Long ago, the term DJ stopped referring to the person in charge of putting one record after another in a disco. Today, the figure of the DJ is as revered as the great rock bands of yesteryear, some of them earn astronomical salaries, and their training and specialization reached heights unthinkable years ago.
For a DJ, turntables are his instrument. And just like a guitar, there are radically different ways to make them sound. Their versatility is, in fact, the reason why they are found in disparate styles. “You can use the turntables to play your parents’ LPs, to mix songs at different speeds or use them as if they were an instrument, scratching, ” sums up Niño Caos, drum’n’bass DJ. For Gorgeous, a regular pop-rock DJ from Madrid venues like Moby Dick or McGinty’s Goat, “DJing techno has nothing to do with DJing pop. The technique is different; the musical knowledge is different … even the sound source is different”.
We review three different ways to face the turntables of the hand of three leading DJs in their respective styles with a common denominator: to make the public have a great time.
D-Stro 187, hip hop DJ
Born in Madrid 30 years ago, he has played in numerous venues and festivals throughout Spain, has been a DJ teacher, and is a true virtuoso of scratch, impossible mixing, and forceful bases, which has led him to be one of the most renowned national hip hop DJs.
How did you get into this world? I started as a breakdancer in the late nineties. One fine day I saw a video of Grand Master Flash (pioneer of hip hop) in which I was scratching, and from that moment, I knew that my destiny was to become a DJ.
What is the key to a good hip hop session? You have to observe your audience, combine the variety of styles within the genre, master basic mixing and scratching techniques, and have a broad knowledge of hip hop history.
What are the peculiarities of DJing hip hop? Basically, vinyl is still used, and the techniques used are style specific. We use scratch, beat juggling, and various turntablism techniques to make the sessions more enjoyable.
What record can you never miss in your suitcase? I always carry DJ Qbert’s Super Seal, which is a scratch effects record . I always use it for my sets.
What’s the best and worst thing about working in the world of the night? The best thing is to be able to share your musical tastes with the public and have the opportunity to go on tour and get to know other cities. The worst: sometimes having to splice for several days in a row without sleeping.
Marcos In Dub, Techno-house DJ
He is a resident of Goa and Weekend and has made cities like London or Berlin dance. He just published the Ep Kaos (Monofunk) last 2010.
He has played drum N bass, jungle, house, techno … what is he left with? I started freestyle because I like many styles of music. The evolution in my taste for the club sound or the dance floor has led me to know and investigate rhythms such as house or techno, these being the ones in which I put more interest. Today they feed me, and they continue to amaze me like the first day.
Do you need the training to be a good DJ? The best training is desire and passion. The rest is given by the years.
What topic is a must in your sessions? Marcos in the dub, Kaos ep. The original or any of its remixes.
Is the relationship between electronics and drugs oversized? Here everyone takes what they want, whether it’s dancing techno or being a Los Chicos clap. What happens is that as it is illegal and is frowned upon, it is easier to point to the one next to it. The politicians and rich men who go to the top … what music will they listen to?