New Era® “Fly Your Own Flag” DJ Competition

Enter By 11:59:59 AM EST on October 28, 2011

**REPOSTED FROM OURSTAGE.COM**

New Era® and DJ Irie (best known for manning the tables at the NBA All Star Weekend, VH1 Pepsi Superbowl Fan Jam and Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40) are throwing a blowout event in Miami, Florida and want you there.

Here’s the deal: We’re looking for the best remix of DJ Irie’s samples. We’ll provide all the stems, you just worry about blowing their minds. When you’ve completed your masterpiece, upload your track to our competition page by October 28, 2011 so our fan community can listen. If they think it’s good enough to pon de replay, you could win a guest DJ spot at the New Era-sponsored event in Miami, Florida on November 21 at Mansion Nightclub!

To Download stems click here

Participants must be eighteen (18) years of age or older at time of entry and must be a legal resident of the 48 contiguous United States.

Submission Materials may contain the rights-free stems provided by New Era® and DJ Irie, as hosted and made available for downloading on OurStage.com. Entrants must submit original material mixed and produced solely by themselves. None of OurStage, Rolling Stone or New Era shall be responsible for any claims of actual or alleged copyright infringement arising from the Submission Materials and entrant shall indemnify and hold harmless each of OurStage, Rolling Stone and New Era from any such claims. Permission to use the rights-free stems is limited to the creation of Submission Materials for the purpose of this competition only.

Click here to view the competition FAQ’s.

Click here to view the official rules.

Death at EDC: Not as bad as you might think.

While the deaths of the 19-year-old man this year and the 15-year-old girl last year at the respective Electric Daisy Carnival events are tragedies in their own rites, and certainly to the friends and families of each, these deaths are not the outrageous horrors that the media often portrays them to be.

The media, and some self-serving politicians, are often quick to suggest or directly point blame at events like EDC as the cause of death, that these events are a social evil and a killer of our youth. Obviously this is not the case. People die all the time for all kind of reasons. It is not uncommon for people to die during large events for a variety of reasons, exhaustion, heat, age, alcohol or drug related causes, violence, accidents, etc. Aside from various political, economic, and social reasons one of the big reasons these electronic music events get a bad rap is the association and expectation of the involvement of drugs. While it is true that there are those that take drugs at these events (of course drugs are taken everywhere, including Disneyland) not all the attendants are on drugs and the number of drug related deaths and injuries are way below the societal norm.

Every year in the US, for every 100,000 people .15% of deaths are drug related and .16% are alcohol related vs. the .00001% of people who have had drug related deaths at EDC in the last two years. Clearly these events are not the problem when we look at the numbers. Further, every year in the US, for every 100,000 people 4.4% die as a result of an accident (41% of which is vehicle related). You are 1681 times more likely to die in an auto accident than you are from a drug related incident at EDC. And yet, I don’t ever see any talk of banning automobiles.

Finally, these deaths resulted from the choices that the individuals made, not because the event or the promoters made them do it or provided the drugs. These choices could have been made anywhere, the resulting deaths could have occurred anywhere, they just happened to have occurred at EDC.

While any death is a tragedy, don’t buy into the hype that these events are some great evil plague upon children. The media and politicians are self-serving and hype up anything they can to improve their numbers. But the real numbers are there.

That being said, for those of you attending these things, be smart, please. Moderation is always the best route. Drink water, avoid drugs (or at least keep it to a reasonable level of moderation), take rest breaks from dancing, eat, sleep, live.

Game changing stage set.

In general I am not easily impressed, I can appreciate things, but impressing me takes quite a bit.  I am thoroughly impressed with the new stage set for Amon Tobin’s ‘ISAM’ live show.  This puts things on a whole new level. Inevitably someone will top it, but I can’t even begin to imagine how… and certainly it wont be any time soon.

Gen Art DJ Competition

I will be one of the judges for this, so get your submissions in by June 6th!

To enter go here: DJGenerationCompetition

So, you want to be a DJ?

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Having been a DJ for nearly two decades now, I’ve picked up a thing or two. I often get asked for advice on the art of DJing (where to start, tips, tricks, etc.) so I’ve decided to lay out some of my more consistent tips and lessons for people in the beginning and intermediate stages of DJing. They may seem harsh at times, but if you don’t have a thick skin, this is the wrong industry for you.

