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Tiefschwarz Interview: The Death of Vinyl and Big Labels

The brothers that make up the electro-house duo, Tiefschwarz (“deep black” in German), Ali and Basti Schwarz, started DJing in Stuttgart, Germany in the early ’90s. Since then they have risen from local club promoters to worldwide club culture celebrities. Through it all they witnessed several sea changes in the way that dance music is produced, distributed and DJ’d, yet continue to thrive. On a recent solo stop to San Francisco, Ali Schwarz sat down with Ean Golden to discuss the acceptance of digital DJing, the merits of Internet distribution, the importance of personal style, the questionable necessity of big music labels and the one single constant in the world of DJing: that no matter what happens, it’s always about the music.

THE GEARS OF TIME


DJTT: Is there anything new in your DJ setup these days?

I just got in contact with Pioneer in Miami. The new CDJ-2000s are amazing. The designer gave us two for free. It’s crazy. You can travel with your USB stick and just plug it in and then you see all the files on the screen. It’s basically like Traktor but in the actual CD player. It’s amazing, but I do want to try out Traktor and see which one is more interesting. I like to play with CDs, but to burn the CDs gets on your nerves. We just get so much stuff sent to us everyday.

DJTT: If you start using the CDJ-2000s, you’re going to need them everywhere you go.

As far as I’ve heard all the major clubs and venues will have them in a short time, ’cause it’s such a great tool, and they’re not that expensive, so I think it’s just a matter of time before everybody upgrades from the CDJ-1000s.

DJTT: Most of the venues you would play at would have CDJ-2000?

It’s gonna be an essential tool, like the Technics 1210. I mean, nowadays, you have to ask for turntables. There’s no turntables anymore, unless you say ‘I play Traktor, and I’m using the vinyl’, but they fade away more and more. In Miami, at most of the parties it was Traktor with CDs, or just CDs. Only a few had turntables, but you basically have to ask for it. In Asia, that’s even more the case. It’s sad, actually, but you can’t turn back the wheel.

DJTT: No, you can’t, and turntables inherently have a lot of problems.

Yeah, but funny enough, 5 years ago, it was only turntables, and it worked. But it’s just changing.

DJTT: Do you think the features of digital technology, such as Traktor, are damaging the quality of what DJs do, or is it all just tools with which you’re mixing?

In the beginning, it was this big discussion that this digital world kills vinyl, but that discussion is all over. I think it should be only about the music, and if you feel comfortable with Traktor, use Traktor. If you’re comfortable with vinyl, use vinyl. It doesn’t matter. And if you want a lot of controllers and special effects, use them. As long as you’re able to give the crowd a good feeling and create a good atmosphere and energy, I don’t care what technology you use. And sometimes less is more. I’ve seen DJs using a lot of gear, and they get lost in a lot of technical blah blah. It’s over produced and there are too many effects. C’mon, focus on the music. And the music itself has breaks and an arrangement. Sometimes I don’t understand DJs who put all these effects and loops on top of a well-thought out production. There are some DJs who can do that really well, but it’s only a few. For me, the way you select the music should be enough.

DJTT: You’ve played at a lot of top clubs, and up to about 4 years ago, there was definitely a stigma about digital, particularly controllers. Would you say that’s pretty much gone now?

It’s the same thing we had with vinyl and CDs. We all are still just listening to music, and I think it’s much more about your personal taste, your personal filter, than about technology. Big vinyl DJs are only using Traktor now, and the parties are awesome; it’s great.

DJTT: Dubfire for example, was using a Faderfox, and now he’s using the Native Instruments X1. That’s totally accepted now?

Totally accepted. Yeah, I think it had to be a discussion for a while, because there was a vinyl-protective group. But now, nobody cares anymore — I hope — because it doesn’t really matter. And vinyl is dead; it’s dead. It’s gonna be a special item for collectors, and probably will exist forever in that way, but that’s it. It’s over. You can really count on two hands who’s carrying vinyl bags around the world. It’s dinosaurs like Sven Vath or Ricardo Villalobos, and for them it’s great because that also makes them special. But at the same time, no one really gives a shit anymore. You have to feel comfortable with what you use, whether it’s vinyl, CDs or any digital gadget.

