Humanist Principle of Mixing (LAtest backup)
OUT OF SIMPLICITY COMES ELEGANCE, TRADITION AND RESPECT. I AM BORN OUT OF HUMILITY & TRADITION - NOT OUT OF LAPTOPS OR COMPUTERS*
I only have one simple, inner & outer ego :
my own sheer humility and discipline through
Humanist Principle of Mixing™
Humanism / [mass-noun] : a rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.
Humanist Principle of Mixing is an individually derived systemic way of thoughts, beliefs and values behind everything to do in sourcing, producing and performing set compositions. It is by no means an agenda against the majority as a political movement; other than the fact that it remains a personal ideology - that honours the classical and traditional practising standards of DJ'ing and set compositions in general.
It is; at its sole core intent - to preserve and practise an image of inner humility. An image of humility not necessarily dictated by the masses over what to play, or what the "latest" trend of technological asset to use. An image of humility not entirely driven towards / for an all out socio-political image conquest/s; comparable to that of celebrities and iconography.
Of all - an image of humility of going back to the roots for preserving the performance methodologies as well as sonic signatures of what sounds passionate, humane and of all - intuitive. An elusive bearing of quality in which no measure of effects or technicalities of such properties of a song (or ultimately - the set composition itself in general) are decisive factors.
A systemic set of thoughts of respect and favour sheer musicality as a goal. In every session spent either behind or away from the decks. This is Humanist Principle of Mixing.
Much of today's aspiring creative performers; whether it be through musical or through the way of visual arts; are heavily driven and dependant upon how fast and quickly the technology has allowed to provide them the first, upper hand facilities to do so.
As technology progresses, so do the damaging effects that's brought with it. We no longer buy a product; and put our faith that it will last forever as our needs evolve. We continuously replace and abuse it for something better over our task/s which doesn't seem to change much at all. We have bought into these ourselves a confusion for not knowing the difference between a concept, a message and a style.
As time goes by, expectations develop and a new "kind" or "type" of product is released to the public; and we must time and time again adapt ourselves to how this and that product/s claim to do things faster, subjectively "better" and more "reliable" all for the "general" needs and wants of the audience. This brings a cycle of technological obsolescence - where the any of the previously released asset no matter if it is physically deemed as "recent" sadly no longer fit for whatever the most current needs and wants of society. Also factor in the financial pursuit and competition against what's on the product shelves; then you clearly have a clear picture in your mind - is it really necessary for all to compete one another for similarly completing a task or a set of task/s that's deemed to be not much different than each other?
As such, a "creative" performance is now more or less regarded as nothing more than a showcase of personal fame for attaining that "surface-charisma" through displaying "what's new" and "stylish" in whatever means of technicality. People (as in general listening demographics) are demanding more and more complexity in less time than ever. And the substance (music) they demand are and will always be as mundane, formulaic and politically aggressive as ever.
Our current paradigm no longer represents a diverse, respectful tribute to the world of music we have loved and known before. Instead - we're homogenizing all forms of understanding what is considered as a "good" quality whether it's in the music itself or as a creative delivery technique of it as such in a cyclical expectation - formulaic, politically aggressive, and shallow. So long as the set composers, performers and bureaucrats are involved in it only for the sheer profit - there's only one thing they're after - that is to maintain their own sense of surface-charisma & "status".
Hence after many years of me witnessing through this expectation, I knew that one day somehow, in this hobby - I have to proceed differently. The only way to resolve and to restore the sensitivity of respect and understanding, in my most humble opinion - it is to simplify. The need to go back to the roots of understanding and respecting the core essence behind everything that lies behind it all - intuitive musical selection, and simplified, respectful ways of mixing & performing / practising.
By simply focusing on what's important - curating and collecting the "Human" aspects, or the "soul" within music itself and performed and mixed in a way that it's simply without all the extra things that technology has given us - is what keep things concise and focused. Of all - a passion that's made with a "human" quality with heart and soul.
To put it in other words, this principle is derived from many of my own thoughts and beliefs to tackle some of many issue/s we have today; of which I will be explaining further each at a time. From the importance of differentiating what is substance and style, the right way/s of musical selection to the implication/s of abusing technology.
