Essential Dance/Electronic Albums for August 2015

Technique-Records-Tokyo-Techno-Vinyl1

People often talk about the dog days of summer, and the term applies to album releases pretty well, since it’s often been the practice of larger labels to cool their schedules down in the summer months, waiting until the last quarter of the year to drop their biggest bombs. But that also means that the field is open for the indies and the less ubiquitous artists to sneak their wares onto the table without too much undue competition. In the spirit of that notion, you’ll notice the underground bubbling up to the surface as we zero in on some of the most intriguing releases coming our way this month. Continue Reading

Justin Harris’ 5 Artists of the Moment

Justin Harris

Veteran UK house hero Justin Harris has been deep in the house mix since the mid-’80s, recording original tracks and cutting remixes for a litany of dance labels (Classic Recordings, Viva, Natural Rhythm, Something Different, Paper Recordings), co-helming the highly influential Music For Freaks imprint and recording as Freaks with cohort Luke Solomon (check out Freaks’ red-hot, newly released remix of Sonny Fodera & Gene Farris’ “We Work It” here).

Today Harris issues his seriously infectious The Random Jazz EP on DJ Sneak‘s imprint, which has already received the seal of approval from luminaries including Pete Tong.

A DJ/producer/label mogul, Harris is a triple threat who keeps his ears close to the ground. With that in mind, we asked him to talk about five artists he’s loving at the moment.

Justin Harris’ The Random Jazz EP is out now on I’m A House Gangster. Continue Reading

Luke Solomon’s 5 Songs of the Moment on SoundCloud

Luke Solomon

For three decades British house hero Luke Solomon has unwaveringly championed a musical ethos that’s deep and soulful. Even when he’s flirted with pop music, he’s done so on his own terms with his his integrity in check. Solomon, who famously co-founded Classic Music Company along with Derrick Carter, recently restarted his Business As Usual: Live from the Washhouse radio show (listen to the April edition here), a program in which he goes beyond the traditional mix show format by championing new tracks as well as rare nuggets. The mixmaster extends his good musical vibes to Luke Solomon’s Unfinished Business Volume 1, an upcoming 32-track compendium featuring tracks by James Curd, Matthew Styles, DJ Nature and Mikey V out May 24 on his aforementioned imprint. Here Solomon enthusiastically waxes poetic on five of his favorite songs of the moment on SoundCloud.
Continue Reading

Album Review: Luke Solomon / ‘Timelines’ (The Classic Music Company)

Luke-Solomon-Timelines

★★★☆☆

After a compilation and alter ego LP within the last year, Luke Solomon is on the grind again. Whether because he has remixers in support to inspire him, or is just using another album as another mood, Solomon flies free in his dance floor crossings dominated by vocal collaborations. The big room takeovers feature song structured swing and an informal pop preponderance.

Solomon reaches out and away from fixed house and techno conceptions, bearing the lanky, geeky “Not Coming Home” and “Hey Giorgio” blurring back to the disco, as the album also contrasts long with quicker fixes. The husky road-tripper “Gods and Monsters” is a little more predictable with its guitar edge, though it’s suiting to a deep strutting Waifs & Strays remix shows timely backups are in place for any rare missteps. As an aside, Ewan Pearson actually arrives with no original to partner, his mix of “Lonely Dancer” somewhat confusing the remit. A better six stringer is to be found when “Let’s Bleed…” sets off on a big twanger of a riff, on an indie-dance free-for-all spooned from the same melting pot as carnival concern “Say Something.”

In turn, this huddles up with “Heading for a Breakdown” and “We Go” — fresh, Latin-zested runs within a minimal techno appraisal. The same DNA comes together on the more expressly Chicago “Interceptor”, with Solomon’s sound, based around but not confined to the club, consistently interesting by not fitting the bill.

File under: The Digital Kid, Hot Chip, David August

Album Review: The Digital Kid V The World / ‘A Minor Digital Experiment’ (The Classic Music Company)

★★★★☆

The Digital Kid is Luke Solomon and The World is a sidekick made up of those that have yet to catch onto his techno-circling sound. As he gives his occasional superhero alias one final run-out and toys with a three-pronged, album/mix/12” format, it’s clearly not a case of getting defensive. Solomon is largely enthusiastic and soulful in his own way, the engine running furiously while attempting to make the ride slide through the gears. On other occasions he’s happy to judder along, doing good things with a pick-n-mix of grooves.

