Sunday, March 16, 2014

theFREQSHO recap mix!

Happy Sunday, music lovers.

A couple of weeks ago, DJ Jordank had me on his regular Saturday night broadcast of theFREQSHO on WLVS/Listen Vision Studios in DC. Jordan is a super cool guy with a love of great underground EDM and so this was right up my alley. He asked me to come on and play for an hour, and I had a great time!

I recorded a recap** version of the mix I played that night and am posting it here for you. I'll be broadcasting live from WLVS on Saturday April 12 from 9pm to 10pm so tune in and crank it up!

**So what's a "recap" mix anyways? Well, I did not record the mix I did at the studio. So, the next day I did a live mix of the entire set, song for song, of what I played at the studio. I did change the intro sounds just a little bit in order to have a smooth start, but other than that, it was the same as what you would have heard if you had tuned in live!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DJ vs Rockstar

DJ vs Rockstar

Take a look at this picture below. Look closely. Does anything look strange to you?

Everyone is watching the DJ mix. Sure, they may be dancing or jumping up and down, but in essence, they are just watching a guy mix. 

For those of you who have gotten into EDM and the DJ culture it is part of within the last 3-4 years, this may seem totally normal. The stance of the crowd is the same if its a DJ or if its the Rolling Stones.

For those of you out there who, like me, got into electronic music in the 80's, this scene still looks foreign to my eyes. While my mixes are (hopefully) exciting and make people want to dance, I have never quite gotten comfortable with audiences watching me DJ. The act of pushing buttons, using the cross-fader, twisting knobs, etc just does not seem that visually appealing. At least not in the same way seeing a live band perform their music on stage would be.

So what are your thoughts on the whole "DJ vs Rockstar" issue? Let me know in the comments section or via Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Return To The Groove - Volume 1

Originally posted at One Love Massive

DJ Daryl Northrop Return’s To The Groove

Freezing in February? Me too. So, I’ve put together some pure audio heat with the first edition of my mix series “Return To The Groove.” Lets go get our soul’s thawed out and moving with the beat. Normally as a DJ I go for higher energy breaks/breakbeat type tracks and a driving vibe for the dance floor. But, you can’t go full-throttle all the time, you need to pull back a bit, get a little deeper, and return to the groove. Still moving, still growing, still dancing, let this mix take you on a journey that energizes and focuses you on what matters: our music, our community, and our shared experiences.

Lets all Return To The Groove.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

4 Great Sources for Underground EDM Tracks

When two DJ's meet, two things usually happen:
1. We exchange the secret DJ handshake*
2. We ask each other where are good places to find music online

***ok - there really isn't a secret DJ handshake.....OR IS THERE???

This post is about where I like to find new (to me) EDM tracks that generally trend to the underground. By "underground" I mean not likely to be heard on corporate owned radio stations and not likely to be in the Beatport top 20 of whatever genre they happen to be. But, I don't look at music via the "if it's popular, it must be crap" viewpoint. Sometimes popular songs are popular because they are really really good. However, a lot of the popular songs, at least on Beatport tend to sound strikingly similar. I crave variety, even within my favorite genres, so other I need other sources to turn to.

Free Breaks BlogOne of my favorite outlets for breaks/breakbeat tracks is . Updated nearly every day, they provide excellent free downloads from fantastic breaks producers from around the world. Also featured are in-depth interviews, full DJ sets, and links to the producers Soundcloud and Facebook pages. Free Breaks Blog also maintains its own Soundcloud page which is a great repository of music.

Funk 'n Filth: A great blog that covers the gamut of bass music including hip-hop remixes, breaks, breakbeat, along with some glitch and DnB. Added bonus - with many of the DJ sets available for download, they supply the track list! As a music scrounger, you do not know how happy this makes me. I kid you not, I heard a snippet of a track that I really liked in someone else's set, and it wasn't until a year later I found out what it was. A YEAR. That's like 75 years in normal-people time. Seriously.

Glitch hop/Dubstep/House/Drum N Bass/Moombahton/Electro/Future Garage: Here is the mother load of free EDM tracks. This site is part of the EDM Network family of webpages that feature blog entries and loads of free tracks, with links to the producers web pages. These are the web pages that I refer to as "the labyrinth" - there is so much here from so many sources that you can quickly get lost, in the best kind of way.