DJTT: With DJ Tech Tools we try to maintain the DJ culture even though we may have lost the record stores along with vinyl.

Which is a shame. I think the biggest loss is not the vinyl itself, but the shops. Shopping online is a pain in the ass. It’s not fun; there’s no interaction with people. It’s cold and technical. Going to a record shop is something special. It’s searching, listening and interacting. That’s something I miss.

THE RECORD INDUSTRY


DJTT: How long have you been producing music?

We started in the mid 90s. I was running two clubs back in the day in Stuttgart. We were our own resident DJs. We started to tag team and play together. We got more and more comfortable, so that’s when we founded Tiefschwarz [in 1996] as our project. That’s also about when we started producing with friends who were already a bit more experienced.

DJTT: Was there a big break or moment that catapulted you higher than the local Stuttgart scene?

Our clubs at the time were pretty well known for deep house music, so we had a lot of international guests. Because of that success, our name got spread all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, England a little bit, and we started touring ourselves. We also did a couple of remixes that did really well, and our first original productions got licensed to Wave Music in New York – Francois Kevorkian’s label. Then we did our first album, which got licensed to Classic in London, which was a very hot, happening label at that time, and that was kind of the first step to another level. So we kind of re-imported ourselves to Germany through England.

Ever since, we were traveling around and moved to Berlin for the second album. Now we just finished our third album, Chocolate, coming out on our own label, Souvenir, at the end of the May. We’re happy with the result; it’s like an interesting mix between house and techno. It’s a physical CD and a digital bonus album on top, so it’s basically two albums: one CD and one that’s only digital.

DJTT: As the viability of selling music as a dance artist has decreased over the last 10 years, has the focus shifted to making solid money as DJs?

Unless you had a hit, you never really made money out of production. Of course there was some money, and back in the day you had pretty high fees for remixes, but that has all changed. Now you need the production to stabilize your DJ level, but the money is in performing live. It’s the same thing with bands. Like Madonna signed to Live Nation, which is basically a booking agency. I have friends in Germany, really well-known pop artists, who only do albums now because they need more content to perform live, and that’s basically the same story with DJs.

You need to define your own signature to make yourself special. There’s so much output, you need to be known for some special signature. And it’s also fun. It’s not that you have to do it, it’s just that you love being in the studio and love creating art.

DJTT: Some artists are very open with giving their music away on the Internet, and other artists are very protective of that. Should a new DJ just put music out there and get exposure first, and then collect money through performances second, and not worry too much about protecting it?

I would say don’t worry too much, because at the end of the day, it’s gonna be on the Internet anyway. Somebody rips it; you have no control over that. I think it’s important that you concentrate on your own signature and push your own taste. Make yourself special through your music, but don’t worry too much about the release of it, because it’s everywhere.

It’s also part of promotion. You can really push it if you send it to certain DJs you like, and ask them to play it out or chart it. And if it does well, you’re also going to find people who want to buy it. I’m not one of these younger kids who want everything for free. I go to Beatport, and I even go to CD stores and buy CDs still. It’s a mixture and a balance, but I’m aware that all the young kids just get everything for free. They don’t give a shit.

DJTT: For years, DJs would have killed to get records out on Wave or Classic like you did. But for your third album, you’re doing a self-release. There’s definitely a trend to go the self-release direction.

Yeah, ’cause you don’t do anything else differently that way. You need a good a team, the knowledge of how to use the Internet and a good distributor. If you have that, it doesn’t make sense to give it to another label, because you give away your rights, almost half the money, and they just press the same buttons.

With a self-release, you make your own platform stronger. You attract other artists to join your network. You know, we have the label, we have the tools. If we don’t release our album on our own label, that gives the wrong signal to friends, colleagues and new talents we want to build up. If you’re not even confident to release your own stuff on your own platform, why should anyone? I know some friends who had their own little labels and they gave their albums to bigger labels. But they were really disappointed because these bigger labels were not able to sell any more records.

Now it doesn’t really make a big difference if you’re a small or big label unless somebody puts some money on the table, but nobody really does that anymore. We invest a little bit in our own project, but at least then the payback shows.

