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  • Digital DJ Equipment Vs Crate Digging DJs

    Digital DJ Equipment Vs Crate Digging DJs

    Stereotypes abound, for anyone who has caught the wonderful series Nathan Barley by Chris Morris, the cringeworthy world of the Hoxton Elite sums up DJ culture in one fail swoop. It’s not just the DJ and his equipment, it’s the hangers on, the hairstyles, the pseudo cool crowd baying for a tune that is so left field we are all in danger of getting lost in the wild wood of cacophony. Contrary to popular belief, there is more to being a DJ than just looking cool in a pair of headphones. Unfortunately to some that is all that they think there is to being a DJ.
    Back in the day, as a lot of my vinyl friends are fond of saying, being a spinner of tunes took skill, dedication and commitment. It was a status reserved for music geeks. Being so into the scene meant a lifetime of dedication to music, not just a passing interest in the latest pop sensation. The disc jockey would typically get out of bed around noon, go crate digging until the shops closed and then proceed to either travel to a gig and go to bed around 6am, or stay up and mix until around about the same time.
    The art of crate digging is akin to grannies at a jumble sale looking for a Faberge egg. Dusty rooms piled to the ceiling with every record from a white label undiscovered Stones LP to BBC sound effects, but who knows what is where. Some classics are just waiting to be discovered, a strange little loop half way through track four on the B side of some unknown 1950s crooner can make the next top ten chart breaker; and the only way to find it is by digging through those crates. Since the fall in popularity of vinyl as the essential DJ tool, the art of crate digging is becoming a dying pastime for all but the most dedicated. Bedroom music maestros probably don’t even know about it, they probably don’t even own a record.
    The demise of vinyl has meant a change in technology; there has been a dip in the demand for analogue turntables and an increase in demand for digital DJ equipment. Eager to distinguish themselves from the iPod generation who just plug in a player and hit the shuffle button, established and talented DJs are calling for updated equipment; MP3 and compact disc as a medium is creating a need for players that can mix tracks like the old turntables do. There is no doubt that not having to lug a flight case with a hundred records in is a positive thing, especially if the option is carrying around a relatively lightweight piece of equipment that can be subsequently mixed from.
    Back to the stereotype of the Hoxton ‘massive’ and we could argue that these guys are actually pioneering the new digital music scene. Creating crazy loops from the depths of the imagination that are inspired by a pair of hair straighteners breaking, or not being able to fit into the latest skinny jeans could be the new big thing. Maybe these guys are one up on the crate diggers who have been accused of just stealing other people’s work and stitching it all together on fancy equipment. Maybe a good pair of headphones and a love of popular fashion are just what the music industry needs to bring it into the twenty first century.

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