’s the third product in the TORAIZ series, which offers inspiring tools with unique features you can easily use to create new sounds.

The TORAIZ SQUID will be available from end of April at an MAP of $599.

Watch the SQUID introduction video or, for a detailed look at each unique feature, watch our walk-through video. Find out more about the SQUID he­­re.

Download Information

To use SQUID Manager, you’ll need to update to the latest firmware (ver. 1.10).

Download link:http://bit.ly/2vblHDm

KEY FEATURES OF THE TORAIZ SQUID

  1. Step Edit section for intuitively creating sequence patterns

Have fun creating phrases by tapping the 16 multicolored LED rubber pads. Set step parameters and play in real time as if the pads were keys on a keyboard, combining various sequence functions such as Interpolation and Harmonizer to help build your sounds.

  • 16 multicolored LED pads for enabling various features

Instantly switch between features using the SQUID’s 16 multicolored LED rubber pads, which are linked to independent modes. Use Trigger mode to step-record sequence patterns, and transpose your patterns on the fly with Transpose mode. Scale mode enables you to play scales with the 16 pads as if you were playing a keyboard and you can add nuanced expression to your performances by varying the strength of your keystrokes, thanks to the high-precision velocity detection. Using Scale mode, you can also record dynamic performances in real time.

  • Interpolation:instantly make a phrase

Use Interpolation to arrange phrases. Set each parameter (Pitch, Gate, and Velocity) for the beginning, middle, and the end of the steps, and the SQUID automatically interpolates (supplements) parameters for the steps in between them. Without needing to set the parameters of each step individually, you can quickly set the pitch and dynamics of the sound and create a phrase while the idea is fresh in your mind.

  • Harmonizer: intuitively create evolving phrases

If you want inspiration for chords, Harmonizer enables you to play them easily by hitting the Harmonizer buttons with the Pitch value set on each step parameter as the root note. Up to six chords can be assigned to the Harmonizer buttons. You can record chord compositions into steps and record real-time performances with the Harmonizer buttons, so you can intuitively create evolving phrases.

  1. Phrase arrangement section for rearranging sequence patterns in real time

Use Running Direction, Speed Modulation, and Groove Bend to further rearrange phrases you’ve created in the Step Edit section. Each feature has an optimized user interface so you can intuitively try out ideas as they spring to mind.

  • Speed Modulation: create unique grooves by fluctuating playback speed of sequence patterns

Periodically increase and decrease the playback speed of a sequence to create unique grooves. You can switch between six waveform shapes, such as triangle and sawtooth, and adjust the rate and amount.

  • Running Direction: easily create new phrases

You can easily create multiple new phrases from one sequence pattern by changing its playback direction on the 16 pads. Try the Zigzag or Clockwise directions, which take advantage of the SQUID’s 4 x 4 pads – a unique feature never seen on a general sequencer before. By combining Reverse, Switch Back, and Flip with the six different Running Directions, you can try out 48 different playback directions and create a variety of different phrases.

  • Groove Bend: change trigger timing in real time

In addition toSwing,which automatically delays trigger timing to create grooves, the SQUID features GrooveBend – the first-ever function on a sequencer to change trigger timing in real time via a slider. This enables you to create grooves as if you’re playing a musical instrument by simply moving the spring-loaded slider.

  1. Time Warp: save your “happy accidents”

Never lose the phrases you make incidentally when you’re trying things out. Use Time Warp to audition the previous phrase you created and save it as a new sequence pattern if you like it. There’s no need to stress over the workflow of practicing and recording take after take. Instead, feel free to just play around until you hear something you love, then capture it for use in a track or performance.

  1. Multiple inputs/outputs: sync with various instruments

In addition to a USB B terminal and Midi terminals for your DAW and hardware synthesizers, you can sync and play with modular synthesizers using the two sets of CV/GATE outputs and CLOCK input/output terminals. DIN SYNC input/output terminals enable syncing with vintage synthesizers and drum machines. Various signals including notes and clocks are mutually converted inside the SQUID automatically, so you can easily expand your creative scope just by adding the SQUID to your current setup.

  1. Import/export sequence patterns via PC/Mac

Using the SQUID’s dedicated SQUID Manager, you can quickly import and export sequence patterns between the SQUID and your PC/Mac. Easily import a sequence pattern created on your DAW to the SQUID, intuitively arrange it using the sequencer’s features, and return it to your DAW. Use SQUID Manager to back up the projects you create on the SQUID by saving them to your PC/Mac.