Again, this is the core and the heart of everything I stand in the world of set composing; this is Humanist Principle of Mixing. A system of thought/s not simply written for a personal "celebrity" fame, but to restore the faith and respect of maintaining, curating and delivering good musicality.
The first thing that comes in my mind is to remind the general demographics to differentiate what is "style" and what is "substance" - within the music materials they collect and curate.
"Style" in artistic terms means nothing else than a pre-fabricated manner of the end or finished visualisation. Style is only the external implications and/or ways of how you use and respond to your senses - see, hear, touch and taste. But what the body or in this case, substance - is the underlying “feeling” of everything we do in life. And this is the important difference - how your clothing looks, and how your food tastes - but substance is the concrete thinking, the artistic physics behind all rationalities in life; and that includes your choosing and reasoning of your health, clothing, food and music.
Style in this musical aspect then, is purely and simply just a finished product as a shell. Substance, therefore, is the aesthetic physics and the absolute pre-cursor to everything. After all, who or what governs our selves into doing what we do? It’s reasoning. Who or what governs reason? conscience. And what is the solid identity behind these? substance.
Substance therefore, is the pure embodiment of finding the right base of songs that doesn’t need to showcase the best of the trends in the pack of competition; but rather - music that is simply that - music that was created as a way to make people remember not only within the years as it went past; but years ahead in the future. But what really qualifies these music to have "substance" - there is only one elusive characteristic I believe that is attached and designed towards it - it's cohesion. More often than not, this is the characteristic that is driven and created out of passion & intuition, and less driven and created by simply out of effects or technicality.
I may lack all attributes in understanding the formalities & the depth of musical theory; but what I know simply through lots of listening and collecting resources (which now is financially & sporadically impossible) is simply this - I am only interested in collecting musical works bearing the following melodic characteristics: vibrant, melancholic, and cohesive, all in a concise manner. Regardless of what sub-genres of House I'm interested in.
The massive problem I face in today's music is that most; if not all - are delivered by way of nothing more than predictably, & profitably aggressive, pretentious, bullish persona; in both visual & sonic aspects. Hence, in this mainstream market - most melodic arrangements are simply nothing more than re-dressed, re-shelled, re-imagined and in other words - simply re-cycled off from sounds that we've heard from somewhere before; even though we as end consumers have unfortunately lost or have forgotten who the creators were. As such, I am hardly; if ever - touched upon by the mainstream sounds of today. As you may or may not already notice the abuse and misuse and misunderstanding between style and substance in the everyday world is apparent, flourishing and at large.
Now, within the issue of performance and using technology itself, my principle remains simple in a way that it is just that - music needs to be curated, mixed and performed with as few technological incentive as possible. Whilst also - remains fully aware and conscious to adapt to the technology only as parts that we need, not want.
There is one thing we simply forget to admit: we are living in a world whereby technology comes in overly great abundance; so much so that we in return - continuously abuse & dispose of it for something superficially "better" for our tasks which doesn't seem to evolve much at all. The only use I have for my laptop especially within the performance / practicality sides of this hobby is simply for organising, identifying the musical keys and manually entering & logging set compilation playlist/s (that really at the end of the day requires two softwares - most important of them being is believe it or not: a notepad).
I am an advocate for having technological respect of the respected past and do not simply see its' obsolescence as being simply that - an object of past life. Instead, it is an object that demands correct usage, honour and discipline.
I'd like to simply assign you a task. A simple one at that I assure you. Simply gather the numbers of anyone who are passionate (or) about to enter in the realm of DJ'ing / set composing; and note the sort of questions they would ask. The main one being What sort of equipment / musical formats do they use today? Let us assume that a society is evenly split between two generations - X, and Y; the latter being reffered to as the most current. What does this mean? This means that there is going to be at most a 50% chance for the answer to fall either this: Serato®. Ableton®. Traktor®. Laptops.; All-in-one consoles / controllers. Ipads. Iphones, etc. Or this: Turntables. CDJs. Beats / Fx / Samplers. Mixers.
