DJ Marvin Kamikaze has certainly hit the ground running. From discovering Digital DJ Tips (through searching the web for “how to choose a DJ name”, something he’s still not decided on for sure) to producing his first mixtape, it’s been just three months.
Here, Marvin tells us about recording his first mixtape, what digital DJing kit he uses, what the opportunities are for young DJs in his home town, and where he hopes DJing will take him in the future.
Click the link below to hear Marvin’s mix on Mixcloud. Meanwhile, let’s talk to him and see how he got to here after 12 short weeks.
How Marvin started DJing
Everyone has to start somewhere, and it turns out that Marvin – a 22-year-old from Ecatepec, Mexico – took his DJing lead from his dad.
“My father was a DJ in the early 80s for about 4 years,” he says, “so my first DJ hero is the one I have all the time around my home!”
Who else do you like?
“I like Markus Schulz, High Contrast and Ritchie Hawtin, as well as locally renowned names DJ Oscar Velazquez, Tony Dark Eyes and Acid Kit. But I got the bug having seen a live trance set at a private party.”
Marvin practises for 20 hours a week, and through following the Digital DJ Tips Definitive Guide to Making a Mixtape series, he’s produced his first DJ mix – a progressive house/trance set – that shows a lot of promise for a DJ at such an early stage of his career.
“I wanted to do a mix tape so I can get some publicity for myself, land a real (and maybe paid) gig, and I hope that with that I can become part of a DJ collective,” he says.
“When I decided to make a mix tape I was thinking that you just record a mix session, but now I realise that there is more to it than that.
“I didn’t know where or how to start it, or that planning a mix tape takes some time, or how to find the perfect tunes, how to mix it, where to mix it, etc.”
Did you follow the Digital DJ Tips advice very closely?
“Most of it. I particularly like the posts on organising your tunes and how to master the mix with other software so I can have a clean recording. Just one thing, I didn’t mix in key for the whole mixtape.”
Tell us about your mix – why progressive/trance?
“I think that music is subjective, like art, so maybe some people would disagree with me on this, but I love progressive/trance because it’s capable of getting you back to your dreams, your passions, to remembering great moments in your life. Or at least it is for me!
“Those particular tracks on the mix tape, they’re the ones that can make me feel that way.”
Marvin’s mix is smooth and engaging, building nicely before it lets rip halfway through. It’s a nice first effort.
What is your opinion of your mix, Marvin?
“I think I share something original with the track list and I like very much how it blends being at a progressive speed, starting at 128bpm and finishing at 135bpm,” he says.
“I think it’s rather good, but not great. I feel that I need more practice! I hope I can make a better mix next time, by having better mixing techniques and organising a better playlist.”
So, what kit do you have at home?
“I have very little equipment, I have an Acer One netbook (2GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, and 1.6 GHz Intel Atom), the Numark Total Control with the DJ|IO sound card, and some Behringer studio headphones.
“I use Traktor Pro. I like the software a lot: it’s easy to understand, easy to learn and it’s just reliable!”
What kit would you have if money was no object?
“Because I love digital, I would love to have the new Traktor Kontrol S4. Then again, in a more traditional direction – but not leaving digital – I would buy a pair of Pioneer CDJ-1000 mk3s, the DJM-700 and an Audio 8 DJ for use with Traktor Scratch Pro.
“Obviously I would buy a good laptop, like an AlienWare PC or an iMac and better headphones.”
The DJ scene in Ecatepec, Mexico
So what about playing live? What’s the scene like there? How are you going to get your DJing time in front af a live crowd?
“Around here it’s mostly pubs and bars and it’s easy to get a gig as a freejay, ‘cos the bars focus on a specific genre – there is the ‘fidget house pub’, the ‘minimal techno bar’ and so on.
“On the other hand there are the big clubs, which have a combination of EDM and rock/pop bands. The DJ plays for a while, then the rock band comes on for an hour or two, and the DJ returns to play to the end of the night.
“Apart from playing the pub and bars, getting a gig in a club is just a dream for most, because the DJs’ parents own the clubs, or the DJs need to prove they have much experience, or already be well known.
“But I hope I can progress in my career and improve all the time. My hope is to be a headliner, and to play in different parts of my country and even the world.”
Thanks for taking the time to submit your mix and tell us about your digital DJ journey so far, Marvin – and good luck from Digital DJ Tips. When you’ve decided what you’re going to call yourself, will you kindly let us know?
What’s the scene like for young DJs where you are? What got you into DJing? Do you have gitch house pubs in your town? And did you like Marvin’s mix? Let us know in the comments below.