1 First slider-operated trigger timing feature in the music production category (according to research conducted by Pioneer DJ Corporation, as of April 18,2019).

 

TORAIZ SQUID Specifications

Maximum number of tracks 16 tracks
Maximum number of patterns per track 64 patterns
Maximum number of steps per track 64 steps
Step resolution Quarter note, Eighth note, Sixteenth note, Twenty-fourth note, Thirty-second note
Maximum number of notes per step (polyphony) 8 notes
Maximum number of projects 128 projects
Input / Output Terminals MIDI MIDI IN
MIDI OUT 1

MIDI THRU / OUT 2

USB USB (Type B)
CV / GATE CV OUT 1, CV OUT 2 (V/Oct, Hz/V)

GATE OUT 1, GATE OUT 2 (V-Trigger, S-Trigger)

CLOCK CLOCK IN (step, 1, 2, 4, 24, 48ppqn, Gate)

CLOCK OUT (1, 2, 4, 24, 48ppqn)

DIN SYNC DIN SYNC IN / OUT 2 (24, 48ppqn)

DIN SYNC OUT 1 (24, 48ppqn)

Maximum dimensions (W x D x H) 374.8 × 223.9 × 72.1 mm / 14.8” x 8.8” x 2.8”
Weight 1.9 kg / 4.2 lb
Accessories AC adaptor, Power cord, Quick Start Guide

 

SQUID Manager Requirements

Mac macOS Mojave 10.14 (Updated to the latest version)

macOS High Sierra 10.13 (Updated to the latest version)
macOS Sierra 10.12 (Updated to the latest version)

Windows Windows® 10, 8.1, 7 (The latest service pack)
CPU Intel® processor Core™ i7, i5, i3
Memory 4GB or more

* Disclaimer: specifications and price are subject to change.

* TORAIZ is a registered trademark or trademark of Pioneer DJ Corporation, Japan and United States, and other countries.

* SQUID is a trademark of Pioneer DJ Corporation, Japan and United States, and other countries.

* Mac, OS X and macOS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

*Windows is a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

* Intel and Intel Core are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

* The names of companies, product names, and technology names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

The REAL job of DJing

By DJ Rachel Lynch

With technology at the forefront of our industry, the term “button-pusher” DJ has become quite the buzzword. While some may feel that technology has cheapened the art of being a DJ, I say being a button pusher has little to do with using the sync button or available technology. What separates a button-pusher DJ from a great DJ is understanding the “why” behind pushing play.

Music is an extremely personal and powerful thing. It is how we communicate, reminisce, pay tribute, cope, grieve, show love, have fun and connect with others. Humans are naturally social creatures, and our purpose as a DJ is to create meaningful interactions that link these experiences. Truthfully, our job has more to do with being a social scientist than being a DJ. Fundamentally, we aren’t in the business of music; we are in the business of people. This is true for sales, marketing, and our dancefloor.

In our search to become a “great DJ,” we often focus on gear, technology, scratching, and software. However, hype dancefloors and amazing parties are not created by just dropping bangers, mixing by ear or infusing technical scratch patterns into our sets. They are created by intelligently and consciously using tempo, volume, timing, mood, and social science to entice the audience.

The goal? Create a shared experience: Understanding why and how people are influenced by sound is what is going to set you apart from the button pushers. A successful event is not just about what you played; it’s about why you played it. The purpose of this piece is to encourage DJs to be more conscious of their music soundscapes and changeup predicable formula driven sets.

It has been scientifically proven that music can change how fast we walk, influence what we buy or drink, dictate how long we hang around, alter our general attitude, and how we interact in groups. When a DJ is conscious of how their soundscape is affecting the emotional and physical actions of their audience they have tapped into the social science of being a DJ. Some may call it “reading a crowd,” but it is much deeper than that. You may look at the audience and gauge what to play based on their age, gender, or common stereotypes, but this is only scratching the surface to creating a compelling set.

A skill I developed to be more influential with music is to focus less on recipe based elements of mixing like BPM, key signature, and genre and focus more on creating anticipation with the mood and overall vibe of my track selection. A song might technically fit the current style being played or blend well with the BPM and key signature, but the spirit can be entirely off base and trash the dancefloor.