DJTT: Would it be wiser for the new DJ get a label to pay attention to them, or start their own label and just get the music out there however they can?

When you really start, I would spread it through several labels. Let’s say you’re a big fan of Radioslave’s label or you like Ghostly or Cocoon or Get Physical and want to be part of that scene. I would feed them to get your name built up, but there’s no rule for that. You can do it by yourself. The music also speaks for itself. There are hundreds of labels you’ve never heard of that just pop up, so it’s really hard to tell. It definitely makes sense to connect yourself with a well-known label for a certain type of music to build your name. When a bigger artist takes you on board and plays your music, it definitely helps.

DJTT: Could you name 3 timeless tracks that you always reintegrate into your sets and are staples for you?

That’s very, very hard to say. I don’t particularly have those tracks because there’s too much good music out there, but a few great tracks that are pretty old already are “God Made Me Funky” from Mike Dunn, “Easy Lee” from Ricardo Villalobos, and some old Carl Craig stuff. It’s really hard to say.

DJING TIDBITS


DJTT: Do you have any recommendations for DJs who are opening for you and trying to impress you?

I always tell them to feel totally free. Don’t play for me; play for yourself. I don’t even mind if you play your biggest hits. I really appreciate when a DJ is really into his game, into his music and doing a great job. It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes I’m like ‘wow, well done.’ When people are aware of what they’re doing, they really know how to balance the music, and not make it too pushy to impress the main act. That’s also a question of experience.

Some DJs ask me when I show up like a half hour before my set ‘Should I bring it down, or…?’ And I say ‘man, feel free,’ because I’m not going to play the same music. Of course if he knows what I’m doing, then you can kind of follow the vibe, but sometimes the set is just cut off and you start from zero again. So it’s hard, but most of the time the DJs coming before you know where your’e coming from and it fits. But sometimes when you’re in Asia where the culture’s not so defined as in parts of Europe, they don’t have a clue anyway, but that doesn’t happen too often.

Tiefschwarz on Myspace

Tiefschwarz on Lala

Souvenir Music

Souvenir Music on SoundCloud

Thanks to Blasthaus for setting us up with the Interview!

Want More? Check out our interview with Claude Von Stroke on Production

  • Pingback: Vinyl, CDs, or Digital: What Does a DJ Use?()

  • Devin

    [quote comment=”39044″]I am an idiot, my response was unintelligent, and i use crack cocaine daily![/quote]

    Alright, let me know when you work that out

  • bombattack

    [quote comment=”39044″]I am an idiot, my response was unintelligent, and i use crack cocaine daily![/quote]
    Nope ur comment is one of the best here

  • timbatec

    I am an idiot, my response was unintelligent, and i use crack cocaine daily!

  • timbatec

    Woow, awesome interview, great comments . . . its really hard to comment about this but, don’t you think the people and the club owners will get mad when some dj will arrive on the stage with 2 usb flashes from 20$ and ask for 10 000$ at the end like Armin Van Buuren? NO WAY to buy a ticket anymore for dj’s like this!!! That sucks and I think no one in future will pay those dj’s. OK there are a lot dj’s using digital like Richie, Chris Liebing etc but they are using at least 2 expensive midi controller and play on 4 decks with 2 laptops one for traktor other for ableton and ofcourse they are using timecode vinyls and make awesome parties. I saw Armin, came with 2 cd’s (mp3) and sd cards for the cues and he was jumping like monkey all the night . . . and tiefschwarz, you were using turntables when you were building a name, now you dont give a shit you are there only to pick up the cream, thats sad, but at the end all djs like this will gone, the vinyl will reborn! huh I have so many thing to say about and honestly even my grandma can play on those cdj’s and dj’s if you want to go digitaly, go live take your hardware and do it like it should be! cds for listeners, vinyls for djs, it is the soul of djing . . .

