SYNC your teeth into this

(Yeah, <groan>, another one of these. Whatever, I’ll try to keep it brief)

I press SYNC and I don’t care. I press play and I don’t care.

I see a lot of “old school” DJs complaining about this (SYNCing is cheating, laptop DJs aren’t DJs, blah blah blah). Honestly, this is so utterly, completely and mind-blowingly ignorant given that the umbrella genre is electronic music (I refuse to call it EDM as it’s not all “dance” music per se).

Last I checked, laptops, sync algorithms, DJ controllers, etc. had a hell of a lot more in common with the field of electronics than rotating platters, pressed wax discs, and synchronizing music by hand. Given that the music has it roots in technology why not embrace everything technology has to offer?

It’s akin to somebody riding around on a horse complaining that motorists are cheating. Or someone doing math by hand complaining that calculators kill the art of math. Seriously? Step off your high-horses and into the 21st century.

For the record (no pun intended) I started DJing on vinyl. I think vinyl is great and nothing compares in terms of feel/tactile response. But it’s heavy, expensive, it degrades, etc. Likewise, turntables are heavy, expensive, prone to skipping if not properly installed, and generally not really a standard commodity at shows nowadays.

Snug circa 1999. All vinyl, baby.

That said, I do have lots of respect for DJs who can scratch, do 3-4 deck mixes, etc. This takes skill. But so does rigging an Ableton Live set with synchronized lights, visuals, external synths, etc. So does a multi-deck mix on a controller with on-the-fly looping, live FX processing, overlaying synth and drum loops, etc.

Snug 2012. Vinyl + controller (SYNC button engaged!)

At the end of the day the end goal is to produce sound and/or entertain. If it sounds good and/or entertains then who the hell cares? So what if modern technological advancement means “everyone’s a DJ”? Honestly, when I was getting into it “everyone was a DJ” then, too. Same old story. As with anything, those with talent and drive will go much further than those without.

Closing thought: if “keeping things on time” is what you’re most concerned with then maybe you should consider a job as a railroad conductor or a dispatcher? You’d probably make a hell of a lot more money than you would DJing, anyway.


My keyboard has cancer

So I took my Novation X-Station with me to Ottawa for a gig last month. I traveled by plane, which is always a risk for gear, but I had it in a crush-proof, air-tight and well-padded Pelican case which I bought specifically for flying with. Nevertheless, upon returning I noticed that a few of my keys weren’t working.

With three shows on the very immediate horizon I was freaking out a bit. The X-Station is a key part of everything I do: I use it as both an audio interface and controller when using software live. I also use the synthesis engine a lot for live hands-on tweaky goodness.

Luckily, it was just a few keys in the higher registers that were broken, everything else was fine (audio interface, knobs, etc.). I can easily compensate for this, I thought to myself. WRONG! The first show went fine, but at the second show, on stage, as I went to play a note in a synth riff… silence! Ack! More keys ceasing to work on a daily basis. I dub this disease keyboard cancer!

The third show is this Thursday – it’s a live Ableton thing. I had all sorts of keys pre-mapped to trigger clips, but I’ve since had to re-map them to compensate for the broken keys. Now I need to borrow an Oxygen8 from a friend just in case the cancer keeps spreading!

On the bright side, I’ve rented a Roland Juno G to play around with while I get the X-Station fixed. I may do up a little review at some point.

Side note: I hope to God Porter airline’s insurance policy will cover this! You’re supposed to make any claims within a few hours of landing, but under the circumstances that wasn’t exactly possible!

Update March 29th:

We apologize if you discovered that your keyboard sustained some damage to the internal circuitry.

Unfortunately, as per our baggage liability clause, which can be found at, Porter Airlines Inc. assumes no liability for items such as, but not limited to, money, jewelry, silverware, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, samples, keys, liquids, food and other perishables, computers, prescription drugs, photographic equipment, video equipment, cellular telephones, cameras, other electronic devices, artistic items, glass, musical instruments, equipment, sporting goods and any other fragile or perishable item. Therefore, we are unable to process an insurance claim.

However, we would recommend you contact your own insurance company, to determine if your insurance policy can help in replacing the keyboard.

No dice.

Micah admires my blog!

I just wanted to share this lovely comment I received from Micah about my blog:

“I absolutely admire your blog.I can see you are putting a lot of effort and hard work on your posts, I’m sure I’d visit here more often. You may also want to visit my site. It’s about impersonator, acrobatics, unicycling, mentalist and a lot more about other forms of entertainment. Just check it out… “

Oh yeah, and she was also kind enough to include various links to an Australian Entertainment directory. Thank you for your contribution, Micah!

E-mail etiquette

You know what really grinds my gears? People who don’t seem to be able to grasp the simple but apparently subtle ways of electronic mail.

The boy who cried wolf
If you send every e-mail with with “Urgent” priority, how can I tell what’s actually urgent? Eventually I’m just going to tune out all of your e-mails. It’s like going to a party and talking over everyone. You’re only going to have people’s attention for so long before you’re shunned.

Punctuate this!

Hey guys……..what do you think about this?????? I think it would be awesome!!!!!!!!

Every time I see something like this I die a little inside.

If you need to put a pause in your sentence, put 3 dots. It’s called an ellipsis.

If you have a question, is one question mark not obvious enough? Is the question so burning that you need to fill my screen with obnoxious characters to the point where they lose all meaning?

I recently heard an interview on the radio with David Shipley, the author of Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home. He made the point that e-mail can come across as cold, and that throwing in the occasional exclamation mark can give things a more positive tone. I’m with him 100% on this. Consider the following.

Thank you for having us for dinner.

It seems like it’s sincere… probably… I think?

Thank you for having us for dinner!

Wow, he must have really enjoyed it! Dude is totally sincere!

Unfortunately David went on to say that people are equally, if not more receptive to multiple exclamation marks.

Thank you for having us for dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you ask me, this comes across as if the sender just had a lobotomy.

No subject
Everything has a subject. If your e-mail is to say hello, then the subject is “Hello”. If the e-mail is about a meeting, then the subject is “Meeting”. If your e-mail has no subject then I also assume it has no content. Delete!

If I hear one more commercial with a ripoff of Coldplay’s “Clocks”

Seriously, it’s been 7 years already. You’d think this would stop after 2, maybe 3. Was some sort of study done that shows that this song, or reasonable facsimiles, causes consumers to let their guard down? “Hey, this soothing melody sounds familiar, I think I’ll go buy a car”. Yeah right!

And on that note:

Shopping etiquette

You know what really grinds my gears? People with bad shopping etiquette.


1. People who stop their cart in the middle of an aisle and stand right beside it. What are you thinking? You don’t park your car in the middle of the road. How is this any different? This hardly leaves enough room for one cart to get by, let alone two-way cart traffic. Observe:

I would like to propose that stores that provide carts also provide parking spaces along the sides of aisles. Anyone not using a parking space should be kicked the hell out.

2. Don’t stand so close to me. Everyone needs their personal space and if you’re standing one foot away from somebody in line chances are they’re going to be uncomfortable.

Diagram of Edward T. Hall’s personal reaction bubbles (1966)

Note that 1.5 feet or less is intimate space. Unless you’re trying to get intimate with me, give me my space (and if you are trying to get intimate with me, I’m already taken)