Experienced DJs will not just stick to technically compatible songs in their sets but will rather focus on influencing what the audience will do and feel. Does this song sound aggressive? Soulful? Happy? Romantic? Sad? Sexual? Is this making it easier to socialize? Will people feel energized by hearing this?

This strategy is about creating thoughtful arcs of energy. I have found greater success in pushing and pulling my audience by motivating with mood instead of being locked into recipe-like based elements such as BPM, key signature, and genre. I’m not dismissing these fundamentals but rather permitting myself to deviate from technically based sets to be more unique and creative.

Being a button pusher DJ is not defined with or without the use of the sync button. It’s about the ability to adapt, observe and yes, understand the social psychology of your audience. Ultimately this is why great DJs will not be replaced by streaming apps or “intelligent” automix programs anytime soon. There are too many considerations that artificial intelligence isn’t capable of processing.

Good DJs are experts of empathy. The next time you play, do so with purpose, intent, and temptation.

Fun, creative, and ambitious, DJ Rachel is making her mark as one of the top mobile DJs in the tri-state area. Her diversity as a DJ allows her to play at events that include MetLife Stadium (for the New York Jets) and serve as opening act for George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and Gloria Gaynor. For more info visit: facebook.com/DJRachelRLynch

Drip, Drip, Drip…

By Eric Wenning

I hoping I have your attention now, considering that my title sounds like the chorus of a Trap Song!

Do you have a proper Email Drip Delay Sequence setup for your follow ups? Did you just scratch your head, asking “What is an Email Drip Delay Sequence?”

I thought you’d never ask!

An Email Drip Delay Sequence is an automated series of emails sent out over a series of specific days to help gradually build rapport with your leads. For example, after speaking with a lead, you would enter their info into an email sequence that will automatically follow up with them on the days you select, for example on days 3, 5, 7, etc.

You get the idea.

This is crucial nowadays with Millennials loving to email and text, and allows you to build trust by providing a steady drip of information to guide them towards choosing your company — without doing any work, other than your initial setup of the sequence!

As I teach my students all the time: You have to be creative with your copy to gain their attention. Even more importantly is the subject line! Most DJs have no clue how to use something as simple as a compelling subject line to get a better open rate.

Here are a few examples to help you: 

  • Adding Custom Symbols, First Names and Hashtags
  • Adding Emojis to your Subject Line
  • Adding ‘Blank Space’ before your Subject Line provides an indent
  • [Adding Brackets]
  • Ask a Question?

Just think how many junk emails you get in one day. More than you can count right? You need to make your emails stand out from everything else. Get creative; give crazy weird stats to pique curiosity; engage with them to build report.

“Did you know 67% of Brides forget Deodorant on their Wedding Day?” See, now I have you curious wondering if that many Brides actually are “un-Sure.”

If you want to increase your closing ratio, set up an email drip delay and execute better subject lines to get your prospects to open your emails and engage with you more.

P.S. 89% of people that read a 400-word article only retain 150 words!

In addition to his highly successful multi-op business in Pittsburgh, PA, Eric has degrees in Graphic Design and Marketing and also owns a full ad agency that specializes in Social Media Advertising for many different types of companies. For more info or to contact Eric visit www.wenningmethod.com

Never Let Them See You Sweat

By Mike Walter

There was a very popular ad campaign for Dry Idea when I was a kid.  If you’re my age or older you probably remember it.  It featured a number of people from various professions talking about the “nevers” in their career and they always ended with: “never let ‘em see you sweat.”  One, for example, was a stand-up comic who said the nevers in comedy were, “never follow a better comedian, never give a heckler the last word and, no matter how bad a joke bombs, never let ‘em see you sweat.” I grew up with that as a mantra and it’s stuck with me to this day.

I thought about that message twice in the same day recently.  Alex Trebek, he of Jeopardy fame, made a video to get the word out that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Trebek, who any public speaker has to admire for his polish, professionalism, and incredible pronunciation skills, produced a video that is equal parts uplifting and humorous.  He declares that he believes he will beat cancer, finishing with the idea that he has to, because he still has three years left on his contract.  It reminded me of the old Henny Youngman line about his doctor giving him six months to live but when he couldn’t pay his medical bill he gave him six more months (ba dum bum).  Trebek, no doubt, is reeling inside from the news.  At 78, he should have many years in front of him, but who knows now.  Pancreatic cancer is a tough one.  But instead of looking scared or forlorn, the video shows him focused and determined. He is the quintessential professional, as he’s been his entire career, and no matter what deodorant he uses (do they even make Dry Idea anymore?) he has channeled that decades-old ad campaign.