  • Carlo Ventuno

    I still buy as much vinyl as ever… What I would like to know, if it is dead as everyone says it is, then who the hell is still buying it? You just have to look at anyone of many online or ‘real’ record shops to see how much new music is still coming out on vinyl every week. As the above poster says ‘you can’t kill vinyl!’ I DJ house in a couple of different styles and while there is definitely more labels that have gone digital only, there are still vinyl only labels and releases. It seems to me that some people are hell bent on trying to kill it off. Please don’t – you will make me sad :)))

  • Vinyl is dead LONG LIVE VINYL

    it’s funny this whole “vinyl is dead” cry, we heard it when minidiscs & cd’s were introduced, and where are they now ? i’m sure we will be still hearing it when people are dj;ing with their implanted chip and vinyl dj;s are sitting laughing about those things called computers we used to have…

    YOU CAN:T KILL VINYL!

    its nice to see that teifschwartz said nothing of the type just another typical media hype bullshit tag line to promoter your BLOG!

    this is just a catch cry for dj’s who have turned their backs on vinyl, to make themselves feel better about how gay they look dj;ing with a computer 😉

  • Well Im a 100% Digital DJ. MAC, TRAKTOR PRO, XONE 4D. That’s all. It’s a stable setup. takes 2 bags of space. What I can do with this setup, is awesome :-).

    I live in Ghana though and I would love to get Vinyl’s (Traktor) to improve my visual performance skills, like being able to scratch. But Vinyls is impossible to get here, not to mention the hell i would have to go to, to get Traktor Scratch and timecode vinyls. It would cost me a fortune to get this setup, in a country where a DJ make 150 USD a month.

  • i enjoyed reading the article, thanks Ean.
    I totally agree with Tiefschwarz, it’s not about what gear you use, it’s all about the music. i went from Cd’s to controllers to time code CD/vinyl. it comes down to whatever you are comfortable with. i don’t think when you are spinning’ @ a club the crowd is concern with your gear as long as you spin some good music and maintain it’s flow. as a DJ, you want to stay true to your self and to the whole culture of deejaying, so as long as you don’t sync your music automatically and keep the crowd involved with your music. then i guess it’s ok.

  • vinyl

    Vinyl is dead. I love it when people “upgrade” and I can snap up records for cheap. =^)

    Keep telling yourselves it is dead. Real DJ’s will keep laughing at you and your crappy laptop sets.

  • Another excellent interview/article. Good questions and answers. Other sites and “mags” should take note. DJs old and new can learn a lot just from reading this piece.

    I like how they mentioned other artists creating albums so they have more material to play during shows. This will help albums actually be good again instead of the old filler albums that would support one or two good songs.

    The CDJ-2000 is expensive. If they don’t think they’re expensive they must be making a good living. It would be nice to get a pair for free…

    I like what djproben said earlier. So true. Most commercial clubs down here in San Diego have CDJs and will probably upgrade to the CDJ 2000 but many smaller venues don’t care about quality equipment. The DJs and promoters have to bring their own.

    I personally feel that dj culture is thriving now. It seemed questionable a few years ago. Bands are great but the ones that are innovative are using a lot of the same equipment that djs use so they’re essentially doing the same thing.

    All I know is a lot more will change in the next 10 years. It will be exciting to see what develops.

  • wax

    lol at the “dinosaurs like Sven Vaeth” line.

  • Luka

    akways hate how people give grief that richie hawtin is using laptops or sven vath is still using vinyl etc
    would you tell picasso what brush to use?

  • tony corless

    I actually want to move to a laptop setup in many ways but having tried virtually every program I cant find one that suites.
    I find for example reliability issues setup time and even things like the size of the tracklist text on screen to be a pain.
    for eg I like ableton but the browser is not up to the job at a live gig same with traktor serato involves touching the laptop keyboard too much virtual dj looks like a kids toy the best browser was on pcdj with the sub groups etc but I dont like the program.
    Does anyone else have these issues with trying to find a software setup to stick to or is it just me?

  • R2D2

    Vinyl as a medium is yes dead !! been that way for a while NOTHING NEW !!

    The Turntable will still live on with the aid of DVS

    TECHNICS WILL NEVER DIE !!

    All the cdjs , controllers ect ect ect all mimic Techs

    as long as HIPHOP and all that scratching is making me Itch is still around

    so will we have Vinyl its just changed abit and has a really annoying high pitched sound ( timecode )

    BUT

    WE STILL HAVE VINYL so all the naysayers

    GET THE FUCK OUTA HERE !!!!!!

    and play with your buttons LOL

    all ment in good faith

    Peace

  • Cozmic023

    Nice article Ean. I still love vinyl, and enjoy playing it at home. But stick with CDJ’s / Serato when i’m out & about.