Soundcloud: You do have a soundcloud account, right? Right. Me too! Go there now and take a look around. You may be thinking "Ok, there's DJ Daryl Northrop's super dope mixes." Well, yes, of course they are there, but there's more. Who do I follow? What tracks do they produce? Who do those folks follow? What tracks do they produce? Get the idea? Lather, rinse, repeat. Here's a little journey. I follow Kid Digital, a great breaks producer from Russia. He follows Canary Breaks, a group that produces awesome tracks out of Spain, they follow Com Truise, an American glitch/electronica composer and artist. See how playing the music version of "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon" can broaden your music outlook?

The sites I've mentioned are just a tiny slice of the music that is available out there. The internet has taken crate-digging to a global level. There is literally no corner of the planet not available to you when it comes to sound. Want to put together an all-Russian set of breaks? You can do it. Fancy a showcase of the best in DnB from Spain? No problem!

Play on!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fake fame via fake followers via fake comments etc etc etc....

FAKERY! It's all around us, not just in the DJ world. While it seems the quick route to fame, money, success, romance, adventure, it just cheapens what for many of us is a form of artistic expression. Lets look at a couple of examples.

1. "Instant DJ - just add water" - these are scams that have one goal - to separate you from you money with the promise that you'll be able to mix like DJ Jazzy Jeff or (insert your favorite DJ name here) in 2 weeks when it takes everyone else years. The short version is - this stuff doesn't work. Yes, you can learn some basic technical skills in the course of a few weeks or months. But, assembling a music library, practicing, learning, constructing a set, learning how to improvise takes years to accomplish. Plus - this course in particular promises that DJ'ing is merely a vehicle to money, women, and fame. 

2. "Astroturf fame" - which is a clever way of buying fake listens, fake followers, fake downloads, fake twitter fans, fake likes on facebook to make it look like you are far more popular than you really are. This might be tempting, because a few dollars can buy you a lot of fakery. But, when it comes time to total up tickets sold, or the number of people who actually come through the door to hear you spin, then there's no hiding from that truth.

Stay true to yourself, people. Don't do this crap. It cheapens our art, and it cheapens you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's in a practice session?

Lots, actually!

Hello everyone. One of the keys to me improving as a DJ is practice and experimentation. Some of my best mixes/transitions/themes have come from just chucking tracks together, fiddling with the sequencing and layering, and HOLY COW THAT SOUNDED GOOD, CAN I DO IT AGAIN????

Below is my latest mix, and it's an exploration of a somewhat more laid back indie-house/breaks/electro vibe.

Let me know what you think!

Feb 2 2014 Practice Session - a bit of indie house and breaks by Dj Daryl Northrop on Mixcloud

Monday, January 27, 2014

In the mix with DJ Romin

Good people make for good music! DJ Romin and I had a practice session a few days ago, basically just throwing the mix back and forth every four or five songs, and kicking around some ideas. 

For those new to the DJ game - why would you want to have a practice session with someone else? Well, first of all, they are going to hear all of your mistakes, or at least you can point it out and ask for input right there on the spot. Another reason is that having another person there can automatically make you a better DJ. Why? Not sure, but from what I have noticed, my mixing gets better when I have someone listening, especially another DJ. 

Plus, when you have practice session with another DJ, you often get a little bonus like this: Romin is proficient in scratching while I love breaks-style EDM. So, I mixed some breaks while Romin did scratch routines on top of them. IDEA TIME!!! Between the 8 cue points on each deck and the 6 sample decks on my Novation Twitch controller, I could have 22 breaks-based loops ready to go that can be scratched over. We'll have to see where this leads.....

So what did I learn from Romin? Plenty. Romin is an open-format DJ which means he goes from hip hop to EDM to reggae to indie-pop and on and on. That means you have to know every mixing technique and transition trick in the book: slams, beat-mixing, scratching, mash-up, etc etc etc. 

Shots of the set up...

Be sure to have a mixing board that you can both plug your audio into - makes it easier to transition!
And....DJ Romin doing what he does best!

My thumb thought it would be funny to photo-bomb this pic...