Tip One: Don’t.

Seriously, don’t start. Not only is it an over-saturated market with people constantly getting undercut and bumped by people who, in all honesty, don’t deserve to be in the industry, but it is being flooded with people who really just don’t have the chops for it. Over the last few years it has become the hip new thing and seen as an avenue into easy fame and fortune.

If you are looking for popularity, to be cool amongst your friends, get laid etc., stick to your own house parties, turn your garage into a dance floor whatever, just stay out of the professional realm. There is nothing easy about this industry if you are doing it correctly. You need to have an unhealthy obsession with music to ride it out the long run. DJing will ruin the life you have as you know it. You will lose friends, lovers, sleep, work, it will be impossible to lead any kind of ‘normal’ life. There are benefits, don’t get me wrong, but most of them result out of having the sort of obsession with music required to be a professional DJ.

Two of the biggest factors that have kept me surviving and growing in this industry are that I absolutely can not live without music and I am too stupid to know when to quit.

Tip Two: Study the History

If you are still reading these tips then you either have an unhealthy obsession with music or your ego is so bloated that you think you are good enough and deserve to be a DJ. You probably think you have some new perspective or new way of doing things. Back here in reality, odds are you don’t.

With any subject matter or trade it is critical to know the history. Where did it come from, who were the pioneers, what worked, what didn’t, etc. Without knowing where it started you probably aren’t going to be able to take it to any sort of new level, you’ll just be repeating what’s been done, and trust me, it has been done. Watch the documentaries, read the books and blogs, listen to the old sets and sounds, etc. Talk to and LISTEN to those that have been doing it for a long time, there is a reason they are still around, despite how much better than them you think you are. If they are working, getting paid, and making people dance, they have done something right to get there.

Respect is often a missing component in the industry these days, but absolutely critical for the industry to survive and thrive. Don’t kill the industry with your lack of respect and ego. Study, learn, respect.

Tip Three: Practice and Record

Practice all the time. This is a skill, and though you either have the foundation skill or you don’t, you still need to develop and improve that skill by actually doing it. A good starting point is to start with two copies of the same song and mix it every possible way you can think of. It doesn’t matter what song, just something you really love and know, so you can hear clearly when the mix is on and when it is off.

Record everything you do and listen to it. You need to develop your ear, not just for beat-matching, but for programing, song keys (just because you can match two beats doesn’t mean the keys the songs are in go together). Technology has changed a lot of things, we can mash up songs that could never have gone together before, but again, just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should do a thing.

Develop your ear; listen, record, and repeat until you don’t feel you are making progress, then start asking for feedback. Don’t make everyone listen to everything you do, especially in the beginning. For one, it’s annoying, your mom may like to put your scribbles on the fridge but others don’t. Secondly you will want to avoid having people’s first impression of your work be poor intro level stuff. It will stick with them longer than you would expect.

Tip Four: Learn the Gear

There are a lot of ways to DJ now. Learn as many as you can. Seriously. The technology will only continue to change, what is standard at an event now will not be later. Not to mention that different venues have different gear and different sound systems. Ask around, everyone is a DJ now anyway so it won’t be hard to find different gear to practice on, and who knows, maybe they are good enough to show you the proper way to use it.

Learn vinyl, not just Traktor or Serato, but vinyl. You may be naive enough to think it is an out-dated and dead format, but there are valuable lessons to be learned by using it. There are elements and lessons you can learn by using that vinyl that can never be replaced. Vinyl has a certain soul and history that you have to take part in if you really want to be serious in this industry. All the new tech is trying to maintain the principle and feel of vinyl while offering new tools that vinyl doesn’t provide. Think there might be a reason for that? Plus, honestly, it just takes more skill to DJ vinyl, all you have is you and the music, no bpm counter, no key meter, just you and your (hopefully existent) skill. In fact, vinyl can be a good judge of whether or not you should even be a DJ. If you can’t DJ on your own, why should you be considered one? If the technology is doing all the work for you, your computer is a DJ, you are not.