Sending house ambience into the sub-scientific, “VERTIGO” and “Shooting Star” are found hurtling with bare fuss, in a headspace recalling those old MTV videos of changing shapes and colours when they didn’t know what to do with a dance track. Taking it back to acid hangar hang-outs with a hipster lean (“Pass the Toothpaste”) and jackable roots pushed towards the future (“Ahhhrgh”, “Minority Report”), clubbers are told to lock onto the first loop before they’re sent spiralling over long and winding beats: “Angels Looking Down on Me” is saved from being an odd one out of waifish flouncing by the tech mutterings that envelope it.

The Digital Kid’s swansong (or is it?) leaves The World in his wake — playing down his digital experiment allows his techno variables a clear path to dance floor takeover, whatever the crowd.

File under: Music for Freaks, Jonny Rock, Subb-An

Big Shot State of DJ Culture 2012 Survey: 90 DJs Speak Out

Like it or not DJ culture is all grown up. Starting out in warehouses, basements, lofts and clubs in the ’70s and ’80s, and evolving into massive raves one-offs, festivals and global tours in the late ’90s and ’00s, its long and winding road has set the stage for a new generation of formidable talent and musical innovation. If you consider where DJ culture is at the moment, it’s hard to see things cooling off anytime soon: DJs are gracing the front covers of old guard print magazines, scoring movie soundtracks, touring with shows boasting fantastic production and even squabbling with each other on social media like reality TV stars.

The mainstream’s heightened interest in DJ culture has once again brought it to the crossroads. Knowing the cyclical nature of pop culture we’ve been wondering how it will all play out. When the pendulum swings back — and it no doubt will (simply reference every musical fad over the past 40 years) — what might the ramifications be?

Hoping to gain more insight we conducted interviews over a three-month period with 90 DJs of varying profiles playing a range of styles based all over the world. Our intent was to get a first-hand, unedited view about the state of DJ culture in 2012 from those who make their living in the DJ booth. We asked each DJ the same three questions: Where do they see the culture? What are its most disturbing trends? How are we going to make the global scene better? The comments (listed in alphabetical order below), like any quality DJ set, were intriguing, enlightening and entertaining.

We would like to thank all of the DJs who participated in this article. It is our hope that their views will open a wider discourse in the community we’ve been a proud member of since 2003.

1. Andrea Oliva

"I am happy we still have an amazing scene here in Europe, like Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and the UK."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Well, everything became so big! I just hope all the young guys, especially the big commercial acts who became famous in one day (in the States), care about the “culture” and try to teach the same young kids about it! There is so much history behind the techno and house scene, and it’s so frustrating when DJs tell the wrong stories… I mean imagine a country that has a history and one day someone comes with his new fame from nowhere and start to tell a total different story, the older guys who know the real story will eat him! So I just wanna say respect the culture… Don’t make everything a huge sell out — we are still a kind of movement so go out and find the real history behind our scene.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

I don’t know why the trance guys say nothing? I mean they made a whole kind of music for themselves which was big! Now trance is like gone with the wind and people today think it’s house…it’s weird! All those melodies, harmonies, big snare roles in the break of the track, etc. this is trance even if it’s more rhythmic now and maybe 5bpm slower but its still trance, but this is not house! Some guys have influenced the kids so bad, they made confusion for their own interests. And the industry is clever — they see a trend if good or bad, they jump on the train and give them (the kids) to eat what they wanna eat, this is the trend… For me the trend goes to the wrong direction… I am happy we still have an amazing scene here in Europe, like Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and the UK…. we know what we want to eat in these places!

How are we going to make the scene better?

Separate those guys in dance acts and don’t call them DJs or producers because it has nothing to do with house, techno or trance! Make only dance festivals or only house, techno and trance festivals! Do you ever see a Big Mac menu at McDonald’s with fresh homemade pasta, bolognese as a side dish, everything on one plate? It just doesn’t match together! Big Mac is big Mac and homemade pasta, and bolognese with fresh basilico are two different things!

