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Beat Mixing Matters? ::

Reported by Olly @ Trackitdown on February 16, 2007

The Village Voice suggested the rise of new rave is prompting a resurgence of beat-matching DJs on New York’s cutting edge alternative-electro scene this week, in a lengthy feature called ‘The Return Of Rave’.

“Breaking news: DJs are mixing again! Matching beats,” Trish Romano trumpeted, going on to eulogise Denny Le Nimh's one year old weekly ‘rave-meets-rock party’ Ruff Club as the epicenter of the trend.

"I think it's catching on, mixing, it's definitely the way the music is going as well,” DJ/ co-promoter Le Nimh confirmed.

“A lot of these rock bands are being remixed by house, techno, and electro producers. Justice and Ed Banger records-that sound, that French harder house sound-a lot of the jukebox DJs are starting to play that, and noticing that dance music doesn't sound as good when you don't mix it. Dance music is the new dance music,” he told the Voice.

Fellow New York scenester, Bank DJ/promoter Larry Tee agreed, saying ‘If you want to manipulate a crowd into a frenzy, I think beat-matching is an important tool. However, having long beat-matched mixes can be a real bore if you are staying in one format all night. Who can tell if the record has changed? Nobody except DJ fanatics,” he laughed.

“I definitely do think that non-beat matching has contributed greatly to the change of sounds in the last couple of years,” Larry added. “Denny Le Nimh is one of my favourite DJs here locally and though he champions beat-matching, he switches music formats all the time and isn’t afraid of a quick-cut,” he told Skrufff.

London new rave man-about-town Jim Warboy (who promotes All You Can Eat and DJs extensively) told Skrufff he ‘probably beat-matches more than ‘a lot of the new DJs around me but I don't consider myself a better or worse DJ because of that.’

“Largely through house, techno, and trance, many DJs started to consider beat matching the main technical skill and they operated with a misplaced superiority which left them wide open to be challenged, especially when the music in their genres hit a stalemate around the end of the 90s,” Jim suggested.

“New DJs came along with fresher ideas and helped to break their hold on things by introducing a lot more diversity in rhythms and tempos. Sometimes it's impossible to beat match when the tempos are wide apart, so different skills need to be employed to help make the transition feel right.”

Pointing out that many London new rave DJs automatically beat-match with computer programs like Ableton Live, he also pointed out that many clubbers prefer radio edit vocal based tracks with melodies over ‘8 minute Mogadon mixes, though admitted some DJs remain better than others.

“The general standard of DJing on London’s new scene is weak technically but it's much more about having the right energy in your mixes - a good blend of genres, ideas, tempos etc. Eclectic styles are much more important now than beat matching,” he continued.

“And yes, some of the new DJs dismiss beat matching altogether but my experience has shown me that it's largely those DJs that actually can't beat match, who say that. By and large, I don’t think it's a conscious choice not to do it, it's invariably just laziness and lack of ability,” he told Skrufff.

London new rave icon Niyi admitted he remains less than obsessed with seamless mixing though pointed out ‘listen to early dance music, it was anything but slick’.

“When I first started DJing I made a point of not mixing. A kinda’ middle finger up to exactly these kind of people who might worship technical skill, but have no taste whatsoever,” he continued.

“And I’ve never heard of that term ‘jukebox DJ’, other than in that Village Voice article,” he continued, “It just sounds like someone who is a bit scared of something they have no control over. The whole approach to dance music is changing- and a few people are going to get left behind with their 4 minute intros. Life is too short!” (Jim Warboy (DJ niyi) (Ruff Club, New York) (Larry)

Jonty Skrufff (