The same day Trebek made his announcement, R Kelly was interviewed on CBS by Gayle King.    The interview didn’t reveal anything new (Kelly vehemently denies the allegations that are so thoroughly laid out in the documentary Surviving R Kelly) but the interview made news for King’s grace under pressure.  Indeed, there is one image (that became an instant meme) of Kelly standing up and screaming while King sits in her chair calmly, not even looking at him.  If you look up “grace under pressure,” you should see that picture.

How does one maintain such poise? How does someone faced with the worse possible diagnosis make a video that is so uplifting?

Surely, experience is a factor. It’s doubtful that Trebek or King could have been so controlled in their first few years of broadcasting. Preparation has something to do with it as well.  We don’t know how long Trebek prepared for his video.  He might have taken days to get all the sobbing out before he hit record. And, no doubt, King knew that Kelly may explode when confronted with the disgusting allegations from the documentary, so she was ready for it.

However they did it, as a fellow public speaker, I admired both moments.  Things happen at my events that pale in comparison to what Trebek and King were dealing with, yet I often get flustered.  I often react one way and then moments later think of a better way to handle things.  How can I channel both of these professionals the next time I’m faced with something like a wedding cake toppling over or two bridesmaids getting into a fight on the dance floor?  I want to be as polished and smooth and I believe that awareness is a big factor.  Knowing how high the bar is set helps one jump higher.

I was in my teens when I first heard the catch phrase: “Never let ‘em see you sweat.”  It comes up often in any performance job because things happen spontaneously.  We can only hope to handle them as well as Alex Trebek and Gayle King did on that same day in early March of 2019.  We should set our sights at being as unflappable as they both appeared, hopefully we can get close to it.  That’s my goal anyway.

Do DJs Own Their Mixes?

By Tony Fernandez

It’s a Tuesday, you and a group of DJ colleagues are over the house in the man cave or she-shed doing what DJs do: talking shop, talking music and getting on the set,  goofing off and working out mixes. Let’s say you do some dazzling, death defying mix that makes every DJ in the room go “OOOOH”!!!  Dope selection. Dope segue.  Executed to perfection. It was a good night.

Fast forward to two weeks later, your gig is done, it’s early, you stop off to go check out one of your buddies who’s spinning not too far away and… you hear the SAME mix you did.

The way I see it, there are two ways you can react to this…

1) Wow! That’s cool!  Mix sounds great on a large system and people are digging the vibe on the dance floor.  Glad to see it works in action!

Or…

2) That lousy mother trucker stole my idea! What a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins!!!

I can barely put into words how low, vile, despicable, lazy and downright uncouth it is to take other people’s work and pass it off as your own.  It’s stealing, no question.  Just because there is nothing tangible being taken, doesn’t mean it isn’t stealing. The disgust factor in DJ world is exponentially higher because not only are you taking something that you didn’t create; you’re passing it off as if you created it.  What a philistine.

Now while I wholeheartedly agree that it is verboten to take another DJ’s “work” and pass it off as your own, do DJs “own” or have the right to claim dominion over a mix/segue? To be succinct: No. DJs do not have ownership over a blend they create. No matter how original. It is of my opinion that the concept of “I own that mix” / “that’s my mix” borders on lunacy.

To put a finer point on it, I am referring to mixes, as in mixing from one song into another.  Routines that DJs and turntablists create for shows and competitions are completely different.  I do believe those routines are intrinsically attached to the DJ performing them. Jazzy Jeff, AM, A-Track, Q-bert, etc. — these DJs have an associated  sound and style.  They have taken certain records and incorporated them in such a manor that those mixes have been linked to them.  I get that. I’m on board with that.  BUT DJs saying “That’s my mix”… not so much.

Do you really think you’re the ONLY DJ on the face of the planet to figure out Song A goes with Song B REALLY well?  While someone has to be the first to figure it out, do you think that someone is you? Let’s say it is you, you’re the first. Now what?  You can’t copyright it, nor can you trademark it.  So what exactly is “yours?”  It’s a mix.

