November 30, 2012



Even as Dance music and DJs are enjoying their brightest moment in the spotlite in almost two decades, it is struggling with an internal turmoil that can bring it all to an end.

The topic of course boils down to authenticity. There are two schools of thought more or less. The old school which believes in tradition and the continued use of real turntables and preferably vinyl whenever possible. This school dislikes the ease with which anyone with a passing fancy can call themselves a DJ and abhors the sync button.

The other is the new school. The new jacks who are able to pick and chose from equipment their disco forefathers could have only dreamed of. With access to more music at their fingertips than the previous generation could expect to see in a year, and which they would have to walk uphill both ways just to get a glimpse of.

It is a hot topic indeed, an ongoing conversation with no sign of dissipating anytime soon. It’s talked about everywhere from blogs to meat-space publications available on newsstands. You can even take a ringside seat and watch as DJ Sneak and Deadmau5 fight it out online via Twitter. Unless you’re talking about Deadmau5, who sometimes seems to be more enemy of the state then the actual participant he is, it’s rare to hear anything more than a blurb from actual big name DJs themselves. Thank God for the Internets, cuz Dennis Ferrer is in yer base killin’ button pushing new jacks this AM.

Dennis Ferrer must be feeling some sort of way. Perhaps someone pushed his button -and you can bet it isn’t a sync button- because at the crack of dawn this AM, he posted a lengthy 2-part post on his Facebook page about this very issue. In it, he shares his feelings on the use (or abuse) of DJ controllers and sync buttons, on the lack of skill and real deep know how coming from this new school, and it makes for a very good read (as do the comments that invariably followed). With Dennis Ferrer’s permission, we have posted both parts in their entirety here, for your reading pleasure – or displeasure.

Agree with him or not, keep in mind Ferrer has been doing this a long time. So, his opinion comes with a lot of weight. Listen not only with your ears but with your heart. Then press play on this Dennis Ferrer LIVE at Sensation 2012 set and hear for yourself what a real DJ sounds like.

Please let us know what you’re thoughts are in the comments below. What is your stance in the battle between old school and new school DJs?

From the pen (keyboard) of Dennis Ferrer, we bring you:

Robots and Controllers:

WEEKENDMIX 11.30.12: DENNIS FERRER SOUNDS OFFSo I’ve been in the studio tinkering and a thought came racing across. I had someone ask my opinions on controllers and their blatant visible use by dj’s only selecting and auto sync’ing the tracks while the paying customer is non-the-wiser. Push-button dj’ing or “Controller-ism” I suppose is the term for it now. Every time I see this happen when I arrive at an establishment I cringe. Why? Well here it goes….

You see there’s a funny thing about dj’ing. Anyone can do it…it’s true. The problem is not everyone can do it well. There is a certain skill set that you must learn, hone and retain in order to at the bare minimum be passable. It’s not easy. Beat matching isn’t the only requirement. Proper tune selection, crowd control, emotional timing, situational awareness, some sort of technological know how and pride in your craft are some of the many skills you need to acquire in order to do well. AND THIS is STILL no guarantee that you will do well in this business. There are still many a bedroom dj out here who can run circles around the best dj’s in the biz.

SO when I see someone up on stage with just a pad controller and a laptop I sorta see this as taking the piss on every aspiring dj out there. Look. We get paid to play records…this is true…it’s just not that serious..BUT to those who put in hard work..who take pride in their craft..this is just BULLSHIT. You’re being lazy and you’re crapping on everything that legitimizes our business. This reeks of being afraid of risks….such as train-wrecking because it just might wind up on youtube etc. AND this is coming from someone who came up as a producer and HAD to learn how to dj so I’ve really got no business saying this. LMAO!

Technology nowadays is mind-blowing…but so is 5 grams of blow…..It doesn’t mean you should do it..right?!

So, folks, i find myself in a conundrum here. I don’t usually make waves and I’d like to say that I protect my own…but in my mind right is right and wrong is wrong. God gave me a voice for a reason.

We are entertainers that are hired for having a particular skill-set. I take great pride in this. I have never cheated anyone out of their money…give me the chance and i’ll make my own. If all we are reduced to is button pushers than what comes next? The return of the jukebox with an automated dj who throws his hands in the air? Spelling the end of the very thing you guys basically dreamed and begged to get into?

The whole world is watching you…..
and you’re slinging excrement where you eat.
Have some gatdamn pride….

that’s my story…f**k it I said it.

Robots and Controllers Part deux:

I suppose a little better clarification is needed for those who immediately have jumped on the defense.

Laptop dj’ing is ok in my book as long as you use controller cd’s OR you have your time code on a stick and your using CDJ-2000’s to play the timecode in each deck. There is still tactile control there. THIS is using technology to its advantage. I condone technology in this way.

I do NOT however condone it in order to exploit a loophole in the system and business model.

If all you do is use a pad controller to trigger tracks while everything is synced perfectly and only trigger loop points on and off…..Ie: using only an NI X1 to dj…then that’s taking the piss.

IF you have 120 loops half of them your own records and the other half of them totally unrecognizable. Manipulate them live..add fx..play some synths via triggering the pads THEN that is called a LIVE show….Props to you!

There is some honor in what we do….
it’s not just about..”..as long as I rock who cares?”
that statement alone makes mockery of the craft.

Dennis Ferrer @ Sensation Turkey 2012

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