I just got back from my first NAMM and man was it an eye opening experience. Like many of you, I dj for the love of it, cut up gear and re-wire software to challenge myself and make cool shit. So when we get ideas for really great things that seem very simple to implement, it gets really annoying when it feels like NO-ONE is paying attention. F&%k, everyone wants a black VCI-100 so release the damn thing already, right?
Well, I have learned it’s not so simple. You see, most of the pieces in the puzzle are not in it to make cool things happen and enrich our lives. They are trying to pay their bills. That’s the bottom line and a painful reality that was heaped upon me at NAMM for four exhausting days. HALL A, AKA “dj madness land” was not full of creative types running around like kids in a candy store- it was full of suits. Guys that have 3 kids, golf on the weekends and listen to Crosby Stills and Nash. These are the guys that run the stores you buy from, the people that ship the gear to those stores and sometimes (god forbid) even design the gear itself.
Now before I piss off all my friends and people in the industry there are exceptions to the rule. You all know who you are, so consider yourselves exempt. The real kicker here is the folks in the middle, “the box pushers” as a friend in the industry accurately described them. You see, just because you can make or release a cool product does not mean it makes sense for the stores to sell it. For instance, you don’t want to sell anything that makes 300 other units you have on hand worthless. You lose more money than you would make on the newest greatest thing. So the stuff we want sometimes does not even make it to stores, not because the manufactures don’t want to sell it but because of politics and basic laws of capitalism.
So, in the end, it’s kind of up to us. We have to help share resources, swap ideas, cut up gear to make it better. Did you know there is a small but really well organized community of DIY midi creators? That giant Ableton controller Dj Sasha brought out a few years ago was built on a simple kit that you can order yourself for almost nothing. This is a call to everyone to continue and create the musical instruments ourselves and not wait around for the system to catch up with our ideas. Dj Tech Tools explains it all in the name, we are here to give you the tools you need to do interesting things with dj technology- not sell more gear. Sometimes, even I need a reminder of that after a long weekend of consumer frenzy.