I’m not trying to kill any creative vibe.  Nor am I trying to give a pass to those DJs who’s idea of being creative is looking up some DJ’s set from SoundCloud and copying it verbatim. To those DJs who can’t come up with original concepts, I’ve got three words for you: practice, practice, practice. To those DJs who are pushing the envelope and coming up with innovative ways to present music to the masses, please continue doing what you do. You’re an inspiration.

To those DJs who fall under the category of ‘even a blind squirrel finds a nut’ take a step back, calm down and look at the big picture. Be fluid.  Be open-minded.  That dope mix you tripped across is going to be viable for maybe 4-6 weeks.  If you’re doing your job right, you are CONSTANTLY looking for dope tracks that work every week.  So don’t get hung up on one mix or ‘this is my idea.’  What works this week for this event is not guaranteed to work for the next one.

Come down off the pedestal. Besides, if other DJs are “taking” ideas from you, you’re doing something right!

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on Facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

Introducing Serato Studio: Serato’s new beatmaking software.

Serato has launched the first beta version of its new beatmaking software, ​Serato Studio​, which will help more DJs become producers.

The product combines powerful production features with a DJ-style workflow. This includes cue points, mixer channels, FX, time-stretching and key-detection with Pitch ‘n Time, waveform displays, loads of content, and access to your Serato DJ library.

“By building on what DJs already know, we’ve reduced that steep learning curve commonly associated with music production,” says Nick Maclaren, Chief Strategy Officer at Serato. “Which means less time hitting technical roadblocks and more time actually making music.”

Studio caters to more experienced producers with advanced features like automation, stem exporting, and third-party plugin support (VST and Audio Units), with an overall emphasis on intuitive and simple design.

“Over the years we’ve spoken to countless DJs and beginners who want to start making music but either don’t have the time, the hardware, or feel overwhelmed with attempting to learn production software,” says Maclaren.

“As a result we’ve made Studio as intuitive as possible, so you can open it up and start making beats right away,” he adds.

Studio also includes a range of time-saving features including instant key and pitch-shifting, “Play in Key” mode, which allows users to play any instrument in key without knowing any music theory, and a “Make Beats” feature, which creates drum patterns with one click to get you inspired.

“During the testing phase we noticed DJs would try to make a track and spend a lot of their time on less creative aspects, like putting a drum kit together or finding the key of their sample,” says Maclaren. “So we’ve focused on being able to get ideas out fast.”

Studio works with a range of setups, including standalone using just your laptop. As well as a range of supported Serato DJ hardware and MIDI controllers.

“If you already have a DJ controller or mixer that’s supported in Studio, you can use it to make beats without investing in extra equipment,” says Maclaren.

Serato Studio is a subscription-only service, with subscribers receiving ongoing sample content and software updates. Contributors include world-renowned sound designers and artists, including Decap, MSX II Sound Design, Goldbaby, and more.

Serato Studio Public Beta is now open until it reaches member capacity, after which Serato will schedule semi-regular openings to add more members before the official release.

Join the Serato Studio beta and learn more ​here​.

Serato Studio – Key Features:

  • –  DJ Style Library​ – Access your entire Serato DJ library with crates, cue points, BPM and key information.
  • –  High Quality FX​ – Tweak your beats using over 30 built-in FX presets that will feel instantly familiar to DJs.
  • –  Works with DJ hardware ​- Studio works with a range of DJ controllers and mixers, as well as MIDI controllers, or just your laptop.
  • –  Make Beats​ – Get inspired with over 300 pre-made drum patterns across a range of different genres.
    Master Key and BPM​ – Let the project key automatically update as you start making your beat. Adjust the BPM to extremes with world-class Pitch ‘n Time stretching
  • –  Play in Key​ – Play any instrument or plugin in key, without knowing music theory.
  • –  Quality Content Built In​ – Studio comes with a huge amount of built-in drum kits, instruments, audio loops and samples, with frequent content updates for subscribers.
  • –  Simple Sequencer​ – Get creative with your drum patterns using the simple and easy-to-use 808-style step sequencer
  • –  DJ-style mixing​ – Mix your sounds using a familiar DJ channel mixing strip, with dedicated gain, EQs, filters and more.
  • –  Serato Colored Waveforms​ – See your audio and MIDI sequences in Serato’s famous colored waveforms.

