Just curious to everyone's thoughts on all these new digital records that play from your laptop. I'm a vinyl guy, but I can see major advantages to buying them. The only thing is sometimes technologies move forward too fast, and upset the progress intended. I've heard all the horror stories... So what is the verdict? Do you trust your laptop THAT much? My friend has a $4k beefed-up computer, he said "yeah i trust mine". But it has crashed 3 times on stage, in a full room. I guess if you are that serious, you have a complete backup all booted up on another laptop always ready. I mean two laptops is not as heavy as like a million crates of records.
I was a latecomer when it came to Serato. There are definitely advantages, such as access to music (free downloads), no more back breaking labor going to gigs (especially when flying), and other functions like knowing the BPMs of your tracks, looping, etc. But as you mentioned there are disadvantages like technical difficulties like crashes (you need to have enough memory on your computer) or poor connections which keeps Serato from working. But when you weigh the advantages against the disadvantages, I think Serato technology wins. Even though, there are vinyl die-hards out there that don't consider people who use Serato as "true" DJs and as cheaters, it has become an industry standard used by most DJs and turntablists (even the greats like Jazzy Jeff). But the consensus is that we've paid our dues and done our digging and earned the right to use the technology. Hip hop has always been about technology and innovation for we would not even have two turntables and a mixer if it were not for Grandmaster Flash's invention. It is up to the DJ to take the technology to continue to innovate new ways of using the technology. On the other hand, the technology could make for lazy DJs (who don't dig or put sets together) or newjack DJs who can't mix a beat using their ears. I'm excited to see what DJs like Q-Bert & Shortkut do with it...
Thanks for your input Ren! All good points. He did have lots of space, and the best gear possible. His laptop costs more than my car! His system still crashes from time to time due to the power and crunching that has to be done on such applications. His new complaint is the sound quality. And now he is not using the thousand dollar program anymore. He says that you cannot rely on anything other than vinyl; nothing sounds the same. Once you crash in front of 300+ people the story changes I bet!
I hear ya. Technical problems can definitely break up a party, especially if you have dead air or mp3s that don't sound right or even sound distrorted (that's happened to me). Also, one of the most common things with Serato is the transition from one DJ to the next (especially if the Serato doesn't have a power adapter or if neither DJ have records to play).
Allow me to start off by asking you this, how does that bridal superstitious rhyme go? Something old, something new, something borrowed & something blue, is that it? Well funny enough at times, whenever I think of that rhyme, I can't seem to help but think of the relationship the recording industry has with digital audio technology. Cds, mp3 files, ipods, aiff & wav files, etc, etc. Obviously this represents the something new of the bridal rhyme. There are some people who don't know that these digital devices are just audio vehicles that samples analog frequencies. That represents the something borrowed part of the bridal rhyme. To me it feels that ever since the birth of Cds which was in 1980, the industry totally disrespected, disregarded & dishonored vinyl records. That's where the something old of the bridal rhyme is represented. As for the something blue, I thought it would be better if our website DJ explain that part from an interview I'd conducted with him not too long ago.
Emazing : Thanks for taking the time out of your day for doing this, I truly appreciate it.
Grandsinister Ice : Ah man! There's no need for that, it's no problem, I love to help out.
Emazing : Ummm! Are you suprised to hear that vinyl records is making a comeback?
Grandsinister Ice : No, not necessarily suprised, just simply glad that it is trying to make a comeback. As you guys know I never was much into Cds anyhow.
Emazing : Yeah that's right! You've expressed many times to us at Old School Scholar just how much you detest Cds. Why is that?
Grandsinister Ice : In Hip-Hop I grew up in crate digging, I grew up in backspinning, you can't do that with Cds. When Cds first hit the market, everybody was going around tellin' me that it has better clarity than vinyl. I was like, who in Hip-Hop gives a rats rear-end about clarity?
Emazing : So in other words you felt in some way that the presence of Cds violated the art of backspinning, correct?
Grandsinister Ice : That's right!
Emazing : And the same goes for crate digging?
Grandsinister Ice : Absolutely, it quickly became very disheartening to see at record stores the vinyl section getting smaller & smaller each month. As a matter of fact it was pissing me off. I would have the money to buy a record that I wanted, but couldn't find it because the record label put it out on Cd & not on vinyl. There was more than a few times that I would go home pissed.
Emazing : So it's safe for our visitors to assume that if you dislike Cds so much, then you must not be a huge fan of the serato ScratchLive DJ software that is now selling, right?
Grandsinister Ice : Well, to each is own I guess, but for me hell no. I mean, why should I spend over a grand for something with, the only selling point it has to offer is the convenience of not carrying around crates of records? I mean boo -the damn- hoo, so what?
Emazing : You gotta admit it is kinda cool lookin' though right?
Grandsinister Ice : That maybe so for the new jack DJs, but the art of mixing, backspinning & beat juggling is not a fashion statement. You know what I mean? Don't you find it funny how some companies try to come out with new audio technology to appease the scratch DJs, so it can justify the sale of another on the market? I mean they came out with the DJ CD Deck package so that we can keep the reason to buy Cds, right? Then they give us the serato, so that the ipods can keep selling. Instead of crate digging, they want us to go dig on itunes, rhapsody & other mp3 websites.
Emazing : I think I see what you mean, in order for you to go from analog to digital, you would have to start all over again.
Grandsinister Ice : There you go, that's what I'm talking about. It's cool for those that are starting out with the art of Hip-Hop DJing, but for those that are like me who has their own personal library of vinyl records, it doesn't fit.
Emazing : Hence the reason why you're glad vinyl is making a comeback.
Grandsinister Ice : You're damn right! It's like the industry has dug a six foot hole for vinyl records, but then vinyl turns and says to the industry, "that's not my grave, this ain't my graveyard!". See what I'm sayin'? Vinyl is not ready to die, because it still has DJs like me that's got its back.
Emazing : Well I think we should end this interview on that great note. Again I wanna thank you so much for your time.
Grandsinister Ice : Seriously, no problem, anytime.
What I'm beginning to learn from all this is that, new technology does not mean it's a good thing. I do agree that with each introduction, adjustments has to be made, but you need to decide if it's you that has to make them. What I mean to say is, if you've already got a few crates of vinyl records, I don't think you should go digital, because your neighbor has done so. In my eyes you have just become one of a kind, an instant throwback, now that's a good thing to be. If you want to be a scratch DJ and you're starting from scratch (pardon the pun), then you have a decision to make. Should I go digital or analog? I say, do your research, find which one fits your budget the best & stick to your decision. Just simply remember this, clarity means nothing, it's your style you display that counts.