Sorry, no mac’s allowed! how one Los Angeles nightclub banned laptop’s to preserve what they believe to be the art of DJ’ing.
Recently there’s been a bit of a debate online sparked off by the Cure and The Cause, a Los Angeles nightclub who recently made a public statement banning DJ’s from using laptops in their booth.
The owner stated that the reason for this was primarily to separate those who knew their stuff, from those who didn’t, stating: “Learn the tools of the trade already,” club owner Kenny Summit wrote in a Facebook post. “Pioneer isn’t going anywhere any time soon, they are the industry standard…Keep your controller in your crib, don’t come to work with training wheels.”
Everyone and their Nan’s weighed in since, from Richie Hawtin who was against the idea and tweeted: ‘Most ridiculous rule ever! Stifling creativity by limiting an artist’s own personal approach is a step backwards.’, to Seth Troxler who was in favour of it, and responded with: ‘I have to say I like it rich too many kids out there who actually don’t know how to beatmatch. The hard I call it.’
The debate seems all too familiar and almost replicates the old Vinyl vs CDJ argument to a tee. Similarly, it’s divided opinions among the DJ world and we can see why. Some of our favourite DJ’s have been known to experiment with different types of software and someone who’s paying to see them play would like them to have the freedom to spin on their preferred hardware.
Although… To be honest, it didn’t seem to be really aimed at top level DJ’s so much as the locals. Club owner Kenny Summit stood by his comments and said ‘The problem lies with the opening DJs (mostly), many of them show up with a laptop and controller, and that’s all they’ve ever used. That’s a problem. They don’t know what to connect with our Pioneer system; they have no clue what they’re plugging in or what plugs they’re taking out. ‘
Realistically, due to costs, most people who are just starting to learn to DJ these days will probably either learn or practice using controllers and software. For this reason, it seems pretty unfair to exclude people who are embracing technology and trying to learn their craft without spending a fortune on the industry standard Pioneers. At the same time, his point is valid that if DJs need to mess about to set up their mixer and stop the music, they’ll disrupt the flow of the night. As it’s effectively their job to maintain this, that’s never going to be a big selling point.
So our thoughts are, if you’re going to use a controller… turn the sync button off and get to really know your set up. This doesn’t stop at how to use it, but also how to set it up in a club environment, how to fix it if the software crashes and how to connect it to club standard mixers and speakers. Unfortunately, statements like Summit’s do show there’s still a stigma attached to unknown DJ’s that use laptops. You can either use this as an opportunity to prove people wrong by blowing them away with what you can do on your setup, or completely destroy your chances of another set with the promoter by plunging the club into silence Eyeball Paul style – choose wisely.
While there are some great advantages to using software as a DJ, we also think it’s a good idea to get as familiar with the industry gear as you can. A DJ should be able to mix on pretty much whatever’s put in front of them and this is a skill no promoter is ever going to turn their nose up at. If you can play quality sets on both then you’ve got the option and the credibility to play on whatever kit you want to. No promoter (except maybe Mr Summit) is going to turn away a DJ who can use a controller to play a unique set and who does so without any tech issues, but in most cases, you’d be best showing them what you can do on their own set up first, as that will be what they’re used to hearing.
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch if you’ve any questions or comments!