Feb 17

An Interview With Eskei83 – Discusses Djing, Touring And Being A Champion

by in Interviews, Music, New Lesson Tuesdays, Pro Tips

Eskei83 is a German DJ and producer that was the winner of 2014 Red Bull Thre3style World Championship. His victory has catapulted him to the upper echelons of the DJ game which sees him tour the world doing what he loves. This week we were fortunate enough to ask him a few questions about his DJ journey, touring the world and get insight into what inspires him creatively.

Your hometown is Dresden, Germany. Tell us about the city and how it shaped you musically?

I started my club DJ career in a local club in Dresden. At this time it was the only club for hip hop, RnB, funk, soul, etc. I came there with just Rap records to play my first show, but the manager said I won’t need my records – they had a whole collection built in the DJ booth. I discovered a lot new music, new & old. I learned about the history of the music and about the tracks that made this club so popular. They had some tracks that nobody else in the city played. I learned a lot about selection, building a night & became creative because I was DJing Friday & Saturday each and every week for 4-5 hours straight. I tried to come up with a different set every week. All on vinyl records.

What made you want to become a DJ? Was it a particular moment,artist or song etc? How old were you?

I started getting interested in Hip Hop culture & Rap music when I was 14 and wanted to become part of it when German Rap got popular. I wanted to be part of the movement and was impressed by the DJs for each group. So I made my own beats and got turntables to record scratches on my beats.

What was the first DJ equipment you ever bought? What equipment are you using now for your live sets?

I started with belt driven Turntables and a 2 channel mixer with no EQ, only 2 up faders & 1 crossfader. That’s it. After my first gig on Technics 1210 turntables I knew I had to get them. I also got a Cassette deck to record my mixes.

Now I use a Pioneer DJM S9 mixer with turntables & Serato DJ, after rocking years with the Rane 62 in combination with a NI Maschine MK2.

What was the hardest thing about learning to become a DJ when you started out?

Bringing records from A to B :) But honestly it is to stay focused and rock the party no matter what. You’ll never have a crowd in front of you, where everyone knows you. So it’s about making people happy and showing them your way of putting songs together. I like to catch their interest with interesting songs, new techniques and live performances.  Staying motivated every night, even when you play for a half empty club or your equipment is not working – That’s the hardest.

You won the RedBull Thre3style in 2014 in Baku! Your winning performance had everything from Kanye West to Lenny Kravitz and even a shout out from Grand Master Flash. How long did it take to build that set and what is your process when creating your DJ performances?

I didn’t create a specific set for Thre3style in 2014. I learned the hard way in 2013 what happens when you are stuck in your set and not able to react to the crowd/venue/judges. Everything I had for Thre3style 2014 were routines that I had been playing in my previous shows. Some of them I had been playing for years already. In regards to my winning set I decided to put it together in Baku after watching the other DJs & judges playing and made last minute changes after soundcheck. I had my bits & pieces ready and just had to squeeze it into 15 min. And that’s the way I prepare my sets all the time. Also when I come across new ideas while improvising during my shows & live streams I try to perfect them in the studio later.

Describe what winning the 2014 Red Bull Thre3style felt like.

I’m very happy about the title. I’m even more happy about all the interest I have received since entering the competition. It opened many doors internationally and it helped a lot with promoting myself as a live performing turntable act than a regular DJ just playing tracks. They book me on stages now, give me space to do my little tricks here and there. The promoters that book me, know what they will get and its cool to get booked for this type of DJing.

How did you hear about Melodics? What did you like most about the program?

I know Sam Gribben from back in the day when I was working for Serato on trade shows like Namm & Musik Messe. We stayed in touch and I was really excited to see what he will come up. Last year he wrote to me about his new app a couple of weeks before the launch to get my feedback on it. I think this way of learning is awesome. I’m a big fan of the DJ Hero game, that is similar to Melodics – however Melodics is more professional. More about learning. In my first few sessions with the software I became better at finger drumming and had so much fun learning. Some people say I’m good at this – Melodics showed me that I’ve still got a lot to learn. And to practice on Melodics with the hardware you’re also performing on stage with is awesome. You learn new patterns daily and can practice them to internalize them.  The cue point drumming lessons teach how other DJs flip classic drum loops. The lessons from DJ Day introduced me to a new way of breaking down a loop. Really dope.