2. Andrei Osyka (Droog)

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

I think the general quality of DJing has gone down primarily because of the shear quantity of people claiming to be DJs. Like a lot of things that come with the digital age you have to dig deeper. But I think for a DJ like myself I’m the most I’ve been excited about music, and I’ve been DJing for the last 11 or 12 years. The volume of interesting music that I find myself playing is really thrilling, and I’m excited about it. I would say it’s both the most exciting time and slightly a scary time because now people like Paris Hilton are trying to be DJs. There’s some problems here, but I would encourage those who feel like they have the knack and feel like they have true ability to definitely go for it. Even though I’ve seen a lot of shit out there, I’m seeing young DJs doing some really cool, interesting things predominantly as a reaction to the crap out there.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

The misuse of technology: Traktor and Ableton are amazing technologies but unfortunately they’re often in the wrong hands. New technology in the wrong hands can really be problematic. There’s also a whole new generation of people jumping on the DJ bandwagon and sniffing around. Cream rises to the top pretty much, especially in our less commercial genre. Those who are truly talented and have their heart in the right place are succeeding. I think in the bigger picture of things I’m not too pessimistic.

How are we going to make the scene better?

We have to be genuine with everything you do. With us we have a slightly bigger platform and more people are paying attention, so we really have to stay true to our sensibility in the same way we were when nobody knew about us as critical as ever while maintaining that quality control and taste level. I think the more we grow and people pay attention, the more we stay true to ourselves and we believe in what we do, then that will be our contribution and hopefully that’s contagious in its own way. You can achieve a greater level of success while still doing what you do.

3. Andrew Emil

"It's a good thing that 'electronic' music is so big, but with that also comes the diluting nature of mass appeal."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

DJ culture is, as far as the US is concerned, the largest it has ever been. I mean you have “DJs” that came out of the woodwork a few years ago playing at the Grammys. I grew up in a time where you really had to work for to get your name out there and get gigs. It’s a good thing that “electronic” music is so big, but with that also comes the diluting nature of mass appeal (i.e. loss of individualism, lack of experimentation, creation of more product based things and not art, etc.).

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Entitlement issues that children have; thinking a music career is a sprint and not a marathon; not respecting the game of making a solid discography and performance resume; just thinking because you can have access to a million songs does not make you a selector. Experience makes you a selector. After many years of perfecting your craft is the only way you get amazing at it. So leave the performance arena to the “amazing ones.” A lot of tracks that come out today are either what I would call “demos” ten years ago or just a total lack of creativity. Loss of art and individualist imprints leave a very uninspired crowd in the wake of that kind of output. Quality control needs to come back home! If you don’t want your music to be disposed of. Stop making disposal music!

How are we going to make the scene better?

First step: Keep making great art in hopes that it will become more successful as there are more fans of house music than ever before.

Second step: Try to educate the masses about the history of this thing called house. If you get inspired by the past you will tend to have more respect for the future and take your time to craft excellence.

Third step: Take you time to create great art. It will have a longer shelf life and will be revered in the future as well as now. Create everlasting pieces so that when the trends come and go, as they always will, your work will stand the test of time. Future classics!”

4. Angel Alanis

"Pre-recorded sets. If you're going to do it at least be honest about it."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

It’s gotten much broader and it’s reaching out to so many more people who were not exactly big fans of it or just did not know. The technology has improved so much that being a DJ is more accessible.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Pre-recorded sets. If you’re going to do it at least be honest about it. Steve Angello and the like should at least try to put some work into it. I’m sure most people don’t care since it’s just a name up on stage. What’s next? Hologram DJs? Anyway, bring a fucking flute or something or juggle while your 60-minute CD plays out.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Better? I have no idea.

5. Ashley Beedle

"It's not about being a superstar on a stage, it's about making a party."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

DJ culture is dying as an art form.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

It has become very easy for people to “DJ” due to technology, but technology doesn’t make a DJ. DJs need personality and know how to select and program a journey.

How are we going to make the scene better?

The only way to fix this is looking at who came before us, understanding music and presenting it to those who want to learn. It’s not about being a superstar on a stage, it’s about making a party.

6. Atnarko

"The most disturbing trend is the idea that you have to stand behind the decks looking as wasted as possible (while usually playing bad) to be cool."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

I think it’s a really exciting time for electronic dance music in all forms. There are many more possibilities then there were a few years ago as a DJ. I enjoy the challenge.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Besides the “DJs” that fake it the most disturbing trend is the idea that you have to stand behind the decks looking as wasted as possible (while usually playing bad) to be cool.

How are we going to make the scene better?

