Strobe | Pittsburgh City Paper

Member since Mar 2, 2007



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Re: “DJ Spaed

As one of the few and proud people in this city that is a record producer by profession, as well as one of the originators of underground music in this city (if you want to know why I made this statement head over to my website at or my MySpace page at )., I can with a clean conscience weigh in on this matter. First off, the underground DJs should thank the mainstream club DJs for keeping the people who would otherwise be requesting Akon and Justin Timberlake out of their events. Most club kids and underground supporters aren’t going to Matrix or Diesel unless there’s a special event, and even then, it’s iffy, and most people who want to go to a place to search out booty and beer aren’t coming to an underground party. Neither one is keeping it any more “real” then the other. Loving house or other underground music doesn’t make you part of an elite club, you may have more distinctive tastes, but speaking out against any style of music just makes you ignorant not a specialist. Second, on the subject of DJs playing music they may or may not have paid for, let’s address another important issue, the DJs ability to GET the music they spin. After my residency at the original Metropol in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I lived in NYC for about 10 years, and there was a good vinyl or CD shop around the corner for pretty much any genre of music you were looking for. Can anybody weigh in on how many stores we have here that cater musically to DJs? Maybe one or two. With the vast majority of good underground house and club music coming from outside this country buying a single piece of vinyl can set you back $10-20.00. No wonder so many DJs are going digital. If you’re a mainstream DJ, then you have to have whatever 20 new tracks every patron expects to hear that week in addition to every other past, recurrent, and classic. It’s pretty expensive when you have fewer options. Club owners in this city with the exception of a few don’t regard the DJ as anything more then a human jukebox, they aren’t paying for the music the DJs play, and pay pretty much peanuts to compensate for the vast amount of money the jocks do spend to keep the dancefloors rocking. Stealing music is wrong on many levels, as a producer it takes money out of my pockets, but I am sure many DJs feel they have limited or no options in this city. When is the City Paper going to do an article on how the DJs in this city can get a hold of the music they need legally? For dance DJs looking for MP3s or that spin CDs, we have Beatport, Traxxsource, Juno, the list goes on. Many of the larger labels which have the majority of Hip Hop, R & B, and pop artists have chosen outlets like iTunes which limit the usability of the music unless you are spinning off of the computer the music is authorized to. Acquiring music via P2P or from another DJ sometimes happens out of desperation or necessity, not always ill intent. The fact that legitimate digital distributors of music have sold over a billion tracks shows that people can and will buy music, as long as they know where to get it, and have the ability to use it as needed (as in burning to a CD to DJ with.) And what about when you have the vinyl, but need a CD or MP3 of the track is it ok to download the mix then? Of course you can rip the vinyl into your computer and make a CD or MP3 but who’s showing everyone how to do that that might not know (besides our label and studio [Steel City Funk], we actually offer this service to DJs for a very fair price.) Everything in this city is a popularity contest when it comes to entertainment, and many great talents in this city don’t get the recognition they disserve. DJs like Soy Sos, Zimmie and Nugget, Pittsburgh House Underground, and the list goes on. Every week at the Firehouse, we (Steel City Funk – 7up, Elysium, and myself along with VJ Chad is Rad) throw down a party unlike anything else I’ve seen on the east coast. 3 DJs and a visual guy, all playing together at once, creating music out of tracks, making tracks live while we DJ, with live keys and visuals in sync like nothing I have seen in my 18 years in the industry, spinning on 4 laptops with technology only matched by sheer passion of house music and skill, and you’ll never see an article about it here. We have a label geared towards finding a home for electronic music and artists in this city with global distribution deals, no article. I myself have 2 gold records, 150 releases, and have worked with some of the biggest artists around the world, own a label, and make tracks that regularly show up on charts and dancefloors from Pittsburgh to the UK, but you will never see an article about it here. And so what, that doesn’t make it any less real or embraced. So it’s everyone’s right to bitch and moan, but just do what you love and have a passion for. As for anything else you do that may or may not be questionable, it’s not our job to judge you.

Posted by Strobe on 03/02/2007 at 5:00 PM

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