We’re dropping the needle a little earlier in time. DJing has been around for a while. Why not generate a bit of respect for the artform by knowing where it came from. And more importantly, where it’s goign. Learn more about DJing by checking out some of the highlights in the ever-changing character of the artform.
1980s: Chicago and Miami Own The Night
In the 80s, a club in Chicago called The Warehouse began one of the biggest contributions to DJ culture ever. Resident DJ Frankie Knuckles’ use of a solid 4/4 beat, simple basslines and almost exclusive use of samplers and drum machines gave birth to a new genre - house. Clubs in Detroit responded by stripping the disco element from the tunes and focusing more on the electronic timbres, giving birth to techno in the process (pretty good piece by Red Bull about this). During this period, DJing conferences started to pop up. Ultra Music Festival was held in Miami for the first time in 1985.
1990s: Day-Glo Nights
The advent of rave and acid house hit the scene in the 1990s. Digital music also began blowing up, allowing a broad base of DJs to begin producing their own records and headlining festivals with celebrity status. Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Sasha and duos like The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk became household names at massive festivals. Recorded music distribution was changing, too. and CDs and MP3s allowed more sharing of music than ever. Music production software lowered the barrier to entry for musicians, who now largely no longer needed to learn an instrument to record an album. As a result, electronic music started to take on a far more varied and colorful identity, pioneered by experimental producers like Aphex Twin. In 1998, Final Scratch was released, opening a door to the development of vinyl emulation software which allowed DJs to perform with MP3s and essentially putting an end to the mainstream popularity of vinyl.
2000s - Today: Into The Clouds
Despite its hopelessly antiquated name, DJing has continued to evolve into all sorts of sub-identities. Examples of DJs might also include scratch DJs, controllerists, producers, live performance DJs and, of course, the iTunes DJ. The programs and products have continued the onward march with functionality that allows for performance-oriented sets. Live stem remixing, live mashups, live looping, scratching and instrumental performance are all standard features of most software today. Popular functionality today includes integration with an online database, removing the need to actually have a collection of files, allowing the DJ to select from the cloud on the fly. The fascination with blockchain powered music platforms continues to grow. We’re not entirely sure where we’re going, but it’s clear that we’re getting there fast. Get on board by signing up for a DJ course today.
John Bartmann is an award-winning music producer and DJ