We can make it better by working hard and using our creativity to the maximum potential. Make music you believe in. Play music you love. Don’t be afraid to reach out or leave your comfort zone.

7. Beat Assassins

"It would be nice if from time to time if acts broke through because they are totally sick on the decks."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Completely in the hands of the producers.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

No one breaks through anymore for being a great DJ. It’s all about being a great producer. Therefore it would be nice if from time to time if acts broke through because they are totally sick on the decks. I have in the past gone out clubbing to check out a new act because their tracks were amazing, only to find someone behind the decks who can’t DJ or (worse) using software to mix their tracks for them.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Good question. It’s not an easy thing to change but YouTube could play a big part. I’d like to see a magazine or large blog/website have some serious contacts run a DJ competition. Not a DJ competition whereby you send in a mixtape and win a warm-up set at blah blah night. No, I suggest DJs upload a YouTube video of themselves DJing in their bedrooms (not live) and the footage must clearly show the decks. This way DJs can demonstrate mixing skills and scratching (if they scratch) and the format they play off, CDJs, Serato, vinyl, etc. — no software mixing allowed. Plus the competition should be about genres — in this competition we are looking for the best drum ‘n’ bass DJ, in this one the best dubstep DJ, the best house etc., so DJs win on merit and not one what’s the most popular music. Check out this footage of DJ Sleeper, and you will see the kind of footage I’m talking about. The winner should get some proper booking at some events within their genre; I’m sure that could be arranged. Judging (well it’s up to the organization running tings) but I suggest at first by the website — final ten go to public vote (maybe).

8. Berger

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

As the music industry’s “It” girl. And future episodes of where are they now? or Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Fist pumping, checking in, tweeting and posting in place of dancing on the dance floor.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Give it a Zooropa meets Tommy meets The Wall overhaul.

9. Break Science

"No trends really disturb us, because all trends eventually die."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

DJ culture is now a culture of producers that make their own music, instead of just playing other peoples original tracks. It’s a growing culture of musical composers who are feeding off of each other to create the sound of the future.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

No trends really disturb us, because all trends eventually die. It’s all about timeless music.

How are we going to make the scene better?

All the producer/DJs on the scene have to keep developing their craft to insure a true renaissance in modern, electronic music.

10. Brett Johnson

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

The names may change but the party is the same.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Not dancing.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Depends where you live. Free things….

12. Chuck Love

"Support the DJ whether he's a performer or selector."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Evolving with exciting new technology, soon the idea of two turntables will seem nostalgic.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Listening to people whine that are nostalgic for two turntables.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Evolve beyond simply beat matching two tracks together. Support the DJ whether he’s a performer or selector. Open your mind to new genres. More slide guitar.

13. Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy

"Many DJs think turning up the volume as loud as possible is what they are supposed to do and do not realize those little red lights mean you are only amplifying a distorted signal. These problems are so easy to correct."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Sonically inept.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

One of the most disturbing trends of current DJ culture is the lack of interest in or understanding of sound quality. Most vinyl-based DJs are unaware of how to set up a turntable correctly (balancing and adjusting tracking force and anti-skate) and could care less as to whether the cartridges have a compromised and blunt stylus. On the digital side many DJs play MP3s (using 320s is a poor excuse) and are amplifying low res digital files over a loud club PA. Finally, many DJs think turning up the volume as loud as possible is what they are supposed to do and do not realize those little red lights mean you are only amplifying a distorted signal. These problems are so easy to correct.

How are we going to make the scene better?

There are loads of turntable tutorials on YouTube, DJs can download and play WAVs as opposed to low quality MP3s and they can adjust their levels on their equipment so that it doesn’t distort. Very simple and very effective.

14. Creep

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Bigger than ever. Especially since pop music is derived so much from dance music nowadays. It’s a good and bad thing. Everyone considers themselves a DJ, even if they don’t take the time to learn the craft.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

I always find it disturbing when people don’t take the time to learn how to beat match. They either use a program that will do it for them, or worse yet, they will just mix songs without them matched. This is what we call “shoes in the dryer.” The most enjoyable part of DJing is putting songs together properly, teasing the crowd a bit through EQing and then dropping in the next song at the appropriate time. It just doesn’t get old to me, and I’ve been doing it for 15 years. I can’t imagine having a machine do it for me, there is no soul in that.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Real DJs will always be noticed. DJ culture will remain strong through those that do take the time to learn how mix properly and really know how to work a crowd. Those that don’t are weeded out.

