Native Instruments has just released a video interview with Pan-Pot (above) about how they use their Traktor Kontrol F1 with Traktor’s Remix Decks to remix live, something they’re pushing as a way of being unique and differentiating their sound from others. The current problem, as it’s related in the video, is that everyone has access to the same music nowadays, so you need to find ways of doing something unique with those same tools, and that live remixing gives you that ability.
You can see the potency of this argument, but it does throw up a few discussion points for DJs. Firstly, is it really true that “everyone has access to everything” these days? Surely in a digital world, “cratedigging” is just as relevant, as there’s simply more stuff out there than ever before? Sure, if everyone was limited to the Beatport store this might be true, but there’s a world of music out there, and is it really possible for everyone to know all and have access to all of it? Or is there’s still room to have that “killer” tune in your box that nobody else has?
Also, there’s programming: Building a crowd up to the exact right time to play your “killer tune”. (By the way, your “killer tune” doesn’t have to be new; as music moves forward there’s a bigger and bigger back catalogue of great music you can reapportion and drop at just the right time – and trust me on this one, everything comes around again…)
And finally, let’s not forget the age-old skills of mixing, whether it’s as simple as beatmatching, spotting great key mixes and acapellas, or tight, interesting crossfader work, or indeed full-on scratching, effect use and so on. Even silence used in the right place can be devastating. All of these things can make your DJ sets unique, while still all you’re doing is essentially playing someone else’s music, exactly as they made it.
Of course, just because live remixing arguably isn’t the only way to differentiate yourself as a DJ in 2014 (and we’ve not even touched on pre-DJ set remixing here: All you have to do is make your own edits, mashups and of course original productions just for you, and bang! Your sets are unique…), that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. As we’re outlining in our current Bluffer’s Guide To Traktor’s Remix Decks series, live remixing can be immensely fun and rewarding, and can indeed help you to achieve the goal of making your DJ sets sound unique enough to get you noticed.
However, clearly Native Instruments (and its Traktor #FutureofDJing hashtag) is creating a lot of noise about live remixing right now, so we want to know your thoughts. Is “live remixing” the future of DJing? Is it really the best way to stand out nowadays? Or will this kind of on-the-fly editing end up as a niche tool, tucking in alongside all the other DJing skills as something that’s “nice to have”, but not career defining? What do you think?
So – #FutureofDJing: Live remixing, producing, re-editing, or just good old fashioned “right tune at the right time” mixing? Or a combination of any or all of the above, and more? Please share your thoughts on live remixing as a DJ tool in the comments below!