How do you use cue point drumming in your live sets? How do you see this skill evolving in the future?

I use it very often to create surprise rhythm changes to popular tracks, do tone play or just jump through the track. People love it when they can see what you’re doing. I like creating something with the sounds they just heard before and understand easily. Plus it’s a dope visual element too, easier for them to understand: you hitting a pad and a sound comes out the speaker.

Scratching is more complex to understand for the regular viewer/listener, because you are moving records & fader. I love both techniques though.

I think Finger Drumming is famous already and people are interested in learning it. There are big names like Araab Muzik that made it to festival stages “just” with finger drumming. That’s amazing. To incorporate a simpler style of finger drumming into my Dj set makes it more unique and I think more & more DJs are catching on.

You have released a set of cue point drumming lessons this week for all Melodics Users. Can you give a bit of background about these lessons and what users can expect?

These lessons are actually the rhythms that I use when I play live. In these lessons I use a track from Elènne who is on my label Crispy Crust Records. The song came out late 2015. The patterns work with all kind of tracks and I use them couple of times in my sets with different tunes on all kind of tempos.

If you could give advice to a DJ just starting out what would it be?

Have fun learning and don’t get distracted when some techniques you’re trying are not working. Sometimes it takes repetitive learning to master a new finger drumming or scratching technique. I’m learning all day and try to get at least 10 minutes practice a day.

You perform over 150 shows a year all around the world. However you have previously said that you ‘rarely get to see the city you are playing in’. Is this one of the hardest parts of being a world famous DJ? Are there any other downsides?

I travel a lot and I have so much fun doing what I do. I’m blessed to be able to go and party with crowds from all over the world. The positive feedback on my shows is what keep me going. But yeah – it’s sad not having enough time to catch up with friends in the city or do exploring/sight seeing. I’m at the airport in Vancouver at the moment and didn’t managed to see my Thre3style family Kenny MacIntire & FlipOut. Another downer is to not being at home with your family. I wasn’t home to spend Valentine’s Day with my girls this year. But I’m on the way home now and happy to see them soon.

What is the most rewarding part of being a world famous DJ and touring?

Going to places you never been to before and realising that people already know who you are and who love what you’re doing. Also to inspire people and get a positive reaction is what really keeps me going. If I’m down & exhausted from touring I need just one cool track, idea, inspiring video, or positive email/post from fans to go back to being creative. It’s cool to see that I can give something back to the scene and keep people inspired.

Tell us about your label ‘Crispy Crust’.

Crispy Crust is the label I founded end of 2014 with the Drunken Masters from Munich. We met each other in 2013 and had the same vision. I’m a big fan of them as DJs but also as producers. It was logical to team up and to create an outlet for the music we make, love and want to support. That’s Crispy Crust.

Final question. If you were stranded on a desert island for a year and could only bring three records what would they be?

I think it would be a Q-Bert Super Seal scratch record and two J Dilla instrumental sampler to cut over it. After a year practicing I think I would be a lot better than I am now.

 

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Feb 05

An Interview With DJ Day

by in Interviews, Melodics, Music

This week DJ Day released his first set of lessons on Melodics. In honour of this we asked him a few questions about his career and his new lessons.

In previous interviews you mentioned that a turning point for you was hearing Jazzy Jeff scratch in back in the early 1989. What was it about these performances that inspired you to want to become a DJ?

I think the first song to do it for me was “Rockit” from Herbie Hancock. I was obsessed with that song and played it probably hundreds of times. Years later I would hear the Rock the House album and then He’s the DJ I’m the Rapper, which had an entire side of the album dedicated to Jeff’s DJ skills. There was something kind of otherworldly and sonically unique that was being done with turntables and I knew from then on that I wanted to do it myself.

You have also said that when starting out you wanted two Technic 1200’s for Christmas but ended up getting two boomboxes. Can you describe this story a bit and also delve into what gear you use now for Djing and Production?

Ha, yeah it was a one piece belt drive turntable/radio/tape deck unit. I would play an instrumental or self-made tape loops on cassette on a separate boombox and record me scratching over it with the turntable on a 2nd boombox through the built in mic. You make due with what you’ve got if you’re determined to accomplish something. I would come home every day after school and try to figure out how to scratch holding down the phono and tape buttons like a crossfader to cut the sound on and off. Once I started understanding it, I just never stopped.

