Peace all, Professor SentZ here. I'd like to Introduce the Lab Brief, a short segment in between episodes where we discuss quick, actionable tips and scene announcements that we think you'll enjoy. Today Professor SentZ discusses some ways to maximize your practice routines whether you're a DJ, performer, or play an instrument. We'll also discuss how to manage the expectations of other creatives in the crowd during your sets.
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Booking your first DJ gig is a huge accomplishment. You're leaving that bedroom setup and taking your mildly awkward Milly Rock skills to the public. In the excitement, there's a good chance that you'll forget some things, so I've compiled 8 questions to ask yourself before your debut that will give you a comfier first ride than a married couple that saved themsel.... never mind.
Do I have all of my required equipment?
It's essential to do a walk through of a space, or have a conversation with the venue about what equipment is available, so you can bring whatever they don't have. Some places have mixers, some don't. Some places have mixers that somehow predate disco. The point is, find out before you get there and write a checklist of the items that you need to pack, down to the cables and power strip. You should also use your walkthrough to scout general logistics like booth and speaker layout. If possible, ask if you can come in before operating hours a few days before the event to do an actual sound check, and make sure everything works. Take photos during the walkthrough too so you can reference the layout and booth setup. You can use these photos for promotion leading into the event too.
DJs can sometimes be the biggest dickheads in the world when they notice another DJ using something they don't. I started on vinyl, but always considered myself a producer first, so as controllers hit the market, I gravitated to them pretty quickly. In 2008, I grabbed a Hercules RMX and a much uglier version of Traktor, and started spinning out in Brooklyn, New York. Unlike my techno DJ counterparts who could get away with embracing technology, I was bringing this nerdy shit into underground rap and funk rooms with some of the best vinyl selectors in Crown Heights and Bed Stuy. The clowning was real.
One thing I noticed quickly though was that the criticism only came from current, and aspiring DJs. The dancing crowd itself couldn't care less what I was using to play, they just appreciated the selection, and the execution. The biggest thing I began to hear was, "I'm so glad you don't play the same thing every week like DJ XYZ" and that made me put my energy into prepping great crates and practicing instead of worrying about haters. You have to take the same approach. Understand that discouraging figures are going to try to steal your energy and enthusiasm. Don't let them. Ever.
The largest Traktor Remix Set in the world has arrived, and it's full of punchy drums and sub bass for live remixing. Introducing The Rap Pack: Rhythm, a collection of 192 Hip-Hop Drum and Bass loops of varying styles that can be mixed and matched for an infinite amount of combinations. We had to stretch everything across 3 Remix Decks just to fit it all!
Most Remix Decks are merely stripped down versions of pre-existing songs, and as such offer less oppurtunity to make something new and fresh. That's where we come in. Our Remix Decks are laid out with live remixing and experimentation in mind. The Rap Pack is sorted and labeled chromatically, so you can easily scroll to a page containing the exact key you want, and kick's sub-bass will be tuned correctly, keeping your remix from sounding like a mess. Each note contains four rows of sounds, with columns organized by instrument type (Kick, Snare, Hats, Percussion)
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It's been a few but we're back like Crystal Pepsi. Professor SentZ & Captain Lean Automatic have been busy releasing the Black Space Odyssey - Kushstorm EP, but are back to talk in depth about how we can all beat that lovely little monster called Writer's Block. We know you get it, now it's time to learn how to deal with it.
This episode's topics also include, video game music, balancing your music career and love, and of course, turning up to Dipset records. We also take some time to discuss Arturia's Analog Lab Software as part of our new review section of the Lab Report. This segment features full video too, so if you'd like to follow the visual clip, click here.
If you'd like to support the podcast, please consider visiting our Patreon page, and help us by contributing as little as $1 a month to help with the costs of web hosting, and the occasional meal since we occasionally enjoy eating. Click here to buy a dude a bagel or a Soundcloud subscription, and cash in since we have some dope rewards for your contributions including access to our monthly sample pack for $10, as well as the opportunity to advertise with us for as little as $20!
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That boy Charlie Clips caught a body on Hot 97. Sheesh. Watch above, or download below. What's your favorite freestyle?
Any accomplished recording engineer will tell you the job requires wearing a lot of hats. Why does Pharrell choose to do the multiple hat thing? I have no idea. But recording engineers walk into a unique set of circumstances every day, with a goal of capturing someone's art and inspiration before it fades into oblivion. It's stressful, multifaceted, and often involves way more than just pressing buttons. If you're thinking about being a recording engineer as a profession, or if you're wondering how to start wowing more clients, put some consideration into improving these skills if you haven't already.
The Uptown neighborhoods in NYC have heard some of the widest variety of Hip-Hop sounds out of any region. A fan of the vibe above 125th street may zone out to the sample influenced Boom Bap origins of D.I.T.C, to the punchy commercially influenced sound of the Diplomats. With Uptown Drums, you're ready for either scenario.
Filled with high quality samples across different styles, Uptown Drums combines live natural drum recordings, drum machine rips, and synthesized hits that offer a huge amount of flexibility when working on Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, and Beat/Dance music.
Kicks 57 sounds
Snares 62 sounds
Closed Hats 58 sounds
Open Hats 28 sounds
Percussion 59 sounds
All sounds are in WAV format at 44100/24 and sorted by type. Included in the download is an Ableton .ALP version, with all drums divided into their own Drum Racks.
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We've all been there. You try to get a mix sitting right and it just isn't working no matter what you do. If you're new to the process and have had recent issues mixing, odds are, one of these tricky little issues might be the root of your problem. Here's how to get over the hump.
Young Guru has worked with the likes of Jay Z, Beyonce, Drake, Rhianna, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg. In this conversation at Loop 2015, he discusses how his approach to making records allows him to move fluidly between the roles of co-pilot, audio specialist, and even musician, and how today’s engineer can (and should) be so much more than a technician with good ears.
Find out about Loop 2016: https://loop.ableton.com/2016/
Click here to access online classes on Ableton, Mixing and Production featuring lectures from Young Guru, Professor SentZ and more
SentZ is a Brooklyn raised writer and producer who hasn't been the same since his 1st Helio phone