My Visit To The TechTools Labs

While in San Francisco, I dropped in on DJTT to meet the people I have been working with in the virtual world and to pick up some of the hot new items from the store. We all feel very familiar with our online community but I was wondering just what the physical TechTools is like?  Read on to meet the crew and take a look behind the scenes as I chronicle my visit to the lab.


DJTT moved to this modern second floor SoMa facility back in Nov ‘09 after working out of Ean’s tiny apartment for several years.  Upon entering, I was warmly greeted by the well known “living room” where most of the videos are shot.  What you don’t see are the comfy couches, Foosball table and even a V-drum kit (you can see Ean sitting at it in the Prepping Acappellas in Traktor video).

This airy and well lit lounge is highlighted by the “wall of controllers,” which has so many DJ toys on it that I didn’t know where to start.  There are early Midi Fighter prototypes and each generation of VCI-100SE, as well as examples of many types of controllers from several manufacturers.  It’s easy to see that a lot of testing and product knowledge goes on behind the scenes.


I don’t know how many of you have clicked on the ABOUT tab in the header, but there you can get a quick bio of the main players at DJTT.  By spending some time with them, you can learn a little more than a bio can convey.

Zach (aka ZachDero) is the guy you talk to when calling DJTT, especially for store related matters.  Along with shipping Midi Fighters and building hardware, Zach patiently answers a lot of phone calls and e-mails everyday, helping people get started with their new acquisitions.  Behind the scenes he also films for DJTT videos but no longer gets to do any painting…

Chris (aka flashflooder) is DJTT’s resident product development guru.  Between dreaming up new controller mappings and magically finding ways to incorporate Ean’s visions into those mappings, he is leading several top-secret projects.  From the ones I was allowed to see, we have a lot to look forward to!

Cam manages the books.  However simple that may sound, handling a rapidly expanding start-up business is no simple task.  But Cam’s even, pragmatic approach balances well with Ean’s exuberance, leaving us with the comfort that DJTT will be with us for a long time.  We’re in good hands.

All members of the team are avid DJs and are active participants in SF’s DJ culture.  Sharing some stories with them reveals how passionate they are about that culture and also how excited and committed they are to being part of the DJTT culture.

There are up to three passionate interns hanging around at any given time.  They too are active participants in the DJ culture and have come to get a taste of the behind the scenes of the business. Here Tony is flashing a new Midi Fighter with the latest firmware.


Like any good office space, there is also a large board room. However, instead of hosting meetings, it plays host to outgoing controllers and future ping pong battles.

That’s the very busy workshop area where VCI-100SE Arcades and Midi Fighters are built with a lot of care.  On the left you can see several Midi Fighters in the assembly process.  With the new batch just being released, I helped build a few while I was there (with the signed Autheticity card to prove it!).  All of the MF tops are hand painted with fancy graffiti cans in a custom paint booth which has taken over the kitchen.

As was the case with Ean’s apartment, each room has been transformed into a staging area for everything that is required to keep this site running. Everything from prototyping, drilling, shipping, testing, shooting, and blasting tunes happens in the labs.


The store’s product line has recently expanded considerably, most likely due to the space afforded by the new office.  It was impressive to see all the wares neatly stacked on shelves waiting to be shipped (except for back-ordered and in-demand VCI-100SE).  With that many goodies just begging to be played with, I had to indulge in a little gear acquisition.

I had already decided to ditch my old school bag that had been my gig bag for a few months, so it was nice to pick up the new Mono Kondensor bag for use with either the VCI-100 or Spin (my DX will not fit in there, I use a Mono 365 for that).  In fact, the laptop in the store photos of the Kondensor is my 13” MBP, explaining why the laptop went missing for a while.

I picked up a pair of Dicers (for my secret future plans) and was really impressed with how much better the button feel is over the Launchpad. Finally, I rounded out my shopping cart with the “Pause Play” T-shirts that are finally back in stock.


It’s difficult to get a handle on a person from watching a few videos, so getting to sit and talk with Ean was a real treat.  He immediately put me at ease and invites all kinds of subjects from DJing techniques to equipment and the business in general.  While not detailing plans that are under development, I felt that his open collaboration philosophy was an excellent way to make sure that everyone’s ideas and concerns get addressed. No wonder why the products are so well received.

This was a particularly exciting time to drop into the office as the NI controller had just been announced.  While not being able to divulge anything that was not apparent in the video (Ean obviously has an NDA with NI), you could see his involvement with the controller development as he described to me the details in the article stills.  While the rumors, comments and wild guesses about the controller run rampant around the web, Ean remained calm and centered about its defined place in the market.

We closed out the day with a little fun and shot the aforementioned Acappella video, bringing me back to the reality that I have a lot left to learn about DJing.  The good news is that we all have DJTT to learn from.

Comments (38)
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  • Bcharlton

    terrif stuff guys cool office.ur very big fan blaino de maino

  • Rutger Willems

    Nice to see this article! 

  • eXplain

    Greetings DJTT and Community!

    I highly enjoyed a sneak peak at the DJTT HQ. Just bought the VCI-100 SE 1.3 from a colleague yesterday who’s upgrading to the S4 and I love it. Who do I contact about an opportunity to have a Skype chat with one of you? I have a very unique set of skills to offer and I am immediately interested in learning more about the DJTT operations.