What are your thoughts on the increasing prominence of cue point drumming for DJ’s? How do you see cue point drumming evolving further?

I think it’s a great thing. Especially for people who might not be super technical on the scratching side, but still want to incorporate another level of expression while DJing. It’s only gonna make the art form better and more creative over time.

How did you find out about Melodics and what intrigued you about the product?

I found out through meeting with Sam, ironically at Jazzy Jeff’s house last year for the Playlist Retreat. I was hooked once he showed me how it works. I think it’s gonna help a whole new crop of people who are doing live beats and finger drumming.

Tell us a bit about the cue point drumming lessons that you have made for Melodics? What can users expect and how can they incorporate these skills in their own sets?

I wanted to use a break that everyone is probably familiar with (it’s been used on a million songs for over the last 20 years). I think flipping something everyone in the crowd knows is a great way for them to understand what you’re actually doing up there on stage. I wanted to have lessons on there for the beginner and for the more experienced finger drummer. As well as give a variety of genres and styles. Hopefully it can help inspire some new ideas from people.

You’ve collaborated with some amazing artists and producers including Aloe Blacc, Miles Bonny, People Under The Stairs and Exile. How have these collaborations throughout the years helped your skills?

I’ve gained a ton of ideas and insight into making music from all of these artists. I wouldn’t be doing finger drumming at all if it wasn’t for Exile. He put out an album a few years ago called ‘Radio’ and needed a hand on tour and asked if I would assist. I gave finger drumming on the MPC a try and together we came up with an hour long routine and toured the US and Europe. I’m absolutely grateful to work with such creative and intelligent artists.

What piece of advice would you give to someone who has ambitions of becoming a DJ and producer?

It’s such a different animal now with the need to sell yourself being almost more important than your talent itself (which is f*cking wack and should not be your main focus at all). My advice is: 1. Be yourself and take chances. Trust your instinct and your idea of what moves you. 2. Practice. 3. Practice some more. 4. Find a balance of marketing yourself and actually being good. The world doesn’t need any more lame DJ’s who are good at social media but suck on stage.

If you were stranded on a desert island for a year and could only bring three records with you what would they be?

Man, this is always a question that changes every time. Right now at this moment it would be

Lord Echo – Melodies

Lewis Taylor – S/T

Erasmo Carlos – Sonhos & Memórias

You live in Palm Springs but have toured the world extensively for music. What has been your favorite place to perform and why?

Brasil (é muito bom!) and New Zealand (kia ora buds) are definitely at the top of the list. The vibe and the warmth of the people is unlike anywhere else.

To get access to DJ Days new lessons go to our download page.

Let us know how you get on and feel free to send videos of yourself playing Melodics using the hashtag #melodics via Instagram.

 

 

Feb 02

DJ Day – Learn To Flip The ‘Impeach The President’ Classic Break

by in Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

This week we have new cue point lessons from one of Palm Springs finest musical products DJ Day. With a career that has spanned over two decades DJ Day has done it all. From cutting his production teeth in the LA underground with the likes of Exile and People Under The Stairs, to becoming a highly acclaimed DJ behind the turntables.

The Lessons

DJ Day brings us five lessons that are cue point flips of the “Impeach The President” classic break.

This classic break has been used in numerous hip hop classics throughout the years including Unbelievable by The Notorious B.I.G. , Wet Dreamz by J Cole , The Message by Nas and Top Billin by Audio Two

In fact one of the lessons will walk you through exactly how to perform the flip and recreate the beat for ‘Top Billin’

The other flips that DJ Day has cooked up include Dancehall, Shuffle and Swing grooves. These patterns can be further applied to other tracks in your library to help add something extra to your DJ sets and production sessions.

We have more coming from DJ Day this week with an interview and a video of him performing some of these lessons. So stay tuned and enjoy the lessons.

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Dec 22

New Lesson Tuesday – Chiptunes

by in Melodics, Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

Over at Melodics HQ our christmas is a tropical one, no snow! So for our Christmas release we have made some Tropical Chiptune Lessons.

Chiptunes music is made with 8 bit synthesizers and heard primarily on old school gaming consoles. So for this lesson pack we have sampled a Gameboy and a C64 SID chip synth.