    About Serato

    Serato makes audio software for music lovers worldwide. In 1999 Serato launched with Pitch ‘n Time, still the world’s foremost studio plugin for time-stretching and pitch-shifting technology. On the strength of Pitch ‘n Time, Serato moved into the DJ industry, changing the game with Serato Scratch Live, and later Serato DJ Pro and Serato DJ Lite. Serato recently returned to the diverse world of music production with their high-quality sampling plugin, Serato Sample. Now Serato is combining those two worlds with Serato Studio, intuitive beatmaking software for DJs and producers.

    For all press enquiries please contact press@serato.com

Work Out Your Weak Spot!

By Mike Walter

As I write this, NAMM has just wrapped up out in Anaheim.  I didn’t attend it this year but I know it just happened because social media tells me so.  My timelines have been flooded with pictures and videos of the latest exciting gear being produced for our industry.  And along with those posts come the DJs who encourage their peers to stop focusing on gear and spend their money on talent.  Take a workshop or attend a class, they write.  Invest in yourself.

It all reminds me of a Facebook post I saw recently.  Somebody asked which was more important, talent or equipment? And while most people responded that talent was more important, I chimed in by saying: BOTH!  Because it’s not like you have to choose between the two. It’s not a zero-sum game.  In fact, the best DJs I know focus on both aspects of their career.  They do everything they can to improve their talents.  But they also would never leave the house (or the warehouse) without the very best gear.  And plenty of back-ups as well.

I had the same thought years ago when the “Got Music?” T-shirts started popping up at DJ Shows and then just as quickly there was backlash from some who thought they over-emphasized the importance of music at the cost of talent. I remember thinking, “wait, what?” I care tremendously about my music library (which is why I’ve been a proud Promo Only subscriber for well over twenty years now) and every great DJ I know does as well.  We realize that songs are our tools and we need them to pack our dance floors.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t work on my MCing skills every chance I get.  The two are equally important and focusing on one doesn’t mean you ignore the other.

So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest allow me to offer some advice. In your most honest of moments, think about your overall skills as a DJ and MC.  What are you best at and what are you weakest at?  This is for you and you alone so be 100% honest with yourself. I did this a few years ago and I had to admit that of all the traits that are most important to success in our industry, music mixing was my weakest.  I was good.  But I wasn’t great.  My programming was better than my mixing.  My MCing was better than my mixing.  My equipment knowledge was better than my mixing.  So I focused on improving that skill to get it closer to the others. And I’d advise you to do the same. It doesn’t mean you have to forego the other skills.  I still practice my MCing and listen back to my own introductions and prompts and look for ways to improve them.  I still spend a few hours every week listening and cataloging new music.  But I spent more time on mixing than I ever had. And I think in the last few years that skill has gotten closer to the others for me.

You can do the same.  You can take an MC workshop if that’s your weakest skill.  You can practice, practice, practice your mixing till you get better.  Or you can study your songs and improve your programming.  If you really want to be the best at what you do, stop focusing solely on your strong points.  Start improving the part(s) of your show that need it the most.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

Want vs. Need

By Mitch Taylor

I was tuned in to the TV recently and I’m constantly amazed at the barrage of ads and messages sent to us regarding products and services.  Target marketing has been around for years and of course my kids (and present company included, of course) are prone to seeing a brand, ad or message and immediately saying “I WANT that!” or I NEED that!”

Have you thought about how WANT vs NEED relates to your own business?  We’ve all seen the postings on social media that state DJs are not a “need” but a “want.”  I’m not here to debate that issue in this space (although I have my thoughts) other than to say that the key in selling and marketing is HOW to make your business go from “Well I want to hire a DJ” to “I NEED to hire ____” with the blank of course being filled by YOU.

In your conversation on the phone one of the best ways to go from WANT to NEED is asking the question “What is the biggest struggle you are having planning your event?”  Be candid with them so they, in turn, can be candid with you.

This goes back to building the relationship.

Ask yourself this and answer honestly: When was the last time a bride or client changed their date to book YOU? If this is happening to you on more than a couple times a year then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re doing all the right things to continue setting yourself apart and I’m sure your calendar is full or close to full.  If this situation hasn’t happened to you in a while or has NEVER happened then it’s time to re-evaluate your service offerings and what you are attempting to sell to your clients.