    Cheers

  • Krakow

    I think the one thing MAJORLY overlooked is that of constant “tries & tested” RELIABILITY. If youre jocking at the highest level, the last thing you need is a “glitch”……you look like a nonce, via the net its rapidly known. your branded a donkey, AND the promoters stop booking you.

    Anyone here actually regularly played out to festival crowds on the circuit?……..Well you;ll know about speed of hook up is paramount, next to reliability…So all in all Pioneers will be here for a long time yet, and only as more of the pro’s get knowledge of the software, AND get the right advice concerning Laptops, will they become omnipresent in the pro circles. jocking at your local club and having a “glitch” is acceptable.

    Having a “glitch” at clubs like Matter in London,Pacha Ibiza, or at a festival like Dance Valley, IS NOT TOLERATED, in any way shape or form. Laptops aren’t meant for the extreme conditions of clubs,are prone to failure, Traktor is still Flaky and in very many regards PC wise is still dodgy on a PC…..(sometimes the truth hurts) lets just jump over to Mi’s forum and discuss that shall we, not here)…….So all in all most pro’s are still reticient to rely there business on a Laptop and a flaky program. So I digress we will only see a developemnt of the use of a Pioneer CDJ2000, as a controller, It still will be the main platform of choice for at least the nest 3/4 yrs, until some company FINALLY makes a Laptop /Software combo that IS …..well just as solid as a Pioneer…in every way,shape and form.

    • If you use a macbook with a SSD and atleast 8 gbs of RAM, load Traktor, drivers, and nothing else on the computer, and then optimize the computer settings for DJing then it’s just as solid, if not more reliable than the pioneer CDJs. But having Email and Facebook on your computer, with google chrome running while you’re mixing is never a good idea, and that’s usually why a laptop crashes. Or it’s a PC. then who knows why it decided to stop working..

  • Great article, enjoyed this read! 🙂

  • Doh! Typos corrected. Cheers.

  • greatmesk

    lol, its Germany, and not “Germonay” 😉

  • Greg

    Haha did nobody else notice DJTT suddenly turns to DJYY half way down?
    Great article as ever though!

  • Mr.MB

    I always felt that to be true to DJ’ing you had to spin record’s but as of late im thinking other wise. Lets be honest ppl its 2010, digital is living large and in charge. So either you catch up with the times and accept where DJ’ing is going, you are already in the mix of things or you act like cave man and lug you record bag around town.

  • GrooveJunkie

    Best interview yet on DJTT

    Good work Ean

  • NUJAK

    Nice! been canning there material for over 10 years now…CLASSIC rocked when it was out. The artwork, the digging. I miss record shipping every THUR for 25 years in Seattle from MASA and Brian Lyons stores. $12ea, 10-20 records a week for 25 years. Wow! I’d own a house if I wasn’t a digger.

  • richardwolfsdorf

    Awesome article, right up there with the Claude Vonstroke one.

  • JoeSnug

    Only people who have started Dj the last 5-7 years are all so called “vinyl lovers” but you have to start somewhere right…soon all theses new dj’s will progress with times and expand their options!!!

  • BrainStormer

    Great interview, great topics.

    About the death of record shop, I don’t care that much. With digital shop you can relax and buy music when you want plus you can save more. I buy whole release all the time but others can buy only the track the want. No waiting in line anymore to listen to the latest release of your favorite label, no more back order. The only good thing missing is the social networking aspect.

    About the death of big labels, again no more middleman. Producers have more choice, to release directly through their own label or not. No more pressings and big clunky boxes of records/CDs to send, more time spent on creativity.

    Another positive aspect about digital shops and labels are less fuel wasted on transport and less toll on the roads.

    About the death of vinyl, more space in your apartment, no more breaking you back carrying those vinyl around, it’s about time we move on to the digital age, you can think differently than me, it is my opinion. I was LMAO reading about the dinosaur analogy, it’s all so true.