Now my question is simply this: Which are more plainly "accessible" to the general community right at this minute? You would already know the answer. The ever-growing problem we have in society of today is the overly prevalent sense & distribution of technology into hands of our "next" young generation…and they are helplessly being driven by the mass-profitability & popularity of whatever is considered "new" and "trendy". And thus, this only feeds more to the fire of those who have worked long and hard to have originated the long-gone respect of using the correct, and trusted equipment of the trade. Everything and everywhere else are simply not worthy to be considered at the present timeline of usability trends.
What does this mean? We now have lost respect and understanding the physical (and ultimately, educational) presence & usage of an item. Which Instead leads to the sheer easiness of using it by anyone without prior experience or training. We have significantly IGNORED the very basis of recognition & responsibilities of what a DJ means.
Let us admit that fact. I understand it's difficult & humiliating to surrender our mistakes for it. But really at the very base simple fact of it all - is that we have all forgotten one thing : to preserve and acknowledge the wisdom of the past by understanding & honouring the equipment of such tradition.
If you wish to become an artist you learn about the great works of fine arts, its' history, its' movements and how many are still subliminally relevant today. If you wish to become an engineer you need to exhaustively study, respect and understand the laws of physics, mathematics and ultimately, nature. Or most certainly in my case, me being a multi-specialty graphic designer - I have to learn the laws of consistencies, the ever-elusive language & principles of grid systems, colour theory, universal principles of design / usability / visual ergonomics and typography. And branding psychology, yes that is certainly an extremely large "learning" component; certainly one that cannot be acquired by means of technical accreditation. And all this I have to adapt to the different needs & wants of variety of medium/s & audiences - be it for web, print and motion graphics.
If you do not recognise, nor have any slight awareness over the volatility and sensitivity of anything in the realm of education and training - you are simply discarding the deeper essence of all that is to do with learning and understanding. This belief is simply a way to acknowledge and honouring the work/s and methodologies of ways of the industry based upon one word; through one quality: respect.
My early stage (very brief) - Practising VS Learning
Ironically, when I first started DJ'ing (as in learning the physical methods of mixing as opposed to planning/set composing) - I instantly came across a software that allows anyone to lay tracks one on top of another without any need for manual beatmatching and allows one to cut, condense story lines altogether. That software was MixMeister®.
For a good few months I simply thought - as I wasn't quite to believe it back then - that it was that easy for anyone to produce a mix right from their desktop. Throw songs and away you go. My entire journey to live in this life of DJ'ing and set composing could very well comfortably ended right there and then in 2011. Exactly that as it was with MixMeister without having to learn what a musical key is. I had a great time "practising" as a DJ. The software did it all for me.
But soon later I was mistaken. Truly mistaken. "Practising" and "Learning" were certainly not the same thing.
Walking up to my local DJ store I've decided to ask how and what are the avenues to get started in actually "learning" how to be a proper DJ / set composing. Within the next hour I was of course; as would with any newcomer to the industry - shocked by so many things there are out there. The amount of patience, perseverance, sweat, and tears stood by everything between me and the decks. With MixMeister® I was "simply" "practising" in which the software does all the "learning" componentry for me, where as I was not "learning" much about how in real world terms of beat-matching really is, nor I was "learning" in the way of musical theory or knowing how or what musical pieces work together best. I was simply immersed by how "easy" it is to use the software.
Where I am today
Fast forward from during those two years - I have now realised the difference between practising and learning. Whilst still certainly by no means an easy task - I learned with my own ears to better dictate what sort of set composition/s work with which areas of the story. I learned how to communicate and shared contacts with various local record shops (despite Perth, Western Australia being one of the most few isolated cities in the world). And I certainly learned just how volatile, tactile and essential it is to learn beat-matching as correct as possible each and everytime.
There is just something about intuitively knowing when to speed up or down to line the beat structure up with a musical device that's decades, if not, multiples of decades old in its' way of machinery. Once you realise and appreciate the antiquity feel of this; there is just simply no way that a laptop or an all in one controller can emulate that feeling of respect, and honour of playing that record/s in front of you.
