Following this article profiling Avicii by men’s magazine GQ, A-trak has been more outspoken and explicit about what he considers the art of “#realDJing”. A-trak’s background is one of old-school turntables and ever-evolving DJing skills, as opposed to a more modern vision of laptops and pre-made playlists. He’s been DJing since the age of 13, winning World Championships since the age 15, and is head of the record label Fool’s Gold. To say the least, he’s earned his credentials as a DJ. He makes a fair point on the current state of DJing, and for a post originally destined for Instagram, it’s made waves in the DJ community on a hotly debated topic. Read on below.
“There’s a lot of talk lately about what DJing is becoming. I’ve seen it evolve a lot over the years. I started DJing when I was 13, scratching vinyl and playing strictly hip hop, winning championships. The DMC judges thought I was pretty good at it, but think my definition was narrow back then. I remember when my aunts and uncles found out I was a DJ they assumed I was the guy talking on the radio. So to define who we were, we called ourselves turntablists.”
A-trak also notes that he’s had to tweak his own style to meet changing standards, citing his work with Kanye West: “We also had to convert all our music. DJing was becoming digital. Then Kanye hired me to tour with him, because he learned how to perform from Common and Kweli who had real DJs too.”
“I’ve seen a lot of fads come and go over the years. And I don’t think my way of DJing is the only way. I wish I could also play like Carl Cox and DJ Harvey too. But I have my style and it’s my passion. I love standing for something that means something, as Pharcyde would say. When you come to my show you know you’ll see me cut. And take risks. DJing is about taking risks. I represent #RealDJing #YouKnowTheDifference.”
He maintains his passion for his own style of ‘real DJing’ (a.k.a. using turntables to mix music, changing your set music based on cues from the audience), but makes sure to praise the styles of Carl Cox and DJ Harvey because they take risks. It’s a great argument (and mini-history of his career) and A-trak comes through loud and clear on the ‘press-play’ debate for DJs. You can view his full post here.