Rennie Foster Drops Knowledge
Rennie Foster is one of the top techno producers in the world. He has DJ’ed all over the planet, and we in the Victoria music scene are lucky that this is his hometown. Rennie has recently launched a new record label- RF Music– for him to be able to release cutting edge underground techno and house music. Always known for his attention to history, culture and theory in his passion for music we are lucky to have him flex all three for this piece. Enjoy and Check his newest release for free dl. Peace.
The craft of DJing has nothing to do with what format you choose to buy. At that point in the decision making process, you are a consumer. WAVs or Mp3, Vinyl or CDs or whatever. Do not confuse “artistry” with things you choose to purchase, because the artistry is what really decides your status in the game. In fact, this kind of focus in DJing, toward gear purchases and file type theories, is often away from the true understanding of the craft and what can really be accomplished through DJing. It is one of the biggest reasons for the “mass amateurization” of the industry itself, IMO. Djing is not about dogma, it is about art. This is what separates the modern performance DJ from his/her “canned music” counterparts. Music is heard with the heart, not just in numbers or data… do your thing with soul and love and originality. THIS is the essentials of the craft, not what kind of files you buy.
There is more to DJing than semantics.
The fact is, most of the most important, moving and influential moments in the history of the DJ and dance music, came about in much less than perfect audio conditions. The most influential records were made in peoples basements, with minimal tools like cheap drum machines, 8 bit samplers and korg keyboards… NOT expensive modular synths in huge budget studios.. (that was “prog rock” and boy, a lot of it really sucked.) The DJs who created the underground club industry, the scratch DJs who set up their homemade systems in the park, the reggae selectors who drove sound system trucks around Jamaica moving people with their “versions”, the grimy raves in the sketchy warehouse, THAT is the sound of the underground my friends. That is our lineage, the story of the DJ has never been synonymous with hi-fidelity, sorry to say. You see, it was the MUSIC that did that. Not the format, not even the sound quality. It was the originality, the finesse, the timing, and the message the DJ delivered through the music. Those are the things we need to re-focus on, and those are the things that separate the real “pros” from the suckers. There is, in fact, very little history that actually supports sound quality at all, not to mention the minuscule and questionable difference between these file types, as being a factor in any notable and inspirational movements in dance music culture.
As well, even the dogma is not “black and white”. These magic WAV files spoken of, are they 16 bit, 24 bit? Maybe created in a 64 bit DAW work environment? Because anyone who has experience with recording software can tell you there is a finite audible difference, in fact I would say it is more “detectable” than the difference between a high bitrate Mp3 and a WAV, if the files are both similarly mastered. So which to you prefer, a high quality mp3 version of a 24 bit WAV? Or a 16 bit WAV? Many WAV purists probably have never even considered this. Or how about a professionally mastered track as an mP3 versus someones Soundcloud edit that is a WAV? Right!, and how about how about mastering? Was this file mastered on someones computer? Or with an analog mastering chain? or not at all? An mp3 of a track that is mastered well, will OF COURSE outshine a WAV of a non mastered track… and we are not even getting into the mixer pre-amp, the quality of sound card, the speakers it is coming out of, the reverb of the room, the sound guy at the club.. etc. etc. Point is, there are A LOT of factors that are more audible and detectable that decide the “sound quality” of the music you hear from a DJ, than wether the track is coming from a WAV or a high bitrate mp3, but those are just not as easy to debate about on the internet, are they?
And also, …none of THAT even REALLY matters. There is more to the craft of DJing than semantics.
Keep it raw, keep it spontaneous and fresh out the box.. do it how you do it. The most important advice I can give any DJ, after many many years, is NEVER look for approval from other DJs, rather look for it on the dance-floor. If you can define what you do by some “genre” that someone else made up and has since been defined by Beatport, or by what machines you use, or what file type you play (seriously?), then really, you need to evaluate what you are bringing to the table(s) as a DJ and as an artist. My 2 cents, take it or leave it.
It seems the new focus is completely tied to purchase choices, vinyl or files, controllers or CDJs, WAVs or mP3s. I refuse to believe this what defines an artist, or the quality of the art. My long time favourite visual artist is Keith Haring, who inspired millions of people with rudimentary stick figures drawn in chalk. If you think that just choosing to buy WAVs will somehow make you a more legit DJ, or is really worth even talking about.. all I can say is just wait for some kid, who can’t afford all this “legit” gear, to come along and rock the house all over the place with a cheap controller and some questionable Mp3s. If he has the charisma and finesse, and you are depending on solid purchase choices and questionable sound quality data you read about on the internet, well then, prepare to be schooled. You can fool yourself into thinking it means more than it does.. but the floor don’t lie.
So as long as it sounds nice to my ears and will move the floor, I will play it. If you do it another way, that’s cool, if you recommend it, cool too …but seriously, be humble about it. Ask yourself what you have really accomplished, outside of what you have chosen to buy, that gives you the ability to say who is and isn’t “professional”. Truth is, in reality, whether you approve or not, all dogma and opinion aside, most “professional” DJs actually play several formats depending on how they receive or purchase the music, so when speaking about this topic, at least speak only for yourself.