Holiday in the Soundlab

Most of this week off has been directed towards making music magic on ds106radio.

To start the holiday off last weekend , Cut, Scratched $ Broke, aired its 3rd show on Sunday, LIVE. Except for a scant 5 or so min. of dead air as a consequence, I was able to follow the necessary protocols & connect to the ds106 servers using Nicecast and play directly from Traktor Pro, using the Kontrol S4 that I have been rocking for only a week! Nobody could have been more stoked than I, to join my brethren in the live online madness that is ds106radio. Even though my intrest is primarily in djing music, now that I have a microphone and a channel upon which to broadcast, who knows what this ‘show’ will turn into. A few ideas though:

Live vs Recorded

The consensus seems to be that the live content on ds106 is the gold.  The ‘auto-dj’, although rich in content takes a backseat to live broadcasts if twitter chatter is any indication thats for sure. Nothing lights up #ds106 hashtag like a spontaneous live broadcast, preferably from the field. As a long time listener of late night call in radio I understand from whence part of the magic comes.  I have always thought just hearing random people offering their thoughts on a given topic was very comforting somehow, even if they were offered on the topics of ghosts and aliens.

My first couple of ds106 shows were recorded beforehand and only one of them had a voice over intro. This is the way I was planning to do all of them. Using Garageband gave me unlimited control over the timing and transitions and endless adjustments to the timing till things were just right. I could mashup tracks on the fly and incorporate them into the show seamlessly. No errors. Precise.  Even my first voice over I did I garagebanded to death. taking out ‘ummms’ and other annoying things I heard in my voice. PAINSTAKING. The only benefit here is quality of the production and that its a recording, I was able to share on soundcloud.

Cut, Scratched $ Broke by draggin

I was nervous about picking up a ‘live’ mic for the first time, even from the comforts of the soundlab. But once I did, it was very liberating. I did the little intro thing, and talked about what I was going to do then pretty much dove into my set.  I had a playlist roughly sorted out, but was able to make decisions on the fly, and mixing track to track was intuitive and smooth even though theres only one chance to get it right.  I am familiar with the software mind you, this made the transition to an actual using the controller much easier than going in cold. But the Kontrol S4 interface is so smooth, and translates the software perfectly. It feels natural.

What I have decided for the time being is to prepare for my regular shows as live broadcasts, throw a bunch of stuff in there but keep it loose and spontaneous.  Then every couple of shows, take some routines that were working into garageband, and put together more of a polished mix and post it to my Soundcloud account to distribute and share. So far it feels like the process will be a sort of back and forth, with each process pushing and furthering the next. We will see.


Another aspect I have begun to consider more. I will need to take my music searching to the next level if I want to keep bringing the fresh beats #ds106 listeners have come to expect each week. And I sorta feel I shouldnt steal it all! Yesterday for instance, I was in the local record shop picking up some concert tickets and spray bombs, and happened to browse through the 5$ cd bin. Score! 4 new discs, all of which have tracks destined for future shows. Also, to both acquire new music and pay back to the artists, especially for the hottest new tracks, I have taken out accounts on both Beatport and Juno. Websites dedicated to providing a commercial platform for DJ music similar to itunes.

Scott Lo has provided further inspiration with his tokyo calling podcast and all creative commons content. You will find each cast well documented and credit given to each artist as per the typical CC license requiring attribution. Even as an aspiring hobbyist DJ, I feel a certain obligation to give credit (at least) for the tracks I play, even though I dont want to take the time on air to discuss each of them.  The internet of course offers the solution via soundcloud and one of my favorite DJs provides the model.  If you are not familiar with Greg Wilson, he is worth checking out. Kown for mixing on REEL TO REEL TAPEDECKS, and after an extensive career, he was out of the scene for a few awhile, but has been back recently, DJing and blogging up a storm.

He uploads, from what I can tell, all of his mixes onto soundcloud, and is one of the most attentive responders to comments I have ever seen. In this case, many of the comments are questions about who the artist or what the track names are, and Greg is always there to provide Title, Artist, & Label information and in many cases links to the websites of the producers or where the music can be purchased. He is a true advocate for the artists and the music industry itself. And he gets to do it by spinning all his favorite tracks to audiences all over the world. I am hoping this year to be able to catch one of his sets in person, so we will see where that takes us!