15. Dani Casarano

"The new generation is here now so it is important to know what happened in the past to make better the future of the scene."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

For me DJ culture is everywhere. With all the new technology, everybody can play music.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

People love bad quality music more and more.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Electronic music has existed for a very long time. People change – the new generation is here now so it is important to know what happened in the past to make better the future of the scene.

16. Dave Clarke

"There are two sides of this 'culture' but only one side can claim a cultural heritage."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

There are two sides of this “culture” but only one side can claim a cultural heritage, the commercial only for money side has completely left the culture side with no one batting an eyelid if they are caught on camera with no cables plugged in or a mix CD on and faking it. Then you have those who care what they are doing because they represent a belief, you have a few clever ones in between the two camps who profess to care and trade on their past but actually only want cash.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

PR people buying fake chart positions on online stores, do the maths….the sales are so low these days that if someone buys a couple thousand of their own track they will get almost half the money back when they get accounted too, so for a thousand euro or so they claim a top online hit.

Then you have the last generation moguls claiming big business is killing dance music, when in reality they are green with envy that they didn’t get where Guetta is, that is utterly laughable and ultimately sad and hypocritical, especially when they laid the seeds to culture not being important in the scene in the first place.

How are we going to make the scene better?

By having journalists that are mot swayed by PR people, by not blindly following trends because you lack the minerals to be self determined. By actually giving a fuck, that might help.

17. David Alvarado

"There is always a new flavor or trend that grabs the attention of the most susceptible of dance music lovers, but quality and true craftsmanship always finds its way to the top of the pile."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

I see it trapped in a battle of ideology; it is suffering from a serious identity crisis as well. You have this constant back-and-forth argument about what is and what isn’t DJing: Vinyl vs. digital, CDJ vs. laptop vs. USB stick vs. whatever is next on the horizon. What has made things even more confusing, and has further blurred the line, is the recent advances in DJ software and hardware and the quick pace of its evolution. It’s a bit odd but it’s been more than 10 years since I started using Final Scratch as one of its beta testers, and only in the last few years has the technology finally caught up to our imagination, that and a whole slew of DJ controllers now hitting the market only makes the possibilities that much greater. I look back when I first started and there were DJs that played records but then would drop a remix fresh out of the studio on reel to reel, now that never made them any less of a DJ in our minds — they were just using whatever medium available to stand out from the rest. I think that’s the same applies now as well.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

I think the one that I find most offensive is the creating of social media/YouTube stars that spend more time building a fan base based of their viral marketing efforts and social media rather than their actual skills. Add a gimmick of some sort like a costume, or mask and presto! You know have an Internet superstar DJ!

How are we going to make the scene better?

Whatever the medium or tools have been, true talent and innovation has always won out. There is always a new flavor or trend that grabs the attention of the most susceptible of dance music lovers, but quality and true craftsmanship always finds its way to the top of the pile. I’ve seen many trends and hype up personalities come and go. I also see the true craftsmen and artists still around and relevant — you fix it by leaving it to its own evolution and self regulation.

18. Derek Dunbar

"DJs need to be more creative in what they bring to the table. Entertaining is more than pushing play and fist pumps."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Hungry for something new and different.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

A handful of DJs made a big name for themselves in the mid-late ‘90s.  These are the same DJs you still see at the top of charts and booked over and over again at clubs. Very little desire is shown on the part of club promoters and booking agents to expose people to new talent. Afraid of having a low attendance and possibly losing money, promoters and thus agents resort to pushing the same few they know are a sure bet.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Better marketing! Promoters who have a good following need to realize that for the most part their attendees depend on them to expose them to the variety of DJs who are out there. We also need more agencies willing to get behind talent, market them and bring some competition to the agency world. DJs need to be more creative in what they bring to the table. Entertaining is more than pushing play and fist pumps.

19. Detboi

"I'd prefer to go see someone playing their own music right now than a DJ, but there is the odd exception."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

It’s never been more popular to be a DJ, so you could say it’s very healthy! But to me it’s in a bit of a mess at moment. I’d prefer to go see someone playing their own music right now than a DJ, but there is the odd exception — Martelo, Jackmaster, One Man, Bok Bok are all incredible DJs and they have a voice.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Do you really want to set me off on this? Buying a Beatport top 10 to make you more popular, buying 20,000 likes on Facebook, also wanna “DJs” ripping shit from YouTube and then playing it out… so many annoying trends at the moment. But my main hate is just lack of originality in DJ sets — the Internet has given birth to the most original music but not many visionary DJs that have their own stories to tell. In some ways, it’s become monotone and lacking in art.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Sudocrem. It fixes everything. I guess if more people celebrated originality rather then mediocrity that would be a great start. BE DARING. HAVE A VOICE. HAVE A VISION. TAKE RISKS.

20. DJ Dainjazone

"DJs are finding comfort in how they want to represent themselves. Why be limited?"

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

I see it adapting to the times. Technology is giving opportunities to DJs/producers to deliver their ideas and sound in a multitude of ways. DJs are finding comfort in how they want to represent themselves. Why be limited?

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Hate. Negativity. There’s a way to be heard, get a point across, etc. without being disrespectful or negative. Negativity comes from an unpeaceful place inside. Those people, typically, don’t know how to control their emotions.

How are we going to make the scene better?

I think the scene is okay the way it is. It’s not great. Originality in production is always necessary. Some guys play pre-recorded mixes at their shows and do things that are frowned upon and although there is no excuse for their lack of ethics and etiquette, those guys will always be around. Things are only frowned upon until everyone does it. Then it becomes the norm.

21. DJ Gospel

"It's time to take the DJ booth back under control."

Where do you see DJ culture?

I don’t really see it as a culture anymore as it is a fad or trend brought on through social networks. You used to never see “celebrity DJs” but with today’s advances in technology you can see any athlete, actor or personality try their hand at DJing. When you look at the definition of culture and compare to what is going on now in the DJ profession it falls way short. Today it’s more of let’s see how many people we can pack in here to be seen. The music has become an afterthought and that to me is not an advancement in the “DJ culture.”

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

I find it disheartening that a club will go for quantity over quality these days, having 5-10 DJs play in a 4- or 5-hour period is like riding a bus that makes too many stops when you are trying to get out of the bad side of town. A DJ just does not get a chance to create a memory with people with such short sets and generally you will hear the same tracks repeated. Instead of the DJs working the crowd they are trying too hard to impress the other DJs and the crowd is feeling left out.

How are we going to make the scene better?

The scene will have to go back to it’s roots before it gets better, there are some great DJs out there that get it and have the ability to create a memorable night without needing a lineup of other DJs to do so, but there are far too many that don’t and will just fall into the vicious cycle of being the puppet for a promoter or club owner. It’s time to take the DJ booth back under control, get rid of the wannabes looking for fame and the celebrities looking to keep their name in the game.

22. DJ Sneak

"Separate the phony from the real, be truthful about what’s going on, when someone is faking the funk, expose them."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

DJ culture needs to get back to the basics, back to when a DJ actually played for the crowd and the purpose of being up there was to entertain with music, not lights, looks and fireworks. It’s okay to embrace change and evolution but it’s also very important to remember and respect the art form and its foundation.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

The ones that are running the music business: clowns run the show, corporations cash in on garbage music and no one learns anything. For me the best music was recorded in the ’70s and ’80s — music died after 2000. The new generation falls for the pressure of the industry and its gimmicks to become pop stars, to put their talent aside to make money and fit in with the masses.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Start a musical revolution! Separate the phony from the real, be truthful about what’s going on, when someone is faking the funk, expose them. People need to take a stand and pay attention to what they are listing to and watching, be smart, read between the lines. People should be challenging their talent, respect should be given when respect is due, not when it’s manipulated by marketing plans, money and fake behavior.

23. Dogu of Ancient Astronauts

"DJ culture today is a mixed up thing of people preserving the old art form and those pushing the limits of new DJ techniques."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

DJ culture went through big changes within the last couple of years due to new digital DJ equipment, which changed the whole game of DJing. Back in the day you had to carry a lot of vinyl to gigs while nowadays people mostly carry laptops, a hardware box and control vinyl (those that still want to keep that physical vinyl feel). Even a lot of those that kept on DJing with vinyl to keep up that culture sooner or later turned into one of the new DJ technologies. Vinyl sales of all music genres rapidly went down. Then easy to use producer software like Ableton came up and with the help of external controllers a new level of playing music was born. Producers that before would just play their own recorded music from vinyl or a digital file could now spin their own music in Ableton and even do live remixes and add live effects and such. DJs started from being selectors of strictly good tunes/songs to play to a crowd and mix it and cut it together. DJ culture is still present everywhere on this planet but through the easy help of technology nearly everyone could become a DJ. And through the easy access to free music in the internet (legal or illegal) one of the most important parts of DJ culture, the digging for new vinyl, nearly died. Music somehow lost a big portion of value. Especially for the younger generations who were raised in the digital age. In the last two or three years vinyl got a new renaissance and sales went up again, but DJ culture today is a mixed up thing of people preserving the old art form and those pushing the limits of new DJ techniques.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Through the easy access to digital music people lose the touch to the real value of a song and its background. Digital DJ techniques often make the DJ more an entertainer than a real selector of quality music. I think a real DJ is someone that also teaches people where music comes from and where it can go and not just kicks a fat entertaining show. The music always comes first.

How are we going to make the scene better?

We should keep on spreading the true culture of digging for good music and presenting people the history and roots of the music. The connection of the past and the present is what makes up the culture and progression can only come from fusing these elements. To just rely on technology will not lead forward.

24. Ernesto Ferreyra

"I will keep on supporting underground music and will spin vinyl until the end."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Highly competitive, which is good but at the same time more and more DJs are going too functional, synced and boring.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

The enormous hype that is built around to push some artist or crews and six months later that’s old and there must be some new hot stuff…

How are we going to make the scene better?

In my case, I will keep on supporting underground music and will spin vinyl until the end. It’s not much but at least this way I keep finding special music and feel a bit more human while playing.

25. Escort

"As DJs turn into performers and producers, they will have to develop a compelling live experience or else people won't want to go to the show."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

Eugene Cho: The production aspect for DJs becoming more and more important and I don’t see that trend ever reverse. The tools of music production and editing have become more easily accessible and now even geared specifically toward DJs which is transforming the role of the DJ from a curator to a creator.

Dan Balis: I agree. The primary role of DJ is to curate a musical environment for a night. There’s some technical aspects that are important, but at the end of the day, I’d much rather hear great records, sequenced in a way that makes me want to dance, over impeccably beat matched poops. An impeccable 2-minute blend of two crappy records doesn’t make those records any better. That said, there are a few DJs — I’m thinking specifically of our friend, Porkchop, who will often drop the odd record that by any measure, blows, but somehow he sequences it in such a way that you’re blown away.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Eugene Cho: With all this focus on DJs today they are now turning into performers, which is weird because a DJ is traditionally someone behind some gear looking down and not engaging with the crowd. So you end up with a crowd of people watching someone bobbing their head illuminated by a computer, which seems so detached from the crowd and to what you are hearing.

Dan Balis: Yep. DJs with laptops and control surfaces — they don’t even make any attempt to play records; it’s just a half-baked live PA.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Eugene Cho: If a DJ isn’t really going to put on a show, then they need to get out of the limelight. I don’t think making the face of dance music someone twiddling knobs or playing with a laptop is a good idea. That’s what MCs and VJs are for.

Dan Balis: I’m not that optimistic that it’s fixable. Your average 16-year-old consumes music in a way that’s completely alien to us — thousands of MP3s and yet they’ve probably never listened to an album end to end.

Eugene Cho: As DJs turn into performers and producers, they will have to develop a compelling live experience or else people won’t want to go to the show. Some way or another it’s going to be fixed

26. Fred Everything

"It used to be DJs made the Jesus pose during an epic breakdown. Now DJs throw cake in the crowd while they DJ. Really Aoki?"

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

It’s bigger than it’s ever been, no doubt, but it has lost its sense of “special.” The turntable (CDJ, laptop) is the new guitar. (Un)fortunately, the learning curve is so small these days. Having access to a ton of music and software mixing your songs together only increases the quantity of over quality of DJs.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

It used to be DJs made the Jesus pose during an epic breakdown. Now DJs throw cake in the crowd while they DJ. Really Aoki?

