It’s no secret that everyone’s a DJ; your neighbour, your gran, Marky the milkman, Dave from finance, that lad from down pub, Barbara from accounts, even Kez the barber, all have raised a gun finger while spinning tunes on a digital all-in-one wonderboard.
Now there’s nothing wrong with that as such, everyone has a right to express their love of music (and they damn well should) but in its wake a tide of saturation has engulfed the music industry. Standing out as a worthy performer in such a climate has never been more difficult.
However, this need to ‘stand out’ has seen a huge rise in the DJ live performance with more producers & selectors moving the toys of the studio onto the main stage. Electronic dance favourites KiNK and Bicep have even seen their career trajectories smash new peaks from a run of finely polish live performances and energetic spectacles. As the demand for these shows increases so does the demand for ever more innovative tech.
One such device that’s been turning heads is Pioneer’s new DJS-1000. A CDJ-turned-sampler with many many faces.
I Can Take You Anywhere
The DJS-1000 is more than meets the eye; live sampler, sequencer, synth, FX module, the list and its possibilities go on. A DJ friendly tool that condenses the live setup into one, easy to transport unit. With a price tag less than the CDJ-2000 it’s both versatile and affordable, having a valued place both in and out of the studio. Much like our trusty mobile phones, the top hardware manufacturers continue to miniaturise the tech we use. In line with not just the surge in live performances but also symptomatic of our current ‘convenience culture’.
We buy groceries online, we book ubers at the touch of a button, we play games, call, message, share photos through a single device. If it can be done quicker, easier, chances are we’ll jump at the chance. But does this simplify and take away from the creative quality of such practice or simply allow more time for experimentation and fresh ideas?
Some might argue that squashing your setup down to a singularity takes away from the spectacle. Seeing an orchestra of gadgets and gizmos being masterfully conducted is always a delight to see. It creates a certain energy, not just from the waves of sound emanating from the speakers but in the physical actions of the artists themselves. This is where Roland step up to the play.
The Roland Spectacle
Since the early 80’s, Roland has been nothing short of synonymous with dance music culture and technology. As one of the pioneers in the development of MIDI technology, their vital input made it possible for electronic instruments to finally ‘talk to one another’: in other words a vast array of musical devices could be connected, synchronised, and performed with ease and flow.
The electronic DJ/producer live set was born.
An important aspect of this style of performance is not just in the sounds produced but also in the visual spectacle on stage. The flickering lights, bleeping devices, communicating and working together, despite being highly mechanised there is a somewhat human quality to it.
This idea of creating an engaging visual aesthetic (as well as an audible one) appears more prominent than ever when looking to the latest Roland devices; the TB-3 Touch bassline synth gives the user tactile control through an illuminated red and green interface; the MX-1 Aira mixer glows with auburn tones, deep blues, and softly back lit channel faders; and the TRS-8 drum machine spills out a spectrum of multicoloured busyness from its overtly inviting sequencer/channel display.
Basically, they don’t just sound the part, they look the part.
When audiences are confronted with a motive performer, a strobe-futuristic rig, and highly produced beats to match, the atmosphere is seldom less than electric. The back and fourth between artist and their talking machines crafting a deep affinity for the spectacle.
A Time to Stand Out
Devices like Pioneer‘s DJS-1000 provide a DJ friendly means to bulk up sets while also opening the door to the wider world of production. Roland offer a diverse spread of blinking, highly intuitive standalone devices backed up by decades of being at the forefront of music tech, favouring the spectacle over convenience.
Both carry their merits and are just two branded examples of what’s currently available on the market. But whatever your preference now’s the time to stand out. The potential of the live DJ set has never been more exciting – and never more lucrative.