And most certainly; I learned to discover the most important underlying knowledge which cannot be simply and technically taught in the essence of all DJ"ing and Set Composing industries - selection, coordination, and of all - musical intuition. As I've approached the third year of this hobby I realise that it is increasingly more important to establish a positive planning of any set/s or any journey/s on paper WAY BEFORE I feel ready to train the decks again.
Hence, I finally realised the difference between "practising" and "learning". Practising - a mere act of "performing" a practise. And "Learning" - an act of planning, research, allocation of resources and most important of all - strategy.
How this relates today
Statistics have proven that more and more educational institutions now rely upon the usage of mobile devices in each every faculties of study. Within all educational & intellectual pursuits; these are by wholeheartedly definition extremely important, and mandatory of achieving them.
But from within the realms of socio-recreational-hospitality services such as certainly what DJ'ing and set composing falls under - it certainly marks every possible opportunities for abuse via churn and burn chain of thought. The more abundance of technology you have on your hands, the less educational presence & significance it has on the holder, the user - to truly understand and acknowledge that flow of knowledge.
Days later since I've stepped away from that store on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I've begun to ask myself this question - If there is just so much possibilities that's already so apparent in the world of DJ'ing; and that the people's view, understanding and the responsibilities of it being so distorted - would it make more sense then for me to do one thing - simplification?
I will be the first to admit that I have very little or next to nothing experiences in getting actual experiences in front of the crowd. In this life or especially within this industry; forgiveness is hard to foresee and balance from the eyes and ears of the public.
For each and every day of me practising on the decks throughout the years; these are the usual chain of tasks and barriers that I must somehow break through; at many times over simultaneously - with the only the modest equipment I could afford (2-chanel mixer, two different branded turntables, and 2 CDJs):
- Being able to beatmatch & simultaneously backmix with another as beat sampler for at least 8 bars at a time with the main storyline track with as little beatmatch error rate as possible. Maintain / beat juggle as long as deemed required.
- Mentally keep up & remembering the previous main track, existing main track and to decide the next; these in conjunction to remembering the secondaries as samplers when necessary. If it is newly found track that aestheticallty fits wel , dive back to the Macbook and enter the track names. Rinse & repeat.
- For each and every backmixing & beatsampling with another vinyl record, remembering the timing and location for the best drop
- Mentally aware & keep in coordination of all the song/s in the storyline / journey.
Now is it possible for me to flawlessly meet all of the above four chain of thoughts simultaneously without any slightest hint of failure? Quite possibly no. Why? because it is rightly unjustifiable. And why is it unjustifiable? My technical experience of over three years in manual mixing by beatmatching-by ears across multiple brands of equipment & turntables simply have spoken to the fact nothing is ever consistent.
Unless of course, if I am producing offline set compositions for my self promos (InitialSesssion); in which of course for the sake of industry's presentation - beat structures must remain synched.
In fact, nothing in life is ever consistent. No matter what areas or paradigms of life interests you in. The science, medicine, the arts, the economy, the stock market. That is the underlying honesty of what it is to understand humility & respect - you are simply there to represent yourself as you. You are no longer representing simply the "machine". Hence, by learning the correct equipment and tools of the trade - you are at that point representing "you" whom people would recognise.
Unfortunately, as technology ever becoming more divergent towards the accessibility and portability (mobile); we have all become psychologically sold into the idea of discarding the sensitivity & difficulty to organically produce an "authentic" impression.
Would you rather see a live set composing session that is so well crafted yet all sound comes from nothing but a laptop? Or would you rather let go of all technological significance and show the inner honesty of who, and what you are through your natural strengths & weaknesses? Knowing the difference - is what it truly means to be an individual.
Questions & Arguments - meet Answers
1. You are close minded, over-protectionist.
Every human being is close minded, to one degree or another; immediately through an acquisition of respect, desire or both. Every human being is entitled to gain an exception of how he / she believes to be an exception to the rule. Once you've found yours, you will be bound by instinct to protect them. This sort of conclusion only thus concludes the fact that there are many out there who simply and ironically contradict themselves in other areas of their life; thus defending them of their precious belief systems.