    About the comment on it is not the gear you use but the music and skill, I agree 100%. About DJs that overkill, again LMAO, it is so true.

    About the CDJs IMO, by 2012 the CDJ-2000 will be omnipresent in the clubs/outdoor events. There will always be scratch DJs for the next 10 years but I don’t think the trend will last longer, 15 years max.

    About the price I agree with tonycorless.

    Thanx Ean for that wonderful interview.

  • Anonymous

    awesome article love tiefswharz!

  • Hey speaking of the death of vinyl — this Saturday is Record Store Day in Seattle, if you’re there go buy some vinyl at one of the great stores in this town! I’m here for the EMP POP conference and will be hitting the record stores right after my panel, woot!

  • caper

    It would be great if clubs just bought a ibook or laptop pre isntalled with traktor, serato, Virtual DJ etc, and you could come with a data stick and your own midi controller, alot cheaper than cdj2000 i think

  • Jay

    Great job Ean…. Tiefshwarz is a big name in Europe…. good choice, and great interview.

    The underlying message was something I have always supported: ITS ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC.

    \:D/

  • Fyoog

    Great interview Ean, love Tiefschwarz as well and have been following them for a while. Nice to get the info from their side as really large international DJ’s. Seems that the industry (from their point of view) is waking up to the fact that digital total Djing is now rubbing shoulders with the “standard” format of CDJ’s. As for the death of vinyl, I think we will still see people using vinyl control, ie serato, but as mentioned above it’s a cost thing for a lot of people buying tunes. I remember paying at least £7 for each single I used to buy and that was only if they were popular and had large amount of pressing done, the harder ones to come by i remember paying £20 and higher!!! I now pay £1 for singles, you do the math.
    I’m wondering if we will have the “death of CDJ’s” conversation in the future as the need for pioneer to produce them as C-DJ’s (emphasis on the “C”) I’m sure will go the way of vinyl and they will be solely for controlling music with either the data stick or hooked straight into a laptop?
    *Re-brand* Pioneer DDJ 2000’s anyone?

  • DJ stylus

    love tiefshwartz!!!
    check their remix of awa band called timba..
    hot!!

  • Chris

    lol, the death of vinyl… xD

  • “all the major clubs and venues will have them in a short time, ’cause it’s such a great tool, and they’re not that expensive”

    HAHAHA yeah, they’re not expensive at all, when the designer gives you two for free!

    Great interview but I think there’s something about being a successful big name DJ (or any other superstar) that puts you a bit out of touch with the rest of us. Realistically only the really huge clubs will have $2100 CD players; most of the smaller venues and local clubs will continue to muddle by with turntables (or a crappy old mixer and tell their DJ to lug their own gear if they want to play). And I don’t know what’s happening in other cities but in LA I still see turntables routinely at most venues, even the bigger clubs. And Traktor may be big in Miami these days but I rarely see it out here, mostly I see Serato SSL with turntables.

    Anyway I think software will continue to offer flexibility that hardware alone can’t match. Traktor will continue to evolve while the CDJ-2000s will continue to do what they can do now. Then again, I haven’t played with them and I probably won’t ever own them, so maybe this is just sour grapes 😉

  • tony corless

    With regard to the cdj 2000s and the price and the fact that people say they wont be seeing the cdj2000s in many clubs anytime soon,

    My opinion yes they are way over priced for most djs. Pioneer could probably sell them for £300 each and still make a profit.
    But this is where pioneer are very clever………..

    1 most big name djs will be given a free pair
    2 most big famouse dance clubs will also be given a free pair
    3 before long on alot of big name djs riders will be a request for cdj 2000s
    4 the smaller dance venues on the circuit will be saying…..well such and such big name dj has requested the cdj2000s and they have them at such and such big club so we better buy some as well.

    Sorry if im stating the obvious but that is how it appears to work.
    When you or I go to buy a pair[if we ever do] we will be paying top price but in a way we will also be paying for the free ones they have given away and the research and development that they have put into the cdj 2000.
    So all in all you have to applaud pioneer for some very clever marketing.