To get your head around what we mean check out the video below that demonstrates that all you need is five Gameboy Colors and some imagination to make some sick beats. How he obtained all these Gameboys is still a mystery.

Delving a bit deeper into the Chiptunes scene, Youtube user Rakohus is the undisputed O.G of the genre online. With his 100K follower channel dedicated to remixing some of your favorite songs into a chiptune format.

 

Big Shout Out to the dancing man (real name Grant) who appears in all of Rakohus’ videos. The way he can groove to 8-bit while wearing only a onesie and a belt is truly inspiring. While his fashion sense and dancing technique may have come into question, there is no question that Grant has passion that can’t be beat.

In regards to our newly released Chiptunes lessons, they are designed to get you familiar with diatonic arpeggio’s. Some of our favourite gaming music is full of fun, melodic, major scale harmony. This harmony is also the backbone of contemporary music so it is worth getting your ears tuned and adjusted to.

These lessons will challenge your finger speed, memory, ear and independence. Hopefully you will also learn a new way to lay out sample pads to create your own music.

So get practicing and send us your own Chiptunes over the Christmas period via Instagram and Facebook.

We leave you with an exclusive Rakohus Christmas joint, that stars my favorite dancing animation Grant. Not sure about the snow in outer space but at the end of the day it is all about the music.

Merry Christmas From The Team At Melodics!

Dec 01

New Lesson Tuesdays – Funk and Drum Fills

by in Melodics, Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

Welcome to another wonderful Tuesday here at Melodics. This week we have some funky drums fills made by the Melodics team that will help you harness your inner ‘Bernard Purdie’

We’re taking a quick trip  into the past. Funk music originated in the US during the late 60’s with James Brown , Sly & the Family Stone and others taking the genre to #1 on the charts. Since then the genre has influenced many artists from the funk rock styles of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to the G-Funk craze that was prominent in West Coast Hip Hop during the 90’s.

Our drum fill lessons this week will have all the other elements of the track playing, with you only needing to focus on the jamming out on the drums.

So enjoy the five new lessons and as always feel free to post videos of you jamming away on Melodics via Instagram. Just post your video add in the hashtag #Melodics and we’ll find you!

See you next Tuesday!

Nov 24

New Lesson Tuesday – Spinscott – Funk Bass

by in Melodics, Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

This week we present new lessons from American DJ/producer and junglist Spinscott. We approached him earlier this year about making lessons for Melodics after coming across his Youtube channel.

While there are a lot of amazing finger drumming videos out there on the interwebs, Spinscott’s ability to play Jungle, DNB and break beats from an MPC is something else.

He regularly performs the routines from his videos during  live sets and decided to turn his Baltimore Club banger ‘Funk Bass’ into a lesson for Melodics.

We liked this lesson so much it is even included in our trailer and is right up there with our most challenging lessons.

“Melodics is an ideal and FUN tool for any level of finger drumming! Whether you are just starting to learn basic rhythm fundamentals, or you’re an experienced performer looking to define new best practices and music styles, this program will help you maximize the value of whatever controller or drum machine you use.”

Spinscott

If you manage to master ‘Funk Bass’ then also feel free to try out a Jungle lesson from Spinscott as well which is a Grade 14 (yikes!) to really put your skills to the test. This lesson is only available for the week so get in quick!

Enjoy the new lessons and if you have a bit more time check out this Baltimore Club remix and remember that Jungle is Massive.

See You Next Tuesday

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Nov 17

New Lesson Tuesday – Live Evil – Bang That

by in Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

Over the past few weeks we have taken you through a wide range of genres lesson wise. This week we delve into the wonderful world of Trap music. Our lessons this week comes from DJ/Producer duo ‘Live Evil’ made up of Kutcorners and DJ Marvel. Based in Vancouver they started performing together way back in 2011 as ‘The Freshest Live Set’ and put with some equally ‘Fresh’ videos on Youtube.

Their latest single released earlier this year ‘Bang That‘ is definitely in your turn up realm and uses an awesome vocal sample from Detroits Filthiests’ 2002 ghettotech classic “Pass out”, available on iTunes. Used with permission.

This lesson will teach you all the elements that make up Trap from the drum and bass patterns to the hi hats!

You will start with these simple elements before moving into a song mode, that will have you playing vocal loops and triggering a police siren. These lessons are simply a must for all the trap enthusiasts out there looking to improve there live performance skills.