In other words, I certainly have mine - and so do anyone with a mature sense of intellect.
2. You've discarded one important strength of technology - evolution of originality & creativity.
You need to understand the distinction between "creating" and "performing". I am not a producer; but I clearly of course have my respect in that if you are solely an Artist or a Producer performing work/s that you genuinely created yourself - then by all means you have my fullest respect to use whatever technology you have or can afford to pursue that.
Keeping in mind that this entire paradigm that I wish to communicate upon is solely focused on "mixing" and "performing". Your sole task is to simply be your own ambassador to the different artist/s and producer/s out there whom YOU DID NOT create the works yourself. This is where understanding the lines between Laptop DJs VS. Vinyl / Turntable based DJs are always blurred since everybody has their own belief system to a framework which full fills their sense and understanding of that very word - "respect".
In other words, I certainly have mine - and so do anyone with a mature sense of intellect.
3. Your preference & decision for non-mainstream music is primitive and futile compared to the times of today. As a DJ catering to the public - People only wants to hear music they already know.
*IF* every DJ happens to only play music everyone knows or what's "hot" in the year's bucket, then that is; technically speaking - you have discarded one elusive asset in society - antiquity. There are times that yes, I share some common belief that from a fine arts perspective - nothing is ever original; even my musical selections no matter how off mainstream they sound - they are not entirely original in every sense. But the integrity of what made the sounds of yesterday so different to the sounds of today - are the underlying qualities of passion, understanding and intuition. These in turn - are the rare, hard-earned attempts of attaining that elusive originality and most of all - encourages both sense of respect & belonging.
*IF* I happen to like all of the mainstream sounds of EDM today; then that's great - I just made myself joining to thousands; if not millions of other DJ's who have the same list of musical interest & selection in their possible resume : Top40. Do you want hear the same thing over and over again?
Anywhere here in Australia, every entertainment, nightlife and ultimately social expenses are monumentally unspeakable. Why bother going on a night out where it's right there on your iTunes? If you wish to keep hearing or requesting Top40 then that's what your local Radio is for. All that matters left is you having a sound system, laptop, a less than $10 or even free DJ mixing app and iTunes account to complete your needs. Better yet - you can host your own house party forever after.
What most people still does not realise the meaning of originality is simply this : pure originality is driven by passion, integrity, understanding and intuition. The skills, patience and perseverance of outsourcing, finding and hunting for those tracks that full fills these quality are always going to be very difficult. But once you've found yours after days, weeks and months of visiting your record shops and auditioning a dozen online - you will at some stage realise that feeling of accomplishment & contentment that cannot be replicated by simply downloading what's currently "popular" or off the charts.
4. Using / playing / carrying crates of vinyls & turntables are primitive compared to a laptop with a hard drive with enough songs to fill in at least month of sessions.
This is simply because one thing : it's what we do. And out of respect - it's what our ancestors in this hobby do.
You can simply argue back and forth that it is simply and should be the sounds coming from the speakers that should ONLY be the ultimate defining factor of a successful mix, or a successful event. But really anyone can play, or pick a track for the speakers to play. It's not that hard - It's either the software or the hardware that does it for you.
But what about the skill of musical selection? That level of intuition? Understanding? How much can you convince the possible crowd in front of you that you are nothing more than a series of button pusher or at worse - seen nothing more than a static jukebox? Unless of course, if your musical interests are solely within the Top40, or the straight downloaded Top100 Beatport material. People need to see you as someone who bears a sense of duty, homage, and most of all - respect to the tradition.
At the same time, we all do know that all analogue materials degrade with use overtime - that's when a portable hard drive comes in as a backup contingency measure.
All official product names and titles aforementioned in this page are official trademarks of their respective owners, companies & organisations. Ableton®, Mixed In Key®, Serato® and Mixmeister® are respective trademarks of Ableton Inc. Mixed In Key LLC, Serato Audio Research, and Mixmeister Technology LLC.