    With regard to performance what pioneer do very well is making things as simple as possible and really user friendly for the dj I have cdj 1000s there are many other players with more features but they dont come close to the 1000s as most other brands tend to over complicate things and use multi function menues/buttons etc wheras on most pioneer stuff you have one dedicated button or knob per feature so when its dark in the club your not scrathing your head thinking how on earth do I get to such and such a feature.

  • Kupujte_Pytle

    ^^ Word

  • theradness

    best article I’ve read on here. good shit

  • Caper

    Are the 2000s really so good as he says??, traktor in a cdj?? Hes right about the effects a bit some djs overkill it and make the song sound terrible, I cant imagine clubs upgrading to them, it would be great to only bring headphones and usb, but id rather bring a laptop and a midi contoller which i know inside out.

  • I started out with Traktor back in the beggining since 1.0 with a midi controller. This was back in 2003 way before it was accepted. At the time I could not afford decks or cdjs. Eventually I upgraded to the Stanton amp. My roommate had a pair of Techniques and I feel in love with the vinyl control. I went through so much hate for the longest time from people in the scene for doing this and it’s funny because low and behold yrs latter everyone and their grandmother was using Serato. It’s to the point where I live in So Cal that a Serato amp is hooked up by the sound guy and DJ’s just have to show up and plug their usb. I eventually left the vinyl control for use of the cd control a few yrs back. While in that transition I again got strange looks from people and still do to this day. People are alsways asking why don’t you just use the cdjs alone. I love the digital feeling of the cdjs but love the archiving you can do with Traktor. I simply can pull of quicker song selections with the Traktor interface and when I play freestyle sets instead of programed sets the waveform information gives me that needed edge to pull of bass swaps and double drops to another level. I feel my sets speak for themselves and always get a huge reaction from the crowd. I’m actually glad not to many people use my setup cause when I get to a gig i just grab the line wires of the cdjs and hook up to my amp. Very interesting that at the last festival in Miami a ton of djs were using the cdj/Traktor setup. Thank god people are starting to realize it’s about how the final sound and not the theatrics. I can’t wait till i can get a few midi controllers to map to the effects in the new Traktor Pro!

  • NZ

    Are this guys under pioneer? CDJ2000s are $2600 each here in Moscow and CDJ1000 are $1600. I dont think clubs are going to upgrade for “usb-stick-inserting-ability” Its better to buy a Macbook with a soundcard…

  • Eastcoastams

    I think the reason vinyl is dying is because of the expense. It cost quite a bit more to run two technics, a nice mixter, SSL or Traktor Scatch than it does to purchase the VCI SE and a midifighter. As older DJ’s stop doing their thing, new DJ’s are getting their starts, and with things the way they are, there is no doubt to me that most new DJ’s will go with the controller route, and once they master that, maybe move to a new controller and more controllers…I know a lot of people who say, “its not that I don’t approve of controllers, it’s just why would I switch when this is what I know?” Well the same applies to the beginner controllerist, I feel like a lot of people think well just because CDJ’s and Technics are the “standard”, why would I switch? Thus begins the rise of the controllerist

    My apologies for the rant, I have been up for 20 hours studying and this is my mind on adderal.

  • Tim1984

    Superb article. I like their stance on equipment. People get hung up on it entirely too much anymore. I have a few friends who still insist on vinyl or serato. I’ve used cjd’s, vinyl, serato, traktor, and now I’m getting into Ableton next. It’s always nice to learn as much as you can and be ready for anything. My dj partner and I just picked up an X1 to run for Traktor and effects in serato instead of the TTM 57SL. It’s a great tool because anyone who’s used the TTM57 for effects knows it’s a pain. Garbage buttons, difficult sweeps… and who decided those knobby joystick like things were a good idea? Keep up the good work DJTT.

  • Mr.Nicklebe

    Really great article. However I laughed pretty damn hard when he said CDJ-2000’s aren’t that expensive. Still laughing…

    I suppose when you get them given to you for free they dont seem too pricey 😛

    Apart from that I agreed with pretty much everything he said. The stuff he said about DJ’s going crazy with effects really rang some bells with me. I’ve noticed myself using them less and less. I didn’t really feel like I was using them as well as I could, so will keep the heavy effects for the practise sessions until I’m an Ean Golden effects God :p

    More Pro-DJ interviews!

