Although Saturday Night Fever made nightclubbing a national pastime at the Dawn of the Disco Era, Disc Jockeys had been laboring in the background of the “live” music scene for years before that. In Paris of the 1960s, ingenue Regine invented Whisky a -Go-Go, a nightclub with mirror balls on the ceiling, a dance floor in the middle and the first instance of a DeeJay using two turntables instead of a jukebox. The result? Music without a break in the action. It was a natural.
As Disco swept the world, suddenly the geeky, obsessed music nerd in the DJ booth became an artist who, in some cases, rivaled the music makers striving for hits in the studio and on the stage. The genre reached its first zenith when DJ “Jellybean” Benitez produced some of Madonna‘s early hits and was actually paid big money to “remix” them for release to the club sub-culture.
Soon after, musical equipment manufacturers realized there was an untapped market for specialty devices and the technology finally caught up to the revolution. Prior to the current digital era, which opened with the first CD player, vinyl records ruled the genre. Party-goers in search of new sounds not heard on the radio sought out DJs who hoarded “wax” singles and 12 inch remixes in order to – literally- dance to a different beat. Suddenly, even the most tone-deaf, beat challenged person could become a Star by learning the craft of Spinning, Scratching and Battle Mixing.
But there’s a price to pay for the privelege.
Mobile DJs live a hardscrabble life for the most part and they carry as much equipment as a Rock band. Between mixers, turntables, CD and MP3 players, amps, speakers, lighting and effects, it’s quite a schlep. And purists are known to devote half their cargo space to crates and crates of LPs and singles. Yep. The vinyl era is not dead yet.
And because the craft has reached such a high level of proficiency, DJs spend most of their time chained to the tables in the booth and fielding requests from an increasingly drunker and less impressed public. That’s all about to change.
AMOG knows gadgets, and just like any other profession, DJing is about to enter a new era which will give the mobile or resident DJ the tools to interact with the audience like never before and to throw away most of the equipment they’ve gone broke on and lugged around for years. Let’s have a look…
ARDJ – Augmented Reality DJ System
ARDJ takes the Bar Code into the DJ booth with video recognition technology. Because the idea is in its infancy DJs still have to be tethered to some minimal gear like a camcorder connected to the House sound system and a table for the mixing area. But the inventors promise a wireless system to come that will be miniaturized enough to allow mixing from anywhere in the club. No more records, mixers or turntables. Just scraps of paper and a camera phone.
AMOG predicts the next DJ craze: Battle Mixing Up-Skirt Shots…
For 75 bucks DJs can put on a light show that only planetariums and big Rock bands used to be able to afford. By using advanced LED technology and low level laser emitters, Laserpod can be programmed with your own settings or switched to auto-play, throwing out lighting effects not seen since there was a Fillmore Theater on both coasts. Hook a few up in series and point one at the crusty old mirror ball in virtually every club and you’ve got yourself a mind-blowing light show for the kiddies. Add a fog machine and now we’re talking.
Amog recommendation: Throw away the Lavalamp.
Quite simply the biggest breakthrough in DJ technology since the first plastic milk crate was stolen from the all night Deli on the corner and adapted to the quick-find LP storage container. The Pacemaker incorporates all the essentials of DJ mixing into one handheld wireless device. The mixer, scratch toggle, preview channel and crossfader are all in place for fingertip control. DJs are freed from the bonds of the private booth and are now able to walk amongst the writhing throngs on the dance floor. I know a few DJs… I predict major disaster.
AMOG foresees a future where every DJ will be required to have a Pacemaker.
Honorable Mention: DJ Hero
Guitar Hero is a phenom for the wannabe guitarist crowd. It affords the tone deaf game player the illusion of super Rock Stardom. DJ Hero does much the same thing, but unlike Guitar Hero, the actual skill of scratching and mixing anchors the game. Since those abilities have been largely dexterous and non-musical anyway, this will be a giant hit with people who never gave spinning a second thought before. As DJ Jazzy Jeff says in the video, “You definitely may have a career.”
AMOG foresees the day when the next DJ Hero will rise from the unlikely depths of the nursing home industry.
So get out there and start Scratching yourself!