27. FreQ Nasty

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

DJ culture, and electronic music in general, is in an amazing place where genre boundaries have broken down, the music has a wide appeal and the prejudice between vocal and instrumental music has almost broken down in the scene, if not outside it. It’s an exciting time to make music right now. DJ culture and electronic music will go underground again as it has before after a big wave of popularity, but the idea of what “underground” means has been changed forever.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

The amount of time taken up by social networking in a DJ/producer’s day.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Like everything else the trend will pass. Until then I’ll remain a twittering fool for the kids.

How are we going to make the scene better?

We don’t have to agree with what’s going on in the mainstream and it’s okay. Staying true to our craft and keeping in mind what made us do what we do in the first place should be the main inspiration.

28. Frivolous

"As electronic music becomes more mainstream and crosses over with more traditional forms of music, we will see good developments happening too."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

I’d like to think that DJ culture is in a bit of a transition. I know that some traditions are hard to break, and in a lot of ways you could say that old rockers aren’t that different from old DJs, but I think that with the young generation we are seeing some of the boundaries being blurred between the roll of the DJ/live set/performance artist/etc. Mostly attributable to the changes in distribution via the Internet, and the technology used to play music. With products like Beatport’s Mashbox and Ableton Live, Traktor, Maschine, etc. it’s becoming harder and harder to say this is a DJ set, or this is a live set, this is a concert, this is an original recording or edit or remix or whatever. I think that this transition has some negative side effects, but is primarily a good thing for the record industry as a whole (if it ever catches up).

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

This is hard to say. There are different problems that face different countries all around the world. I guess the worst thing is the phenomenon of the super-star DJ. When a name becomes more important than the music that they play. We see it a lot more in countries with a long history of nightlife like Italy. The problem becomes when promoters can just count on a good attendance from putting a well recognizable name on the bill and not giving two shits about the quality of the event. This is when the music suffers and it’s probably what burns me the most. In North America it still seems like the scene is struggling to establish solid footings in places where bi-laws and the general reputation of electronic music is soured on a political level. I think that with this adversity, it makes people really ask themselves, “Why am I really into this scene to begin with?” and thus it can make for some actually quite good parties. When people are dedicated to a vision which is not understood on a mainstream level it’s underground, and that’s where it all comes from to begin with.

How are we going to make the scene better?

As “the scene” grows, there will be more shitty DJs, events, labels, etc., but as electronic music becomes more mainstream and crosses over with more traditional forms of music, we will see good developments happening too. These days I’m really excited about the music and festival scene in South America, where they have such high integrity for having music in their lives that is meaningful and inspiring. I think it’s hard to talk about electronic music in relationship to “a scene” by this point, because electronic music is everywhere, and the metamorphosis is happening on so many frontiers. To talk about “the scene” kind of makes me feel old.

29. Gavin Herlihy

"The once elitist, shadowy world of production and DJing has now been democratized."

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

A really fascinating place proving that Warhol was correct when he famously proclaimed that everyone would have 15 minutes of fame in the future. That has positive and negative effects on the industry of course but at least the once elitist, shadowy world of production and DJing has now been democratized.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

The assumption amongst fans that everything is free.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Sadly, we’re not going to change that idea but we need to fix other things to ensure artists have a worthwhile income to keep on making music. In an ideal world publishing could pay the bills as technically we should be paid every time our music is performed/played or reproduced but we need to make changes to our laws to make that happen and allow technology to help. For example, if every DJ playing Traktor/Serato had an app in their software that automatically e-mailed their tracklist to a royalty collection society when they played at a professional venue suddenly it might be possible to accurately claim that money back. If every radio station by law had to mail that society their full tracklists (and not just the sample tracklists they’re currently sending which are pointless for helping underground producers). If every ISP had to pay every time a song was illegally downloaded via their networks they would pay a lot more attention to the issue or artists would get some form of compensation for the abuse of their music. If cloud music companies were made to pair a fair amount of money to artists that would be another money door opened. The technology is there to do all these things but what we’re short on is lobbying power to make them a reality. I think it’s about time that the likes of Madonna, Paul McCartney, U2, etc. who currently enjoy the lion’s share of publishing royalties, gave something back to the music industry by funding lobbying groups to see that artists gain the necessary voice they need to stop being ripped off by the industry around them.

30. Hugh Cleal

Where do you see DJ culture right now?

We are in the middle of the best time for DJs in the history of dance music.

In your opinion, what is the most disturbing trend?

Illegal downloads.

How are we going to make the scene better?

Throwing underground events with up-and-coming talent.