  • Spinnin the turntables for about more than 10 years…using Traktor in the past 5-6 years…but the feeling of vinyl on mk2’s is something that cant be replaced by any tool or software…atleast not in my case 🙂

    Keep it spinnin…

  • Torrey

    Does anyone think that the CDJ-2000s are going to be so popular you can rely on them being in any club you’re heading too? “Sorry – I only have some USB thumb drives. Where are your CDJ-2000s?” doesn’t seem realistic. Especially in smaller clubs where spending 4K on new CD players won’t go over too well.

  • Great interview, tiefschwarz are among my favourite djs, is really nice to see that we share same point of view!!

    Keep on making music Ali, im always looking forward ur new releases!!!

    By the way, are there any plans of visiting colombia (south america), were dying to see u guys play here.

  • rockwell

    I am going to do my best to always insist on vinyl control. I’m an open format DJ. I can’t imagine doing what I do without vinyl control.

  • Steve

    Side note: I honestly think controllers are acceptable to audiences. As noted above, it’s about the music. The craziest dance venue I have been in the US has been a Girltalk concert. He is rocking Windows-powered Panasonic laptops designed for use at construction sites (wrapped in saran-wrap no less).

    And no one cares.

  • Steve

    For this particular genre and music culture, yes it seems vinyls are fading. But there is a fierce resistance from the US party club (i.e. Vegas clubs, etc.) to controllers. I think bridge controllers and programs like the NS7/V7 and Serato Itch will make the transition easier.

    Certain genres of music are conducive to certain controllers.

  • And what of it?

    I agreed with everything mentioned in that interview… especially the bit where he said warm up DJ’s should not try and impress the main act too much and just do their thing!!!!!
    One thing I did disagree on though was the bit where he was talking about what tools you use to do the job. He said he didn’t give a shit what tools you use as “we’re all just listening to music”, yeah maybe in the house scene, but if you’re busting technical moves like scratching, juggling etc. people WILL care what you are using. If you’re trying to pedal a scratch routine on a flipping computer mouse, people will boo you off stage pretty quick. It all depends on the scene you’re following. I still get a shit load of people say using a laptop is cheating. Again, it boils down to the scene.

  • Great interview!
    We should have beatport/itunes store in every city with Traktor Scratch/Serato with Technics 1210’s !!

    I would go every day to listen what they’ve got new in store.
    And they should promote local artists and labels.

    (idea?)

  • EmP

    I hope vinyl never dissapear… now Im using a VCI-100 but I want to buy a couple of turntables for use it with Traktor. Nothing has the taste of vinyl, mixing with vinyl is really better for me than mixing with cdjs, controllers….

  • Big C

    This is the reason why I got into the idea of controllerism to begin with to be honest with you. Seeing the ebb and flow of where technology is going, and watching vinyl fade but not really wanting to rock CDJ’s.

    Excellent article and interview.

  • Carmai

    I use vinyl, controllers, vinyl and controllers, samplers, more software, just my laptop or whichever combination of all of those I can’t fit to the type of music I am playing. At the end of the day very few performances are watched, but most are heard. The sound, rhythm, energy and overall music experience is always the main focus of your audience. If looks good but it doesn’t sound good… well is not going to be good, but if it looks good and sounds good, it will be great!

  • Rafi V

    Great interview. Been hearing a lot of just putting your tracks out there and not expecting too much money. The music will speak for itself, and if its quality, people will react accordingly.

  • Eastcoastams

    Awesome interview , more stuff like this for the blog definitely.

  • Absolutely great column, there is so much good stuff in here. I personally don’t listen or play a lot of techno and house, so most of the labels didn’t ring a bell, but I think a lot of the stuff they said is universal…

    And I am glad to see controllers being taken more seriously, its a lot about the equipment…

  • Anonymous

    supa toll!!!

  • I use traktor so i can use the vinyl again. I think vinyl will be reborn. Old school with a twist.

    And i agree more focus on music not the technical aspect of it.
    You probably won´t react on shoes, they just do the job. If i use vinyl it´s for the boom/wow but the performance is more alike anyway.

    Play it loud!