Check out our trailer for this lesson to get you in the mood and also check out Live Evil’s Soundcloud. 

As always send us through videos of yourself having a jam with Melodics! You can do this via Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #Melodics.

 

Nov 17

Melodics Is Now Available On Windows

by in Melodics, Music

Since launching Melodics just over a month ago one question has come up time and time again through our support and social media channels. ‘When will Melodics be available with Windows?’

Well  the wait is now over as the team are excited to announce that Melodics is available on Windows and can be downloaded now.

11-clippy

As you can see Clippy has even come out of retirement to show his support and is currently a Level 5 Melodics player.

We hope you enjoy Melodics on Windows and feel free to get in touch via social media or our support page.

Minimum Specs

Melodics runs on Windows 7, 8, or 10.

Minimum Processor: i3: 1.07GHz 64 bit or equivalent
Minimum screen resolution is 1280 x 720
Memory: 512 MB

1GB of free hard drive space.

Note: You do not need a pad controller, but it is much better with one.

 

Nov 12

Use Melodics To Improve Your DJ Sets: Cue Point Drumming Lessons

by in Melodics, Music, Pro Tips

For the next five days all Melodics Premium DJ content has been unlocked and can be played by all our users. In these lessons you’ll learn the art of cue point drumming and how it can be applied across a range of  tracks in your library, to create interesting flips of an original beat. These skills will set you a part from all the other ‘laptop DJs‘ out there and make your next DJ set fresh to death.

When applying our techniques to your own tracks make sure to keep these steps in mind.

 1) In your DJ software, choose a bar within the track and set 4 cue points

2) Set the four cue points on the 4 beats of the bar – typically the 1st kick, 1st snare, 2nd kick and 2nd snare.

3) Make sure you’ve practiced the pattern you want to use in Melodics and your timing is on point

To give you an idea of this in action we have included videos of three very different songs all using the same pattern from our lesson ‘Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1′.

Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1 – applied to Jay Z – Dirt Off Your Shoulder (82 BPM)

Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1 – applied to Disclosure – White Noise (Featuring AlunaGeorge) (120 BPM)

Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1 – applied to Led Zeppellin – Kashmir (81 BPM)

The pattern used across these examples is one of many that are included in Melodics waiting to be tried out. Melodics will teach you these different patterns through lessons that gradually increase in difficulty.

Once you feel all trained up the next step is to try what you have learned with your DJ controller/software. So set the cue points to the pads on your controller and get drumming. We recommend also looking at the Serato Flip which will help you to capture and loop your cue point drumming live.

We would love to see what kinds of flips you are able to do with tracks in your library using the techniques you have learned in Melodics. So send us through some videos using the hashtag #Melodics and we will find you on Instagram and Facebook.

If you have not downloaded Melodics yet do so now :)

Nov 10

New Lesson Tuesday – DJ Edition #2 (Flips)

by in Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

Last week our lessons introduced you to the art of cue point drumming and how it can be used in DJ sets. This week we are taking it a step further and using cue point drumming techniques to flip tracks to create new and unique variations.
Flipping has been used throughout the years by producers in particular to sample old records and express them in a modern context. Some of your favourite tracks all have origins from older tracks with hip hop and soul being closely linked. In this week’s lessons you will be able to take an old soul song and flip it into a hip hop jam. These techniques and flipping patterns can potentially be used in other songs in your library to make your DJ sets even more interesting.
Before you dive fingers first into our new lessons check out some of histories finest flips to get you in the mood.

Flip 1

Original:  Roberta Flack – Gone Away  (4:00 in)
Flipped Track: TI – What You Know  (0:17 seconds in)

Flip 2

Original: Imogen Heap – Just For Now  (0:00 in)
Flipped Track: Clams Casino – I’m God  (0:28 in)

Flip 3

Original: 10cc – Johnny, Don’t Do It  (1:56 in)
Flipped Track:  J Dilla – Waves (0:00 in)

So the lessons are up, you’ve heard some incredible flips, now it’s time to get playing!

Also as a special promotion this week all our premium DJ content has been unlocked for ALL Melodics users to enjoy.

So get practicing and feel free to send us through videos of yourself killing one of our lessons via Instagram using the hashtag #Melodics.