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Here’s a fact – I was the first DJ ever to perform a live mix set on Technics CD decks, sometime around 1987. Of course, at a time when vinyl was king, some may have viewed this as sacrilege. Fast forward to 2005, and I was invited back by Technics and DMC to perform a similar outrage to open the world DJ mix championships that September in London. Now anyone who knows my mixing style is aware I’m no Q-Bert or Cash Money, and guys like this can cut these CDJ’s up like a tornado. So, gathered in front of a demanding Hip-Hop/Urban audience, I had to come up with a live mix that not only displayed the attributes of the then new Technics DZ-1200 CD decks, but negate the need for ‘chicken wire’ been installed to deflect incoming projectiles!
The theme for my live set I decided would be a Kraftwerk megamix. As pioneers to all forms of electronic and urban music, it seemed appropriate. The mix, in my typical style, would be a smooth ‘production’ number: but I had to fill a 12 minute time slot and keep the audience entertained for that length of time without so much of a hint of ‘turntablism’. Ok… In the week before the gig, I had the 2 DZ’s and the SH-MZ1200 mixer set up in my studio for working the set out and practising. Now if I’d have just played one Kraftwerk track after another, after another, then that would have been a little obvious and not too innovative. The answer? – Create bespoke remix CD’s, with loop and sample sections to intersperse throughout the live mix, so adding the special production element I needed.
These special sections were:
- Vocal loop of a radio DJ saying “..and the Kraftwerk classic The Model” (sequenced to 129 bpm)
- The German language countdown looped from the live version of ‘Numbers’
- The ‘Boing Boom Tschack’ loop over a new electro rhythm
- Percussion loop again from ‘Numbers’
- Vocoder ‘Planet Rock’ vocal from remixes of Afrika Bambaatta’s B-Boy classic
- Filtered and modulated ‘Meet Iggy Pop and David Bowie’ loop (no coincidence I wore a ‘Bowie’ style T-Shirt that night too folks!)
- Section of the BackTrax original [demo] remix of ‘The Model’
- Loop from Trans-Europe Express
- Kraftwerks own live vocoder intro from their 2004 tour – just don’t ask me how I got it ok! lol
The mix on the night went quite well, but me being the self-critical beggar I am, was not convinced it bettered my practice sessions at home. Still, it seemed well received and a video of the set floated around the web for a while. The set itself although videoed was not recorded in a decent quality audio stream on the night, but fortunately, I did record one of my practice sessions and have added the MP3 to this post for your enjoyment. Remember, it was performed ‘Live’, no editing, no nuffink.. Just three days of preparation for a 10+ minute mix. Hope you like it..