When you buy your own gear don’t skimp, you will only be sorry when you replace it for better gear. This isn’t a cheap industry to get into (cheaper now than it was, granted), but you want stuff that will last and when you do eventually play out at a decent venue, you will know how to use the gear and not get nervous because it is way more advanced than you are used to.

Tip Five: Produce

If you want to get anywhere in this industry you need to be making music. I’m not talking about cutting and rearranging someone else’s music and calling it an ‘edit’ or trying to pass it off as a ‘remix.’ And I’m not just talking about making some mediocre stuff and putting it out on your friend’s label or even worse starting your own label because no one is picking up your music. I’m talking about making good music, music that other people buy and play. If you don’t have the music making talent, you can still DJ, but don’t expect to make it to the top.

To learn my tips on producing, refer to the above tips, same principle.

These are by no means all my tips, but if you want more you will probably have to prove to me that you are not just another douche bag trying to be cool and looking for an easy fix.

Old, but still valid:

Another sign of the musical apocalypse

The Jedi’s have felt a grave disturbance in the Force. The scales have been tipped to the Darkside.  Evil has entered the world once again in the form of ARK Music Factory and the Hell they have unleashed with Rebecca Black’s “Friday”.  In case you are deaf or have limited brain function I’m going to tell you exactly why this song monstrosity should make you angry.

1. Lyrics sound like they are written by a remedial 1st grader.
Granted, she is only 13 and should not be singing about anything too adult, but you wouldn’t even catch Elmo singing this.  The scary thought is that this was written by adults who see themselves as professionals.

2. The scary guy that missed the rap bus.
Seriously, what is he doing in this video with a bunch of 13 year-olds. I’m not an ageist, but if you are getting in to the rap game at 40+ using a 13 year-old girl’s video to start your career, NO! Bad dog.

3. Lack of anything remotely close to genuine musical composition.
I know they call this music, but this pathetic attempt at trying to create a hook by using Auto-Tune and patterning the vocals on the beat structure doesn’t cut it.  Just because it may technically be music, doesn’t mean I put it in that category. Technically a platypus is a mammal, but seriously, wtf?

4. Auto-Tune.
Seriously, I hate the over-use of Auto-Tune. Subtly correcting a note or two is one thing, but over your whole track? Maybe you shouldn’t be singing sweetie. Sadly even Auto-Tune can’t correct how bad this song is.

5. The video looks like an epileptic 2 year-old’s sketch pad.
Granted, the video is better than the song itself as it didn’t make my eyes bleed, but whoever is funding this monstrosity could have at least ponied up the $10 for the deluxe package video at the mall booth.

6. It is not unlike a lot of other pop music out there.
As awful as this song is, it is not far off, and is modeled after a lot of current pop songs.  Just compare these lyrics and rhythm structure to any one of the pop chart hits, like Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”. This song uses a pop formula, but as they have hopefully learned, formula’s do not create good songs.

7. It’s probably going to be a hit and inspire them to make more music atrocities.
Despite that this song has become famous for being so awful, they are making money off it. People are already rationalizing it and trying to say it is good because it exposes pop music for what it is. It’s not, it’s not good. Don’t buy this, don’t help them make money so they can turn around make more music. Please, I am begging you.

8. It is has no soul.
Ever watch a porno with the sex moans dubbed in? That has more feeling than this. I’ve known white people with no rhythm on the dance floor with more soul than this song. Seriously, this song has no soul, want to know why your brain hurts when you listen to it? This song is a zombie, it eats your brain. Maybe not… zombies might have more soul than this song. I hate this song.

I know I am adding to their clicks and potential money-making opportunities by posting this, but it really is from a public service stand point.  Remember those videos and photos you had to look at in Sex Ed class? The ones with all the diseases and warts and what not to scare you?  Be scared, or be scarred.

****WARNING!!!****

I listened to this song a couple of days ago and it is still hurting my brain, watch at your own risk.

2011 GRAMMY Style Studio Recap

Here is a little of what you missed at the 2011 Grammy Style Studio. Thanks to Papa Joe, Chris, Michael, and the rest of the crew! And don’t worry everyone, I don’t plan on quitting my day night job.

Part 1:

Part 2: