If you’ve kept an ear to the ground inthe electronic music industry, then you’ll have heard about a controversial policy put in place at a popular LA nightclub. Kenny Summit, DJ and owner of Cure and the Cause, decided to ban any laptops and controllers in the DJ booth of the nightclub in question. This sparked equal parts support and vitriol from the dance music community.
According to Summit, all too often young DJs will arrive at his club with their laptop in tow, unsure of how to connect with the Cure’s Pioneer system. Their inexperience causes technical problems that interrupt the night’s schedule. He claims that laptops are so easy to come by now, that anybody can get them and start booking shows, regardless of their skill. Many DJs are leaving their house and booking shows without truly understanding their equipment and these individuals treat their DJing like a fun hobby rather than a form of employment and an art form.
Summit wants his DJs to do more than press ‘play’ on a souped-up iPod, so, with the exception of laptops used to control turntablists (in a style that Summit calls “Jazzy Jeff type shit”), laptops have been banned.
Those who side with Summit’s contentious ruling agree that laptop DJing encourages a lazy approach to the music. But it extends beyond their inexperience with sound systems. Seth Troxler, a popular house and techno DJ from Michigan, thinks that in relying on a simple laptop and controller, many new DJs have never learnt the art of beat-matching. Beat-matching, considered the hardest part of DJing, is a technique of transitioning from one recording to another so there’s never any silence between songs, and it relies on synchronizing the tempos of each song together.
On the other hand, there are those that disagree with Summit and Troxler. Richie Hawtin, a Canadian DJ who relies heavily on laptops (as well as other digital mixing equipment) and who has won awards for his minimalist house music, has publicly stated that Summit’s ban stifles creativity. Hawtin, who would be exonerated for his use of turntables like Jazzy Jeff, went to Twitter to call the ban a step backwards for the community.
Are you more of a Troxler or a Hawtin in your opinions? What does your audio set-up look like? Do you have a huge Pioneer controller or Stanton turntable laying the foundation of your rig, or do you rely on your laptop computer and a few high-end accessories? Does Summit and Troxler’s combined disdain make you want to flesh out your gear and include the latest equipment to your setup? If you live in Canada, you can easily do that by visiting one of the many music stores across the country. Many of these Canadian music stores, such as Long & McQuade, have online shops that will deliver anywhere in the country. Long & McQuade has professional grade headphones as well as a variety of DJ equipment like software, mixers, andturntables that you can have delivered to your home at no extra cost, making it one of the most convenient ways to upgrade your rig.
Whether you think you need to do that or not, you can at least appreciate what this ban has done for the industry. The Cure’s ban on laptops has certainly gotten it press. For some, Summit sounds like a geriatric lamenting that ‘back in my day we did it the right way’. For others, they see the problem of uninformedDJs attempting to play with the big boys. Whichever side you agree with, you can understand the need for quality made equipment.