 

Mitch Taylor has worked in the Mobile Disc Jockey industry for over two decades, first cutting his teeth as an on-board club DJ for Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition to owning and operating Taylored Weddings in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, he is a sought-after speaker and Gitomer Certified Advisor whose sales training, books, coaching and workshops are in high demand all over the country. 

 

 

How To Survive R Kelly & Other Troubled Artists

By DJ Brian Buonassissi

I feel like this is the elephant in the room at the moment for the DJ community so why not talk about it. If you’ve been living in a cave the past few weeks, Lifetime released a documentary series called “Surviving R Kelly” about the rumors and, in some cases, allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse against Mr. Kelly. This type of documentary programming is part of the channel’s commitment to provide a platform for woman to bring awareness to harassment and abuse that largely (especially in the case of R Kelly) goes ignored in the mainstream media. The response to the documentary has been pretty big. Not only is the media picking it up but it’s starting to have some larger repercussions — Kelly and Sony (his label) have parted ways, artists that he’s collaborated with are removing songs they jointly work on from their catalog, his manager turned himself into the authorities and probably the most damning thing is his daughter has called him a “monster”.

Admittedly, I haven’t and probably won’t watch the documentary. I have many more things that I want to pour my time into this year than watching something like this. I’ve known of the allegations levied against Kelly for years so more witnesses coming forward or damning evidence isn’t going to move the needle of me thinking any less of him.

In a private DJ Facebook group I’m in, one of the DJs asked what our responses are going to be to this and how we’re handling it? Honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought until he made that post. There are plenty of other artists who have done things that morally are seen as disgusting – Michael Jackson’s child abuse case, Chris Brown’s domestic issues and though not entirely in the same vein, Kanye West’s eccentric behavior – and while they’ve caused waves in the news, I haven’t ever had a client or guest ask me not to play their music due to those issues. In some of the other DJ groups I’m in, I’ve seen posts from DJs who’ve been booed for playing any R Kelly at their events the last couple of weeks and other DJs who’ve removed all the content of R Kelly from their computer so it got me thinking what my take is and what I’m going to do about it.

The reality is that we all have skeletons in our closet – maybe not of the magnitude of R Kelly’s but if clients really knew some of our baggage, would they even hire us? It just so happens that, as a celebrity, R Kelly’s baggage is way more public. How many other artists are doing things that we don’t even know about, yet we play their music and clients/guests sing and dance to their tracks? I just saw a documentary on Whitney Houston that made her out to be a drug addict and a bad mother. The moment we start drawing a moral line of what is acceptable and not, it becomes a slippery slope. I’m not giving R Kelly a pass. If the allegations are proven true, he deserves punishment that fits the crime, but keep in mind that documentaries are, by design, one side of the argument.

Here’s how I’m handling it right now (and I’m not saying my way is the best way or only way). Hopefully, it’ll give you pause to consider your response. For one, R Kelly’s tracks aren’t going to make/break my programming. I use 1-3 songs on a semi-regular basis but I can easily replace them with others. I don’t feel like I have to have any “one song” to make a party lit. Now, if it’s on a client’s “must play” request list, then I’m going to play it.  If it’s requested by a guest at an event, I’ll ask them, “Are you sure?” and measure their response. If it’s met with hesitancy, I’ll suggest we table it and ask if they have a different song I can play instead. I recently had a guest who did request it and when I posed that question, her response was, “You played Michael Jackson, didn’t you?” She’s right. I did and it worked. The difference here though is that this is a hot button topic right now. I don’t want to test the waters unless I’m absolutely convinced I need to play it (which is rare). I ended up playing it and it worked great. That said, I’ll probably stay off his tunes in my regular programming until the temperature cools a bit on this one.

My guess is that it’ll be old news in a few months. In some respects, it’s sad to be writing that but it is reality. We live in a very short news cycle environment and the next scandal to break will replace this one.

What’s your response to this issue? How are you handling it? Drop me a note and let me know.

Based out of NYC, DJ Brian Buonassissi is a successful internationally traveling DJ/MC specializing in luxury destination private events.  He runs a multi-city mobile DJ/event business with satellite offices in Southern California, Scottsdale, AZ,  Destin, FL, Tallassee, FL and New York City.  You can connect with him at brian@djbrianbofficial.com.