  • Greg Duffey

    Interesting to see th inside of the brainwork of DJTT. You guys are doing a great job educating the population about the many and technological facets of djing. I hope to be investing in a midifighter pretty soon. When I complete my masters program, I want to do djing on the side until I get proficient enough to go full time.
    Thanks again. Keep doing what you are doing.
    Greg duffey

  • GJes

    I think what is up with the plant is that it should be closer to the window so it could get more light. 🙂

  • Karlos Santos

    [quote comment=”34689″]i said this before, but i really think you should take some time to fix these common spelling errors in your articles. i know other ppl say it is no big deal,[/quote]

    [quote comment=”34689″]
    but do you really think NI or Pioneer would be as professional as they are if their sites had poor english? [/quote]
    YES I DO.

    Jus saying.

  • alfredo

    i said this before, but i really think you should take some time to fix these common spelling errors in your articles. i know other ppl say it is no big deal, but do you really think NI or Pioneer would be as professional as they are if their sites had poor english? i am not trying to be mean… just saying

  • Stephen

    Got a chance to visit the office myself. Awesome place w all the toys you can imagine. Go to San Fran and check it out

  • Junke

    Niceeee, And Thanks For Your Web.

  • Sabine Dynes

    I really enjoyed reading this write-up, I was just wanting to know do you trade featured articles or blog posts? I’m always in need of someone to make trades with and simply thought I’d ask.

  • audiomontana

    nice painting Ean — !! reminds me of Tim. 🙂

  • Cozmic023

    Nice to see the DJTT crew behind the scenes. Great work guys.

  • DJFreesoul

    Got some kind of Entourage feeling when I read the article. 🙂 Good stuff.

  • Cabdoctor

    Someone get that plant some water…..STAT!

  • 6StringMercenary

    Super fun article for a Friday read in my cube – got to daydream a little. Can totally relate to the passion and determination angles, but have big respect for having a go as a business. So many up and coming artists seem to have trouble with pragmatic attention to the commercial side – even with stripes from guitar, the wisdom and innovation of others is really appreciated and valuable to the community…and it’s probably sort of hard to keep the books on all that inventory and commercial sales, phew!

    As a side note: From my days as a kid collecting and trading baseball cards, I remember the ‘Error’ cards as always being the most valuable based on scarcity and novelty…that’s why I love the Certificate of Autheticity. Such a minor oversight in the big picture (compared to the huge design & production operations) but coincidentally clever because it stands out and is memorable.

  • Archies'bald

    It’s been a while since I visited San Francisco from Scotland (damn it’s 9 years ago). I wish I could afford the time and money to go back.

  • donpaco

    please hire me.

  • Eurodj

    So cool to see a humble yet amazing group of people at work to provide us with the know how and toys we so love and enjoy I am hoping that one day if i make it up there from The DOminican Republic (Which i live in) I’d be also well received in the shop, as this is one of the things i look forward to when i plan a visit to my cousin up there. Keep it up!!!!!!!!!

  • n:deuce

    great space! i dont know anyone who wouldnt want to come and jam there. so when is the next “office” party?


    Ian is the man! I bet rents not cheap in SF and to run his own business and still have fun doing what he loves is a true inspiration to me.

    What styles did you play 10 years ago Ian? Breaks,daft punk and some rock? I’m just guessing.

  • ivan zilch

    zomg they must have a prototype version of the new traktor controller in there somewhere! 😀

  • Dj Nvidia

    I am really happy for Ean and DJ TT, I remember “back in the day” when DJ TT was just a one man shop, now to see it with an office and team, its really nice and exciting.
    Man how much has been accomplished in such a relatively short time, it really is impressive…

  • da pavinator

    great article!

    definitely a place I’d love to visit is their hq.

  • DJ Rodrigo SM

    I can wholeheartedly say that both my job and workplace suck. You guys are chasing the dream!

  • Chris Jennings

    hmmm, I didn’t see any cryptic clues.

  • Vinicius Hoffmann

    I wish I work there…
    I’m a bit tired of Oracle Databases and Unix-like OS…

  • eightyseven

    haha! awesome article as always guys.

    is phil still working with you all? i’ve got his # and have been meaning to call and stop by the new place. i haven’t seen ian and him since the move from their old place off of harrison here in the city 🙂

  • russell477

    So awesome to see the DJTT’s crew and how hard they work to progress DJing, hats off guys, warm wishes from the East Coast…

    Thanks for the inside-scoop Pilmat!

  • JelaniRobot

    I think DJ TechTools just passed both Apple and Google as the ideal work place!

  • Str8upDrew

    Great article. What i would give just to see what djtt’s has in development….

  • Pieter Christiaens

    hmm, the article was not soo interesting, but it did make me curious about the top secret controllers that were in development..

  • MeAngry

    Awesome, nice to see such a dedicated group of people at work and play. 🙂

  • Jake

    Can I come over & play?!

  • 2010

    Cool digs! May the DJTT biz keep growing.

  • Lantau

    Very interesting to get a glimpse at the real side of this virtual community!